Planes and Seats (AA)

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Planes and Seats

AA frequent flyers generally use the advice on SeatExpert or SeatGuru to find their best suited seat with respect to legroom, recline, powerports, etc. The AA.com Our Planes page also has seating configurations and additional information for each aircraft type.

An Economy Plus product, Main Cabin Extra, is scheduled to begin rolling out in Fall 2012, with 4-6 inches of extra pitch in a portion of the Coach cabin. AA's previous 'More Room Throughout Coach' (MRTC) seating plan was rolled back in 2004.

The AA.com Fleet Profile page has information on the number of each aircraft type currently in service, as well as some technical specifications on the planes and seats. The AA.com Fleet Renewal page has information on ongoing refurbishments of existing aircraft and deliveries of new aircraft.

General Tips

On domestic itineraries on two-class aircraft, AA markets its Business Class cabin as First Class. To reduce confusion and to reflect the true nature of seats, this article will refer to such seats as Business Class. The two sides of the plane will be referred to as starboard and port, with starboard on the right side of the aircraft and port on the left when facing forward toward the cockpit.

  • The Last Row of Business Class. Some flyers are hesitant about sitting in the last row of Business Class because of noise seeping in from the Coach cabin. Note that passengers with babies are often seated in Coach bulkhead seats immediately behind the Business Class cabin.
  • Bulkhead Seats. These seats often have limited legroom, but some flyers prefer them as they may feel more spacious with no seat in front reclining into your space. These seats have no underseat storage, so passengers must place all of their luggage in the overhead bins for takeoff and landing.
  • Exit Row Seats. Most, but not all, exit row seats have extra legroom. Tray tables may be deployed from the armrest, making it immovable. On planes with two over-wing exit rows, seats in the forward row may have limited or no recline to avoid obstructing the exit in the second row.
  • Checking Back for a Better Seat. Unfortunately you cannot be waitlisted for a specific seat, so the general strategy is to periodically check AA.com for availability. In particular, for domestic flights, check AA.com at 100, 72, and 24 hours prior to departure. At these times elites will begin getting their upgrades and better seats will open up. When you get the airport, you can also ask the check-in agent or gate agent for a better seat. You may be able to get one of the seats that AA typically blocks for passengers with mobility issues or small children.
    • Other ways to check Seat Maps:
      • FlyerTalk member paulmcgrath has created a web tool that generates bookmarkable URLs for specific AA flights and cabins: http://thisispaul.com/aaseats/
      • KVS Availability Tool
      • ExpertFlyer subscribers can also set Seat Alerts that notify them when a specific seat or seats become available on a flight.

Food and Beverages

See Food and Beverages for details on availability by cabin, route, and aircraft type, including special meals.

Inflight Entertainment

See Inflight Entertainment and Inflight Wi-Fi for details on availability by route and aircraft type.

Mainline Aircraft

MD80 - McDonnell Douglas MD-80 (S80, M80, M82, MD-82, MD-83, 'mcdonnell douglas')

  • Business (Domestic First). Standard BE recliner seats (38/40" pitch, 19.5" width, 25" recline) with tray tables in the armrests and DC power at every seat. The starboard (right) side is preferred as the seats have a bit more pitch than those on the port side. Port bulkhead seats can feel particularly cramped. Some flyers actually prefer exit row seats (20/21) in Coach, as they provide comparable legroom and only a marginally narrower seat (18" vs. 19"). On Ex-TWA MD-83s the seat design is slightly different in that the seats are boxier, and the center armrest houses little trays for your drinks/hot nuts that are shaped differently than those on American's MD-82s/83s. Some also report that the Ex-TWA aircraft configuration feels more spacious.
  • Coach. Standard Recaro recliner seats (31-33" pitch, 17.8" width, 18" recline) with winged leather headrests, tray tables in the seat back, and DC power at selected rows. The exit row seats (20/21) and 7D are excellent choices because of the extra leg room. The window seats in row 20 do not recline, but some still prefer this row since you are not reclining into someone else's knees and the passenger behind you will usually be a frequent flyer and may be less likely to grab your seatback when standing up. Seats in row 21 have extra legroom and full recline. All coach seats forward of the exit rows actually still have 'More Room Throughout Coach' pitch, while those aft of the exit rows have reduced pitch and are noisy due to the placement of the engines near the tail. Coach seats on this plane (and the 777) are also 18" wide rather than the 17" on the rest of the fleet.
  • Miscellaneous. The overhead bins on the starboard side of the aircraft will accommodate three rollaboard suitcases per bin when stowed 'wheels first'.
  • N.B.: AA is in the process of replacing these aircraft with new, more fuel-efficient Boeing 737-800 (38D) aircraft. However, since the MD-80 is the largest component of the AA fleet, this process will take many years.

