An American Airlines Aircraft Swap Which May Be Good News For LA-Based Flyers

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American Airlines has made a change to the aircraft it is deploying on its Los Angeles – London route and the net effect should be very good news for LA-based AAdvantage Members looking to upgrade or to use their miles for a premium cabin award booking.

As things stand American Airlines operates two daily non-stop flights between Los Angeles and London with one flight operated by a Boeing 777-300ER and the second by a Boeing 777-200ER. From spring next year this will change.

As of 31 March 2019 American Airlines will operate both of its Los Angeles – London flights with its larger 777-300ER aircraft on the following schedule:

AA108 LAX 17:35 – 12:05+1 day LHR
AA136 LAX 19:45 – 14:25+1 day LHR

AA109 LHR 12:05 – 15:20 LAX
AA135 LHR 17:15 – 20:45 LAX

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

What this means in practice is the following:

  • Both of American’s Los Angeles – London flights will now offer a First Class Cabin
  • AA135/136 will each offer 15 more Business Class seats than they currently offer
  • AA135/136 will each offer 4 more Premium Economy seats than they currently offer
  • AA135/136 will each offer 38 fewer Main Cabin Extra seats then they currently offer

As you can is it’s not all great news as the number of Main Cabin Extra seats is going down significantly but, as far as the premium cabins go, the news is definitely positive.

The presence of a First Class cabin on AA135/136 may mean that passengers who otherwise would have otherwise booked in to Business Class will now book into First Class potentially freeing up Business Class seats for upgrades/awards.

The fact that AA135/136 now has a First Class cabin may see Business Class passengers upgrading to the frontmost seats releasing seats in Business Class for upgrades/awards.

a seat in a plane
American Airlines 777-300ER Business Class

American Airlines now has 15 more Business Class seats to fill in either direction which, even though the airline presumably believes it can fill them (otherwise why swap the aircraft), makes it mathematically more likely that upgrades will clear at the airport or that upgrades/awards seats will be released ahead of time.

There is, of course, one very big caveat to all of this….

We have to hope that the airline known for dramatically reducing saver award availability and for making it very hard to clear an upgrade at the time of booking actually releases seats for awards and upgrades as it becomes more likely that they won’t be sold….and there’s definitely no guarantee that this will happen.

Bottom Line

Overall this aircraft swap should be viewed a good news for American Airlines’ LA-based flyers looking to fly in a premium cabin to London. It should now be slightly easier to score an upgrade to Business Class or to find one of those incredibly rare Business Class saver awards that some of us haven’t seen in a very long time….let’s wait and see how things pan out.

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