Revealed: New American Airlines Business Class Seats

Revealed: New American Airlines Business Class Seats

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The wait is finally over — American Airlines has revealed its new business class seats, which will be known as Flagship Suites. Yes, I said “seats,” which is to say that there are are actually (at least) two types of new business class seats. These will debut on long haul aircraft starting in 2024.

American’s new Flagship Suite business class seats

As of 2024, American Airlines will be installing new business class seats, which will be called Flagship Suites. These seats will be installed on newly delivered Boeing 787-9 and newly delivered Airbus A321XLRs. Existing Boeing 777-300ERs will also be reconfigured with these seats, though the exact timeline remains to be seen.

Not only that, but American will also be installing a new premium economy product, with completely restyled cabins. However, nothing has been revealed about economy yet, other than that the seats will have new finishes. Let’s take a look at the details.

New American Airlines Boeing 787-9 cabins

As of 2024, American will start taking delivery of 30 Boeing 787-9s in an uber-premium configuration, featuring just 244 seats. This will include 51 business class seats, 32 premium economy seats, 18 Main Cabin Extra seats, and 143 economy class seats.

As a point of comparison, American’s current Boeing 787-9s have 285 seats, only 30 of which are business class seats. Clearly these new planes are intended for markets with lots of business class demand, like London.

It looks like American Airlines has selected the Adient Ascent product as its new Boeing 787 business class. What makes the Adient Ascent product unique is that it’s highly customizable.

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, where center seats could be turned into double beds (American didn’t choose this option)
  • 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 A350 Upper Class, though those seats are the Safran Cirrus NG variety

Qatar Airways was the launch customer for this seat on the Boeing 787-9. Hawaiian Airlines is also supposed to install these seats on Boeing 787-9s, and those planes are supposed to join Hawaiian’s fleet as of late 2023, so Hawaiian may beat American.

It looks to me like American has selected a configuration where all seats are reverse herringbone, as the center seats don’t face toward the aisles.

New American business class cabin Boeing 787
New American business class seat Boeing 787
New American business class seat Boeing 787
New American business class seat Boeing 787

American will also be introducing a new premium economy on the Boeing 787-9, which looks quite nice.

New American premium economy cabin Boeing 787
New American premium economy cabin Boeing 787

New American Airlines Airbus A321XLR cabins

American Airlines has 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft on order, which will be delivered starting in 2024. This narrow body jet is the latest evolution of the Airbus A321 family, and will have incredible range. American plans to use this plane primarily for transatlantic flights from the Northeast, as well as for premium transcon flights.

American intends to configure its A321XLRs in a three-cabin layout, with business class, premium economy, and economy. The planes will feature 20 business class seats and 12 premium economy seats, so they’ll be pretty premium.

The A321XLRs will get different seats than the 787s, since the requirements for seats are different for narrow bodies than wide bodies. American will be installing herringbone seats in a 1-1 configuration in business class, almost identical to JetBlue’s new Airbus A321LR Mint cabin.

New American business class cabin Airbus A321XLR
New American business class seat Airbus A321XLR

Premium economy also looks pretty elegant, as it will be in a 2-2 configuration, similar to domestic first class. The seats look mighty similar to Delta’s new Airbus A321neo first class seats.

New American premium economy cabin Airbus A321XLR
New American premium economy seats Airbus A321XLR

Expect a special row of business class seats

While American hasn’t formally announced this, it’s pretty clear that the airline is planning a special row of business class seats on these planes, at the front of the cabin. This will at least happen on wide bodies, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it happen on Airbus A321XLRs as well.

If you look at the below rendering of American’s new Boeing 787-9 business class, you’ll notice that the first row of seats have different color doors, and also seem to have TV screens at different angles.

New American business class cabin Boeing 787

It’s not surprising to see that, since these kinds of configurations generally take advantage of the space to the side of the seat in front. That’s not the case in the bulkhead row, as there’s quite a bit of extra space.

So American presumably plans to turn this into some sort of a business class “plus” product, to monetize the extra space here. This is no different than the Retreat Suites on Virgin Atlantic’s A330-900neos, or the Mint Studios on JetBlue’s A321LRs.