738 - Boeing 737-823

AA flies two configurations of this aircraft. The "new" configuration was delivered beginning in Mar 2009; 76 737-823 aircraft were delivered around 2000, originally in the "old" configuration. In June 2010, AA began reconfiguring 738s delivered around 2000 to match the interiors and amenities of the new 38D aircraft (AA press release). The configurations can be most easily distinguished by the placement of the exit rows: rows 14 and 15 in the new configuration, but rows 13 and 14 in the old configuration. These refurbishments are expected to be completed sometime in 2011.

Old configuration

  • Business (Domestic First). Standard BE recliner seats (40/42" pitch, 21" width, 25" recline) with tray tables in the armrests and DC power at every seat. These seats are noticeably wider than the Business class seats on the MD-80. Overhead bins at the front of the cabin may not accommodate rollaboards 'wheels first' due to the curvature of the aircraft. One oddity is that these are actually the widest "Business Class" seats in AA's fleet (just a bit wider than the NGBC on the 777's).
  • Coach. Standard Recaro recliner seats (32" pitch, 17.2" width, 18" recline) with winged leather headrests, tray tables in the seat back, and DC power at selected rows. Exit rows are excellent choices because of the extra legroom.

New (38D) configuration

  • These aircraft have new articulating seats in F and Y, larger overhead bins, dropdown LCD monitors, and regular AC power at every row in both F and Y. AA originally planned to take delivery of 76 of these aircraft through Q1 2011 (AA press release), and this number was subsequently increased to 84 aircraft (AA press release). The new aircraft are based at ORD while the existing 738s will continue to be based at DFW. Opinions on the comfort of the articulating seats are mixed (see thread on FT).
  • Business (Domestic First). Articulating Weber recliner seats (40/41" pitch, 21" width, 31" recline) with tray tables in the center armrests, additional drink tray tables, and a laptop bin in the aisle/window armrests. AC power at every seat.
  • Coach. Articulating Weber recliner seats (31" pitch, 17.2" width, 24" recline) with 2 AC power outlets for every three seats (in every row). The seats cushions are thinner than in previous seats to accommodate slightly reduced pitch, although the articulated seats offer greater recline. The reduced pitch combined with the removal of a galley allows for an increase from 28 to 30 rows in coach. Exit rows are excellent choices because of the extra legroom.
  • History.
Mar 2007 - AA pulls forward orders of 47 aircraft for delivery in 2009-2012 from 2013-2016.
Aug 2008 - AA amends purchase agreement to receive a total of 76 aircraft in 2009-2010, with an additional 11 aircraft in 2013.
Apr 2009 - first two aircraft delivered; delivery of a total of 76 aircraft expected through first quarter of 2011.
Jun 2010 - AA announces start of refurbishment of existing fleet of 76 aircraft to the 38D configuration, with a total of 84 new aircraft expected through the end of 2011.
Jul 2010 - AA orders an additional 35 new aircraft to be delivered in 2011-2012.
May 2011 - AA takes delivery of first aircraft with Boeing Sky Interior.
Jul 2011 - AA orders an additional 200 new 737 family aircraft with options to purchase 100 more. Delivery of 100 current generation aircraft will begin in 2013. Subsequently, 100 aircraft are planned to have CFM International's new, more efficient LEAP-X engine.

