American’s Fleet Renewal Plan Enhances Customers’ Travel Experience

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American’s Fleet Renewal Plan

Enhances Customers’ Travel Experience


American Airlines has taken multiple steps the past several years to continue investing in its future while it sharpens its focus on improving the customer experience through various efforts – including, notably, execution of its fleet renewal plan.

The renewal plan includes updating the fleet by accelerating orders for Boeing’s 737-800s to replace its MD-80s and entering into a purchase agreement with Boeing to acquire an initial 42 of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, with the right to purchase up to 58 additional 787s.
At the same time, American has continued its focus on investing in its current fleet by enhancing cabin interiors, onboard services and passenger amenities. For example, during the last several years American has installed new premium class seating on its fleet of 767-300s and 777 aircraft with Business Class upgrades; standardized its fleet of 777s with the addition of Flagship Suites, and installed new LCD monitors and digital entertainment equipment for economy class passengers and personal entertainment devices and in-seat video entertainment for First and Business Class customers on its fleet of 767-300, 767-200 and 777 aircraft.
The enhancements to its existing fleet, and investments in fleet renewal, with the forthcoming 737-800 and 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft, are examples of how American continues to take concrete steps in an effort to manage through the industry’s challenges and position the company for long-term success.
The delivery of these new 737s are the most recent step in American's fleet enhancement, designed to increase fuel efficiency, lessen the airline's impact on the environment and continue its investment to make the travel experience enjoyable for customers.
Here’s a closer look at the initiatives American has undertaken to enhance its fleet:
Fleet Renewal

737-800: American continues to improve the customer experience and invest for long-term success by taking delivery of new Boeing 737-800 aircraft. These aircraft will eventually replace American’s fleet of narrow-body MD-80s and are 35 percent more fuel efficient on a seat-mile basis.
Although the 737-800 aircraft will match American’s existing fleet of 77 737-800s in most aspects, the aircraft arrive with several enhancements from American’s existing fleet of 737-800s, including customized First and economy class seats, bigger overhead storage bins and updated inflight entertainment systems. In addition, a new configuration of the 737-800s allows for 12 additional economy class seats.

  • First Class Upgrades: The 737-800 First Class cabin feature 16 new seats – designed specifically for American by Weber Aircraft. The slim line seatback design and innovative articulation creates improved personal space and customer comfort.

  • Economy Class Upgrades: The economy class cabin has 144 new seats designed specifically for American by Weber Aircraft. Design features of the new seat provide more knee room and greater customer comfort.

  • Entertainment Upgrades: Throughout the cabin, 20 new drop-down LCD monitors replace the centerline CRT monitors in the existing 737 aircraft to enhance the inflight entertainment experience. A digital media file server provides better video and audio entertainment quality.

American will receive a total of 76 Boeing 737-800 aircraft – 29 in 2009, 39 in 2010 and 8 in 2011.

787-9 Dreamliners: In 2008 American entered into a purchase agreement with Boeing to acquire an initial 42 Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. The 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft offers many benefits, including:

  • Improved aerodynamics

  • Advances in engine technology

  • Reduced maintenance requirements

  • Lower operating costs

With a design range capability of up to 8,500 nautical miles, it is expected that the 787-9 could operate on every route American serves today, while offering the potential to support new routes.
According to Boeing, the technologically advanced 787-9 will use 20 percent less fuel than today’s airplanes of comparable size, provide up to 45 percent more cargo revenue capacity, and present passengers with innovations, including a new interior environment with enhanced air pressurization to increase humidity levels in the cabin and improve overall customer comfort larger windows, more stowage space, improved lighting and other passenger conveniences.
The agreement for the 787s supports American’s wide-body replacement plan, and helps to position American for growth that is expected after American, British Airways and Iberia achieve antitrust immunity and implement a joint business agreement for flights between North America and Europe.
Enhancements to Current Fleet

American has continued its focus on investing in the travel experience for domestic and international premium travelers – many of whom are frequent travelers on American. American realizes how important it is for travelers to be comfortable on their flights, whether they are working, enjoying a meal and a movie, or just relaxing, especially during long-haul flights. With this in mind, the company several years ago made strategic investments to refurbish the long-haul workhorse fleets – the Boeing 777 aircraft and the Boeing 767-300 aircraft.

