American Airlines Cancels Plans for the Worst Flight in the World

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.

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, 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. Your reductive comments about AA have become a staple in the content you post. It’s time to try something new. You’re hardly a blogger, much less a writer. It’s honestly a little sad… but funny in a pitiful way. I’m not defending the integrity of AA because at the end of the day thousands will still fly on their product, terrible or not. Try something new, Mr. Leaf

  2. Oh dear God, Gary –

    They weren’t routinely selling fares in I for $5000 – that screenshot is a cherry-picked grab you posted before from when they first loaded the flights and before IM had fully loaded pricing.

    Think about how much better this post could have been if you just stuck to facts: “AA reverses customer unfriendly decision – won’t use 737Max on these long flights”

  3. What someone actually flies American by choice?
    Hell no
    I’ll fly to the wrong city and take a train to reach my destination than give them a wooden nickel
    Its always a horrible experience or routine at best and then the impossible stingy saver award inventory.I pity anyone that flies them
    Did I say they have bathrooms for midgets and seats so uncomfortable they should use them for prisoners?

  4. Good gosh Gary!

    Save us the diva drama! You complain that they use the max. Now they reverse course and you still sound like you complaining.

    Maybe you should reach out to find out why they reversed course. Such additional official information would have provided more insight and credibility into the blog.

    Good grief! Maybe they should just shut down the airline to keep you happy. Then you can fly Delta.

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