Qantas partner American Airlines to offer new seats on US flights

Qantas partner American Airlines to offer new seats on US flights

Qantas' main US partner airline American Airlines is to install spacious new business class seating in the domestic flights that Australians use to connect across the United States.

AA is picking up a raft of new planes, including a new coast-to-coast flagship, the Airbus A321 -- the stretched version of the popular, single-aisle A320 family.

There's extra-comfortable seating for the trunk routes between San Francisco/Los Angeles and New York.

That means Qantas passengers who prefer to fly across the Pacific in the fully flat beds on the Red Roo's A380 rather than the older 747 (and its angled lie-flat business seats) have a comfortable way to get to New York.

Inside the US on most AA planes

Most of American's domestic US fleet will be made up of Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 family planes.

The new first class (which is the American version of domestic business class) is a 2-2 arrangement, with large seatback TVs, USB jacks, at-seat power and wifi Internet.

American's new standard seats in the pointy end have some of the largest monitors we've seen on a plane this size. Perfect for movies!

Down the back, you'll find extra-legroom economy in American's Main Cabin Extra, plus regular economy in the rear.

There's wifi, power points and USB jacks throughout, and an 8.9-inch entertainment screen.

Don't get excited: this looks like the "Main Cabin Extra" economy legroom, not the standard space down the back.

These planes start arriving in mid-2013.

Coast-to-coast on the A321

On two routes (between New York JFK and either San Francisco SFO or Los Angeles LAX) American will use specially outfitted Airbus A321s.

At the very front of the plane you'll find American's swish new First Class, which is a similar version of the Sicma Cirrus seat that Cathay Pacific uses for its new business class and which American also picked up for its Boeing 777-300ER planes.

American is also installing these seats (or ones very similar) on its long-haul 777-300ERs, although you're less likely to fly on those when connecting from Australia.

It's a spacious 1-1 configuration, with direct aisle access and a window for all. American is the only airline to use these seats on narrow-body planes in a 1-1 layout.

These seats are among our favourite in the sky at the moment, so it's great to see them heading to AA.

Business class sees a fully flat BE Aerospace seat, with ten rows of seats in a 2-2 layout that remind us very strongly of Qatar Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner business class seats.

The seats are on a slight angle towards the windows to save space.

For the first time in a US domestic business class, you'll find seats that go fully flat -- a real bonus if you're trying to get some sleep.

In economy, there's both the Main Cabin Extra more-legroom option and regular seats, but all have wifi, power, USB and an 8.9-inch monitor.

Keep your batteries for the long trans-Pacific leg: there's power and entertainment even in economy.

They'll start arriving in late 2013, and will replace the Boeing 767s that currently fly on the SFO-JFK and LAX-JFK routes.

What do you reckon to the new seats? Will it affect who you choose to fly within the US? Share your thoughts in a comment below!

As ever, Australian Business Traveller monitors all the news you need to know for your business trips -- within Australia and overseas. For even more news than makes it into our comprehensive article coverage, and for exclusive offers and competitions, follow us on Twitter! We're @AusBT.

John Walton

John Walton


Aviation journalist and travel columnist John took his first long-haul flight when he was eight weeks old and hasn't looked back since. Well, except when facing rearwards in business class.


  • Darren


    24 Jul, 2012 11:39 am

    Very impressive for an American airline.

    No member give thanks

  • alaskaqantas


    24 Jul, 2012 02:48 pm

    I'm very glad American is changing this. Depending on how their restructuring goes I might switch from Delta to them.

    a quick note- the J seats on the JFK-LAX/SFO route is what UA uses for International (on previous CO metal) the Qatar new business is a little different (and much nicer from what I can tell in my opinion)

    - funny thing is UA announced a while ago that they're retrofitting their new P.S. (the cross Country Flights) with the CO int J seat and getting rid of their 3 class set up. So AA and UA will have the same J seat for these 2 routes... AA will just have F as well!

    No member give thanks

  • radiC00l


    25 Jul, 2012 12:28 am

    Going from zero to hero from the looks of it.

    No member give thanks


21 May, 2019 10:58 am


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