752 - Boeing 757-223

AA flies two configurations of this aircraft. AA is currently in the process of refurbishing its existing 752 fleet, with the addition of two more seats in the forward cabin (24 total), new articulating seats in F, new coach seats, fixed LCD monitors over the center aisle, updated lavatories, and regular AC power. These planes are rolling out from Oct 2009 through 2015. The first refurbished plane (N610AA) entered service on Oct 18, 2009. The two configurations are most easily distinguished by the number of seats in the First/Business Class cabin (22 old, 24 new).

Old configuration (22 F seats)

  • Business (Domestic First). Older style Weber recliner seats (39" pitch, 21" width, 25" recline) with tray tables in armrests and DC power at every seat. The seats are fairly wide although recline is somewhat limited. Passengers in the bulkhead window seat may be able to get past the aisle passenger with minimal disturbance. Overall, Business Class on this plane is generally considered to be below current standards and some passengers prefer to take a connection rather than flying transcon on this plane.
  • Coach. Standard Weber recliner seats (31/32" pitch, 17.2" width, 18" recline) with tray tables in the seat back and DC power at selected rows. In certain airports, the 2L door is used and passengers in 9B/C will need to wait until the entire aircraft has been boarded before being able to take their seats. Conversely, rows 9 and 10 will generally be able to deplane before Business as their seats are right next to the 2L door. Exit rows 9, 10A/F, and 18 are good choices because of the extra legroom. Seats 10A/F have no underseat storage and passengers sometimes access the aisle by crossing between the bulkhead and row 9. Otherwise, the Coach cabin has standard seats.
  • Miscellaneous. For plane enthusiasts, the 757 climbs faster than any other plane out there due to its massively oversized wings and incredibly powerful engines. All 752 aircraft have now been equipped with blended winglets for increased fuel efficiency.
  • N.B.: As of Sep 1, 2010, AA has deactivated DC powerports on all domestic 757 aircraft due to an undisclosed problem. Reactivation is expected to be completed by the end of 2011.

New configuration (24 F seats)

  • Business (Domestic First). Articulating Weber recliner seats (38/39" pitch, 21" width, 31" recline) with tray tables in the center armrests and a laptop bin in the aisle/window armrests. AC power at every seat. Dropdown and bulkhead LCD monitors for in-flight entertainment.
  • Coach. Articulating Weber recliner seats (31/32" pitch, 17.2" width, 24" recline) with tray tables in the seat back and 2 AC power outlets for every three seats (in every row). Dropdown and bulkhead LCD monitors for in-flight entertainment. In certain airports, the 2L door is used and passengers in 9B/C will need to wait until the entire aircraft has been boarded before being able to take their seats. Conversely, rows 9 and 10 will generally be able to deplane before Business as their seats are right next to the 2L door. Exit rows 9, 10A/F, and 18 are good choices because of the extra legroom. Seats 10A/F have no underseat storage and passengers sometimes access the aisle by crossing between the bulkhead and row 9. Seats 18A/F have very limited recline despite being in the second overwing exit row to prevent the articulating seat bottom from blocking access to the exit hatch.
  • N.B. The AC powerports are working on all of these refurbished aircraft (see above).

75L - Boeing 757-223 (International)

  • N.B.: In Jan 2009, AA began rolling out refurbished Boeing 757-223 aircraft in an international configuration (75L). AA plans to refurbish 18 of these aircraft for service on international routes. The aircraft have new seats, LCD monitors over the aisle, and refurbished lavatories with bifold doors.
  • Business. Recaro Next Generation Business Class (NGBC) seats (58-59" pitch, 21" width, ≈170° lie flat), featuring in-seat AVOD and regular AC power outlets at every seat.
  • Coach. Articulating Weber recliner seats (31/32" pitch, 17.2" width, 24" recline) with tray tables in the seat back and 2 AC power ports for every three seast in selected rows.
  • N.B.: It is worth noting that the new AC power outlets have not been delivering flawless service. Several FTers, especially those using MacBook Pros, have reported that the system easily shuts down because of the power demands of the equipment, and the system cannot be restarted easily.

