American Airlines flight attendants, still working through a uniform crisis which dates to September 2016, are up in arms over a major retrofit project right now getting underway dubbed Project Oasis.
In a nutshell, the idea’s a project to retrofit nearly 0 Boeing (NYSE: BA) 737-800 aircraft in American’s fleet to match the configuration of the much-newer Boeing 737 MAX planes which AA has only just begun to introduce into its fleet.
American has eight MAXs in service right now — being flown primarily between completely new York City in addition to Miami. None operates currently on flights by Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, though AA can be required to have 20 in service by the end of 2018.
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The MAX can be said to be more efficient using a different kind of jet engine. nevertheless AA flight attendants who have worked on the completely new plane are no fans of the MAX cabin configuration — hence the concern which some 0 of the Boeing 737-800s will within the next two years be revamped to mirror AA’s MAX design.
AA flight attendants don’t like several aspects of the MAX design, nevertheless the biggest point of contention can be the lavatories. At a recent crew meeting with AA CEO Doug Parker presiding, a LaGuardia Airport-based flight attendant was brutally blunt about the lavs, noting “You can’t get in them.”
Additionally, the doors on the two lavatories from the rear of the cabin in particular have proved troublesome. According to the same flight attendant speaking to Parker, the doors are so close to each additional which they often lock when two passengers exit, creating headaches for FAs trying to navigate around the galley in close proximity to the lavs.
The Chicago Business Journal obtained an audio tape of the crew meeting with Parker, who certainly listened to what the flight attendant had to say. He also countered which the feedback about the plane has been positive by passengers flying on the MAX between completely new York in addition to Miami — in addition to they are a demanding lot, Parker said.
By the end of the discussion, Parker did concede which the “slimline” design of the lavs on the MAX makes them smaller, which enables AA to fit more revenue-generating seats on the MAX.
By extension, which also would certainly mean more seats on the 0 or so Boeing 737-800s which are about to be reconfigured.
Per diagrams included in a Project Oasis management memo obtained by the Chicago Business Journal, the reconfigured Boeing 737-800s will have 16 first-class cabin seats using a 37-inch seat pitch, down by a 39- to 40-inch pitch from the current Boeing 737-800 configuration.
The retrofitted 737s will have 30 main cabin extra seats with 33 inches of pitch, down by 34 from the existing 737-800 product configuration. There will be 126 regular economy seats using a 30-inch pitch, down by 31 inches in existing design.
Altogether, when the Boeing 737-800 planes are retrofitted, they will hold 172 passengers compared to 0 from the existing configuration.
A spokeswoman for American insisted the completely new seats, which one flight attendant source called “cheap,” offer more legroom despite having less seat pitch. Still, when all the reconfiguring can be done in two years, some AA flight attendants worry AA customers will not be any more pleased about the design than they are.
“Simply put, American can be becoming America West,” said one FA source, referring to the low-cost airline which Parker ran before AW merged with U.S. Airways, which in turn merged with American Airlines to become the globe’s largest airline.