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AA Fleet: LAA Airbus A319 - a Mixed Bag (consolidated)

Old Aug 28, 16, 3:23 pm - Wikipost
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AA Fleet: Legacy AA Airbus A319


The discussion here is about the The newer LAA Airbus A319-115(WL) with two CFMI CFM56-5B7/3 engines and Sharklets wingtip devices (the "WL" designation - renders increased fuel economy / range).

Note: For Legacy A319-112 and A319-132s, see LUS A319 cabin improvement project; F 12 to 8, adding MCE - in progress (consolidated)

Link to SeatGuru A319 chart for 12 F, 0 MCE, 112 Y seats. Exit row 10 A and F have no seat in front of them. Exit row seats 9B, C, D, E do not recline.

NOTE: Seat rows 3 - 7 are no longer used in refitted aircraft; those holding row 3 F seats will lose them if flying a retrofitted aircraft, as well as those seated rows 4 - 7.

Link to SeatGuru A319 chart for 8 F, 18 MCE, 102 Y seats.

Note: Legacy US A319s are undergoing a CIP (cabin improvement program) to reconfigure to the LAA cabin configuration.

The original 12 F seat cabin configuration has no in-seat power, no audio - video (neither personal nor on center cabin displays).
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Old Sep 25, 13, 11:33 pm
#1
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AA Fleet: LAA Airbus A319 - a Mixed Bag (consolidated)

Just took my first trip aboard a new AA319 yesterday on AA1582 DFW-CLE and I must say I was disappointed. First the good news: the aircraft looks great on the inside, there is in-seat video and power at every seat, and the new plane smell is awesome. But alas, there are problems: the first of which was a plane that went mechanical with a steering issue and caused us a 2+ hour delay. This plane has been in service for less than 10 days and already has problems ?? Also, no one from AA Maintenance seemed to have a clue what to do - they had to call Airbus, who determined to take the plane out of service. My biggest gripe is the seats in First Class: they hardly recline and are flat and slippery. I flew back from CLE today on a Mad Dog (MD-80) in 4F and was much happier. I could see the 319's being OK for short hops, but AA plans to fly them on DFW-BOG and DFW-YYZ - both too long to be stuck on this uncomfortable plane.
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Old Sep 26, 13, 1:01 am
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One of the counter-intuitive aspects of aircraft is they get more reliable as they mature into service - dispatch reliability is the term.
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Old Sep 26, 13, 1:19 am
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As this is not a trip report I shall move it on over to the AAdvantage forum.

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Old Sep 26, 13, 6:48 am
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Having flown a fair amount of transcons on the A319 on UA, mainly SFO/SMF-IAD, my recollection is that it was the most common UA mainline aircraft which went MX on me over the years. I flew mainly red-eyes on it and leaving at 2am (2-3 hours late) wasn't uncommon. If I could have a choice with what AA replaces the mad dogs out of my local with, it would be the 738. 16 vs 8 F seats might have something to do with that
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Old Sep 26, 13, 7:06 am
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Originally Posted by BahrainLad View Post
One of the counter-intuitive aspects of aircraft is they get more reliable as they mature into service - dispatch reliability is the term.
Absolutely. Further even with a mature airplane when a type is newly introduced to an airline there is always a maintenance and operations learning curve, so these trivial issues will tend to disappear in a little time once peopel become accustomed to the differences.

For comparison if anybody has the stamina for it, check out the history of introduction for 747-400 when upgraded from 747-300, or A321 vs A320 or any other two similar types. Then check out the initial three month dispatch reliability for a mature type newly introduced in a carrier such as 737-800 soon to be introduced at Delta. We'll see initial dispatch reliability suffer. It always happens.

Overall, these events are largely meaningless except when there are new type airplanes with totally new technological approach, such as the B747-100 almost fifty years ago, the B787-8 now. Those have and have had immature technologies that are very challenging to introduce. just as with the initial B747-100, the B787-8 will be a great advance, even if it does not seem so now. The A320, which introduced fly-by-wire for airliners, had similar early service problems, but now every new Boeing and Airbus airliner is FBW. When the A320 was introduced Boeing fanatics screamed "unsafe!", but the B777 proved Boeing also learned. The same will be true for the B787 once the furor abates.

