American’s Washington Dulles – Los Angeles flights have moved from being operated by American Airlines 737s to legacy US Airways A319s.
“I’d love a cross country flight to be operated by a US Airways aircraft,” said no frequent flyer ever.
- The US Airways Airbus A319s have four fewer first class seats than the American Boeing 737s.
- If you don’t clear your upgrade, there’s no “Main Cabin Extra” extra legroom seats in economy.
- That may be a good thing — if you had extra legroom you could open your laptop and work. But the Westbound flights are scheduled at 5 hours and 45 minutes. And there’s no power ports at the seats.
Here’s the schedule showing Airbus A319s now.
The first class seat map for the morning flight 30 days out from when I searched shows only 3 first class seats available already.
American’s leadership believes that the airline has had too large aircraft on many routes, and that US Airways planes are a better fit. That’s fair, if they’re right they can make more money moving planes around their system. But part of integrating the airline means offering a consistent product so that customers don’t need to engage in the increasingly difficult task of trying to avoid Legacy US Airways routes. They need to put in power and main cabin extra right away.
I was surprised to see back in February a Dallas – Colorado Springs flight operated by a US Airways Express aircraft, rather than an American Eagle plane (operated by ‘Envoy Air’). That was a traditionally American route, operated from American’s main hub. But they had begun ‘cross fleeting’, having US Airways and even US Airways Express operate some traditionally American Airlines routes.
While the airlines remained separate that was extremely frustrating as it often meant having more than one airline (American and US Airways) on the same reservation, difficult for upgrades, and it meant where you had American and US Airways planes operating the same route during the day that you couldn’t make same day voluntary changes between them. At least that problem solves as US Airways transitions into the American reservation system.
By next Saturday night we may start to see ‘drain down’ of the US Airways schedule — US Airways flights 3 months in the future moved over into the American Airlines reservation system and listed only as American flights.
And that’ll mean customers buying American flights going forward regardless of whether they’re flying on Legacy US Airways equipment operated by US Airways crew.
That will make it harder to tell, until you get to a seat map, whether or not your selecting an aircraft with main cabin extra.
But cross-fleeting makes it harder even now. The mere listing of an Airbus A319, for instance, doesn’t mean you’re flying a US Airways plane with inferior passenger experience. You could be flying an American A319.