American Airlines Reduces First Class Between LA & London

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American Airlines has put through an interesting change to its winter schedule that I’ve only just noticed and it may well affect some readers of this blog. The change involves an aircraft swap on the Los Angeles – Heathrow route which sees the First Class cabin eliminated on 50% of this route’s flights as well as a reduction in Business Class capacity.

American Airlines Cuts First Class On LAX – LHR Route

In a move that’s caught me by surprise American Airlines is swapping one of the two 777-300ER aircraft that currently operate the LAX-LHR route for one of its refurbished 777-200 aircraft.

The 777-300ER is the jewel in the American Airlines fleet as it offers the best Business Class seat across the Atlantic and, aside from any remaining un-refurbished 777-200s, is the only American Airlines aircraft to offer an international First Class cabin.

American-Airlines-777-300ER-First-ClassAmerican Airlines First Class 777-300ER 

From 30 October 2016 through to 25 March 2017 flights AA136 & AA135 will be operated by a refurbished 777-200 aircraft.


What this means in practice:

  • No First Class cabin on 50% of LAX-LHR flights
  • 7 fewer Business Class seats on the 777-200 flights
  • 15 more Main Cabin Extra seats on the 777-200 flights

What cabin you choose to fly in will determine how you feel about this change:

  • If you only travel in First Class then you’ve just had your AA flight options cut in half on this route
  • If you tend to upgrade from Economy to Business Class then you’re not going to be too happy about the decrease in Business Class seats – upgrade chances will be lower.
  • If you’re happy with the Main Cabin Extra seats then AA136/135 are, for the winter, good news for you as you’re much more like to find MCE availability with the increased number of seats.

Other things to note:

ExpertFlyer and are showing the Main Cabin Extra section as still having only 9-across seating (American plans to increase this to 10-across on some aircraft) so that’s good news for Economy Class passengers.


The 777-200 has a slightly different Business Class seat to the 777-300ER (I think it’s the same as the one found in the 787)……

American Airlines Business Class 787-8 DreamlinerAmerican Airlines 787 Dreamliner Business Class

……but, as I’ve yet to fly in the refurbished aircraft I can’t really comment on how well that works (I’ll be reviewing the refurbished 777-200 later this year).


I’m surprised that American is doing this as I would have thought that the LAX-LHR route was one of the more “premium heavy” routes that the airline flys and eliminating the First Class cabin from half of the flights on a premium heavy route doesn’t make much sense to me. Then again, I have absolutely no insight into AA’s numbers so I have to assume the airline knows what it’s doing.

As it happens AA136/135 are my preferred flights between LA and London but, if the Business Class seat in the refurbished aircraft is, as I suspect, the same as the one in the 787 Dreamliner that could soon be changing – I definitely prefer the 777-300ER seats to the seats I reviewed on the 787.

Lastly, and this is something I always say when there’s an aircraft swap, make sure you check your seat assignments if you have reservations for AA136/135….they may well have changed.


  1. My wife and I just flew LHR to LAX on AA flight 135 and the equipment was the refurbished 777-200 you speak of. We always take flight 135 because we prefer the 777-300ER business class cabin and seat. The cabin crew (accustomed to the -300) told me they much preferred the -300 to the -200. My wife was in seat 7A and not happy with the reduced privacy offered by the -200 aft/forward seat pattern. The seat was as comfortable as the -300 (I slept most of the flight) but seemed smaller overall and did not have as much storage around the seat. I had seat 8A and I was definitely exposed to the view of the passenger in the adjacent center seat. The lavatories seemed smaller. Our next journey on AA flight 135 is April 5 2017 and I hope the equipment returns to the -300 before then. Also, the AA lounges at LAX terminal 4 are currently under construction and I wouldn’t recommend going in before they finish the remodel. The AA lounges are reduced in size and dirty at present. Do not know when the refurbishment will be complete.

    • Thanks for the great comment – always good to hear first hand experiences. It’s also good when I get to pass on some welcome news….AA135 on 5 April is scheduled to be a 777-300ER (as things stand)

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