I obviously don't have the numbers that AA does, *but* recent actions in the transcon realm by not just AA but also B6, DL and UA seem to indicate good opportunities for premium services beyond just JFK-LAX/SFO. I doubt all 4 of these airlines would be heavily investing in hard and soft product when it comes to markets beyond the aforementioned trifecta (like Boston and San Diego) for the heck of it. If anything, this move speaks volumes to the potential AA sees in BOS. We are talking about a place that AA and US were both scaling back operations before merging - and its not like the merged carrier has done much more than continue to cut service! I can only imagine how happy FFers in hub markets like CLT, MIA, ORD and PHL would be if select frequencies to LAX were operated by A321Ts. More than a few road warriors already go out of their way to catch internationally-configured widebody services when they can.
Perhaps more importantly, I think AA really needs to figure out what it wants its brand to be. Anyone in Southern California or the Northeast has the option to fly just about any U.S. carrier across the country. Moreover, folks in these markets can reap the benefits of just about any/every FFer program available. Maybe AA wants to up their game like the aforementioned B6, DL and UA to justify their higher fares. Maybe they'd rather be like US and AS and be more of a mid-range, mid-priced carrier with a big network but fewer frills than the likes of DL and UA. As it stands today, this airline seems genuinely confused as to whether it wants to be more like PMAA or PMUS...
This to me for AA is entirely about its corporate and premium market share at LAX. It has been solidifying its top position at LAX, but is clearly loosing out to DL on BOS/DCA-LAX. AA should be dominating DL on both of those markets, but have given that up by putting forth an entirely uncompetitive product. It doesn't care about loosing a few high yielding client to B6 on MIA-LAX, since most of them will continue to fly AA elsewhere. However, it's hard to see how legacy airlines aren't going to be loosing a lot of money here.
For example in Q2, DL had average fare of $415 on non-stop itinerary on JFK-LAX, but only $266 on BOS-LAX. And that was before UA added lie flat. Now when all the major players have lie flats, the competition will be even harder. There is a reason why legacy carriers were only flying lie flats on NYC-LAX/SFO prior to the entrance of mint. Certain yields work for B6, but not at legacies cost levels.
I think there's very little demand for an actual F product, but misusing the A321T on LAX-BOS is probably a better choice than continuing to bleed premium traffic to B6, DL, and UA who all offer lie-front seats in their premium cabins. IMO they still will have a consistency problem in that only two of the seven frequencies will offer the premium product, but then AA's market opportunity outside of JFK-LAX/SFO probably isn't large enough to justify another A321 subfleet and the 757s with J may be needed for other markets.
But my guess is that they will loose a lot more money with A321T than what they have right now. 757 seems to be a far more appropriate product here.