American Airlines is set to become the first US carrier to offer a lie-flat seat in business class from next month.The next generation product, which will be lie-flat style rather than the flat bed version offered by British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, will first be installed on American's fleet of B767-300s.
Seating with be configured six across (2-2-2) with 59 inches of legroom and a nine degree angle of recline.Says a spokesperson, "The first B767 will be fitted next month and then it will fly around the network while we conduct a product shakedown."
If all goes according to plan, the rest of the B767s will be refitted by early next year. Readers wishing to sample the new seats will find the B767s operating transatlantic flights out of various gateways including Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt and Manchester. They also operate a number of flights from Gatwick.
But it will be some time before passengers flying on American's flagship B777s get to sample the new seats. These planes ply American's most important routes including every flight from Heathrow and many from Gatwick. Says a spokesperson, "We will begin fitting the new seats to the B777s in the summer of next year. The B777 refit will be complete in early 2008 and the seating configuration is yet to be announced."
The new seats come from German manufacturer Recaro. They incorporate personal in-flight entertainment and video and audio on demand. There's also an innovative tray table design with two tables which can be used separately or together to create one large working or dining surface.
For more information go to www.aa.com
Report by Alex McWhirter