Leaked plans reveal a posh Boeing 787 Dreamliner coming to American
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American Airlines is preparing to (eventually) receive a batch of new 787 Dreamliners from Boeing, and when they enter the fleet, they’ll likely be sporting an ultra-premium configuration.
The Fort Worth-based carrier is planning to outfit its new 787-9 Dreamliners with 51 business-class pods, 32 premium economy recliners, 18 extra-legroom coach seats and 143 standard economy ones, according to a leaked flight-training document that was viewed by TPG.
The new 787-9 configuration will skew significantly more premium than American’s existing -9 Dreamliner, which features just 30 biz pods and 21 premium economy recliners. In total, the new 787-9 configuration, internally dubbed the “787-9P” (which likely stands for premium), will sport 244 seats, or 41 fewer seats than the existing -9 fleet.
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Several other details about these new jets were leaked as well. American will install both a new business-class and premium economy product on the new 787-9, though the details remain a tightly kept secret.
That said, the document confirms that the business-class “suites include sliding doors.” While we don’t yet know which product American will install, the two top contenders would appear to be the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat with a door, which is essentially the British Airways Club Suite.
The economy seats on the 787-9P will be the same as those on American’s new-and-improved 787-8 “baby” Dreamliner, four of which are already flying for American. (American debuted a new cabin configuration on the smaller -8 Dreamliners in November 2020, but those reverse-herringbone business-class pods don’t feature sliding doors.)
Other elements of the upgraded onboard experience include new trim and finishes throughout the jet, along with an updated Flagship design that includes a walk-up bar area behind the business-class cabin.
In terms of connectivity, American will ditch its partnership with Panasonic in favor of Viasat Wi-Fi, which offers faster speeds and superior performance compared to the existing provider. Furthermore, the jet will sport seat-back screens across all three cabins, which will run Thales’ latest inflight entertainment, as previously announced.
“We have not finalized details but are excited to deliver a premium travel experience for customers when we take delivery of our new aircraft in 2023,” an American Airlines spokesperson shared about the leaked plans.
All in all, these updates should be a notable improvement compared to American’s existing 787-9 Dreamliner. The focus on premium cabins should better the odds for those looking to score award and upgrade availability, thanks to the 21 additional business-class seats on the plane.
Unfortunately, it isn’t immediately clear when American will actually receive its first new Dreamliner from Boeing.
The Chicago-based plane-maker has faced setbacks in its Dreamliner assembly line after production issues were first identified in the manufacturing process.
The Federal Aviation Administration launched a review of the entire Dreamliner production process in 2020, and Boeing has since halted nearly all deliveries of its 787 jets. (The airline did take delivery of one new 787-8 Dreamliner in April 2021.)
In February, the FAA said that it would not let Boeing self-certify its newly built Dreamliners, and it’s waiting for a “systemic fix” to address the production issues.
Until the regulators are satisfied, American won’t be able to take delivery of the new jets. The airline is currently hoping that these jets will enter the fleet sometime in 2023, but it’s possible that the timeline slips due to additional delays.
That said, it’s exciting to see American investing in its premium cabins. There’s no indication yet of what routes will see the upgraded jet, but it’ll likely be focused on long-haul destinations with plenty of demand from corporate customers and deep-pocketed leisure customers, which could include London, Sao Paulo and Tel Aviv.
Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy
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