762 - Boeing 767-223ER (3-class configuration)

  • First. This cabin was refurbished in 2008–2009 (AA Press Release) with 10 new Voyager seats in First and LCD cabin monitors. The new BE Voyager seats (62" pitch, 20.5" width, 60" recline) go nearly fully flat, are fully motorized, and include a massage function.
  • Business. Standard BE recliner seats (49-50" pitch, 18.5" width, 50" recline) (reupholstered in 2008–2009) with manual controls, extra recline, footrests, tray tables in the armrests, and DC power at every seat. To extend the footrest fully, operate the levers in order, front-to-back (Legrest Extend, Legrest Angle, Footpad Extend); operate the levers in the opposite order to retract. On some non-transcontinental flights, this cabin may be sold as Domestic First or as Coach, with corresponding service levels. In the latter case, seats in this cabin can be pre-reserved by elites and full fare passengers traveling in Coach.
  • Coach. Standard Weber recliner seats (31/32" pitch, 17.8" width, 18" recline) with tray tables in the seat back and DC powerports at select rows. The exit row (20) is generally considered a good choice because of the extra legroom, although this row does get cold. Otherwise, the coach cabin has standard seats.
  • Miscellaneous. In the old 9-seat configuration of First, seat 2D was sometimes called the Captain Kirk seat as it was isolated in the center of the cabin. However, in the new 10-seat configuration, a second center-section seat 3D was added in the second row.
  • N.B.: As of Jan 15, 2011, AA deactivated all DC powerports on 767-200 aircraft due to an undisclosed problem. However, all powerports were reactivated in May 2011.

763 - Boeing 767-323ER (2-class configuration)

  • Business (Domestic First). Recaro Next Generation Business Class (NGBC) seats (59" pitch, 20" width, ≈170° recline) with seatback brackets to hold portable in-seat AVOD (select long haul flights) have been installed throughout the 763 fleet. Passengers in bulkhead seats may not be able to store carryon bags in the footwells as the FAA has not STC'd baggage stowage for takeoffs or landings. Because of a new cross-cabin aisle in NGBC, there is no longer the problem of passengers crossing over the feet of people in the center of the first row. Some people prefer sitting in the center seats as it means they do not need to cross over anyone to get up and no one will ever need to cross over them.
  • Coach. Standard Weber recliner seats (31/32" pitch, 17.8" width, 18" recline) with tray tables in the seat back and DC powerports at select rows. The second exit row (21) is an excellent choice because of the extra legroom, but they do get cold. However, note that the first exit row (20) is a bad choice because of reduced legroom and limited recline. On this aircraft, it is sometimes possible to request a seat in row 17 at the airport if those seats are not designated as a crew rest (on flights under 8 hours). Row 17 feels like a private mini-cabin and features standard recliner business class seats with extra legroom, extra recline, footrests, and LCD screens on the bulkhead. However, some passengers report receiving absolute minimum service in Row 17 if the flight attendants have been trying to keep those seats for themselves even though not contractually guaranteed. On most domestic 763 flights, the flight attendants don't care much about Row 17 as they do not work international flights and are not as "attached" to the crew rest seats as the international flight attendants are.
  • Blocked Seats.
    • On lengthy international flights, the first row on the starboard side (seats 2H/J) may be allocated as crew rests.
    • The following coach seats are generally blocked for allocation by the airport: 10 A-J, 11 A/B, 17 A/B H/J, 20 C-G, and 42 C-G.
  • Miscellaneous. AA is in the process of installing Blended Winglets on its 763 aircraft for increased fuel efficiency, expected to be completed by 2011.
  • N.B.: As of Jan 15, 2011, AA deactivated DC powerports in a portion of the Coach cabin on all 767-300 aircraft due to an undisclosed problem. Reactivation was originally expected to be completed by the end of 2011 but is still ongoing.
  • N.B.: On May 2012, AA announced plans to retrofit half of its 763 fleet with 28 fully flat Business Class seats with all-aisle access and 14 Main Cabin Extra seats available in Coach. The redesign is scheduled to begin in 2014. The remaining half of the fleet will be retired over time.

