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Comparing the A321neos of Major U.S. Airlines
The A321neo has quickly become a popular choice among carriers in the United States.
Airbus’ A321neo has rapidly expanded across the world, but especially in the U.S. With United just taking delivery of its first aircraft, most major airlines and low-cost carriers now operate it. Over 1,153 of the type have been delivered worldwide, according to data from the manufacturer.
Across U.S. airlines, taking a look at the markets served, seating arrangements, and fleet size shows diverse use cases for the A321neo.
With one of the largest A321neo fleets worldwide, American operates 70 of the type. On top of these, the Fort Worth-based airline is set to get 10 more from Alaska Airlines, who reverted back to an all-Boeing fleet in September.
American operates the A321neo across its domestic network, but notably from the airline’s Phoenix and Los Angeles hubs to Hawaii. It also is not uncommon to find them on deeper South American routes, such as Miami to Lima.
The carrier’s A321neos are equipped with 196 seats, including 20 in first class along with 176 in economy.
Delta Air Lines
Delta received its first A321neo in March 2022 and currently has 43 in the fleet, according to planespotters.net data. Compared to the airline’s regular A321s, the A321neos offers some enhanced seating options, including a redesigned First Class seat. Each seat cushion is also made with memory foam.
Similar to American, Delta’s A321neo fleet can be found operating across a wide spectrum of routes, including Hawaii/Alaska and longer transcontinental domestic flights. In October 2023, the airline had 3,990 scheduled A321neo flights, according to Cirium Diio schedule data.
The Atlanta-based airline does take the prize for the fewest seats of any U.S. carrier’s A321neos. There are only 194 seats on Delta’s A321neos with 20 in first and 174 in economy.
United is the latest U.S. airline to join the A321neo bandwagon, having taken delivery of its first aircraft in September 2023. The airline has penciled in the inaugural flight for Dec. 14, 2023 from Chicago O’Hare to Phoenix with the flight number UA321.
As of now, the airline has scheduled a handful of routes with the new aircraft type, all of which are from its Chicago O’Hare hub. Las Vegas, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, and Orlando join Phoenix in early 2024 as the airline takes delivery of additional A321neos.
Among the major U.S. airlines, United is set to have the most seats on its A321neos. The aircraft will have 20 first class seats and 180 in economy for a total of 200. This is four more seats than American and six more than Delta.
Unlike some of its peers, JetBlue has a few different variants of the A321neo, including the A321LR (Long Range). The carrier uses the regular A321neo on short to medium-haul routes, while the A321LR is configured for European flights.
The carrier’s A321LRs have a less dense 138 seats with 24 in its Mint class and 114 in economy. Largely used on transcontinental flights, the carrier has a sub-fleet of A321neos with Mint class seating. These have 144 economy seats and 14 Mint seats for a total of 158.
JetBlue also has an all-economy A321neo sub-fleet with a total of 200 seats. These are mostly used on domestic flights.
Hawaiian’s A321neo fleet has opened the door for the carrier to connect secondary mainline markets with The Aloha State. For example, Hawaiian added service between Sacramento and Maui in 2018 using the aircraft.
Thanks to the aircraft type’s better performance characteristics, Hawaiian uses its A321neos mostly on flights between the mainland and various Hawaiian islands. While the carrier does have a fleet of A330s, the A321neo is its only narrowbody Airbus.
The airline’s fleet of A321neos has 16 first class seats and 173 in economy for a total of 189. Per Aviation Week, recent woes with Pratt and Whitney engines have caused Hawaiian to park some of its A321neo fleet for inspection.
Ultra-low-cost carrier Spirit has a fleet of eight A321neo aircraft. The aircraft operate a variety of routes within the carrier’s network, most of which are domestic.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the airline has one of the most dense A321neo configurations. There are 235 seats on its A321neos with eight larger Big Front Seats. For comparison, the airline has only 228 seats on its regular A321s.
Similar to Spirit, Frontier also has a highly-dense A321neo configuration. The Denver-based ultra-low-cost carrier has 22 A321neo aircraft in its fleet.
Operating across Frontier’s network, the carrier’s A321neos have 240 seats, which is five more than Spirit. Frontier also does not have a similar product to Spirit’s Big Front Seats. Instead, the airline has Stretch Seats, which are standard seats with extra legroom.
Editor’s Note: Most of the seating data in this article was made available via Cirium Diio.
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