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Will AA's A321 Have The Legs To Fly JFK-LAX/SFO?  
User currently offlinemozart From Luxembourg, joined Aug 2003, 2152 posts, RR: 13
Posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 21932 times:

I read that AA plans to use A321 for the JFK-LAX/SFO routes.

I was wondering whether the A321 has the legs to do these flights without fuel stops all year long? JetBlue often struggles when flying trans-Continent on A320s and so sometimes does VX. The planes that make it no problem are VX' A319.

So what is behind this?

38 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1445 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 21903 times:

321NEO's will have various improvements (Sharklets, new engines, etc.) that will make it plenty doable. The issue that keeps cropping up is that while both the MAX and NEO large versions will be capable of year-around westbound U.S. transcons, Europe is still probably a bit much for them.

User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 18679 posts, RR: 58
Reply 2, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 21781 times:

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 1):
321NEO's will have various improvements (Sharklets, new engines, etc.) that will make it plenty doable. The issue that keeps cropping up is that while both the MAX and NEO large versions will be capable of year-around westbound U.S. transcons, Europe is still probably a bit much for them.

And with good reason. The 737MAX has similar performance.

Currently, airlines are using 757's on transatlantic routes because 1) they have the 757's and 2) they can fill them. No airline bought the 757 with the idea in mind of using them chiefly on transatlantic routes.

Once the 757 is retired, airlines will stop using NB's across the pond for lack of NB's to use. No major airline's business model revolves around 757's on transatlantic routes.

That said, the inability of the A321 to reliably do an East-West transcon during the winter was one reason why it never sold very well in the US. VX has said that their main reason for buying the A319 was because it could reliably fly JFK-SFO and JFK-LAX during the winter. Winds and weather on that route are such that often the flight path goes over the Dakotas. I was once on a flight that took almost seven hours on that route on an A319. In reality, VX would rather have a larger aircraft that could do the same route reliably.

The 321NEO and 739MAX will be able to perform all but the most extreme 757 missions with a much lighter airframe and a much more efficient engine. They aren't, of course, direct replacements, but then again, direct replacements are very rare.


User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 29672 posts, RR: 84
Reply 3, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 21746 times:
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Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
Once the 757 is retired, airlines will stop using NB's across the pond for lack of NB's to use. No major airline's business model revolves around 757's on transatlantic routes.

I think Lightsaber might be on to something with his belief that the 737-8 and A320-200neo will both replace the 757-200 on existing routes and open new routes across The Pond.


User currently offlinesyncmaster From United States of America, joined Jul 2002, 2015 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 21695 times:
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Quoting DocLightning (Reply 2):
I was once on a flight that took almost seven hours on that route on an A319.

  

I was on a VX A320 that took 7 hours and 15 minutes take off to touchdown on BOS-LAX due to strong headwinds.


User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 18679 posts, RR: 58
Reply 5, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 21639 times:

Quoting Stitch (Reply 3):
I think Lightsaber might be on to something with his belief that the 737-8 and A320-200neo will both replace the 757-200 on existing routes and open new routes across The Pond.

That depends on whether it can be done economically. Flying an airliner to its absolute extreme of range usually means sacrificing payload. Also the 737-8 is not a 757-200 equivalent as far as passenger capacity and cargo are concerned.

At present, there is a 737-700ER offered that can easily do transatlantic flights. It's basically the 73J BBJ in a commercial configuration. I don't think it's accrued even a single order.


User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5087 posts, RR: 4
Reply 6, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 21454 times:

The A321 already does transcons every day for US, including PHL-SFO and PHL-LAX. There are a few fuel stops (between *all* the flights) every year. AA's configuration won't be as dense as US's. It's not an issue, especially if AA's A321s are delivered with sharklets.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
That depends on whether it can be done economically. Flying an airliner to its absolute extreme of range usually means sacrificing payload. Also the 737-8 is not a 757-200 equivalent as far as passenger capacity and cargo are concerned.

