American Airlines Will Base Some Boeing 787s In Philadelphia

American Airlines is making some improvements in Philadelphia. Their coveted hub will soon see the Boeing 787 based in the city. These aircraft will fly transatlantic routes out of Philadelphia.

American 787
American Airlines will base some Boeing 787s in Philadelphia. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

787s in Philly

From January 2020, American Airlines will bring the 787 to Philadelphia as reported by World Airline News. Transatlantic routes for the 787 include flights from Philadelphia to Amsterdam, Manchester, and Zurich. In addition, American will place widebodies on key domestic routes, including from Philadelphia to Chicago O’Hare and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

American Airlines 787
American Airlines will only operate a few routes with 787s from Philadelphia. Photo: American Airlines

Other aircraft that American Airlines flies out Philadelphia include Airbus A330s and Boeing 767s. Compared to the Boeing 767, the 787 offers a much better onboard product. The 767s lack basic personal seatback screens in all cabin classes. Good news for passengers is that the 787 does retain this feature.

AA 787 cabin
Economy class on AA’s 787s is in a 3-3-3 configuration with personal seatback screens. Photo: American Airlines

The 787 replaces 767s

American Airlines is drawing out its older 767s. Unlike Delta, which is studying the 797 for 767 replacements, American is using the 787 to replace some 767 flights. Simple Flying reached out to American Airlines who provided the following statement:

“PHL will continue to see an increase in Boeing 787 flying long term as we retire our 767s”

Overall, for passengers, the retirement of older aircraft is quite fantastic. Although the 2-3-2 of the 767 is going to be missed compared to the 787s 3-3-3 layout, it is better than a 3-4-3 layout on American’s Boeing 777 aircraft.

American 777
Although the 787 is cramped in economy, the 777 could be a little bit worse. Photo: Tom Boon – Simple Flying

American Airlines and the 787

The 787 works on a host of routes for American. Most of these include long-haul transatlantic routes like the ones American will use 787s for out of Philadelphia. The 787 offers excellent operating economics for passengers. And, newer aircraft are great ways for airlines to update their onboard offerings. On the larger 787-9, American Airlines has reverse herringbone seats; a better option for business travelers.

American Airlines business class
Reverse herringbone seats on the larger 787-9 will be a treat for a late night redeye. Photo: American Airlines

Unfortunately, though, American Airlines does have some work to do on their soft product offerings. Comparatively, American Airlines is renowned as being one of the airlines with the most to improve upon.


It makes economical sense for American to upgrade its 767s with 787s. This is especially true on routes where the carrier can fill its planes. The benefit of operating out of hubs means American can better leverage connections to increase its load factor.

The 787 will offer a better technological experience onboard. However, comfort-wise, the 787s are a little tighter on the configuration.

Do you think the 787 is better than the 767? What do you think of this news from American Airlines? Let us know in the comments!