Phoenix passengers on American Airlines flight 682 to Orlando on Tuesday morning had the rare opportunity to experience “new airplane smell” as they were the first passengers to ride on American Airlines’ newest addition to its fleet: the Airbus A321neo.
American put the new plane into service on the 8:45 a.m. April 2 flight after receiving approval from the FAA. The sticker price is $129.5 million, though airlines typically negotiate discounts when they buy in bulk.
The plane is part of Airbus’ A321 line and the “neo” stands for “new engine option.” According to Airbus’ website, the aircraft has trademarked fuel-saving wingtips called “Sharklets” and two new engine choices that deliver “per seat fuel improvements of 20 percent, along with additional range of up to 500 nautical miles/900 km. or 2 tonnes of extra payload.”
More: Delta, Southwest, American Airlines planes temporarily grounded due to computer outage
More amenities for passengers, crew
Those fuel-savings specs might be lost on most passengers, but people will notice the upgraded amenities such as high-speed WiFi, power outlets at every seat and built-in holders for tablets and phones.
Tyler Herrick, an American Airlines flight attendant responsible for helping train crews on the features of the new aircraft, said the airline took flight attendant feedback into account when designing the interior.
“We gave them bigger galleys. We gave them bigger aisles. We gave them bigger (luggage) bins, too. It’s mutually beneficial for the customer and the flight attendant,” Herrick said.
A321neo on the Phoenix-Hawaii route?
American has ordered 100 of the A321neo planes and plans eventually to use them on routes including Phoenix to Hawaii. A lot of that depends on when the airline receives additional planes.
“As we get more, we’ll add more routes. Right now we’re staring with Phoenix and Orlando. We’ll be adding routes like Anchorage and Hawaii as more of those planes arrive,” said Joshua Freed, spokesman for American Airlines.
The airline has been performing required tests to prove to the FAA that it can operate the aircraft over water. It hopes to have the A321neo certified for the Phoenix to Hawaii route in time for the busy winter travel season.
Facts about the Airbus A321neo
- Powered by CFM LEAP-1A engines.
- 196 seats (20 in first class, 47 Main Cabin Extra seats and 129 main cabin seats).
- Power outlet at every seat.
- Built-in seat-back holders for tablets and phones.
- Free wireless entertainment and live TV that can be streamed from your device.
- High-speed WiFi from gate to gate.
- Larger bins for carry-on bags.
- Larger galley and wider aisle.
- Mood lighting to provide a calming effect and help with adjusting to time changes.
You can connect with Melissa through email at email@example.com. You can also follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
More: American Airlines flight makes emergency landing following bird strike after takeoff
More: American Airlines suspends flights to Venezuela indefinitely