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:
- In 2018 American Airlines placed an order for 25 additional Boeing 787-9s, which will be delivered starting in 2023
- American Airlines will start taking delivery of A321XLRs as of 2023, though these will likely get different seats, given the different needs of narrow body aircraft
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.
this I believe is option B:
Adient Ascent. Very modular, can be configured many ways (see the video I tweeted earlier) Hawaiian uses a version of the seat. pic.twitter.com/tIaZ87RZVw
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) February 7, 2020
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.
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?