American Airlines recently announced it would begin offering suites to members of its business class.
As The Street’s Veronika Bondarenko recently explained, these suites are “ultra-luxury seats… divided by individual doors and can transform from individual armchairs to a quad for a group of four to lie-back sleeper seats depending on the travelers’ preference.”
But American Airlines (AAL) didn’t stop there in its quest to bring the luxury travel experience to its customers, as it has now announced plans to drastically overhaul the Business Class travel experience.
American Airlines Overhauls Its Business Class
As noted by Cranky Flier, American Airlines plans to revamp the Business Class flying experience by offering a door on every seat, essentially turning every seat into a private suite.
Dubbed the Flagship Suite, American will begin offering this feature in 2024 on its Airbus A321XLR and Boeing 787-9 aircraft, and in addition to the privacy door, the suites will also offer a chaise lounge seating option and will also double the previous amount of personal storage space.
As part of this move, American Airlines premium seats for its long-haul flights (which are flights that take longer than seven hours) will grow by 45% by 2026. American’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft will have 51 Flagship Suite seats and 32 Premium Economy seats, while the Airbus A321XLR aircraft will have 20 Flagship Suite seats and 12 Premium Economy seats.
“We are enhancing the customer experience across their entire journey with American,” American’s Vice President of Customer Experience Julie Rath said. “The arrival of new long-haul aircraft and the customized seat design of the Flagship Suite seats will offer customers a truly private premium experience on our long-haul fleet.”
Members of the airlines’ AAdvantage loyalty program can earn points towards these Flagship Suite seats.
Is American Airlines Getting Rid Of First Class?
The Cranky Flier notes that this move to expand Business Class offerings will likely mean that “First Class will officially go away. It probably won’t be missed.”
Business class flying is generally aimed at people whose jobs require a lot of travel and who therefore look to make the vast amount of time they spend in the air more pleasurable. It doesn’t tend to offer the same over-the-top luxury as first class, though there is an emphasis on better food, premium beverages, and additional leg room, if not the full-on private space that many first-class passengers get.
Because first class tends to be more expensive, business class is a more popular option for travelers who still want a nicer experience but also wish to keep an eye on their budget, so it makes sense that American Airlines would want to expand its offerings in this department.
As part of this overhaul, American will retrofit 20 Boeing 777-300ERs to include the Flagship Suite seats by late 2024. This update will increase the amount of premium seats, with 70 Flagship Suite seats and 44 Premium Economy seats. American will also retrofit its existing 16 Airbus A321T fleet to match the upcoming A321 fleet.