In November American Airlines rolled out a schedule change — a plan to fly their Boeing 737 MAX to Brazil and to Bolivia swapping out Boeing 757s with lie flat business class for their new, least comfortable domestic aircraft. This was supposed to start in May.
Some key features of the announced service:
- Less distance between seats in coach, Main Cabin Extra, and the premium cabin
- Smaller lavatories
- An uncomfortable bare bones MiQ seat up front with a bar protruding at lower back level
Economy has less distance between seats, less recline, and less padded seats. And since American ordered their 737 MAX aircraft without ovens for the back galley they can no longer serve hot meals on 7 hour flights. Instead they tell me that they “will replace the service in Main Cabin with the deluxe snack box.” In other words, ‘let them eat hummus.’
American said that the flights were performing so badly that it was change to a Boeing 737 MAX or cancel the routes entirely. These flights must be performing exceptionally badly because the 757 is the plane American uses when they can’t make a 767 work, and the 767 is the plane, according to their CEO, that they send places where their best customers don’t go. And they said the 757 wasn’t working.
To me a problem with this approach is that they were still charging $5000 for business class but not delivering customers flat beds and not warning customers either.
They should have been selling the forward cabin as premium economy, even though the MAX product is worse than American’s international premium economy. They shouldn’t have called it business class.
Now though despite claiming that they could not operate the route profitably with a Boeing 757, and had to change the route to a 737 MAX, they have quietly dropped plans to operate the MAX on the route and instead are continuing to schedule 757s into the future. (HT: JonNYC)
What are we to make of the reversal? Perhaps realizing that they lose money overall flying and only earn a profit selling miles they figured that continued losses on Brazil routes are no worse than their next best alternative? That or they seem to be out of good ideas for where to deploy aircraft.
Backing off the plan for a new worst flight in the world, though, still leaves them with the worst flight in America.