American Airlines rolls out premium economy on international routes

American's new premium economy seats
American’s new premium economy seats

American Airlines has revealed plans to roll out premium economy cabins across its international fleet.

Launching in late 2016, the new ‘Main Cabin Extra’ seats will be positioned directly behind business class and will offer more space and legroom than economy class, plus additional airport and in-flight services.

“Our customers tell us they want a class of service between business class and main cabin, and this feedback provided the genesis for our new premium economy service,” said Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer.

“Premium economy is offered today by many premier carriers around the world. We studied those offerings and developed a world-class product with larger seats, more legroom, improved entertainment and upscale headphones and amenity kits, just to name a few features of this new service.”

American will initially offer premium economy on its fleet of Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners, which are expected to enter service in late 2016. These aircraft will offer three rows of Main Cabin Extra seating in a 2-3-2 configuration, providing six inches (15cm) of additional legroom compared to economy.

Seats will be configured in a 2-2-2 layout on American's Boeing 787-9s
Seats will be configured in a 2-3-2 layout on American’s Boeing 787-9s

Premium economy will also be installed on the airline’s new fleet of Airbus A350s, which will be delivered from 2017, and retro-fitted on all B777s, B787-8s and A330s over the next three years.

Of American’s wide-body fleet, only the B767-300s will not be fitted with premium economy as they are scheduled to be retired.

As well being offered wider seats with more legroom, Main Cabin Extra passengers will have priority check-in and boarding, amenity kits, enhanced in-flight F&B service and noise-cancelling headphones.

American already offers Main Cabin Extra seating on most of its domestic fleet and larger American Eagle regional aircraft.

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