American Airlines to upgrade existing Boeing 737-800 fleet

American Airlines (Dallas/Fort Worth) yesterday (June 29) announced that the second of its original 76 Boeing 737-800s – which are being updated to match the customer benefits and amenities featured on its newly-delivered 737-800 aircraft – begins flying with a range of new features to improve the travel experience. Once the updates are completed, American’s initial fleet of 76 737-800s will match the 84 new Boeing 737-800 aircraft that American began receiving in March 2009 and will continue to receive through 2011.

The new 737-800s are being delivered to American with several enhancements, all of which will be added to the initial 76 737-800 fleet. These include new, more comfortable and spacious First and Economy Class seats, bigger overhead storage bins, updated inflight entertainment systems, and AC power ports. In addition, the new configuration of the 737-800s allows for 12 additional Economy Class seats, for a total of 160 seats.

A prototype of the updated aircraft has been in service since February. American will continue to upgrade the remaining 74 aircraft in its original fleet by installing new seats, new cabin interiors, enhanced inflight entertainment systems, and more storage throughout the aircraft. By accelerating its 737-800 fleet renewal plan last year, American took a significant step in its efforts to invest in products and services that benefit customers, while enhancing its competitive position with new aircraft that are 35 percent more fuel efficient on a seat mile basis than the DC-9-82/83 airplanes they will replace. American took delivery of 31 new 737-800s in 2009 and will take delivery of 45 this year and 8 in 2011.

Copyright Photo: Brian McDonough. Boeing 737-823 N951AA (msn 29538) painted in the 1962 Astrojet retrojet color scheme arrives at the Miami hub.