AMALH747430
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AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 4:12 pm

I took my first flight in 1987. It was an AA DC-10 SAT-DFW. I was 5 yoa. I distinctly remember walking into the cabin and seeing both blue and grey seats in the AA "tri bar" upholstery. I didn't take another AA flight until I was in Jr. High School in 1994 when I flew SAT-DFW on a Super 80. That aircraft, and the subsequent AA aircraft I flew on (several Super 80s and a 727-200) before they introduced the Recaro seats with the leather headrests, only had the blue tri-bar upholstery, no grey. What's the story of the grey tri-bar upholstery? Was it unique to the DC-10 or was it installed in other aircraft as well? Why was it not more common?

The upholstery I'm speaking of was a medium/light grey with the tri-bar pattern in medium blue. The exact opposite of the familiar medium blue upholstery with the medium/light grey tri-bar pattern AA formerly used.
 
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DL_Mech
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:29 pm

Was it grey? I thought it was a light tan color. I believe that those seat covers are shown on some old AA safety cards.

Edit: I guess it was grey as shown in this safety card.

http://www.airlinesafetycards.be/images/safety%20cards/3615.jpg

[Edited 2016-04-25 10:38:23]
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
 
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cageyjames
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:36 pm

The only DC-10 interior shot I could find is this one. Looks more tan to me.


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AMALH747430
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:44 pm

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 1):

Edit: I guess it was grey as shown in this safety card.

Yep, that's it!
 
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American 767
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 5:49 pm

I remember very well the blue seats with the gray tri-bar rectangles from the 90s in Y Cabin.


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Photo © Daniel Werner

Ben Soriano
 
KLAM
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 6:00 pm

I know which one you are refering to. Maybe they figured it was getting dirty more often than the blue one. My first time on AA was on a MEX-MIA-LHR-MIA-MEX back in '97; I flew on the 757, MD-11, and 727. All planes had the blue upholstery, but the safety card on the 727 showed the grey one you are talking about! As a kid I was quite puzzled by this discrepancy. I also remember seeing on the inflight magazine some blue seats with an eagle print and a leather headrest. And do not forget the brown leather and plush/wool business class seats that looked super comfortable. I never got to see the first class seats on the MD11! Does anyone have any cabin pictures of those legendary birds?

[Edited 2016-04-25 11:02:51]
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jsnww81
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:09 pm

I remember the alternating blue and gray tri-bar seats well. They were definitely a big part of AA flights in the 1980s. I remember several DC10 flights from DFW-HNL with those seats. The alternating blue and gray seats may have been unique to the widebody fleet - I can't recall any 727 or MD80 flights with the gray seats, only blue.

It was a big deal around 1998-1999 when the "new generation" seats with the pyramid pattern and the adjustable leather headrests came out. It coincided with the launch of More Room Throughout Coach and for a few years the AA fleet, despite its age, was looking very fresh.

Quoting cageyjames (Reply 2):
The only DC-10 interior shot I could find is this one. Looks more tan to me.

That photo shows the delivery interiors that came with the DC10 in 1972. I believe those were replaced in the early 1980s with the tri-bar upholstery.
 
jetblue32
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:11 pm

I flew AA quite a few times in the mid to late '90's, mostly MD-80's, occasionally the 727, 757, or A300, all interiors were the same, only light blue with the gold tri-bar pattern (I would sometimes see AA depicted in movies, Honeymoon in Vegas comes to mind, with alternating light blue and grey seats, but never actually saw such an interior in planes I flew on). Around 1999, the interiors were updated with new dark blue triangle pattern seats. I flew to Bolivia a few times in the early 2000's; the MIA-LPB flights on 757's, which kept the old light-blue seats for quite some time; around 2005, they finally put new economy seat covers and carpeting that matched the rest of the fleet. While many would disagree with me, I thought the new interior colors were dull and missed the old ones; actually found it nice to fly those 757's in the early part of last decade, even though the seats were not too comfortable for a 6 hour flight.
 
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cageyjames
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:19 pm

Quoting jsnww81 (Reply 6):
That photo shows the delivery interiors that came with the DC10 in 1972. I believe those were replaced in the early 1980s with the tri-bar upholstery.

