US Airways A319s Will Be Getting New Seats, Extra Legroom Starting Next Month

With the process of draining down the US Airways schedule, looking towards having only American Airlines flights starting October 17, there’s going to be some confusion over whose aircraft are you flying.

That’s relevant because American and US Airways aircraft have different interiors — different number of first class seats, different seats, seat power, and legroom. That’s about to start changing. And that means a better product for most passengers.


Credit: American Airlines

American Airlines confirmed to me (and shared with employees a few weeks ago) that beginning in October they will be retrofitting US Airways Airbus A319s to match the American Airlines seats and seat configuration.

That means:

  • Dropping from 12 to 8 first class seats
  • Adding Main Cabin Extra
  • New seats
  • Seat power
  • New overhead bin doors that increase storage capacity

They’re still “evaluating whether [to] install AC power on US Airways A320 and A321 aircraft.” Of course, some US Airways aircraft had seat power prior to the America West merger but it was removed to save weight and fuel.

Here’s the current US Airways configuration – 12 first class seats, no main cabin extra (other than seats with naturally more legroom):


Current US Airways A319 First Class Configuration

And here’s the American Airlines configuration – 8 first class seats (tough upgrade!) but with extra legroom economy seats that Platinum members and above can reserve complimentary at booking and Golds can reserve at check-in if available:


A319 First Class and Main Cabin Extra Configuration

Often I find that main cabin extra seats open up within 5 days of departure, as elites who pre-reserved main cabin extra are upgraded. So if I don’t have a seat I like, I set an Expert Flyer ‘seat alert’ and then can improve my seating as soon as the better seat opens up.

Here’s the seats that American current has, so what US Airways should be going to:


American Airlines A319 Economy Cabin


American Airlines A319 Economy Seats


American Airlines A319 First Class

This all means a better first class and a better economy with more seats with more legroom. But it also means tougher upgrades, albeit something more desire to upgrade to.

And it means less product variation between legacy US Airways and legacy American aircraft, which is vital for customer expectations moving forward.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Pingbacks

  1. […] 252, with 20 business class seats and 232 seats in economy. So far, plans have been have announced to convert US Airways A319s to the American seat plan. There’s no word yet on whether the rest of the US Airways fleet will be refitted to a […]

Comments

  1. @DeltaPoints while I do not like fewer first class seats so far we’ve seen them mostly on short routes, though aircraft utilization does sometimes mean putting them on pretty premium routes like AUS-DFW [unfortunately for me]. I won’t miss AA MD80s (for all of their tendencies to have short mechanical delays) but will certainly miss where MD80s with 16 F seats get swapped with A319s that have 8!

  2. Any word on the 321 start date. I have a nov reservation on us airways configured plane isle seats for both of us. Really don’t want the messed up

    Thanks

  3. The fact that they only announced seat power, and no IFE built in is a flag it’s not in the cards.

    Another big red flag – the fact they aren’t even sure yet the other Airbus planes will even get in seat power.

    How cheap can you get? This should be a given, not under evaluation.

  4. Stupid thing that shouldn’t bother me but nevertheless does:

    when people confuse “isle” with “aisle”

  5. It is incredibly frustrating to go without power on a long flight. AA really needs to bring all of the US aircraft up to the state of the art. This process should have already started. It is good to hear that at least the US A319s will be updated. What could be the debate on the US A320/321s? I would not expect three-class configurations on the A321 like some current AA aircraft, but power and personal video are a must. Although AA uses A319s on some long routes like DFW-BOG, A320/321 aircraft are generally used on the longer flights where additional power can be crucial. The AA A319s are super except for eight seats in first.

  6. Speculation on my part but the A319s seemed easy — going to the AA configuration meant more seats on the plane.

    AA has more first class seats on their other aircraft like 737s and A321s operating outside the JFK-LAX/SFO markets (16) than US Airways does on their A320s (12). Adding extra legroom seats and 2 first class seats on the A320s reduces total seats by a good bit. I could see going to 12 first class seats across the AA fleet of non-transcon A320s. But that’s a decision that may require more internal processing, again is totally speculative on my part, but could be why they do a319s first. And of course US has 16 first class seats on THEIR a321s. So lots for them to sort through. Might as well grab the low hanging a319 fruit.

  7. I assume that AA is changing the US A319s to the AA configuration because it adds four seats to the plane (add 12 Y, take away 8 F), despite adding main cabin extra. This is largely by reducing the pitch in regular coach by an inch (which makes Gary’s statement that it will be a better product for most passengers not obviously true). Are they going from US non-slimline to AA slimline seats?