772 - Boeing 777-223ER

  • First. Contour Flagship Suites (64" pitch, 30" width, 180° recline) have been installed throughout the 772 fleet. These suites feature motorized swivel seats that convert to fully flat beds and have in-seat AVOD. The 16 seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration, but are staggered across the aisles, so traveling companions may want to select adjacent seats in the center section. (This configuration was previously known as Configuration 2; the seats in the older 18-seat configuration were also known as 'coffins'.)
  • Business. Recaro Next Generation Business Class (NGBC) seats (60/61" pitch, 21" width, ≈170° recline) with in-seat AVOD have been installed throughout the 772 fleet. On some domestic routes, the aircraft is sold in a 2-class configuration, and elites and full fare passengers traveling on Coach fares can reserve Business class seats, although standard Coach service will still be provided. Seats 8H/J are reserved for airport assignment and are very private, next to a closet used by flight attendants; the center lavatory door faces forward and is not visible from these seats. Despite having full footwells, passengers in bulkhead seats (rows 8, 9) may not be able to store carryon baggage in the footwells during takeoff and landing.
  • Coach. Standard Recaro recliner seats (31/32" pitch, 18-18.5" width, 18" recline) with tray tables in seat backs and DC power ports in select rows. These seats are a bit wider and more comfortable than the 767 and have small seat-back video screens. The left and right exit row seats (31A/B/H/J) are considered excellent seats, with 5 ft of legroom, although these seats do not have underseat storage and do get cold during flight. Passengers report that the exit slide does not really intrude into the legroom of the window seats. Some place their carry-on bags in this area after takeoff as footrests, although flight attendants may ask them to be removed during service or during the entire flight. Center section seats in the first bulkhead row (20C/D/E/F/G) have extra legroom despite being bulkhead seats. Center section aisle seats in the second bulkhead row (30C/G) also have extra legroom as the bulkhead does not extend all the way across the row.
  • N.B.: In Jul 2011, AA announced that it has firm orders for 7 new 777-200 aircraft for delivery in 2013-2016.
  • N.B.: In May 2012, AA announced plans to remove the First Class cabin in its entire 772 fleet while adding new fully flat business class seats with all-aisle access, as well as international wi-fi, in-seat entertainment, and Main Cabin Extra seating available in Coach.

A300 - Airbus A300B4-605R (AB6)

  • This plane has been officially retired.

A321 Transcontinental - Airbus A321

  • N.B.: In Jul 2012, AA announced plans to configure a subset of A321 aircraft in a three-class configuration for transcontinental flights between JFK-LAX and JFK-SFO, replacing the existing 762 fleet from November 2013 through 2014. Planes will be equipped with inflight wi-fi, in-seat entertainment, and AC and USB power outlets at every seat. Remaining A321 aircraft will have a standard domestic configuration below.
  • First. Sicma fully flat seats (10) in a 1-1 configuration with work area, personal storage area, and all-aisle access. In-flight entertaintment will be on 15.4-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitors.
  • Business. BE fully flat seats (20) in a 2-2 configuration. In-flight entertaintment will be on 15.4-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitors.
  • Main Cabin Extra. Recaro recliner seats (36) with extra legroom. In-flight entertainment will be on 8.9-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitors.

A320 Family - Airbus A320 and A320neo (New Engine Option)

  • N.B.: In Jul 2011, AA announced orders of 260 new Airbus A320 family aircraft, with options for 365 additional aircraft. Delivery of 130 current generation A320 family aircraft will begin in 2013, and delivery of 130 A320neo (New Engine Option) family aircraft will begin in 2017.
  • N.B.: In Jul 2012, AA announced plans to take delivery of 130 currengt generation A321 and A319 aircraft to replace aging aircraft in its current fleet. A319 deliveries are expected to begin in July 2013. A321 deliveries are expected to begin in Q2 2014. Aircraft will have leather seats, wi-fi, in-seat entertainment, Main Cabin Extra seating, and AC power outlets at every seat.
  • First. In-flight entertainment will be provided on 12.1-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitors at every seat.
  • Coach. In-flight entertainment will be provided on 8.9-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitors at every seat.