Virgin Atlantic “Retreat Suites” in first row

It’s anyone’s guess how this will be priced, and if it will offer any extra services beyond the seat. Heck, I imagine American isn’t even sure yet, since this is still a couple of years off.

Will existing Boeing 787s & 777s get these seats?

American Airlines has confirmed that it will reconfigure Boeing 777-300ERs with these new cabins, though the timeline remains to be seen. The indications I’ve seen so far suggest that we could see these planes start to be reconfigured in 2024, though I imagine that could change.

However, as of now American has no plans to reconfigure existing Boeing 787s and existing Boeing 777-200ERs with these new seats. I hope American backtracks on that, at least for the planes that are sticking around in the long run (I imagine most existing Boeing 787s are).

American will reconfigure 777-300ERs with these new seats

American Airlines eliminating “premium” first class

With American Airlines introducing a new business class seat, the airline will also be eliminating its “premium” first class as of late 2024:

  • Three-cabin Airbus 321Ts currently used for premium transcontinental flights will be reconfigured into a standard domestic configuration, and will be replaced on these routes by other jets with flat beds (probably A321XLRs)
  • When Boeing 777-300ERs are reconfigured with the new business class, the first class cabin will be eliminated

This is the end of an era not only for American Airlines, but this also marks the end of international first class for any US airline. It remains to be seen what happens to American’s first class ground services, including Flagship First Check-In and Flagship First Dining. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them stick around, but just monetized differently.

American will eliminate “premium” first class

My take on American’s new business class

It’s nice to finally see what has been rumored for so long. At the end of the day there’s nothing earth shattering here, in the sense that American is using products that other airlines already offer. However, these are among the best existing products out there, and on top of that I think American’s cabin finishes are tasteful.

Equally exciting is generally seeing how American is increasing premium capacity, as that should be great for upgrades, and marks quite the departure from what American’s strategy has otherwise been for years. American will also be eliminating first class, but I don’t consider that to be much of a loss, given what a lackluster product it was.

Lastly, it’s totally minor, but I can’t even with the press release from American:

“Upon entering American’s redesigned aircraft, created by design powerhouse Teague, customers will be greeted with an illuminated American Flight Symbol and thin red accent lines, affirming their flagship experience.”

Nothing like having your flagship experience affirmed by the illuminated American Airlines logo!

I like American’s new finishes and color choices

Bottom line

American Airlines has revealed its new business class products, which will debut in 2024 on Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A321XLRs.

Boeing 787-9s will get reverse herringbone Adient Ascent seats with doors, which should be a nice improvement to the passenger experience. Meanwhile Airbus A321XLRs will get herringbone seats with doors, almost identical to what you’ll find on JetBlue’s A321LRs. Expect planes to have at least one row of special business class seats that have more space.

Along with that, American is introducing a new premium economy product, and generally restyled cabins. The airline is also eliminating its premium first class product.

What do you make of American’s new Flagship Suite business class?

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  1. Aaron Guest

    Why must we have herringbone seats at the window??? I’m sorry, I want to look out the window, not into the aisle!

  2. hc Guest

    this will be net loss of premium capacity for transcon. currently a321T has 30 flat beds. the new a321 neo's that are going to replace them on those routes will only have 20 flat beds. granted, they are better product than current product, but just less capacity

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Per unit, but it may not be that way overall.

      Pre-Covid, as more 789s arrived, 77Es were placed on the premium transcons. It wouldn't be surprising to see a return to that behavior, especially in winter, as the oldest 77Es will be more than a quarter century old, by the time any significant number of A321XLRs are in the fleet and operating.

    2. SamB Gold

      This is a good point, the elimination of F means they can schedule any widebodies transcon no problem. Could be lucrative for cargo too.

  3. Chiffy Guest

    My one major problem with this "improvement" is the downgrade of the Transcon experience. We are going from 30 lie-flat seats in a 10F-20J configuration to just 20 seats total for the A321XLR. Unless there are about to lose the SAG contract for LAX-JFK flights, these premium seats will be ridiculously full and there will be money left on the table. For International flights, the new 789 seats look beautiful. Sadly, this is the final...

