American Airlines will begin flying its premium Airbus A321 transcontinental aircraft between Boston and Los Angeles next April, as it adjusts schedules for the 17-aircraft strong fleet.
The Oneworld Alliance carrier will operate its premium 110-seat A321T aircraft on two of its up to six daily Boston-Los Angeles flights from 2 April 2019, it says today. The aircraft is configured with 10 first and 20 business lie-flat seats, as well as 36 extra-legroom economy and 36 economy seats.
“By introducing the A321T on two daily flights between important business markets like LAX and BOS, we are delivering on our promise to create a world-class customer experience," says Vasu Raja, vice-president of network and schedule planning at American.
The route will be the first expansion of American's premium transcontinental product since it debuted on routes between New York John F Kennedy and both Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2014.
Executives at the Fort Worth, Texas-based airline have previously said that it does not have enough A321s in the premium configuration to expand service beyond the New York markets.
“There are days I wish we could have a few more LA[X]s because the [A321T] is rather small,” said Andrew Nocella, then chief marketing officer of American, in a September 2016 interview. “We just don’t have the resources to spread around.”
Asked about the new Boston flights, American says it will "retime" some flights on the New York-Los Angeles and New York-San Francisco routes in order to free up the aircraft.
American will also reduce frequency on the New York-Los Angeles route to 12 daily flights from 13 on 2 April, FlightGlobal schedules data shows. It will continue to operate five daily New York-San Francisco flights.
JetBlue Airways, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines already offer lie-flat premium seats on the Boston-Los Angeles route. Alaska Airlines also operates the route.
American's new premium service to Boston comes as it prepares to consolidate operations at the airport early in 2019. The terminal B "optimisation" project will allow the airline to operate from 18-contiguous gates on the west side of the facility, down from up to 23 gates on two sides of the terminal today.
The carrier was the second largest at Boston Logan during the eight months ending in August, US Department of Transportation data shows. It carried 2.25 million of the 12.3 million passengers that departed the airport during the period, an 18.3% share second only to JetBlue's nearly 30% share.
American has shrunk at Boston in recent years. It ends flights to Pittsburgh in December, and to Buffalo and Paris Charles de Gaulle earlier in 2018.