773 / 77W - Boeing 777-323ER

  • N.B.: In Jan 2011, AA announced orders of 2 new Boeing 777-300 aircraft with delivery expected in late 2012. In Jul 2011, AA announced that it had firm orders for 8 aircraft for delivery in 2012-2013. In Nov 2011, AA announced plans for the aircraft interior, featuring a 3-class configuration with fully lie-flat seats in First and Business, a Main Cabin Extra section, in-flight entertainment at every seat, and international wi-fi. The first aircraft are expected to fly DFW-GRU and LAX-LHR routes.
  • First. New Flagship Suites with swivel seat that converts to fully lie-flat 6'8" bed, universal AC powerports, USB outlet, and 17-inch touchscreen monitor. Current seatmaps show 2 rows in a 1-2-1 configuration.
  • Business. Fully lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration with all-aisle access and 15.4-inch touchscreen monitor. Current seatmaps show 2 rows forward of the galley and 11 rows aft of the galley, in a 1-2-1 configuration.
  • Coach. Articulating recliner seats with higher recline pivot to provide increased knee room, 9-inc h touchscreen Panasonic Eco Monitor. Notably, current seatmaps show 24.5 rows in a 3-4-3 configuration (10-across), compared to the current 2-5-2 configuration (9-across) in 772 aircraft. Main Cabin Extra will have 3.5 rows in a 3-3-3 configuration.

787 - Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner

  • N.B.: In Oct 2008, AA announced plans to acquire 42 new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners scheduled for delivery in 2012-2018, with options on up to 58 additional aircraft in 2015-2020. Delivery of the first aircraft is now delayed to late 2014.

Regional Aircraft

These aircraft are operated by American Eagle Airlines or Executive Airlines (AT7). Larger carryon baggage, including rollaboard suitcases, will not fit in the overhead bins and must be gate checked, either at the end of the jetbridge or planeside if boarding by stairs. Because there is no First Class cabin, PLT, EXP, and those connecting to F or J are entitled to free alcoholic beverages and snacks, although some flight attendants may not be aware of this policy.

ATR - ATR 72-210 and -212A (AT7, Super ATR)

  • Coach. This aircraft has uncomfortable seats with no recline in a 2-2 configuration. This aircraft boards and deplanes from the aft door. The bulkhead exit row seats (1) are reported to have some extra legroom, but the tray table is in the armrest, reducing seat width, and this row will be the last to deplane. The propellers are mounted on the wings, which are above the level of the windows.

CRJ - Canadair CRJ-701 (CR7)

  • N.B.: On Sep 17, 2009, AA announced plans to add a first-class cabin to this aircraft and to exercise their option to purchase 22 additional aircraft from Bombardier for delivery beginning mid-2010. The new configuration with 9 F seats began rolling out in April 2010. As of January 2011, all 25 existing aircraft have been converted to this new configuration and deliveries of new aircraft are continuing.
  • First. There are three rows in a 1-2 configuration with 36" pitch, less than on mainline aircraft. These are standard leather recliner seats with adjustable headrests. Modified meal service is provided on eligible flights as there are no ovens on this aircraft. It has been reported that there is no overhead bin storage available over seat 1A and that the windows are misaligned in rows 2 and 3.
  • Coach. This aircraft has leather seats in a 2-2 configuration. The exit row seats have more legroom but are very uncomfortable, with short, hard seat bottoms. The engines are in the rear of the aircraft, so seats toward the front will be fairly quiet. There are two flight attendants, one in the forward galley and one aft next to the lavatory.

ER3 - Embraer ERJ-135LR

  • Coach. This aircraft has leather seats in a 1-2 configuration. The exit row seats have more legroom and are still fairly comfortable. The engines are in the rear of the aircraft, so seats toward the front will be fairly quiet.

ERD - Embraer ERJ-140LR

  • Coach. This aircraft has leather seats in a 1-2 configuration. The exit row seats have more legroom and are still fairly comfortable. The engines are in the rear of the aircraft, so seats toward the front will be fairly quiet.

ER4 - Embraer ERJ-145LR

  • Coach. This aircraft has leather seats in a 1-2 configuration. The exit row seats have more legroom and are still fairly comfortable. The engines are in the rear of the aircraft, so seats toward the front will be fairly quiet.

S340 - Saab 340B (SF3)

  • N.B.: This aircraft is no longer in service.
  • Coach. This aircraft has seats in a 1-2 configuration. The exit row seats have more legroom and are still fairly comfortable. The propellers are mounted on the wings, which are below the level of the windows.

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