The Two New Business Class Suites American Airlines Is Considering

Filed Under: American

A bit over a week ago @xJonNYC reported on how American Airlines plans on introducing new long haul seats in all cabins starting in 2023, and we now know the two business class seats that American Airlines is allegedly considering.

American Airlines’ new seat plans

American Airlines plans on refreshing the seats they have on their long haul aircraft as of 2023. There are two significant things happening then that are prompting this:

American still has a lot of testing to do with their new seats across cabins. For that matter, the whole reason this became public knowledge was because American was sending out invitations to members in the DFW-area, asking them to test out new seats.

Which business class seats is American Airlines considering?

According to the always in-the-know @xJonNYC, American Airlines is at this point trying to decide between two types of seats for their future wide body aircraft.

Presumably they would choose different seats for their A321XLRs, meaning that these would debut on their 787s, and presumably eventually also be retrofitted on at least some existing 787s and 777s.

What are the two seats that American Airlines is considering?

Option A: Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seat with door

The first option they’re considering shouldn’t come as a surprise. American currently has Super Diamond reverse herringbone seats on some of their 777-200s and 787-9s, and they’re probably the most popular business class seat American Airlines has.

American’s current Super Diamond reverse herringbone seats

Recently British Airways introduced a modified version of this as their new business class product, which they call the “Club Suite.” This is essentially the same as the old seat, except it has a door on it.

British Airways’ A350 Club Suites cabin

Super Diamond business class seats with doors

As Beyonce once famously said “cause if you like it then you shoulda put a door on it.”

This is definitely the more predictable and less revolutionary of the two options, and it’s a logical evolution from their existing seats.

Option B: Adient Ascent seat

Of the two options, this is definitely the more unexpected. American Airlines is allegedly also considering the Adient Ascent seat. This product isn’t currently offered by any airline, though Hawaiian Airlines plans to install this on their upcoming 787s, which they’ll take delivery of starting in 2021.

For example, here are the pictures that were provided when Hawaiian Airlines announced that they’d choose these seats.

Adient Ascent seat

Adient Ascent seat

This product is truly unlike any other for one simple reason — it’s so highly customizable, so It can be radically different for every airline. Here’s a video showing the various options for these types of seats:

Most business class products can be customized somewhat, but have a general pattern. After all, what differentiates seat types from one another are the space saving techniques that seat manufacturers use to make the cabin efficient.

In the case of the Adient Ascent seat, it’s customizable unlike any other product out there:

  • The product could come in a staggered configuration, with the potential to turn center seats into double beds
  • The product could come in a hybrid reverse herringbone and herringbone configuration, with reverse herringbone seats along the windows, and herringbone seats in the center; this is similar to Virgin Atlantic’s new A350 Upper Class, though those seats are the Safran Cirrus NG variety

Below is a screenshot from the video that shows just how customizable the product is.

Below is a screenshot showing the hybrid reverse herringbone and herringbone configuration. This would be somewhat similar to Virgin Atlantic’s A350 Upper Class, except with doors.

Below is one showing the staggered configuration. This would be somewhat similar to Delta’s new business class in terms of layout, though finishes would be totally different.

Which business class seat is better?

While the quality of seats is always subjective, I at least usually have a strong opinion about what I like. However, I’m not sure which of these products I’d rather see.

The first option is the evolution of a familiar seat, with the addition of a door. It’s a good seat, but it’s not going to be life changing either.

The challenge with assessing the second option is that it could come in so many different forms. Would American go with a staggered configuration or the herringbone/reverse herringbone configuration? Could we maybe even see them include both in the same cabin (I highly doubt it, but that would be kind of cool)?

I think it would be cool to see how creative an airline could get with the second configuration, but then again, I don’t exactly have high hopes of American leading the industry with creativity.

Bottom line

While nothing has officially been confirmed, American is apparently trying to decide between the above two products.

The first option is a safe and familiar bet, while I’m intrigued by the potential of the second option, given that no airline is offering it as of now.

Regardless, it looks like doors are coming to American Airlines business class.

What do you make of the new business class seats with doors that American is considering?

  1. Maybe with these AA can put to rest its rather lame attempt to have a First Class that is probably the worst F of any airline.

