American Debuts New 787-8 Business Class Seat

Filed Under: American

Obviously the timing of this isn’t ideal, but in the past few weeks American Airlines has taken delivery of two new 787-8s, and they feature a modified business class product.

American’s Boeing 787 order

In early 2018, American Airlines announced an order for an additional 47 Boeing 787s, including:

  • 22 Boeing 787-8s, to be delivered starting in 2020 (intended to replace 767s)
  • 25 Boeing 787-9s, to be delivered starting in 2023 (intended to replace Airbus A330s, as well as older Boeing 777-200s)

Obviously the timing is terrible, but American is expected to take delivery of 12 of those 787-8s this year. Orders like this are decided on way in advance, so presumably American has no easy way to get out of the current plane orders.

In the past few weeks the airline has taken delivery of two new 787-8s, with registration codes N870AX and N871AY. While these planes went straight to storage, there’s something special about the onboard product.

American Airlines Boeing 787-8

American’s current 787 business class seats

Up until now, American’s 787-8s have mostly featured Safran “Concept D” seats, which weren’t very popular with passengers.

American’s 787-8 business class

Meanwhile American’s 787-9s have featured Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats, which are reverse herringbone seats that you’ll find on many airlines.

American’s 787-9 business class

American’s new 787-8 business class

American is mixing it up on their new 787-8s, as the airline is installing Collins Aerospace reverse herringbone seats on these planes. These are the same seats American has on 787-9s, except there are some improvements. American shares the below picture of the new seat.

American’s new 787-8 business class

The most significant change here is that American has fixed the divider issues they’ve had in the middle seats. There’s now a proper divider between middle seats that can be open or closed, based on whether you’re traveling alone or with someone.

There are two other things worth noting about these seats:

  • The new 787-8s are the first American wide bodies to feature Viasat high speed wifi, which works over China, and is also much faster than Panasonic wifi available on other wide body planes
  • Compared to other Super Diamond seats, adjustments have been made to the footwell and ottoman area to significantly improve leg space, and what American calls “open living space”

Expect another new business class seat in 2023

American’s new reverse herringbone seat is an improvement over the old version of the seat, but expect an all new seat in 2023. American is expected to introduce business class seats with doors at that point — what remains to be seen is exactly which seat they’ll choose.

Could American adopt British Airways’ new business class?

Bottom line

American is expected to take delivery of 10 new 787-8s this year, two of which have already joined their fleet (and are now in storage). These planes feature new business class seats, which are improved versions of their 787-9 business class, and they also feature Viasat wifi, which is awesome.

What I’m most excited about is what new seat American will introduce in 2023, assuming that still happens in light of everything going on.

Are you happy to see American introduce a new 787-8 business class seat?

  1. I’m not sure I agree with you regarding timing of the deliveries. The airlines are going to be retiring older less efficient planes at a faster pace than planned for, making this delivery inline with “looking long term”. As the airlines begin to come back online it will be first with their newer / efficient birds.
    The range and efficiency of the 787 is well known along with less maintenance over the older planes they replacing. UPS is a known active buyer of used 767 so one can expect many to go to UPS.

    As for the seats it seems AA can not find its way with seating, seems they continue to change their minds. But then Parker is CEO

  2. Honestly this proves that American is most inconsistent with its product. The fact that American could not even get their act together and have harmony on their 787 fleet is unbelievable.

    Delta and United are retrofitting their entire fleet to the same product, American not so much

  3. It is entirely possible the seat has a larger seatbed and/or footwell. You do that by changing the angle and spacing of the seats, which enlarges or reduces the space available for each.

  4. Are the new seats (2020 version) also alternating forward and backwards? I hated getting stuck in one of the rear facing seats.

  5. Are they decreasing the number of biz class seats on these planes?

    That seemed to be AA’s trend, unfortunately: decreasing # of biz seats for PE seats, rather than reducing coach seats.

  6. I am a pretty small guy so I have never had an issue with the Safran “Concept D” on the 787-8 on long-haul flights. My two favorite seats in the original AA 787-8 seat layout are 4A and 4L. I am probably odd — but there is something really cool about facing those beautiful engines during takeoff.

  7. I’m quite familiar with Americans 787s. In order to improve the legroom they would have to have the table tray slide in further or somewhere else.

  8. @Sharon – It’s nice to see that AA attempts to make improvements over its older products instead providing consistent mediocrity as many other airlines do.

    BTW DL has the oldest fleet – still flying half of its EU routes with 767 klunkers with arguably the worst J seat around. I’ll take any AA 787 J seat, first generation or later, over one of those.

  9. If it wasn’t for the high potential of a grumpy crew, AA has a really competitive J product. Especially to South America and Europe.

  10. The existing 788s will still have the old business class seats ? I didn’t hear anything about refurbished seats.

  11. @Roberto

    I’m going to guess that most people will notice the 764 and 359 difference will be mostly the door.
    If you are going to show a huge difference on DL it should be the the 359 vs 332/333 vs 752

  12. AA seems to be the joke of the day by so many negative comments by folks blogging on Mentor Aviation, u will think they r French born. Airbus looks like their choice of commercial jets. Boing in my opinion is still d best manufacturers of jets on d planet despite their downturn. Like d saying goes__if ain’t Boeing I ain’t going__ Clean Airbus slate with d 777X.

  13. I see a future of flying. With proper airmasks and gloves for the short term. New medicine is very close to solving this virus. We are driving 3 counties north tomorrow from Miami Dade to Martin and will wear masks and do very social distancing, etc. If we all act in the new normal, we can clear this.
    Although, parks and streets are filled with non-masks and non-social distancing.
    Very disturbing.
    So, excited to see new futures with AA plans.

  14. Am I the only person that regards doors as the most pointless addition unless it’s literally “the residence”?
    For me doors on seats are not an attraction.

  15. @Anthony
    So leave your door open, and let those of us who like them use our doors.

  16. Hi Ben!

    It’s actually *12* deliveries total this year not ten. Out of those 12, two have been delivered and there is 10 left still to be delivered in 2020 (from BOC Aviation via PAE-DFW).

  17. Fantastic. Yet another business class seat to further complicate American’s current selection. Almost every airline in the world has one to three business class products. American has different seats on their A321 (Transcon), A330, 757, 767, 777-200, 777-300, 787-8 and 787-9 and now they’ve got another 787-8 offering. I hope the new 2023 suite (or whatever it turns out to be) is retrofitted across the entire fleet so there’s at least a shred of commonality.

    Still this looks like a decent but pretty bland seat. It doesn’t do anything to distinguish itself and I’m not a massive fan of the colour palette. But it’s undoubtedly better than most of Americans current offerings

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