    My one major problem with this "improvement" is the downgrade of the Transcon experience. We are going from 30 lie-flat seats in a 10F-20J configuration to just 20 seats total for the A321XLR. Unless there are about to lose the SAG contract for LAX-JFK flights, these premium seats will be ridiculously full and there will be money left on the table. For International flights, the new 789 seats look beautiful. Sadly, this is the final death knell to the amazing Transcon service American used to have on it's 762's

    Le sigh.

    1. Jiang Guest

      I don't know how much AA actually sells their F in transcon routes (although I did see some Hollywood and music industry personalities and their entourage frequent JFK-LAX in F), and presumably revenue management determined that 20J seats are about right for their market. I would be sad to lose the opportunities for the upgrades though, if there indeed to be a "better" match of available seats to demand. Or perhaps AA could up the frequency?

    2. SamB Gold

      I wonder if they're considering the B6 partnership as akin to increasing frequencies. Mint is an equivalent or even better product (except for lounge access).

  4. Dave Guest

    If AA don't plan to refurbish all of their existing Dreamliners to match what they just teased, they deserve as much criticism as what UA got for being slow on Polaris retrofits

  5. Justin Guest

    So are they going to introduce an anti-oOsis for their domestic product?

    1. Maxpower Guest

      Fun fact
      Oasis in economy is identical to the delta Retrofits in economy. And what UA already has

  6. Gravelly Point Guy Guest

    Seems a little too tight in my opinion. Maybe it’s just the pic angle??

  7. TravelGirl Guest

    If ilonly food & service could me improved.. my last 3 Bius flights DFW to/from LHR have been so AWFUL I think it didnt even match economy standards and wished I hadnt wasted VIP upgrades
    Wine undrinkable
    Food Inedible
    Service ? 10 hours and NO attendant

  8. Jerry Guest

    Why do they need new PE seats? The current ones are ok

    1. TranceXplant Member

      Agreed. AA's current PE product is the best in OneWorld (CX's is the worst). Hopefully those "wings" don't diminish the experience. I like the new J seats though.

    2. KATA Member

      I’m curious, what makes CX’s seat ‘the worst’? Their seats on the A350 are virtually identical to those of AA’s.

  9. Leigh Guest

    I agree with most about the color palette, as well as the embroidery design of the PE seats. I think it looks refined, a definite improvement over the current bland appearance, and much better than DL, and slightly ahead of UA. Someone in the comments mentioned storage concerns, and I look forward to more info about that feature.

    I've never been crazy about the herringbone layout which they will use on the A321LXR, but I've...

    I agree with most about the color palette, as well as the embroidery design of the PE seats. I think it looks refined, a definite improvement over the current bland appearance, and much better than DL, and slightly ahead of UA. Someone in the comments mentioned storage concerns, and I look forward to more info about that feature.

    I've never been crazy about the herringbone layout which they will use on the A321LXR, but I've also not flown a modern herringbone design such as JetBlue, so I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

  10. DENDAVE Member

    I'm a fan of the color and textures used, at least from these photos which are of course optimized to look great.

    Out of curiosity, this seems to be on a real plane? Or is it a mock-up? Or is this all just a rendering (doesn't seem like it)? Are there actually planes with these cabins installed already for testing and certification purposes? I'm used to seeing mock-ups, but these come across as actual planes and cabins.

    1. Susan Guest

      I was on an actual plane yesterday which looked just like a rendering, very bizarre

  11. Joe Guest

    Looks nice! But. Flew this on the QR 787 last week. The problem is storage! I prefer the older no-door seats on QR over this “suite” purely on that basis. Hope American can sort this before its deployed otherwise its a downgrade even if it looks pretty imo.

  12. Oriflamme Guest

    A huge improvement, especially in terms of the colours and finishes. I’ve long felt that AA’s cabins were remarkable ugly and cheap looking so this looks like a really huge upgrade to me.

  13. Grey Gold

    The hardware seems fine, but the colour scheme and general finishing touches just seem... off. Maybe that is their style and most of the comments on here seem quite pleased, so perhaps it is just me, but personally I find it quite ugly. But again, the hardware itself all seems to be fine and an obvious upgrade.

  14. Ben Guest

    the color palate they chose is odd :/ but the seat is a definite improvement.

    1. Goose Allllighai Guest

      why is it odd? its wood against navy with texture and pops of their logo...do u know nothing about design? how old are you?