I do realize it's almost 10 years after the photo that the OP is talking about but that tan seat color hasn't changed in forever.
 
AA737-823
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 7:38 pm

For some reason, I was under the impression that the grey tri-bars were at bulkheads or exit rows... but now, I think that's wrong.
But I do know the exact seats you're talking about. I encountered them in a 727-100 a couple times!
 
Cody
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:22 pm

I flew on three AA MD-80's and one 727-200 in June of 1987. They all had alternating rows of blue seats with grey rectangles and grey seats with blue rectangles. There were more blue than grey. So this was NOT unique to widebodies. I have pictures of both. Also one of the MD-80s had solid red cloth first class seats. The others were grey leather.

I also saw some AA planes with seats in that same blue, but with little red and grey eagles throughout. This was all about the same time period. At first I thought it was only on Eagle planes, but l later saw it on the DC-10. So I guess AA had two different interiors at once.

The last grey seats I saw would have been around 1988. Maybe they got rid of the grey so they wouldn't have to stock two different seat covers.
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:49 pm

Quoting Cody (Reply 10):
So I guess AA had two different interiors at once.

Those were the ones I saw on the AmericanWay magazine.

Quoting Cody (Reply 10):
Maybe they got rid of the grey so they wouldn't have to stock two different seat covers.

I thought it was the same fabric, just on the inverse.
flyOM
 
Cody
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:19 pm

It may have been reverse....not sure. The grey dod look a bit more worn.

Does anyone know if the two 747 SP's had these blue and grey seats?
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:38 am

I seem to recall that AA had a third type of upholstery in the Main Cabin on their A300s that were equipped with three classes. These planes were equipped with adjustable headrests and PTVs in Y, yet it was a totally different system than the 777. I recall the seat fabric being different too-maybe the adjustable headrest was gray leather? I can't seem to find a picture anywhere.
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:58 am

I remember the Fokker 100s & the 757s still had the blue tri bar seat covers in the early 2000's. While the 738, MD-80, & 762//763 had the new interiors. The 757s for some reason are neglected. I flew on a 757 last year with the old tan leather seats.
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:59 am

Here is row 22-ABC from an AA 727 that I own... It's the grey reverse scheme you guys are referencing... I personally don't know if the colors were simply aesthetics or if it's like Continental Express used to do for extra O2 on the ERJ.. OR.. it could be for Pax zone markers as easy ID for FA's doing their counts....

I am curious what the real reason is.. but either way, I've had these since I was 12 and love that they're the reverse colors.
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AMALH747430
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:06 pm

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 15):
Here is row 22-ABC from an AA 727 that I own...

That's great that you have those! Thanks for sharing!
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 12:21 pm

Quoting AMALH747430 (Thread starter):
What's the story of the grey tri-bar upholstery? Was it unique to the DC-10 or was it installed in other aircraft as well? Why was it not more common? The upholstery I'm speaking of was a medium/light grey with the tri-bar pattern in medium blue. The exact opposite of the familiar medium blue upholstery with the medium/light grey tri-bar pattern AA formerly used.

More than likely, it was simply a cost-cutting measure, in keeping with all the other cost issues affecting carriers in the late 80s and 90s. With a single seat cover, only one cloth design needs to be inventoried, ordered, and stored. From time to time at outstations, seat covers and cushions need replacing, so a single cover means not worrying about whether a blue or a grey version needs replacing. At some point, the accountants likely said "pick the blue or the grey and stick to one of them". I would agree that the grey may have showed dirt more easily, so it was eliminated. FYI Interior people tell me that red shows dirt something awful as well.

Braniff found multiple seat covers to be problematic way back in the 60s, with the Alexander Girard interiors during the End of the Plain Plane. He specified seven different cabins (each based around a specific color) and each one had eight different seat covers as part of the overall design concept. I was told by BN people that back in the day this was a big pain at system stations - they had to stock covers and cushions that matched - and do it for each aircraft type. When the 727s came along they cut the cabin designs from seven to four on that fleet type.

