Why American has a pet compartment on its A321 flying between New York and L.A.

Did you know that American's Airbus A321s flying between New York and Los Angeles have a special cubby for dogs belonging to first class passengers?

You probably do, as American has been showing it off to a bunch of reporters. 

But do you know how it came about?

American knew its first class passengers on this lucrative route would want to bring their dogs. But it also knew that the FAA wouldn't allow dogs to sit in the fancy first class suites during takeoff and landing. In coach, of course, a dog can sit in a carrier underneath the seat. But there's no under-seat storage in first class. 

American explained the "invention" of the first class dog compartment in a recent employee newsletter. 

The Onboard Products team worked with Tech Ops, Procurement and Sales to design and create pet cabins on our A321T aircraft. The plane’s 10 fully lieflat seats in First Class aren’t certified for stowage in the footwell area for taxi, take-off and landing, so the team came up with a solution for customers to travel with small pets. They adapted storage compartments adjacent to the two front-row seats to become fully ventilated pet compartments.

UPDATE: We have an interesting comment from Gary Leff, who writes the excellent View From the Wing Blog. Gary calls our attention to an early 2014 report he wrote about American's new A321T product, in which he photographed the pet cubby. 

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