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American Airlines just upgraded 18 domestic routes with Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliners

The Points Guy logo The Points Guy 4/18/2021 Zach Griff
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If you’re looking to fly in style, this news is for you.

Over the weekend, American Airlines formally filed its schedule for summer 2021, which includes 17 new routes, most of which are to outdoor-friendly destinations, like Florida’s beaches and theme parks.

But that’s not all. American is also putting its nicest jets on a slew of existing domestic routes. When teasing the summer schedule, the Fort Worth-based carrier announced that it’ll upgauge all flying between Miami (MIA) and both New York-JFK and Los Angeles (LAX) with Boeing 777 aircraft.

Turns out, however, that 16 other domestic routes are also getting a major (plane) upgrade. Let’s take a look at the details.

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Getting lucky in Las Vegas

American is planning nine routes to Las Vegas (LAS) this summer. Nearly half of them will be operated by a wide-body on at least one daily frequency, per Cirium schedules, with the full details below.

Origin Destination Adjustment
Chicago (ORD) Las Vegas (LAS) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner and Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on two daily flights from July 1 to Aug. 16.
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Las Vegas (LAS) Boeing 777-200 on one daily frequency from June 3 to Aug. 16.
Miami (MIA) Las Vegas (LAS) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on one daily frequency from June 3 to Aug. 16.
Philadelphia (PHL) Las Vegas (LAS) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on one daily frequency from June 3 to Aug. 16.
 

If you’re looking for the absolute best inflight experience, you’ll want to stick with American’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners. Those jets all feature 30 top-notch reverse herringbone business-class pods, as well as 21 premium economy recliners and 234 coach seats with individual seat-back screens and power outlets.

For now, American isn’t selling premium economy fares on any of the aforementioned routes. Instead, those recliners are labeled as Main Cabin Extra seats, making for an affordable — or complimentary, depending on your elite status — upgrade for plenty of extra space.

a plane sitting on top of a table: American’s premium economy cabin is being sold as Main Cabin Extra seats (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy American’s premium economy cabin is being sold as Main Cabin Extra seats (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

While several of AA’s Boeing 777-200s and 787-8 Dreamliners also feature reverse herringbone biz pods, others are outfitted with an alternating forward- and rear-facing business-class product.

Unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to know which one you’ll get until a day or two before the flight. However, if you’re flying to Vegas, perhaps you’ll get lucky.

Orlando is feeling the love

If a visit to Mickey Mouse is on your summer agenda, you’ll want to route via Chicago (ORD) or Philadelphia (PHL) for the best onboard experience.

American’s upgauging both of those routes, as follows, per Cirium schedules.


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Origin Destination Adjustment
Chicago (ORD) Orlando (MCO) Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on one daily frequency from June 4 to Aug. 16.
Philadelphia (PHL) Orlando (MCO) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on one daily frequency from July 1 to Aug. 16.
 

In a recent interview with TPG, Brian Znotins, American’s vice president of network planning, explained why the carrier is adding more wide-body aircraft to domestic flights, despite it not being the most economical on paper.

He said that “if you have a wide-body plane, you bought that aircraft for long-haul flying… I can fly two [single-aisle] Airbus A320s or A321s for the same price as one wide-body on a per-seat basis. Economically, if I can offer two different schedule options on a narrow-body… that’ll be better for passenger choice than a single domestic wide-body.”

So, why is American adding domestic wide-body service nowadays? Znotins explained that the government’s Payroll Support Program has allowed American to have both crews and widebodies “at the ready” to fly this summer as a rebound in domestic travel looms.

“And now we can offer as much capacity as we can given the infrastructure that we have,” he added.

Related: Details of American’s summer 2021 schedule

Hub-to-hub flights are always winners

Deploying widebodies on domestic routes has been a part of American’s network strategy since well before the pandemic started. The carrier previously used these jets in between international jaunts between hub cities, like Miami to New York-JFK.

This summer, nine more domestic hub routes will be operated by American’s largest jets, per the table below.

Origin Destination Adjustment
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Los Angeles (LAX) One daily Boeing 777-300, one daily Boeing 777-200, one daily Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner between June 3 and Aug. 16.
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Philadelphia (PHL) Up to two daily Boeing 787-8 flights between June 3 and Aug. 16.
Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Phoenix (PHX) Boeing 777-200 on one daily frequency from June 3 to Aug. 16.
Miami (MIA) Charlotte (CLT) Boeing 777-200 on one daily frequency from June 3 to Aug. 16.
Miami (MIA) Chicago (ORD) Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on one daily frequency from June 3 to Aug. 16.
Miami (MIA) Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Three daily Boeing 777-300, one daily Boeing 777-200, one daily Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner between June 4 and Aug. 16.
Miami (MIA) Los Angeles (LAX) Five daily Boeing 777-300 flights, one daily Boeing 777-200 between June 4 and Aug. 16.
Miami (MIA) New York-JFK Three daily Boeing 777-300 flights, four daily Boeing 777-200 between June 3 and Aug. 16.
Miami (MIA) Philadelphia (PHL) Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner on two daily flights from June 3 to Aug. 16.
 

Those are some massive and notable increases. Going all-Boeing 777 between Miami and both New York-JFK and Los Angeles with up to seven daily frequencies is unprecedented.

Domestic travel is rebounding, but it’ll be interesting to see if American can fill over 1,800 daily seats on each route, in each direction. Cargo will likely help boost profitability, but there are still plenty of seats to fill.

a desktop computer sitting on top of a chair: American’s Boeing 777-300 features a Flagship First cabin, pictured above (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy) © The Points Guy American’s Boeing 777-300 features a Flagship First cabin, pictured above (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

The three other domestic routes that’ll be operated by wide-body jets include both Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Miami (MIA) to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU), as well as Miami (MIA) to Boston (BOS).

The Puerto Rico routes will see one daily Boeing 777-200 from June 3 to Aug. 16. The Boston service was already upgauged in previous months, but it’ll now see up to two daily Boeing 777-200 flights between June 1 and Aug. 16.

It’s not all good news, though.

Two of American’s hub-to-hub routes are losing wide-body service in the latest schedule update. Flights between Philadelphia (PHL) and both Chicago (ORD) and Los Angeles (LAX) will no longer be operated by the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, as originally planned between June 3 and Aug. 16.

You’ll find a full list of domestic American Airlines routes operated by widebodies below for June and July 2021, from Cirium timetables.

Origin Destination Plane type(s)
CLT HNL Boeing 777-200
DFW ANC Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
DFW CLT Boeing 777-200
DFW HNL Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
DFW KOA Boeing 777-200
DFW LAS Boeing 777-200
DFW LAX Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
DFW MIA Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
DFW OGG Boeing 777-200, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
DFW ORD Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
DFW PHL Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
DFW PHX Boeing 777-200
DFW SEA Boeing 777-200
DFW SJU Boeing 777-200
MIA BOS Boeing 777-200
MIA CLT Boeing 777-200
MIA JFK Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300
MIA LAS Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
MIA LAX Boeing 777-200, Boeing 777-300
MIA ORD Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
MIA PHL Boeing 777-200, Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
MIA SJU Boeing 777-200
ORD ANC Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
ORD HNL Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliner
ORD LAS Boeing 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliner
ORD LAX Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
ORD MCO Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
ORD PHX Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
PHL LAS Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
PHL MCO Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
PHX HNL Boeing 777-200
PHX OGG Boeing 777-200
 

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

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