When the BN two tone paint came along and 727s got the widebody interiors, each aircraft was identical inside with a total of 3-4 seat covers rather than the seven (for each interior color) during the pastel era. This was done to simplify inventory. When Braniff introduced the Ultra/Halston look in the late 70s, they took it even further. The plan was for leather in F class and a blue diamond cloth throughout coach (one cover). This was eventually changed when leather was applied to economy as well, but still, inventory costs played a part. (You can still see the blue diamond in some publicity materials - it was relegated to center seats and eventually eliminated althogether.)
 
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DL_Mech
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:16 pm

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 15):
Here is row 22-ABC from an AA 727 that I own...

Just curious, what is the manufacture date on the seat cover tags? It should be under the Velcro flap on the back of the seat bottom cushion.
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:32 pm

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 15):
I am curious what the real reason is.. but either way, I've had these since I was 12 and love that they're the reverse colors.

These are nice .... in a way they are more attractive than the blue.
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:42 pm

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 18):

the cushion itself has a MFD of 10/87 by Custom Products, Inc of Mooresville, NC..

the cover (officially listed as BEIGE btw for those wondering gray or tan)... was made by Hoover Industries in Miami, FL... 5/86, 10/85, 5/85 (22A/B/C respectively)
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 1:44 pm

Big question now is... who else flies AA a LOT and did back then.. to remember the old bulkheads on the 727's?! The cloud motif.. beiges and blues!
"Sonny, did we land? or were we shot down?"
 
AMALH747430
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:36 pm

Quoting CF-CPI (Reply 19):
These are nice .... in a way they are more attractive than the blue.

I agree. If memory serves me right, they provided a nice contrast to the medium blue carpet that was about the same tone as the medium blue tri-bar pattern upholstery.

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 20):
officially listed as BEIGE

I got to thinking about it last night and recalled that the contrast in the blue upholstery was a vey light beige.

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 21):
to remember the old bulkheads on the 727's?! The cloud motif.. beiges and blues!

I remember the cloud motif bulkheads! They were on several (but not all) of the Super 80s I flew on in the mid 90s. I don't remember the sole 727-200 I flew on (DFW-DCA in June of 1995) having the cloud motif. I member it having medium blue bulkheads with thin navy horizontal lines.

This thread has brought back some WONDERFUL memories! Thanks all!
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:55 pm

Quoting cageyjames (Reply 2):

Amazing 2-4-2 seating! Today we call that Premium Economy on the 777.

Interesting how people reference that flying today is cheaper. I guess so, not only are airlines smarter, better managed and more efficient, today that same DC-10 would be designed for 3-4-3 seating with 31" pitch -- i.e., 20-25% more passengers stuffed in the same space.
 
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longhauler
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:08 pm

Quoting questions (Reply 23):
Amazing 2-4-2 seating! Today we call that Premium Economy on the 777.

With good, also comes bad.

Look closely at that cabin, 2-4-2 seating and 34" pitch, yes, but look at the size of the overhead bins. Imagine that today? When the L1011 was new, and had 2-4-2 seating, there was a small closet between the two centre pairs in place of central overhead racks. Not so on the DC-10 ... it just had a very wide armrest.

Look at that one sad little CRT screen for the whole cabin. Today's "need to the entertained" types would have a fit!

I notice that there are no fresh air vents in the seat backs like most DC-10s had. Was this common for AA?

1975 was an interesting time for aviation in the United States ... and (sigh), I am old enough to remember it! Fares were regulated, so they only had cabin service to compete. And ... surprise ... the service on North American carriers was among the best on the earth!

I recall flying YYZ-LAX on an AC L1011 in 1976 in Economy and being served two meals! Breakfast after take-off and a snack before landing. I returned on an AA DC-10 and was offered three choices for an entree in Economy!

So what's better? That has long been an interesting debate. Great service, more space but higher fares ... or fares that everyone can afford, which a somewhat (ahem) lesser experience.
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jsnww81
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:27 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 24):
With good, also comes bad.

