American Airlines will fly its new A321s between Los Angeles and New York starting in January

Starting Jan. 7, American will fly its new A321s between Los Angeles and New York. Above, the first class cabin, which has only one seat on each side of the aisle. Photo courtesy of American Airlines.

Starting Jan. 7, American will fly its new A321s between Los Angeles and New York. Above, the first class cabin, which has only one seat on each side of the aisle.  Photo courtesy of American Airlines.

American Airlines plans to start flying its brand-new, specially configured A321 aircraft between Los Angeles and New York JFK on Jan. 7, according to an internal email that went out to employees this week.

Tickets for flights operated by the new airplanes can be purchased starting on Sunday. According to the email, American will begin on Jan. 7 with two daily departures using the new planes between LAX and JFK. It will increase to five daily flights on Jan. 15 and add a sixth A321 flight on Jan. 31.

Service between New York and San Francisco on the A321 will start “later in 2014.” American begins taking A321 deliveries in November.

American is using the narrow-body A321s to replace its gas-guzzling Boeing 767-200s, which are larger double-aisle airplanes. What’s interesting about the approach is that American is configuring the planes with three classes — first, business and economy. American has a similar setup on its Boeing 767s, but the industry has been moving away from having three classes, especially for domestic flights. All of American’s competitors — United, Virgin America, Delta and now JetBlue — have or will have only two classes of service. (United just took out first class in its specially configured Boeing 757 sub fleet.)

The New York-Los Angeles route is among the most competitive in the world, so it’s probably no surprise that every airline flying the route, with the exception of Virgin America, is in the process of updating its premium cabins. All airlines are placing an emphasis on making sure premium passengers have seats that switch into flat beds.

Keep reading to see American’s message to employees.

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