When Lightsaber talks about this, he is not referring to the current iterations of the A320neo and 737 MAX 8; he's talking about R&D now being done to significantly extend the range of those two aircraft. I could imagine a variety of measures that could be applied to either one, from wingtip extensions to higher-thrust engines to revised high-lift devices to ACTs, to significantly increase MTOW and fuel capacity and improve field performance for transatlantic missions.



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User currently offlineslcdeltarumd11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3094 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 21277 times:

AA will operate these with less passengers therefore less luggage and people weight

User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5637 posts, RR: 11
Reply 8, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 21217 times:

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 5):
At present, there is a 737-700ER offered that can easily do transatlantic flights. It's basically the 73J BBJ in a commercial configuration. I don't think it's accrued even a single order.

ANA flies them. Not ALL ANA 73G's are ER's, but they do have a small subfleet.


User currently offlinejfk777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 8089 posts, RR: 7
Reply 9, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 21128 times:
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AA is going to have only about 100 passengers as they have First, Business and Economy Class. Their seat map is about 80 people less then the standard seat map for an A321. AA is not going to put an airplane that " has to stop" between JFK and LAX.

User currently offlinespiritair97 From United States of America, joined Jan 2011, 1231 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 20735 times:

Quoting syncmaster (Reply 4):
I was on a VX A320 that took 7 hours and 15 minutes take off to touchdown on BOS-LAX due to strong headwinds.

Holy Crap! I've heard of headwinds making flights longer, but I'm surprised you didn't have to divert. Do you circle anywhere before landing?


User currently offlinetommy767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 6584 posts, RR: 11
Reply 11, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 20708 times:

They will be configured in a low density format so they should be fine doing transcons year round.


"Folks that's the news and I'm outta here!" -- Dennis Miller
User currently offlineenilria From Canada, joined Feb 2008, 6837 posts, RR: 14
Reply 12, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 20450 times:

Quoting mozart (Thread starter):
I read that AA plans to use A321 for the JFK-LAX/SFO routes.

The current A321 could not do it except with a very low density seating configuration.

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 1):
321NEO's will have various improvements (Sharklets, new engines, etc.) that will make it plenty doable.

I think the NEO will be close. Do we know the seating config? If they run a 3 class setup, it'll be fine.


User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 181 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 20373 times:

3-class setup with 102 passengers, it will be able to handle the route with no problems. Search function is your friend...this has been discussed at length in similar threads.

User currently offlinePHLwok From United States of America, joined May 2007, 474 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 20292 times:

Quoting enilria (Reply 12):
Quoting mozart (Thread starter):
I read that AA plans to use A321 for the JFK-LAX/SFO routes.

The current A321 could not do it except with a very low density seating configuration.

I'm having trouble understanding this. I've flown PHL-SFO, 2,521 miles as the crow flies, probably a hundred times on US A321-200s and not diverted once for fuel. JFK-SFO is 2,586 miles, and JFK-LAX is 2,475 miles (PHL-LAX is 2,401 miles, which I've also flown countless times with no diversions). Granted, they likely go out with a cargo penalty at times, but it's not as though they have to top up in RNO, OMA or somewhere else along the way, or are barely making it to SMF on fumes. US does not fly these aircraft in a low density config - F16 Y167 with soon to be 4 or so more Y seats.

Quoting enilria (Reply 12):
Quoting LHCVG (Reply 1):
321NEO's will have various improvements (Sharklets, new engines, etc.) that will make it plenty doable.

I think the NEO will be close. Do we know the seating config? If they run a 3 class setup, it'll be fine.

AA is planning a low density config with a design that's maybe 15 years newer with better range and fuel efficiency from a variety of evolutionary improvements to aerodynamics and engines. Why are we even discussing them not having the range? I'm not trying to stir the pot here, just genuinely trying to understand why this is even a question.


User currently offlineseabosdca From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 5087 posts, RR: 4
Reply 15, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 20181 times:

Quoting PHLwok (Reply 14):
I'm having trouble understanding this.