777 and 767-300 Upgrades: After extensive study, research and design, American completed upgrades to the Business Class cabin on its fleet of 47 Boeing 777 aircraft and 58 Boeing 767-300s.

  • The centerpiece of the new Business Class enhancements includes fully adjustable lie-flat at an angle seats with five independent motors that offer extensive flexibility.

  • Passengers can individually adjust any component of the seat, including the seat bottom, seat back, head rest, leg rest and leg rest extension, enabling greater comfort, flexibility and privacy.

  • Two key features include seats that track forward for added privacy and interlocking tray tables for added work and dining space.

The installation of Business Class upgrades were completed in American’s fleet of 767-300 airplanes at the end of 2007. First Class and Business Class upgrades and Flagship Suite installation in First Class were completed on all 777 aircraft in mid-2008.

The Business Class enhancements for the 777 and 767 aircraft also include personal inflight entertainment that provides a wide selection of movies, current news, music, games and television shows; and an upgraded interior, including sleek, ergonomically designed overhead bins that provide more storage space. Premium class customers on the 777 and the 767-300 also receive Bose® QuietComfort® 3 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headphones to complete their sound experience while onboard the aircraft.
The 777 Business Class seat design has similar features to the 767-300 seat but includes several additional features. Some of the key enhancements are an angled lie-flat seat that has five independent motors, allowing for infinite adjustability; a bed length of 76 inches; a seat width that ranges from 21-26 inches, including a fixed privacy divider and adjustable armrest; and an in-seat monitor with tilting capability.
First Class Luxury on 777s: In 2008 American completed the installation of its popular First Class Flagship Suite to 20 additional Boeing 777 aircraft, creating a superior product across the fleet. Now the entire 777 fleet has the Flagship Suite, considered one of the most comfortable and popular First Class seats in the industry.
Each Flagship Suite transforms into a fully flat six-foot, six-inch bed with drop-down armrests that allow for easier access and more sleeping space. Additionally, each suite features privacy dividers, power ports, leather headrests, two large tray tables, a swivel seat for face-to-face meetings or dining together, power ports, inflight entertainment with audio and video on-demand and a host of other comforts designed to enhance the travel experience. American’s Boeing 777 fleet primarily serves routes between the United States and locations in the United Kingdom, Japan, China, India, Germany and Latin America.
767-200: Upgrades to the entire fleet of 767-200s are being implemented in a phased approach. Phase I is complete and included the installation of new audio and video on-demand personal media players. Phase II began in July 2008 and includes:

  • Upgraded, motorized seats in the First and Business Class cabin – offering customers greater seat flexibility to ensure comfort.

  • The addition of one First Class seat per aircraft, which increases the number of First Class seats on the 767-200s from nine to 10.

  • Updated cabin interior throughout the aircraft, including new upholstery, carpeting and brighter “basket-weave” sidewalls – creating a lighter and brighter look to the cabin.

  • New audio and video on-demand personal media players.

  • The economy class cabin also will receive new LCD monitors for a clearer, brighter picture, replacing the current CRT monitors.

767-200 Wi-Fi Service: American was the first U.S. airline to launch Gogo Inflight Internet service in August 2008. Since then, customers traveling on 15 of American’s Boeing 767-200 aircraft have enjoyed Inflight Internet service primarily on nonstop flights between New York-JFK and San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami. After evaluating the service and reviewing customer feedback, American has decided to expand the service to more than 300 domestic aircraft during the next two years (see below for more information on American’s Wi-Fi service).
American Expands Inflight Internet Service

On March 31, 2009, American announced the expansion of Aircell’s Internet Service, Gogo, to more than 300 of its domestic aircraft over the next two years, including the MD-80 and 737 aircraft fleets, beginning with 150 MD-80 aircraft this year. Gogo turns an American flight into a Wi-Fi hotspot, enabling passengers to surf the Web, check e-mail, send instant messages, access a corporate VPN and more. Aircell’s price for the Gogo service ranges from $7.95 to $12.95 based on length of flight and whether the device is a handheld PDA or a laptop computer. Aircell’s pricing plans are:

  • Long Flight Pass: $12.95 – Standard price for flights longer than 3 hours

  • Short Flight Pass: $9.95 – Standard price for flights 3 hours or less

  • Mobile Flight Pass: $7.95 – Mobile device pricing for customers using a handheld device on Gogo-equipped flights of any length

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