Aviation News

August 5, 2013

The New Premium Transcon: Who, What, When, Where, Why

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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Get Ready, New York City, the new premium cabins are coming! This week, we learned what JetBlue will be bringing to the premium transcon table, as well as new plans from Delta. United it also in the process of refitting their p.s. fleet, and American is gearing up to launch their new fleet. Oh, and Virgin America is still around, too! With so much going on, we took it upon ourselves to break down who has what product, when they will have it, and why we like it. Flights to LAX and SFO are about to get a whole lot more comfy.

JetBlue

Without a doubt, New York based JetBlue will be undergoing the most massive transformation. For 13 years, JetBlue has resisted the business class cabin, but resistance is futile. The new A321 premium product looks amazing, and is a big change for the airline. We think it looks great! Here is what you you will find in the new premium JetBlue Airbus A321 fleet, starting in the second quarter of 2014, and it may just find its way to Boston after NYC:

  • Business Class:

5 rows of 16 staggered flat bed seats with 80″ length, including 4 “mini-suits.” Seats include “air cushions with adjustable firmness,” and “a massage function.”
15″ IFE screen with 100 channels of DirecTV
2 110v power outlets and 2 USB ports
Adjustable personal LED reading light

  • Economy / Even More Space

33″ pitch minimum in economy, 37″ in Even More Space.
10.1″ IFE screen with 100 channels of DirecTV
110v power outlet and USB port for all passengers

 

Delta

New Delta 757-200 BusinessElite

New Delta 757-200 BusinessElite

After the successful opening of their new terminal 4 at JFK, Delta is ready to upgrade their in-flight product to match. While Delta may not be receiving a new fleet type, the interior of their older Boeing 757s will look like a brand new aircraft start in spring 2014. United has eliminated First Class in their reconfiguration, which is a reversal from what American and JetBlue are doing.

  • BusinessElite

16 180º fully flat bed staggered and slightly angled seats in a 2 x 2 configuration, with an average length of 76″ and width of 20.2″ (increased to 22.2” with the armrest stowed).
110v power outlet and USB port
16” “Elite Integrated Smart Monitor” IFE screens with 18 channels of live satellite TV, 350 movies, 130 hours TV content, music, and a moving map.

  • Economy / Economy Comfort

108 seats at a minimum of 31” pitch and 4” recline (44 seats at 35” pitch & and up to 50% more recline in Economy Comfort)
4-way adjustable headrests
9” “Eco 9i Integrated Smart Monitor” IFE screens
110v AC in-seat power + USB power

  • Overall Cabin Enhancements

Full-spectrum LED cabin mood lighting system
New lavatories throughout the aircraft featuring LED lighting and touchless flush

 

American

Business class seats on transcon-configured American Airlines Airbus A321. (Image by American Airlines)

Business class seats on transcon-configured American Airlines Airbus A321. (Image by American Airlines)

American is currently flying the oldest fleet on their premium transcon route, but those old 767-200’s are about to meet their maker in the bone yard. In their place, American has, like JetBlue, opted for the Airbus A321. American expects their first A321 delivery in November of this year. This new product is a massive upgrade for loyal American customers, and anyone flying them on this route should be excited.

  • First Class

10 fully lie-flat seats in a 1-1 configuration, giving all passengers direct aisle and window access
15.4-inch HD-capable touchscreen IFE with up to 75 movies and more than 150 TV shows
110v AC in-seat power + USB power

  • Business Class

20 fully lie-flat seat in a 2 x 2 configuration.
15.4″ HD-capable touchscreen IFE with up to 75 movies and more than 150 TV shows
110v AC in-seat power + USB power

  • Main Cabin / Main Cabin Extra

36 Main Cabin seats (36 Main Cabin Extra), designed by Recaro
8.9″ HD-capable touchscreen IFE “with an assortment of movies, TV programs, games and audio selections…seat-to-seat chat; live text news and weather updates, 3-D moving maps, airport maps, connecting gate information, and more.”

 

United

Business class on United’s “refreshed” B757 P.S. flights to JFK (Credit: United Airlines)

Business class on United’s “refreshed” B757 P.S. flights to JFK (Credit: United Airlines)

United is currently upgrading their p.s. fleet of Boeing 757’s, and although progress is slow, they are currently the only airline with their new product already in the air. As of June 18th, only 4 of the 15 aircraft have been completed. When you actually get lucky enough to fly in the new model, here is what you will find.

  • BusinessFirst p.s.

28 180-degre flat-bed seats, with up to 6 feet 4 inches of sleeping space,  and a width of 21″
15.4″ IFE screen “offering hundreds of movies, television shows, music and games” and “iPod Connect to watch your own movies or listen to your own music on the LCD screen”
110v AC (and select international plugs) in-seat power + USB power

  • United Economy p.s. / Economy Plus

66 Economy seats (48 Economy Plus), with 31″ pitch and 5″ recline (36″/ 6″ in Economy Plus) with a width of 17.3″.
9″ IFE screen with “complimentary personal on-demand entertainment offering hundreds of movies, television shows, music and games”
110v AC in-seat power + USB power
Complimentary headsets

Virgin America

Virgin America First Class

Virgin America First Class

Virgin America, once the super cool and hip way to fly to the other side of the country, is now left in a tricky spot. While their in-flight product was once unique, they have now been outpaced by every other airline on the route. Virgin America will be the only airline without flat-bed seats in business class. LED mood lighting will only get them so far these days.

  • First Class

8 recliner seats, with 55″ pitch and a 21″ width.
9″ RED IFE system, with 18 channels of live TV and 6 channels of cached TV, seat-to-seat messaging, and on-demand food and drink ordering system.
110v AC in-seat power + USB power

  • Main Cabin / Main Cabin Select

129 Main Cabin seats (12 Main Cabin Select seats), with 32″ pitch and 12.7″ width (38″ / 19.7″)
Same IFE system as in First Class.
110v AC in-seat power + USB power



About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz





 
 

 

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