American Confirms: All International Widebodies Will Have Lie Flat Seats By End of June

On Friday’s earnings call American Airlines shared that their “Boeing 777-200 retrofit [project will be] complete in Q2.”

Those are the last international widebodies that still have angled seats, but they’re months away from finally all offering lie flat seats with direct aisle access.

We can expect the old business seats to go away soon.

Some of the Boeing 777-200s have been reconfigured with this ‘Concept D’ Zodiac seat:

After myriad delays, American terminated its contract and sued Zodiac, and went shopping for a new seat — the B/E Aerospace Super Diamond which is in the new Boeing 787-9.

That’s also the seat they started using for the Boeing 777-200 as well.

Their Boeing 777-300ERs and legacy US Airways aircraft have a Zodic seat similar to what Cathay Pacific offers.

They’re working through putting lie flat seats in their international 757s without direct aisle access for window seats, similar to what United has now in its international fleet and is replacing with Polaris seats.

So soon we’ll see the end of angled international business class entirely at American.

Of these products, I like the Super Diamond on the Boeing 787-9 and some Boeing 777-200s if I am flying solo and have a window seat. (There’s no privacy divider between center seats.) If I’ve got to have a middle seat and I’m not traveling with someone then I prefer the Boeing 777-300ER seat. The ‘Concept D’ forward-backward seats are narrow at the shoulders and have gotten much criticism because the center divider is stuck either in the up or down position and cannot be moved by passengers, and because movement in one seat can cause shaking of another seat due to installation issues — something American has said was being addressed.

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 »

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  1. imo: even with new lay-flat seats, AA still offer inferior cabin service to most other international carriers.

  2. Gary, do you need if they’ll update the old 767s they use to fly to southern South America? I swear those have to be most tired 767 a US carrier has in use. They still have the old TV sets (not flatscreen) for a 9+ hrs flight!. I guess having a quasi monopoly flying down there allows them to do so.

  3. Aren’t there still some 763s with angled seats in business? I flew on some between MIA and CNF in the fall, though I saw one (N361AA) was eventually sent to Roswell. Or are those old seats considered lie-flat?

  4. The old seats are not considered lie-flat, there are some flying domestically eg Hawaii routes that are still angled and it’s possible they could operationally have to substitute an aircraft.

  5. Gary, do you know if there are intentions of updating the fleet over to Hawaii? We go over every year and the first class between OGG and PHX is terrible. I can’t believe people pay for it still!

  6. Even if AA offers lie-flat seats, how can you change their rude and nasty corporate culture of their wait staff?
    Can you replace the American Airlines wait staff with wonderful Flight crews of Turkish, Thai, Singapore, Cathay, Qatar and Royal Air Maroc?
    Last time I asked for a can of soda they told me that they had to pour a cup. When I flew on Royal Air Maroc recently out of Amsterdam to Tangier, I asked the crew for one can of soda, they ended up asking me how many cans I wanted and they brought me a few cans of soda in a duty free bag for my hotel room, in case if I was too tired to go out to a shop or it was too late when I got to my hotel room. They were super kind and that is called superior service. You would never get that on board the tacky AA with their rude mean grumpy workers!

  7. Interesting. I actually complained after getting an old 763 in business on one of the CNF-MIA legs, and they gave me 25,000 miles as an apology. Though the second time it happened, they didn’t…

  8. When did Delta finish converting its fleet to flat beds? Four years ago? And they’re already moving on to next-generation products with their A350s and 777s.

  9. @Mark S. — the Delta transpac and transatlantic flat-bed conversion wrapped up a while ago, but what bugs me is that at least as of a year ago, I would sometimes end up with a non-flat-bed 757 on Delta One transcon routes between JFK and LAX/SFO. I’ve decided to use AA for all my transcon flights. And what really bugged me is that last year, I took my wife with me on a transcon trip and booked her in Delta One for some obscene number of miles — only to have Delta downgauge the type of 763 the morning of departure, involuntarily bumping my wife back to economy. Eventually, at check-in, we found out a larger 763 had been put back on, and we had no problem. But now, I use AA for all my premium transcon flying just for reliability’s sake.

    Though maybe someday I’ll try B6 Mint…

  10. hey Mark, If You don’t like American’s product….. Don’t Fly them. plain and Simple. if You are not Paying to refurbish The Fleet, Your two cents are meaningless. period

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