American Airlines is introducing premium economy class on its international widebody fleet.
The new product will be located directly behind business class and is set to become available in late 2016.
The leather seat will feature a 38-inch pitch and a large touchscreen monitor.
American said the class will include more legroom; wider seats; priority-check-in and boarding; checked baggage allowance; amenity kits; enhanced meal service; complimentary spirits, beer and wine; personal on-demand enterainment; and noise-reducing headphones.
In October, it emerged that the carrier is downgrading its Main Cabin Extra seating (see news, October 6). The move paves the way for the introduction of a separate premium economy cabin, as announced today.
The first aircraft to be fitted with premium economy will be a B787-9, which will feature business class, three rows of premium economy seating in a 2-3-2 configuration, Main Cabin Extra and Main Cabin (economy). Main Cabin Extra will offer up to six inches of additional leg room.
Premium Economy will also be installed on American’s A350, which is scheduled to arrive in 2017. The product will also be fitted on to all B777-300ERs, B777-200ERs, B787-8s and A330s over the next three years.
The B767-300s will not be retrofitted with the new cabin as they are scheduled for retirement “in the coming years”.
Andrew Nocella, American’s chief marketing officer, said: “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.
“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.
“As the world’s largest carrier, we are excited to introduce this product for our customers.”