Hey everyone, a few months ago I got the chance to fly on American Airlines’ new A321neo from Phoenix to Anchorage and back in both First Class and Main Cabin Extra.
A321neo Economy Class Seat
How many of you have heard of American Airlines’ Project Oasis?
If you don’t know what this is already, it’s basically American Airlines’ plan to increase passenger density and capacity while neglecting legroom, entertainment, and other features.
- The 737-800 goes from 160 seats to 172 seats, and the legacy American Airlines A321 goes from 181 to 190 seats. The legacy U.S. Airways A321 will go from 187 to 190 seats.
My aircraft for this flight, the A321neo, features a configuration of 196 seats: 20 First, 47 Main Cabin Extra, and 129 Economy Class seats.
The Project Oasis aircraft are known for one thing: discomfort
- Project Oasis removes In-Flight Entertainment from the legacy AA 738/A321 aircraft, reduces legroom to 30 inches, and has slimline seats.
(At this time, American has NOT removed any personal In-Flight Entertainment screens from existing 737-800/A321 aircraft).
People have complained about these new seats, however, I never got a chance to experience them until my flight to and from Anchorage:
This is where it gets interesting. In short, the First Class soft product (food, service, etc.) was absolutely fantastic. The meal was outstanding, and probably the best meal I’ve had in the sky. Interestingly, this flight (and my return flight) had Free Wi-Fi. I was able to use YouTube, Google, etc., and other passengers reported the same thing. However, it was painfully slow. I contacted American Airlines soon after, and they aren’t even sure if this was an accident. Has anyone flown on an American Airlines flight that featured free Wi-Fi?
The first class seat, on the other hand, wasn’t the best. The padding is rather thin and hard compared to American’s other domestic first class seats.
Main Cabin Extra:
This is the flight back in Main Cabin Extra, which is basically the same Economy Class seat with a bit more legroom. American Airlines even reduces Main Cabin Extra in Project Oasis, from 34-35 inches of pitch to 33 inches. This flight was rather rough to document as it was a red-eye (departure at 1:00 a.m.). I fell asleep shortly after takeoff…
…and after waking up, that’s when I noticed how uncomfortable the seat was. Sincerely rock-hard, especially for a 5 hour and 30 minute flight like this. Honestly, don’t even get me started on the bathrooms (featured in the video).
How Do You Know If You’re On A Project Oasis Aircraft?
Every American Airlines 737 MAX and A321neo is expected to feature these Project Oasis seats. American has 100 of each type on order, meaning they will begin to be prominent in future flying.
However, how do you know if you’re on an Oasis aircraft while boarding/flying?
- The simple way is to look if there aren’t any personal TVs at every seat and if there’s a tablet holder where the PTV should be.
How do you know if you’re on a Project Oasis Aircraft BEFORE Boarding?
As every 737 MAX (grounded) and A321neo aircraft in American Airlines’ fleet features project Oasis, the real question is determining if your 737-800/A321-200 features the configuration. If you can, check the seat map of the aircraft.
- For the 737-800, if the seatmap has First Class as rows 1-4 and Economy goes up to row 33, you are on an Oasis 737.
- For the A321, if First Class goes from rows 1-5, or if you notice there’s 20 First Class seats, that’s Project Oasis. However, at this moment, there is only one A321 (non-neo) aircraft to feature Project Oasis: N161UW
Additionally, this website shows which 737-800/A321 aircraft feature the Oasis seats. This may not be fully up-to-date, but it’s usually very close: https://sites.google.com/site/newamericanfleet/american-mainline/boeing-737-800/738-standard
My recommendation is to avoid these aircraft if possible. The aircraft in American’s fleet featuring personal TV screens are miles ahead in terms of experience. It’s sad to American transition from delivering brand-new 737s and A321s featuring modern seats with PTVs to bare-boned and low-cost carrier-like seats.
Now, imagine an aircraft where the experience is amazing… fantastic food, great service, even Free Wi-Fi (one day). That would be a legendary top-tier airline. But, it’s ruined by comfort.
The worst thing is American is deploying these aircraft (A321neo, specifically) on 6+ hour flights (Phoenix to Hawaii) and transcontinental flights like Los Angeles to Orlando.
Thanks for reading my “rant” I guess? Hopefully you’ve gotten something out of this.
Have You Flown On One Of American Airlines’ Project Oasis Aircraft?