Me too. Recent A321s in a standard airline configuration have no trouble with transcons except on the very worst edge days. Add a less dense configuration (although heavier seats will cancel some of the benefit) and sharklets, and AA will be in gravy.

The whole A32x/transcon issue is overblown, and the reasons are from the past: 1) UA's original frames had some trouble with their very longest flights, and 2) B6's extremely heavy original A320 configuration had some trouble. Neither presents an issue with a light configuration on a recently built aircraft.



Most gorgeous aircraft: Tu-204-300, 757-200, A330-200, 777-200LR, 787-8
User currently offlineslcdeltarumd11 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 3094 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 20071 times:

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 9):
AA is going to have only about 100 passengers as they have First, Business and Economy Class. Their seat map is about 80 people less then the standard seat map for an A321

Also the luggage weight of 80 less passengers can be huge.


User currently offlineUSAirALB From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 2972 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 19861 times:

I don't understand why people think the A321 has problems doing transcons.

Old A321s (aka A321-100) had a smaller range than the A320 and was restricted to European flights. The A321-200 that US/AC currently operate on their transcons was specifically designed to handle transcon flights. US has been operating the A321s on transcon routes without any problems for 12 years now...



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User currently offlinesunrisevalley From Canada, joined Jul 2004, 4608 posts, RR: 5
Reply 18, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 19763 times:

Quoting USAirALB (Reply 17):
I don't understand why people think the A321 has problems doing transcons.

A.net has a number of canards and this is one of them.


User currently offlinejporterfi From United States of America, joined Feb 2012, 425 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 18430 times:

I find it difficult to believe that BA can operate A318s TATL from SNN to JFK westbound and JFK-LCY eastbound, which is about 400 nmi longer than JFK-LAX/SFO while people think that the A321, which has a range of only 100 nmi less than the A318 (and that's the current generation, not A321neos), will have problems doing transcons. AA's 100-seat configuration will be about the same as BA's configuration on the A318s. I don't think AA will have a problem, particularly if they opt for the optional extra fuel tanks on their A321s.

Quoting sunrisevalley (Reply 18):
A.net has a number of canards and this is one of them.

I looked up the word "canard" and originally thought you meant the aviation definition (a small wing on the front of some aircraft that substitutes for the horizontal stabilizer)!  


User currently offlineflybyguy From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 1798 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 18181 times:

Quoting jfk777 (Reply 9):
AA is going to have only about 100 passengers as they have First, Business and Economy Class. Their seat map is about 80 people less then the standard seat map for an A321. AA is not going to put an airplane that " has to stop" between JFK and LAX.

But with those hefty business and first class seats (on the order of 300lbs+ per seat pair) as well as the new AVOD system in all classes, I think the aircraft may still be quite heavy despite the lower pax count.



"Are you a pretender... or a thoroughbred?!" - Professor Matt Miller
User currently offlinef4f3a From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2004, 246 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 17954 times:

If the range is 2400 ish miles that should be no problem
Airlines in uk fly regularly from London to ssh and lux
Which is about the same distance . In fact U2
Operate a320 with 180 PAx on it with out the optional
Long range tanks .
Very rarely do they have to fuel stop . It's much more
Economical to do that than run 757 just to avoid.
Airlines these days are worried by cost that's why they carry
Min fuel . It's cheaper to have less fuel burn the majority of the
Time and occasionally divert


User currently offlineBurkhard From Germany, joined Nov 2006, 4360 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 17828 times:

Quoting jporterfi (Reply 19):
I find it difficult to believe that BA can operate A318s TATL from SNN to JFK westbound and JFK-LCY eastbound, which is about 400 nmi longer than JFK-LAX/SFO while people think that the A321, which has a range of only 100 nmi less than the A318 (and that's the current generation, not A321neos), will have problems doing transcons. AA's 100-seat configuration will be about the same as BA's configuration on the A318s

These are not standard A318, but the buisiness jet, and only a few business class seats, no Y. AA will have many Y seats on the A321 I'm sure.
But while the A321-200 is at its EDGE for US coast-coast, the NEO can do it and is almost optimized for that. The TATL I expect to go either wide body 787/A330 oncethe 757 are at EOL, or to become a domain of the A319NEO for direct connections which have significant C and high yield Y demand.