  15. ktc Guest

    like they said about XXX, its easy to put up an Olympic stadium but hard to fill it with Olympian spirit. the hardware shines on par with the Asians but software (service & food) will lag - I will gladly eat my own crow.

    1. Donna Diamond

      AA apologist here. I’m always amazed at how allegedly bad the service experience is on major US airlines among some OMAAT respondents. I’m approaching 1.5 million miles on AA and have never experienced bad service, either in Economy or Premium cabins. Furthermore, flying other major US carriers years earlier, I’ve had no service complaints. As for the food and wine selections on AA, the food is not gourmet, quality the wine pedestrian but frankly if...

      AA apologist here. I’m always amazed at how allegedly bad the service experience is on major US airlines among some OMAAT respondents. I’m approaching 1.5 million miles on AA and have never experienced bad service, either in Economy or Premium cabins. Furthermore, flying other major US carriers years earlier, I’ve had no service complaints. As for the food and wine selections on AA, the food is not gourmet, quality the wine pedestrian but frankly if you pay for premium cabin with food, booze and special service as your highest weighted criteria, you will be disappointed. Space, privacy and bed. Everything else is a bonus. And I’ve flown ME3 and Far East airlines in premium cabins and I wouldn’t go out of my way to fly them, on whole the experiences were very good but not a quantum leap. BTW, no air nozzles and hot cabins on some of those Far East long haul flights made the experience not so great.

    2. Jiang Guest

      I agree with you. I have had some really incredibly kind and genuine services from the AA crew based from JFK (esp ex-TWA), LAX, and DFW. (Although, I have to say, Miami is a whole other story, underwhelming to say the least). I think what AA lacks (up until now) is style, but with their new cabin and new Admirals Club concepts I hope it'll be an improvement of branding. Different from Delta, who has...

      I agree with you. I have had some really incredibly kind and genuine services from the AA crew based from JFK (esp ex-TWA), LAX, and DFW. (Although, I have to say, Miami is a whole other story, underwhelming to say the least). I think what AA lacks (up until now) is style, but with their new cabin and new Admirals Club concepts I hope it'll be an improvement of branding. Different from Delta, who has a knack to package cheap stuff to appear more "expensive", AA premium cabin actually has more comfortable seats, in better, more substantial materials. Admittedly, Delta One cabin looks more stylish in photos, but the materials are cheap and flimsy, and things are already breaking down after a year in service, and the seats are just not that comfortable. Delta cuts corners by not installing fold-able headrests, or not installing touchscreen remotes, and people are just overwhelmed by the superficial halo effect of appearance. I hope AA maintains the quality and substance of seats with the new roll-out.

    3. Goose Allighai Guest

      once again, such a conservative way of thinking - here we are talking about the design upgrades to the hardware of an airline and people bring in their bias about every other thing. no, this doesn't win arguments. this doesn't mean anything, your opinion means nothing when you go this route. always. go to sleep

  16. Davis Guest

    There’s a QR code with the old AA logo on the side of the literature pocket, in the third photo above. Virtual menu perhaps?

    1. jak Member

      Interesting observation. But I can't even wrap my mind around why AA would randomly re-introduce the old (superior) logo here. Especially when it's clear they aren't planning to bring it back - the "flight symbol" is plastered all over the cabin lest we forget who we're traveling with.

  17. Daniel B. Guest

    @Lucky. Looking at these pics, it seems we might not experience those using business award tickets, since business saver awards on AA have been non-existent for months from the US to Europe (or back). I have been checking it several times a day for months, and nothing. Do you by any chance know what is the reason for this total lack of awards on AA (and AY, IB). Only BA has availability with their outrageously high ($1,500) fees.

    1. Donna Diamond

      I do not have any insider information but as an AA EXP who flies international itineraries, I observe that prices are way up and capacity (fewer international flights) down since 2019. My reading of the tea leaves is that once new deliveries of widebody aircraft get into service, the fares will drop and there could be better award travel opportunities. Let’s hope anyway!

    2. Daniel B. Guest

      Thank you Donna - keep our fingers crossed.....

  18. uldguy Diamond

    Looks great to me.

    Now, if they would only do something about the sardine can LOPA on the 787-8. Those backward facing seats are awful.

