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.
- 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.