    The (non-transcon) A321s are presumably less straightforward for US management because they’d be taking away seats from the US planes to match the AA configuration.

  8. Alex Hill – agree with your read and I’m surprised that Gary would have managed to miss it.

    @Gary – unless your average reader is always a Platinum or EP on AA (or a rev passenger in business class) this is actually a major NEGATIVE for most AA traveller in economy. I have been trying to pick US Airways metal on purpose when in ‘regular’ coach for that extra 1 inch of pitch; it makes a meaningful difference. Love to get your take on why this isn’t a negative for about 80% of the travellers on each AA flight that is getting reconfigured.

  9. @JJDTx: and with only 32 premium seats (F + MCE + exit row) on a 128-seat plane, do even Platinum and EP (and equivalent oneworld and AS elites) even reliably get either an upgrade or an extra legroom seat? I don’t follow the it closely enough to know.

  10. These will be the AA seats. Remember you’re also going to see different planes operating different routes — US A319s probably go to a bunch of thinner, shorter AA routes currently operated by 737s in the coming months. Kirby’s view is that AA had planes that were too big for many routes. If we’re talking short flights then I like the AA interior better (and I assume a consistent IFE experience contrary to comments above, this was not a consumer-facing announcement it was an employee newsletter). If we’re talking long flights I prefer extra padding.

  11. The new seating configuration on Southwest’s goes from 137 seats to 143. How does AA/US squeeze 160 into the same aircraft?

  12. @blacksheep Huh? Southwest doesn’t fly any A319s. Southwest’s 737-700s will now seat 143. Southwest’s 737-800s seat 175; it’s AA’s 737-800s that seat 160.

  13. Ugh. AA uses the 319 on the ATL/LAX non-stop route. With it not being a hub city the upgrade out of ATL is pretty easy but gets a lot harder coming out of LAX.

  14. With in-seat power and Wi-Fi, these reconfigured A319 aircraft should have IFE over Wi-Fi. I have found this product is consistently superior to other built-in entertainment options (at least on domestic aircraft). As long as power is available, who needs seat-back screens? Everybody has a tablet and/or laptop these days.

  15. So 8 F seats in a 319, but 9 F seats on an e175? Also seems odd to add power on 319 but not 320/321. It’s pretty obvious this is just about increasing the number of seats in the 319s.

  16. Does IFE make much difference these days when it seems most people are watching something on their tablets/laptops, instead of retread NBC sitcoms, or listening to audio on their iPods/iPhones? Isn’t that the reason for extending Power at the Seat? As for 8 vs 12 F seats, the routes these planes generally fly are short (ok ATL-LAX but that’s because it’s a new route for AA and loads need to build at which time a larger plane will be put on) or medium (DFW-YEG/YYZ) at most. As a ExecPlat I can live with a MCE seat in coach since I still get a free alcoholic drink or two, plus anything i want from the BoB. It’s better for AA to sell another 8 coach seats than hold 4 F seats for upgraders. The point is to have consistency across any given aircraft in the fleet so we don’t get surprised when AA has to bump you from your upgraded F seat because it’s substituted an 8 F A319 for a 12 F version.

    As for the A321 fleet, the three-cabin versions are for specific routes and it’s unlikely many new Flagship routes will be launched (maybe CLT/PHL to LAX/SFO though I doubt either eastern city can sustain the premium business travel as does NYC) so the US fleet will go through a pretty standard refurb with MCE being the only new addition for consistency (and any upgrading of interiors/power). Of course this may mean a loss of seats over-all. Given the current configuration I could see losing 4 F seats (down to 12) and adding MCE back to the current row 9 with one more row of Y in place of the removed F row and re-spacing of the existing seats.

  17. Removing 1st class seats was a big screw job. Shouldn’t airlines be trying to help their most frequent flyers? I’m tired of being in coach and 1st on the upgrade list. When prior to the new configuration I would have been upgraded. I took 141 flights last year and now can’t get a 1st class seat. They should be adding seats not taking them away. If they are only for short flights who cares how much room there is in coach? Delta just added 1st class seats. I wish that was an option for me I would change in a heartbeat. So far post merger all AA has done is take away premium perks.

  18. The thing is, American downsizes everything for “satisfaction” of their budget. This means, the only thing on-board the new A319’s, are Power. No IFEs, and certainly less First Class. Worst part about all this, I was just on 1:30 flight, and they offered NO drinks or snacks. Their service is dropping as fast as OUR satisfaction is.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *