A New US Airways Interior I’ve Never Seen Before – Refreshed Seat Covers, Still Decrepit Seats

Four years into the American Airlines – US Airways merger they are only now talking about aligning their fleet. For the most part US Airways narrowbody planes don’t have extra legroom seats at the front of the aircraft or even seat power. (First class also has less legroom and many still have decrepit seats.)

I usually do my best to avoid a large swathe of the airline’s fleet as a result. But legacy American Airlines aircraft interiors have fallen into disrepair.

I flew a legacy US Airways plane this morning though and I boarded with a bit of excitement — a new interior.

But first class didn’t actually have new seats, just new seat covers.

The consoles between the seats were the same. So there was no seat power.

Of course on the legacy American fleet you get power ports but that doesn’t mean they work.
Power outlets on planes ‘wear out’ and it’s hard to get your power cord to stay in the socket, a problem I don’t generally have on Delta or United, sometimes I’m jiggling the cord to get the perfect goldilocks spot — not too far in, not too far out, the plug has to be just right.

At American’s media and investor day I learned that American does not currently have a maintenance program for these power outlets. They are developing one, although going through the fleet to check and replace them will take years. They are going to manually test each one with a heavy plug and see if the plug falls out of the socket. That will identify a good portion of the issues, but in some cases a plug will stay in the socket now but still not pull any juice. You have to jiggle the plug to make contact.

That’s why I carry a U.K. power adapter in my bag. I plug that adapter into the outlet at my seat, and then plug my power cord into it. The UK adapter’s prongs aren’t worn out as often, and the three prongs hold the adapter in place in the outlet.

My UK power adapter of course does me no good when there’s nothing to plug it into.

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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Comments

  1. I regularly use the European power adapter hack you shared. More often than not, it solves my problems. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I find that the A319s are tight in first but the others arent too bad.
    I dont know why they should bother testing the outlets. It should just be an automatic swap out. In fact they should just stage a whole additional set of seats that are rehabed and just do a quick swap all at once.

  3. I have been on many of the legacy US 321s that have this refresh. Like you, I was excited the moment I walked in the door. But the excitement quickly faded when I sat down and realized it was the same old seats (some with old IFE volume/channel controls on the armrest) but with new covers and the same out of kilter tray tables.

  4. @ Gary — I guess I’ve been flying US Airways too much this year. It seems that I’ve been seeing these seats for a while now, and flown them several times. As long as I am redeeming 7.5-12.5 k one way for coach awards and sitting up front, I’m not complaining….

  5. I live in Charlotte and see these often :(. They are especially horrible on long flights to the West Coast (like LAX or SFO). No IFE or anything!

  6. I use a notebook pc regularly on the road and am surprised at how often the outlets are just worn out. Some airports have just a few outlets as if they are worried about the utility bill going up due to increased use and availability. Our Ford expedition had a wiggly power socket and the dealer replaced it at no charge. I bet the cost savings doesn’t offset the cost of annoyed customers especially if the plane is delayed on the tarmac or in the sky and you don’t have a good outlet to stay productive. Spend $20 more and fly an airline that thinks about electrical maintenance and customer satisfaction.

  7. Or bring power strips and extension cords and make friends while on the plane. And don’t trip over the cords. I hate when those loosey-goosey plugs come unplugged and don’t realize it until the low battery starts flashing.

  8. How does an airline that made 40 billion in profit last year treat it’s customers like s..t and basically cheat us on promised to upgrade the fleet years ago after the merger. We should boycott or go to another airline!!!!

  9. @ Gary – maybe it’s a bandaid update until they do the full blown interior refit with new seating they announced at investor day?

  10. So American had a chance to make a plethora of majorly customer unfriendly changes, but couldn’t get something as simple as fleet alignment even begun for four years? Charming.

  11. Hilarious…reminds me of the sort of cheesy, desperate, low rent, things airlines like Eastern, Pan Am and TWA did while they were in their death throes…

    …now, of course, lacking competition in an industry that has become an oligopoly, American, whose CEO earlier this week proclaimed his, and other airlines, will “never lose money again”, can get away with being little more than Eastern, Pan Am and TWA, all of whom failed because they offered an inferior product than American, Delta, even Southwest, and others, did at the time.

  12. Doug Parker certainly loves pleather. Those seat covers are the WORST. Much prefer the legacy AA fabric seats as they are breathable.

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