American Airlines redefines premium economy in the USA


American Airlines has announced that it will be introducing a premium economy product into its international wide-body fleet, beginning in late 2016. This product goes beyond the many ‘economy with benefits’ products offered by rival US carriers, which often comprise a standard economy class seat with a little more seat pitch and a few more amenities. With this product, American Airlines’ premium economy passengers will enjoy their own cabin, with a dedicated seat product that offers comfort comparable to many airlines’ narrow-body business class offers.

The seat is a true upgrade from the economy class product, with benefits including a more exclusive travel experience, extra seat width, 38in of seat pitch, larger IFE displays, and noise-reducing headphones.

On the ground, premium economy customers will enjoy priority check-in and boarding and a complimentary allowance of two bags. In the air they will enjoy an enhanced meal service, access to global wi-fi connectivity, amenity kits, as well as complimentary wine, beer and spirits.

“Premium economy is offered today by many premier carriers around the world. We studied those offerings and developed a world-class product with larger seats, more legroom, improved entertainment and upscale headphones and amenity kits, just to name a few features of this new service. As the world’s largest carrier, we are excited to introduce this product for our customers,” said Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer.

Installation plans

The first of American’s fleet to enter service with premium economy seating will be its Boeing 787-9s, expected to enter service in late 2016. The 787-9s will offer business class, three rows of premium economy in a 2-3-2 configuration, Main Cabin seats (economy class), and Main Cabin Extra (economy with up to 6in of additional legroom). Premium economy will also be installed on the airline’s Airbus A350s, arriving in 2017.

American will also add premium economy to all its Boeing 777-300ERs, 777-200ERs, 787-8s and Airbus A330s over the next three years. The 777-300ER will feature first class, business class, premium economy, Main Cabin Extra and Main Cabin seating options. All other retrofitted aircraft will continue to offer all-aisle access, lie-flat seats in business class, as well as Main Cabin Extra and Main Cabin seats. The airline’s Boeing 767-300s will not be retrofitted with premium economy, as those aircraft are scheduled for retirement in the coming years.

For an interactive look at the new premium economy product, please visit

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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