Look closely at that cabin, 2-4-2 seating and 34" pitch, yes, but look at the size of the overhead bins. Imagine that today? When the L1011 was new, and had 2-4-2 seating, there was a small closet between the two centre pairs in place of central overhead racks. Not so on the DC-10 ... it just had a very wide armrest.

Look at that one sad little CRT screen for the whole cabin. Today's "need to the entertained" types would have a fit!

That's true. The 1975 photo also doesn't show the clouds of cigarette smoke that were no doubt rolling out of the smoking section.  

I didn't start flying AA until the mid-1980s, but from then through about 2000 I remember their cabin service and comfort being pretty respectable. I remember being served cheese blintzes for breakfast on an MSP-DFW flight in coach in 1988. It was a better quality meal than what you'd get in domestic F today, even if it came in a plastic tray.

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 21):
Big question now is... who else flies AA a LOT and did back then.. to remember the old bulkheads on the 727's?! The cloud motif.. beiges and blues!

Definitely remember those! They were replaced by the boring bulkheads with the thin wavy lines, then by the light gray panels with a blue curve on one side and a red curve on the other. Today, new AA deliveries have darker gray bulkheads with a "scratched grid" effect on them. It's a little boring but looks good when seen up close.
 
KLAM
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 3:35 pm

Nice seats!

I found this video on youtube. You can see the blue seats on the MD-11, as well as the old business class by the end. Those seats looked really comfortable.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9_SLMHFTgQ
flyOM
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:31 pm

Quoting longhauler (Reply 24):
Look closely at that cabin, 2-4-2 seating and 34" pitch, yes, but look at the size of the overhead bins. Imagine that today? When the L1011 was new, and had 2-4-2 seating, there was a small closet between the two centre pairs in place of central overhead racks. Not so on the DC-10 ... it just had a very wide armrest.

The closet was a Lockheed concept. used by Eastern and Delta on the L10s, but IIRC, Air Canada and TW opted for the more open wide table when they were 2-4-2. When DL leased the five DC10s in the early 70s, they brought the closet idea over. As far as I know, they were the only DC10s with that feature.

Quoting longhauler (Reply 24):
I notice that there are no fresh air vents in the seat backs like most DC-10s had. Was this common for AA?

McDD had always said the 'gasper' air vents on the DC10 were unnecessary, since the A/C system was so good (their words). I know that all NW DC10s were delivered from Long Beach without them. Nonetheless, AA and UA, along with many carriers, had DC10s delivered with the vents. Over time AA eliminated them. I am not sure about UA or other carriers.

The BA DC10 I rode on did not have them.
 
Cody
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 4:57 pm

In reference to the clouds on the bulkhead, I recall the interior of a Frontier Horizon 727 in 1984. American was the previous owner and it still had the AA interior of the era, with reddish-orange seats. Anyway, the bulkhead had that exact same cloud design, but it was red and brown. Sort of odd seeing a red sky with brown and white puffy clouds.
 
777dfw
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:38 pm

Last November I paid a visit to the American Airlines Training & Conference Center located near the AA headquarters in Dallas. Inside is a hallway with rooms full of old AA cabin simulators. Some have the new interiors and some don't. I believe the aircraft were the F100 (old grey F and coach), 727 (old grey F and coach), 757 (newer cloth slimline seats), MD80 (current seats), DC10 (old grey F), MD11 (wooly mammoths and old coach, but with the new 77W F, J, and Y scattered throughout), and the 762, pictured below. I have many more photos from the Training Center but I don't have enough storage to post the rest. If there's a way I could send them I'd be more than happy to!

 
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jsnww81
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:52 pm

Quoting 777dfw (Reply 29):
I believe the aircraft were the F100 (old grey F and coach), 727 (old grey F and coach), 757 (newer cloth slimline seats), MD80 (current seats), DC10 (old grey F), MD11 (wooly mammoths and old coach, but with the new 77W F, J, and Y scattered throughout), and the 762, pictured below.

Oh gosh, those wool seats... I'd forgotten all about those, even though some were trucking along in the 762s until fairly recently! They were a neat idea, but sometimes you'd board and they would look REALLY dirty. The idea of some businessman sweating into wool on a cross-country flight always grossed me out.

