New American Flagship Business Plus Fares (First Class Perks)

New American Flagship Business Plus Fares (First Class Perks)

8

American Airlines has introduced Flagship Business Plus, which is a new business class fare type that offers several perks that are traditionally only offered to first class passengers.

American Airlines Business Plus basics

This week American Airlines is rolling out Flagship Business Plus fares, which is a new fare type for long haul business class passengers. Flagship Business Plus fares offer:

  • Access to Flagship First Check-in, which offers a more personalized check-in experience, and security fast track; this is available at JFK, LAX, LHR, MIA, and ORD
  • Access to Flagship First Dining, which offers a sit down dining experience, and is frankly one of the best lounge experiences out there; this is available at DFW, JFK, and MIA
  • A third checked bag
American Airlines Flagship First Dining JFK

These are perks that have historically only been offered to those traveling in first class, including on American’s Airbus A321Ts (which fly coast-to-coast) and American’s Boeing 777-300ERs (which operate long haul flights). The exception is that a third checked bag has also been offered to oneworld Emerald members.

American Airlines Airbus A321T first class

These fares are starting to be rolled out on select routes. American won’t sell this fare product on flights operated by the A321T or 777-300ER, presumably in order to not cannibalize potential first class demand. Of course you’ll earn Loyalty Points based on your total fare, so booking more expensive fares helps you earn status more easily.

Based on the searches I’ve done, it appears that American is charging an extra $400 one-way for these fares over whatever the “regular” business class fare is. At least that’s what I saw on routes like Dallas to Frankfurt and New York to Tel Aviv.

American Airlines Business Plus fare
American Airlines Business Plus fare

Earlier this year, these Flagship Business Plus fares briefly showed on aa.com. This caused many to believe that American was eliminating first class, and instead rebranding it, as we’ve seen some other airlines do in the past.

We now know that this wasn’t the plan, but rather that American was just introducing a new bundled business class fare product, but accidentally published it too early.

American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER first class

My take on American Airlines Business Plus fares

On the surface, this concept makes a lot of sense to me. Both Flagship First Check-in and Flagship First Dining are arguably underutilized, given how few passengers have access to these facilities. If American is going to invest in these kinds of features, the economics have to work. So while many have no doubt enjoyed the peace and quiet of Flagship First Dining, it almost seemed too good to be true.

What I struggle with is the pricing and marketing of this bundled fare concept:

  • Presumably this is primarily targeted at business travelers who can expense any ticket as long as it’s in business class
  • At the same time, the third checked bag probably doesn’t matter much to the average business traveler, since most business travelers don’t have multiple checked bags
  • $400 is roughly the pricing that I was expecting — it’s higher than what this experience is realistically worth (which makes sense so that Flagship First Dining isn’t flooded with more travelers), but it’s not so expensive that no one will take advantage of this
  • When we’re talking about full fare business class, it almost seems weird to have such a small price difference between the types of business class fares, in my opinion
  • How many people are realistically going to buy this per day without it diluting the experience for others? 10? If so, is it worth creating this product confusion for so few upsells?
  • Personally I think the more logical approach would be to make this a buy-up option after you book your ticket, or during the booking process (after the initial fare is displayed, much like Main Cabin Extra), where anyone confirmed in business class on an eligible route can pay a certain amount for Flagship Business Plus
American Airlines Flagship First Dining DFW

Bottom line

American Airlines has launched new Business Plus fares. These fares are available in select markets, and will bundle some first class perks, including Flagship First Check-in, Flagship First Dining, and a third free checked bag. It appears that American is charging $400 extra one-way for these fares. It’s logical for American to better monetize Flagship First Dining, so I’m curious to see how this goes.

What do you make of the American Flagship Business Plus concept, and the pricing?

Conversations (8)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Pierre Guest

    Isn't Flagship First Check-in already available to Executive Platinum status travelling in Business class? At least that's where I check-in at LHR and JFK.

    1. Charlie Diamond

      It is! Or at least I have been using it in those 2 airports on account of my Exec Plat status.

  2. Weymar Osborne Gold

    I've long thought that for airlines with a small First Class footprint something like this could make a lot of sense. Since the hard product gap between Business and First Class is getting ever-narrower, what really differentiates First Class is privacy, convenience, elevated food, and ideally the ground experience. If someone like Air France or Qatar offered a First Class fare on a, say, A350 or 787 flight that came with maybe a reserved bulkhead...

    I've long thought that for airlines with a small First Class footprint something like this could make a lot of sense. Since the hard product gap between Business and First Class is getting ever-narrower, what really differentiates First Class is privacy, convenience, elevated food, and ideally the ground experience. If someone like Air France or Qatar offered a First Class fare on a, say, A350 or 787 flight that came with maybe a reserved bulkhead seat and all the other First Class amenities (First Class check-in, F Lounge Access, private car transfers, increased mileage earning and baggage allowance, and maybe the ability to pre-order a First Class-level meal) they could increase revenue without cannibalizing any seats on their planes.

  3. Reno Joe Guest

    Pricing seems to be consistently about $400 per person. For a couple, $800. In a way, this is like packaging AA's (standard) Five Star Service into the ticket. For $350 for the first person and $100 for additional persons on the same booking, one gets Flagship First check-in, an escort, and Admirals Club access (but not FF Dining). For a couple, $450. Given this, FF Dining would be $350 for two -- $175 each.

    But,...

    Pricing seems to be consistently about $400 per person. For a couple, $800. In a way, this is like packaging AA's (standard) Five Star Service into the ticket. For $350 for the first person and $100 for additional persons on the same booking, one gets Flagship First check-in, an escort, and Admirals Club access (but not FF Dining). For a couple, $450. Given this, FF Dining would be $350 for two -- $175 each.

    But, if one is flying in Flagship Business, one will have access to either the Admirals Club or (regular) Flagship Lounge. So, it's fair to ask whether FF Dining is worth the $175 per person pop. And, if one is Platinum Pro or higher, one gets to use FF Check-In if flying in Flagship Business. For them, it's even more of an apples-to-apples comparison.

    Lastly, FF Dining is only available at JFK, DFW, and MIA. LAX remains closed. And, while AA stated that it is temporarily closed and "will reopen soon," the staff at LAX say that it will likely never reopen (in spite of passenger volumes). Seemingly, AA's endless pursuit of cost cutting. Choose wisely.

  4. Sel_D New Member

    Considering AA would charge $150, then $100 for access to Flagship First Dining, they're valuing a third bag and and better check-in at $250-$300. I think Lucky nailed it - the demo for this is people flying with a company card, motivated by the better experience and/or the extra LPs.

  5. Alec Guest

    Would be nice to add some benefits like priority phone line, priority rebooking for IROPS, etc

  6. SMR Guest

    Why would anyone on Earth spend $400 for a cheeseburger and glass of champagne in an airline lounge?

    1. Steve Diamond

      Exactly. Even people booking this on their company's dime wouldnt pay extra for this. Especially at DFW where there is no security or check in lines, plenty of other lounge options and when i fly weekly i dont want to spend 2+ hours in a lounge. I want to show up at the last possible second.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Charlie Diamond

It is! Or at least I have been using it in those 2 airports on account of my Exec Plat status.

0
Pierre Guest

Isn't Flagship First Check-in already available to Executive Platinum status travelling in Business class? At least that's where I check-in at LHR and JFK.

0
Steve Diamond

Exactly. Even people booking this on their company's dime wouldnt pay extra for this. Especially at DFW where there is no security or check in lines, plenty of other lounge options and when i fly weekly i dont want to spend 2+ hours in a lounge. I want to show up at the last possible second.

0
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published

Keep Exploring OMAAT