  2. If we don’t consider seat quality (given that there are no data points on the Adient Ascent) I would love for AA to take a leap of faith and install the Adient option. I love my window seat reverse herringbone when flying by myself but when I’m with a friend of my partner I would like to be able to talk a bit and interact for which the reverse herringbone seats just suck. If you end up being able to turn it into a double bed, that’s just an added bonus (when flying with your partner). If you don’t like to sleep in a double bed or you have a stranger next to you, just put the divider up and you have your peace, so to me it doesn’t have a downside. That’s why I don’t understand why airlines don’t opt for move of these type of seats. With First Class seeming to disappear from more and more airlines, I am sure that there are a lot of couples with enough cash willing to spend it for a double bed or simply seats that are good for interaction.

  3. AA is absolutely industry leading… at cramming the most amount of people in the smallest space possible. They’re constantly innovating ways to charge legacy airline prices for a LCC product.

  4. AA will end up picking the Super Diamond seats with a door, but is stringing along the Ascent seat to help with negotiating. The Ascent seat looks really neat but i can’t see AA jumping in with a new seat with all the issues they ran into with Concept D seats.

  5. Hey, please, stop peddling the Super Diamond seat. It’s a solid average seat but definitely not the best by any stretch of the imagination. It’s difficult to lead on one’s side due to the low level of the sliding table. And because of the shape of the well, resting on one of the two sides is very uncomfortable.

    I really don’t like those seats. At all.

  6. That promotional video is probably the shoddiest video I’ve ever seen. But otherwise the seat looks good. Worried about the footwells, but nothing dissimilar to what is currently in the industry.

  7. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in an Adiant middle seat next to a stranger with Option B. I’m a big fan of Super Diamond.

  8. I actually worked with Adient Aerospace on a project a few months ago. They’ve also been working on a Lie-Flat Narrowbody version that is actually quite innovating.

    From what i know those seats are very similar to the alternating Polaris configuration (except on a narrowbody of course), a hybrid between reverse herringbone and herringbone: each will have direct aisle access, and likely with doors. Additionally I believe they are highly efficient in terms of real estate.

    Stay tuned!

  9. Honestly while there’s lots for people to complain about on American – I think the quality and consistency of the hard product (shaky Concept D fiasco aside). Let’s be honest, most business class travelers are single passengers (or work colleagues at most). Current seats might not be totally ideal for chatting, but they’re remarkably consistent. There are no significant differences among them in terms of individual seats. There are no super special “throne” seats. There are no significant differences in footwell sizes or exposure to the aisle. Love QSuites but hate having to keep looking at a seat map to make sure I have the “right one”.

    Slap a door on the existing seat, some nicer finishes and make it cloth rather than leather and AA would be good to go. Different configurations in the same cabin – sounds nice and appeals to the geek in me, but not the pragmatist.

  10. The Adient herringbone option was remarkably nice – pretty expansive footwells, excellent seat length & width, favorable configuration for side-sleepers, and nice sensibilities about storage. A tad short to on the enclosure to get the type of privacy you enjoy on the Q-Suite, but that could be addressed as the product comes to market.

    The majority of the tested products were in a staggered configuration, not herringbone. Those didn’t fare so well as the Adient herringbone option, but were still an improvement over the control product being used in the test – the AA Super Diamond.

  11. Further, Option A in the tests was not a Collins Super Diamond but an altogether different Collins product.

  12. I sat in the Adient seat at the Paris air show last year — it’s an excellent seat built and marketed by a great team, and it would be great for AA to choose it over a Super Diamond with a door.

  13. Can it just not be two tone grey everywhere. Flying AA business class is drab.

    Door is a gimmick, just give me a seat that doesn’t wobble and a crew that can smile.

  14. Can’t imagine the problems they will have if Americans have such easy access to double beds from US gateways.

  15. I never fly AA. I don’t care what kind of seat they may have. I drive to JFK where I can fly Singapore, jal, Ana, or Cathay.

  16. I much prefer the Cirrus seat on the 77W over the Super Diamond on the 789, but unfortunately the Cirrus seat isn’t made anymore. While the seven year old plane I was on this week to London looked like it had been through war, those Cirrus seats still give me a solid 5 hours sleep every time.

    My wish: replace their broken coin-op vending machines with actual flight attendants and install the Adient seat! Honestly, as long as their aging hard product outpaces their laughable soft product, they could save a bit of money simply offering smiles and human decency.

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