Great to see the cloud bulkheads again! Cool that AA has some of the old interiors preserved at their training center.
 
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:08 pm

Quoting 777dfw (Reply 29):
ast November I paid a visit to the American Airlines Training & Conference Center located near the AA headquarters in Dallas. Inside is a hallway with rooms full of old AA cabin simulators. Some have the new interiors and some don't. I believe the aircraft were the F100 (old grey F and coach), 727 (old grey F and coach), 757 (newer cloth slimline seats), MD80 (current seats), DC10 (old grey F), MD11 (wooly mammoths and old coach, but with the new 77W F, J, and Y scattered throughout), and the 762, pictured below. I have many more photos from the Training Center but I don't have enough storage to post the rest. If there's a way I could send them I'd be more than happy to!

FANTASTIC. ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL.
Man, the flashbacks... I never sat in F on a 762, being a nonrev, and a child at the time. BUT- I do recognize elements that make me feel all nostalgic!
Would it be a pain to email your photos to me?
 
AMALH747430
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:37 pm

Quoting 777dfw (Reply 29):
If there's a way I could send them I'd be more than happy to!

I would love to see them as well!
 
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DL_Mech
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 9:24 pm

Quoting 777dfw (Reply 29):
wooly mammoths

AA must've spent a ton of money on all that sheepskin.
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
 
CF-CPI
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:03 pm

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 33):
AA must've spent a ton of money on all that sheepskin.

It supposedly had some fatigue-relieving qualities, or is that just nonsense? Supposedly AA got the idea from Air New Zealand after they purchased the kiwi DC-10-30s. The only problem is it gets matted ..... but then sheep do as well!

I have an AA ad which shows those business class seats out in a green field, surrounded by blue skies. It's circa 1996, and I suppose the electronics and other features of the seats were state-of-the-art at the time. I always loved the shade of red on the headrest.
 
VC10er
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:32 am

Quoting DL_Mech (Reply 33):

Especially getting the bed-bugs out of the sheepskin!!! Gosh, they often were dirty! But comfy.
To Most the Sky is The Limit, For me, the Sky is Home.
 
777dfw
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:37 am

I was able to get the rest of the photos uploaded and I have added them below:

http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t365/777DFW/IMG_3835_zpswiahd6ni.jpeg
http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t365/777DFW/IMG_6088_zpssradbef9.jpeg
http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t365/777DFW/IMG_8536_zpshzvghmtx.jpeg
http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t365/777DFW/IMG_9366_zps9p1dqril.jpeg
http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t365/777DFW/IMG_9635_zps6oyvherd.jpeg
http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t365/777DFW/IMG_0850_zpsoas4htmb.jpeg
 
qqflyboy
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Wed Apr 27, 2016 1:39 pm

Quoting ThePinnacleKid (Reply 20):
the cover (officially listed as BEIGE btw for those wondering gray or tan)

  
The gray everyone is referring to is actually beige, as DL_Mech questioned above and ThePinnacleKid pointed out. It may appear gray over time as they've gotten dirty, worn and faded, but it is indeed beige, and is simply the reverse of the blue tri-bar seats pictured in reply #4.

As for the 3-class A300 aircraft they did feature a slightly different interior with a darker blue seat that featured a kind of Aztec motif, or least that's the best way I can describe it. The video system was the Matsushita 3000, or MAS 3000 for short, and was a royal PITA.  

The Cloud motif on the bulkheads, which I only saw in person on the 727 were something else and very cool. My favorite bulkhead even still, however, were the snow-capped mountains on QQ's aircraft. Now that AA's retro QQ livery 738 is on the line, the only thing that would make it better would be if they installed those bulkhead coverings.   Sadly no pic in the database shows that bulkhead.
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KLAM
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RE: AA Grey "tri-bar" Upholstery In Main Cabin

Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:41 am

Quoting qqflyboy (Reply 37):
As for the 3-class A300 aircraft they did feature a slightly different interior with a darker blue seat that featured a kind of Aztec motif, or least that's the best way I can describe it. The video system was the Matsushita 3000, or MAS 3000 for short, and was a royal PITA.

Does anyone have pics of these?
flyOM

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