American Airlines is set to offer “the first ever true premium product in the US,” Kim Cisek, the airline’s president of customer experience believes as the Oneworld carrier readies to bring its first Airbus A321XLRs into service.

Speaking during a media briefing at AIX in Hamburg on 28 May, Cisek enthuses at having “brought a widebody experience to a narrowbody aircraft” with the new type.

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Source: BillyPix

American Airlines customer experience vice-president Kimberly Cisek says A321XLR will bring widebody experience to narrowbody aircraft

Building on a “decades long” partnership with the European manufacturer, she says the new A321XLR will “allow us to fly planes places we wouldn’t have flown narrowbodies before”. These include expanded seasonal routes and additional destinations, with transcontinental trips likely to be among the first operated as part of the type’s entry into service. 

American Airlines will outfit an as-yet undisclosed number of seats with its’ “flagship business class product” and the “first ever privacy suites” (notably with no differentiated front row) - which Cisek terms as “the most premium cabins for any of our narrowbody aircraft”. 

Branding throughout the cabin will enable “customers [to] immediately know they’re on an American Airlines flight,” with elements including on-brand trim and finishes, overhead XL bins, 4k monitors, and USB and A/C power units. These new trims and finishes are also set to roll out across the rest of American’s fleet in time. 

Although American Airlines has no immediate plans to offer free onboard wi-fi, the airline will continue to invest in “the highest speed wi-fi” confirms Cisek, highlighting the “great reaction” to the recently-introduced ability to redeem AAdvantage miles for w-ifi connectivity. “We have no doubt that customers will continue to enjoy the experience” onboard the A321XLR, she concludes.

American Airlines is still to confirm when the type will enter service with the carrier.  Airbus earlier this year pushed back entry into service of the A321XLRs to the second half of the year.  IAG carrier Iberia recently said it would be the first carrier to deploy the type, likely on flights from Madrid to Boston and Washington DC, when it receives its initial aircraft “by the end of the summer”.