If ever there was a time to truly relax in a slightly more spacious cabin environment rather than being caught up in an economy armrest-wrestle, surely this would be now. Just because long-haul is off the agenda for most travelers does not mean one has to forego a few hours of stretching out in a fully lie-flat bed. Plenty of US airlines also offer them on domestic routes. The key is to know which aircraft to look out for.
If you want to catch a fully flat premium seat rather than a regular recliner on an American Airlines domestic service, make sure that the carrier will be operating one of its A321Ts. The T stands for transcontinental, and this is the airline’s premium twin-aisle jet. As the definition would imply, they are usually deployed on premium East to West Coast routes, such as New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco.
The Flagship First cabin has ten seats in five rows of a 1-1 configuration of reverse herringbone seats. These convert into a 6 feet 5 inches long fully lie-flat beds, with extra width provided by the armrest nearest the aisle.
However, due to current circumstances, American is also operating some of its 777s and 787s on domestic services to assist in cargo demand. Thus, it is worth keeping an eye out for them as well.
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Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines would normally operate its widebodies fitted with fully-lie-flat seats on international or premium domestic routes. However, at the moment, it is deploying them on several services out of Atlanta.
The carrier’s Boeing 777s, which had recently been retrofitted with Delta’s newest premium cabin concept, the Delta One Suite, were recently retired. Meanwhile, you can find the new Delta One seat (which is pretty much the same as the suite without the sliding door) on its 767-400ER. The carrier’s A330s also feature 180-degree flat reverse herringbone seats.
Hawaiian Airlines offers holidaymakers and business travelers hoping to arrive relaxed and rested to their destination fully lie-flat beds on its Airbus A330 widebodies, which is particularly nice if you are flying on the longest scheduled domestic route in the US, between Honolulu and Boston.
With a flight time of 11 hours and six time zones to cross, it is only reasonable there should be a premium offering on par with international services. However, you do get them if you are “only” on a six-hour flight to the US West Coast as well.
Hawaiian’s first class cabin has 18 seats in three rows of a 2-2-2 configuration. The leather-clad seats convert into a 6 foot 3 inch long bed, supplemented by a small ottoman by the feet.
The longest lie-flat seat belongs, somewhat surprisingly perhaps, to “hybrid” carrier JetBlue. Its business class concept, the Mint experience, offers a 6 foot 8 inch fully lie-flat seat. The service is available on premium routes from New York, Boston, and Fort Lauderdale to the West Coast and some Caribbean destinations.
The feature is offered on A321 aircraft with premium configuration. The Mint section of the cabin has 16 seats with three rows of a 2-2 configuration and two rows of 1-1 suites. The latter are located in rows 2 and 4 and offer sliding doors for privacy.
United Airlines regularly features fully lie-flat seats on its domestic routes. Even before the current crisis struck, the airline operated its 787 Dreamliners and 777s on transcontinental services. While bedding may not be provided on most domestic flights, the chance to get to experience the carrier’s premium cabin Polaris on one of its 777s or retrofitted 767s without jetting away across an ocean is still a treat.
Have you flown fully lie-flat domestically? What was your experience? Let us know in the comments.