As for AA introducing the A319 and equipping it as a MD80 replacement; I do not think they really had much of a choice given operating economics. They might have paid more attention to passenger comfort (check out the EK A319 as an irrelevant comparison of what could be done).

All things considered I don't much like being a passenger in any narrow body other than the EK A319, but that, after all, is a really big executive jet, not a normal scheduled flight.
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Old Sep 26, 13, 7:08 am
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Originally Posted by greggariouspdx View Post
This plane has been in service for less than 10 days and already has problems ??
It happens. A couple of years ago we had a major (luckily pre-takeoff) hydraulic failure on a 738 that had been in service for seven days.
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Old Sep 26, 13, 8:52 am
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Originally Posted by greggariouspdx View Post
My biggest gripe is the seats in First Class: they hardly recline and are flat and slippery.
That is interesting and seems to confirm the unusually small recline published by AA for the A319 for F, which is 3", compared to 6" for MCE and 4" for Y:

http://aa.com/i18n/aboutUs/ourPlanes/airbus319.jsp

I'm not sure of the reason for this-- I believe all the new seats are articulated, so I don't think that is the explanation.
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Old Sep 26, 13, 1:18 pm
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I flew it last week and all flights were delayed due to mx. When i left ICT i was on an s80 and the a319 was sitting broken at the gate. The seat pitch in regular coach was terrible! IFE was limited and the airport guide spelled ORD O'Hara.
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Old Sep 26, 13, 1:23 pm
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You and jbcarioca are correct. It's not unlike many electromechanical items people buy - reliability is lowest at entry ("break in") and toward end of "useful life". IMO it's not a brilliant idea to take a ship's maiden voyage - or an aircraft at introduction. E.g. 787 and battery issues, 77W and some F seat problems, etc. It may seem desirable to be on an aircraft's maiden flight, but in my book it's usually one to avoid.

I'll hold off for some time, if it's radically new - Lockheed L-188 Electra suffered "whirl mode", literally vibrating its wings off at times; DH-106 Comet had explosive decompression problems as stress cracks grew from the square window frames; DC-10 had baggage door problems causing loss of all three hydraulic systems, etc. etc. The initial Boeing 747-100 was both underpowered and unreliable; a pilot friend of mine (now passed away) flew an early PA flight JFK-LHR and lost all four engines in the air - landed at a UK Air Force Base. I've flown a lot of the aircraft I listed over the years, but I avoided the model until issues were sorted out.

Originally Posted by BahrainLad View Post
One of the counter-intuitive aspects of aircraft is they get more reliable as they mature into service - dispatch reliability is the term.

Last edited by JDiver; Sep 26, 13 at 1:33 pm
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Old Sep 26, 13, 1:25 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
It's not unlike many electromechanical items people buy - reliability is lowest at entry ("break in") and toward end of "useful life".
Known well in the semiconductor (and semiconductor test) business (among others) as the Bathtub Curve. Interestingly, though (and I hadn't heard this until reading my link), it appears that complex systems (like aircraft), don't seem to follow that failure paradigm all that well.

Cheers.
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Old Sep 26, 13, 1:30 pm
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Originally Posted by dw View Post
That is interesting and seems to confirm the unusually small recline published by AA for the A319 for F, which is 3", compared to 6" for MCE and 4" for Y:
Interesting. 3" recline seems mighty small.
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Old Sep 26, 13, 1:47 pm
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Originally Posted by APFPilot1985 View Post
The seat pitch in regular coach was terrible! IFE was limited and the airport guide spelled ORD O'Hara.
Would you say the seat pitch felt worse than on the 738s? Supposedly the non-MCE seat pitch on the A319s is a tight 30", but I'm curious what effect the new seat design has. (Of course, overall less pitch is never a good thing, regardless of how slim a seat is designed. Even if it feels the same as before, it still means more people crammed into the same space, sharing the same overhead bins, etc.)
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Old Sep 26, 13, 2:47 pm
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Maybe people will stop paying to fly them, leaving all that space for awards.
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Old Oct 18, 13, 7:36 am
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I flew it for the first time yesterday. My review is here: http://meteorologicalmusings.blogspo...-new-a319.html
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Old Oct 18, 13, 8:14 am
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@ the review. If those come to FAT to replace the mad dogs, I'll be taking the OO CRJ to LAX to connect for trans/mid-cons. Yikes.
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