American Airlines operate the second largest Airbus A319 fleet in the world following its merger with US Airways. For this short flight to Belize, our aircraft sported its latest A319 interior – scheduled to be installed across American’s ex-US Airways fleet by the end of 2016.
The most notable change with the new interior is the installation of in flight entertainment in all classes, though it’s only free up front. For first and business class passengers, there are 12.1″ HD touchscreen monitors available with a wide array of content available. This is based on the same Panasonic eX2 system we saw installed on American’s new A321 transcontinental services and Qatar Airways’ A380 services.
American Airlines have decided to only install 8 seats at the pointy end of the plane in favour of 18 ‘Main Cabin Extra’ seats at the front of the economy cabin. The current US Airways A319s have 12 seats installed at the front, so this change will affect the number of front cabin seats available for complimentary elite member upgrades.
The seats themselves are nothing to write home about, but passable for the sub-2.5 hour flights that these planes have been deployed on. For now they look new but give them a few years in operation and then we’ll see.
Ordinarily we would appreciate more legroom, but this was certainly ample for the 2 hour and 20-minute flight to Belize City. On domestic flights this cabin is marketed as first class but as this was an international flight, it was sold as business class. On this particular flight, the cabin was not completely full (rare for an airline that offers complimentary upgrades for elite members).
The IFE had a good selection of recent and ‘classic’ movies, but we did find it to be a bit laggy at times.
We were offered a glass of sparkling prior to departure. It wasn’t great.
The IFE remote is quite compact but somehow more confusing than it needs to be at the same time. In any case, since the touchscreen is quite close we would recommend not bothering with the remote.
After take off we were offered another drink and a bowl of the ubiquitous warm nuts.
Since this was a short flight we were offered an item from the snack basket. This sandwich was nothing special (nor presented as such) but was fine to keep us going to our destination.
With the introduction of Airbus A319s with a more modern interior to their fleet, American have probably given their customers some of the best short-haul commerical flying available right now for ‘thin’ routes. Given the prevalence of regional jets for certain markets in the U.S, this 128 seater plane will do well to serve smaller markets with newer planes.