Will American Airlines Expand Premium Transcontinental Service to Washington D.C (DCA)?

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American Airlines has been heavily investing in their premium product, whether it’s on their A321’s with are performing very well on their transcontinental routes between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Another interesting market to look at is Washington D.C., particularly their Los Angeles- Washington D.C (DCA) route. When it comes to premium service, Delta is currently in the fore front, as they are fly their 757-200ER aircraft with 16 lie-flat Delta One business class seats on this route, with a full Delta One transcontinental service.

American flies a mixture of their standard domestic planes including 737-800’s and regular domestic configured A321’s, but don’t offer a true premium product on this route, as they do to New York (JFK).

It might seem like an obvious move to bring the A321T to this route, but when you look at their current schedule, those aircrafts are fully occupying the market from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles and San Francisco. The marketplace is paying a premium for these seats, and there is much competition on these routes, so it doesn’t make sense for American to move a couple of aircraft to serve DCA.

Delta One seats on the Boeing 757-200ER, which they currently fly between Los Angeles and Washington D.C. (DCA)

When Delta made the move to serve, Washington D.C (DCA), with their 757-200ER, it resulted in some of their flights from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles and San Francisco to be upguaged to larger aircrafts including 767-400’s, and even A330’s, however as American offers a three class premium cabin on their transcontinental flights, it’s not as easy of a solution.

Washington D.C (DCA) can’t fit wide body aircrafts, so the other option would be their 757’s, however their premium cabin ones are serving the European market. However, American would like to offer a premium service to DCA, however it’s likely to be later on rather than anytime in the near future.

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below on transcontinental routes and services.

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  1. I think there may be issues with the perimeter slot restrictions and reduced capacity on these planes.

  2. They already announced that they’re putting the 737MAX on the DCA-LAX route — that’s the anti-premium.

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