User currently offlineUALWN From Andorra, joined Jun 2009, 2654 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 17624 times:

Quoting Burkhard (Reply 22):
But while the A321-200 is at its EDGE for US coast-coast,

Is it? Add me to list of people who has flown many times PHL-SFO on US's A321s, without ever experiencing a diversion. As pointed out above, PHL-SFO is 2521 mi long, that is, only 65 shorter than JFK-SFO, and actually 46 longer than JFK-LAX....



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User currently offlinePacific From Hong Kong, joined Mar 2000, 1050 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (1 year 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 17286 times:

From a past A.net thread regarding US Airways A321s:
US A321 Performance (by Xcltflyboy Sep 9 2012 in Civil Aviation)#menu27

Quoting gigneil (Reply 50):
US's A320s were stopping, not their A321s.

The A321 offers two ACTs, just like the 737-900ER. Their ranges are practically identical.

In practice, most deployed 737-900ERs have less range than 737-800s.

NS
Quoting wn676 (Reply 24):

All US A321s (pre- and post-merger aircraft) can carry up to 52,000 lbs of fuel as they have two ACTs installed in the aft cargo bin.
Quoting seabosdca (Reply 47):
The stated 3200 nm range (of the 737-900ER) is with two AFTs. No US airlines are taking their 739ERs with both AFTs

So today's A321 operating in the USA offers similar range to that of the B737-900ER, both of which have no problems doing Transcons except during the rare 200knot headwind. Add in the lower seat density and technological advances that AA's future A321s will have and transcons will be absolutely no problem - provided AA puts in the extra fuel tanks.

[Edited 2012-09-25 01:12:59]

25 RWA380 : We did 5 1/2 hours on an M80 flying BOS-DEN, we came in pretty quickly when we arrived (no circling) maybe the pilot was tapping the gas gauge and ne
26 SKAirbus : It sounds ironic, considering the aircraft on paper is smaller than the 757, but with British Airways at least, there is more capacity on the A321 tha
27 XT6Wagon : Nah, The 737MAX and A32xNEO both can offset thier smaller size with far smaller operating costs. If an airline wants to, they certainly can operate e
28 Post contains links rfields5421 : Wind conditions are completely different on those two routes which can easily make the extra distance from SNN-JFK much easier to cover than JFK-LAX.
29 longhauler : When I flew the A320s, I often flew an A321 YYZ-SFO. There was always open weight and only once were we carrying maximum fuel. And ... AC's A321s are
30 r2rho : There was an article in the American Way magazine about the new cabin to be introduced on the - using AA's own words - A321 transcontinental. Hopefull
31 Post contains images kgaiflyer : Astraeus Air proved the 737-700 can do it with YQM-LGW service before the airline's demise. AC has been flying the 321 longest in North America with
32 Post contains images airbazar : Maybe with the original A321 but today's A321's are more than capable of flying transcons all year round, save on very few exceptions. And I don't th
33 ROSWELL41 : A new A321 with ACT's (auxillary center tank) will have no problem on these transcon routes, especially with the low density passenger configuration.
34 jwhite9185 : Wow - i was on a VS flight LHR-JFK last week that took only 9 minutes longer!
35 kgaiflyer : Yup. I was on a DTW-ANC 757 that took that long because of 180 knot headwind.
36 United_fan : No offense,but would AA really order an A321 to do trans-cons that couldn't do them without stops?
37 Post contains images AA94 : Did you even read the above responses? AA's A321 will be configured in a three-class, 102-seat configuration. F10J20Y72. That's very low density. I d
38 syncmaster : No, thankfully, I was ready to get off the plane when we landed. VX is a great airline, but I can only sit so long in one spot. I would have rather g
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