17 Sep American Airlines business class retrofit on 777s now complete
It was a long time coming, but the American Airlines business class retrofit wrapped up last week with the last 777 receiving its seats.
With over 67 planes matching this configuration, it has been a drawn-out process, but now, all passengers booking a business class flight on an American Airlines 777 can look forward to experiencing the latest updates to their luxury product.
Restful slumber, easy access to the aisle now possible
With this renovation, all business class fliers headed abroad can expect a seat that fully lies flat and is aisle accessible.
What’s more, wi-fi is now available on all these flights, allowing passengers at the front of the plane to stay connected as they head overseas.
While this upgrade has been a welcome development for AA passengers, the process hasn’t been without its discomforts.
With only one plane at a time being pulled aside in the American Airlines business class retrofit project, choosing a flight on an American 777 over the past few years has often felt like playing a mild form of travel Russian Roulette, as guests didn’t know until boarding whether they were going to get the new upgrades or the old product.
Not all planes will look the same after American Airlines business class retrofit
Even with all upgrades complete, there is still a difference in seat configuration between the two types of 777 that American Airlines uses.
On the 777-200ER, seats in the forward/rear configuration are installed, with some boasting BE super diamond seats, whereas those flying on a 777-300ER will be sitting in a Cirrus forward facing seat.
While fliers all have their preferences, all of these seats have been lauded for their comfort, making them a considerable upgrade from the product they replaced.
A gargantuan project from start to finish
It may seem strange how a major American airline could take so long to install new business class seats, but stats surrounding the operation provide perspective into how big an undertaking it actually was.
In just the 777-200ER planes alone, over 13,200 new seats were installed over the life of the multi-year renovation – that’s more than double the amount of seats in the Sydney Opera House.
Also, when you consider the fact the old seats needed to be ripped out before a single new chair could be installed, you begin to get the idea how ambitious the American Airlines business class retrofit was.
A step towards international competitiveness
American’s fleet of 777s is its face to the world. Flying to/from both coasts to destinations across Asia, Latin America, Europe, and Australia, they are a foreigner’s first contact with this country.
While American skies are a competitive place, the international airline industry has become cutthroat in comparison over the past decade, with upstart carriers in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East pushing the envelope on quality.
In order to maintain their competitive edge, the American Airlines business class retrofit was overdue, but it was wholly necessary to protect market share and to set the table for future gains against its competitors.
While AA still has a way to go to match Emirates and Singapore Airlines, they have taken a big step in the right direction with the modernization project they carried out on their 777s recently.