American Airlines Invests $2 Billion in Planned Customer Improvements

One year after closing its merger with US Airways, American Airlines reports a more than $2 billion in investment in customer services. Included are refreshed cabins and clubs, modernized ticket counters, improved technology and new aircraft, AA says.

"Now that we have the network to compete globally, we're going to deliver a product that's better than our competitors," said Doug Parker, American Airlines chairman and CEO. 

Capital investments include fully lie-flat seats; international Wi-Fi; more in-flight entertainment options; a new design for Admirals Club lounges worldwide; and an upgraded assortment of complimentary healthy food, cocktails and more.

American noted it closed the merger with US Airways on Dec. 9, 2013, and has made significant progress in combining the two airlines. Customers now have full access to the combined network. They can also earn and redeem miles on flights operated by American and US Airways and receive reciprocal access to clubs and upgrades. 

American Airlines said it is taking delivery of nearly 100 aircraft in 2014, giving it the youngest fleet of any U.S.-based network carrier, with an average aircraft age of 12.3 years.

In addition, American will take delivery of 112 aircraft next year and 84 in 2016. Orders include the Airbus A320 family, A350-900s, Boeing 737 MAX, 777-300ERs and 787s.

American said it is ofering a new cabin environment onboard certain 757s and 767-300s, and a complete nose-to-tail overhaul on more than 90 A319s and all 777-200s. The investments mean that every First Class and Business Class seat on nearly every American Airlines widebody jet will feature fully lie-flat and direct aisle access seats.

AA reports investments also will include expanding in-flight entertainment and connectivity.

New 737s, nearly all new A321s, as well as retrofitted A319s will have power ports in every row. All new widebody deliveries, including 777-300ERs and 787s, come with power at every seat, allowing customers to charge their laptops and their personal electronic devices from gate to gate.

In premium cabins, American is upgrading to the latest Bose headset on all flights to South America, Europe and Asia, as well as transcontinental flights.

American is also adding satellite-based Internet access on all 777s and A330s, as well as all of the retrofitted 767-300s and 757s, and all 787s, providing connectivity for international flights.

In 2015, American will begin rolling out a modern design across its global network of lounges. Admirals Club customers will see new and expanded complimentary food options, refurbished restroom and shower facilities, toiletry amenities, and improved technology for customers to use before flights. American is also improving the customer's passage through the airport by removing barriers between customers and agents, reducing queues and congestion, and keeping tech-savvy customers connected with charging stations for their devices, AA said.

Customers will also see 500 worktables with 12 power outlets each and seating for eight people near gates at all hub and gateway airports so they can charge their devices before their flight.

For premium customers, AA said its partnership with Cadillac will improve the travel experience for customers with tight transfer times as they are escorted to their next gate in luxury vehicles. 

For customers who desire a private check-in experience, American said it will continue to offer exclusive service with Flagship Check-In at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, and New York Kennedy.


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