Some links to products and travel providers on this website will earn Traveling For Miles a commission which helps contribute to the running of the site – I’m very grateful to anyone who uses these links but their use is entirely optional. The compensation does not impact how and where products appear on this site and does not impact reviews that are published.
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.
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 AA.com 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)……
……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.