  19. Donna Diamond

    Best possible news for this AA loyalist! Both new cabins are destined for routes I frequent. I’m very encouraged and excited about the future of air travel following the dark years of the pandemic.

  20. Todd Guest

    "nothing earth shattering" . Ben, you got your wish for a door in the business class seat. Oh and by the way AA had to get permission from the FAA to put a door on a business class seat, bet you didn't know that. yes there is a FAA reg that you cant have a door in a business class seat.

    1. ConcordeBoy Diamond

      Even if true, it's clearly not that difficult to get past, seeing as DL, B6, AA, etc have all overcome it....

  21. Jason Guest

    American's own press release says they will begin retrofitting the 777-300ER aircraft starting in 2024. It says it will have 70 of these Flagship Suites and 44 Premium economy seats.

    The press release also says that it will retrofit the A321T aircraft to "align those 16 aircraft with the rest of its A321 fleet". It then goes on to say that it will continue to offer lieflat seats on transcon routes from NYC and Boston....

    American's own press release says they will begin retrofitting the 777-300ER aircraft starting in 2024. It says it will have 70 of these Flagship Suites and 44 Premium economy seats.

    The press release also says that it will retrofit the A321T aircraft to "align those 16 aircraft with the rest of its A321 fleet". It then goes on to say that it will continue to offer lieflat seats on transcon routes from NYC and Boston. Not sure if they will reconfigure the A321T with this new product OR they'll use other aircraft with lie flat seats on these routes.

    Either way, these are pretty big parts of the press release and I'm surprised you didnt mention them.

    1. LK Guest

      He says they will replace the transcon A321T with A321XLR, but it goes DOWN from 30 lie flat seats (10 in First, 20 in Biz) to 20 lie flat seats in Biz with doors.

  22. Bryan Guest

    It does seem like from these photos that the bulkhead suites might not be angled at all. They could be pretty spacious and a definite upgrade over AA’s existing first class seats that have zero privacy. They might still try to sell it as first for the sake of one world. All around looks really nice. Nothing revolutionary but all good choices.

  23. Alonzo Diamond

    It's AA, but I don't see anything to not like here.

  24. George Guest

    Meanwhile on the other side of the Atlantic you have Lufthansa with their incredible outdates business class seat…

  25. Eskimo Guest

    DOORS!!!!!

    It's now the greatest [expletive] business class seat ever.
    Unmatched privacy, that only people standing can bypass.

    1. John Guest

      DOOOOOOOOORS!!!!!!

      As a midget, the doors are still adequate enough to block pax from seeing you as you hobble past to economy.

  26. Andrew Guest

    Is this not the same as BA Club Suites? on the 777

  27. Travis Guest

    Looks like they are taking the leg rests away from the bulkhead of premium economy.

  28. KATA Member

    Those are some really snazzy seats for AA! If they can somehow make the service consistent(ly good) and improve their catering, they could really compete with the world’s best carriers.

  29. Jim Guest

    If you look at the A321XLR photos, the head of the seat faces away from the window. That's a pretty big design flaw.

    1. KATA Member

      It’s the same seat with Jetblue’s Mint on their A321LRs.

  30. Ford Guest

    In the widebody rendering, it looks like the bulkhead J suite doors are grey compared the the brown doors on the rest of the suites in the cabin. I wonder if there will be any product differentiation there akin the Mint Suites?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Ford -- Excellent observation! Updated the post to reflect that. I think you're right.

    2. Ryan Guest

      Also notice the screen is flat vs angles and if you look at the seat on the left aisle bulkhead it appears as though the screen is flat. Could be wrong as had to zoom in pretty far but seems to me like it

  31. Terence Gold

    Between the lines, it will likely be 70J instead of 8F52J for 77W. It's not necessarily a bad news, at all.

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.

Alonzo Diamond

It's AA, but I don't see anything to not like here.

3
ConcordeBoy Diamond

Even if true, it's clearly not that difficult to get past, seeing as DL, B6, AA, etc have all overcome it....

1
Donna Diamond

I do not have any insider information but as an AA EXP who flies international itineraries, I observe that prices are way up and capacity (fewer international flights) down since 2019. My reading of the tea leaves is that once new deliveries of widebody aircraft get into service, the fares will drop and there could be better award travel opportunities. Let’s hope anyway!

1
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