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American Airlines Eliminates International First Class

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American Airlines (AA) will no longer offer first-class service on its international flights. This choice puts the carrier in line with competitors such as Delta Air Lines (DL) and United (UA), which abandoned first class for international service in 1998 and 2016, respectively. Let’s take a closer look at what American Airlines has in its hands.


Business class versus first class: American Airlines applies for business

American Airlines has officially announced that it is getting rid of its premium product in international services. Instead, the carrier will expand the business class that is more in line with customer demand than the airline.

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Currently, American Airlines offers its premium product on the carrier’s 20 Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus 321Ts. Both aircraft will be retrofitted and the first class will be replaced by a brand new business class cabin. However, Vasu Raja, American Airlines’ Chief Commercial Officer, pointed out that the carrier will phase out its premium product only on long-haul services. Because of this, nearly all American Airlines narrow-body narrowbodies will continue to have a first-class class at the front of the aircraft.

During a conversation with American Airlines’ investors, Raja explained that the carrier will no longer offer world-class international services as there is no longer demand for such products in the long-haul market. Consequently, from a commercial point of view, it makes no sense to keep a luxury class that doesn’t sell. Instead, American Airlines is expanding its business class, thereby increasing its revenues, or in Raja’s words:

“The quality of the business class seat has improved a lot. And frankly, [first class] We can go and get more business class seats, which is what our customers most want or are most willing to pay for.”

Mike Boyd, an aviation consultant, highlighted how, at most airlines, today’s business class product reflects what was called “first class” two decades ago. So what airlines like American Airlines are doing, namely expanding the business class cabin and removing first class is just a “name change“The strategy is more than a true cabin class revolution.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

American Airlines’ new Flagship Suites: “masked” first class

Mike Boyd’s words actually reflect American Airlines’ strategy, the carrier recently unveiled its new business class product, “Flagship Suites.”

Recliners with sun lounger option and privacy door. This is what American Airlines’ premium passengers now want and are ready to pay; It matters little whether this product is sold as a premium seat or a premium seat. The new Flagship Suite is designed to luxuriously fill the void left by the removal of first class flights from international flights, in line with the latest long-haul premium market trends.

The new business class will be installed on the carrier’s Airbus 321XLR and Boeing 787-9, which will be delivered from 2024. Additionally, the airline stated that all American Airlines 20 Boeing 777-300ERs will be powered by Flagship Suites starting late 2024. A statement by the airline about the new business class product reads:

We believe our Flagship Suite gives customers what they most desire on a long haul flight: privacy doors, flat seating, direct aisle access and more personal space.”

Photo: American Airlines

Business class and premium economy: the American way of flying

American Airlines is also expanding its long-haul premium capacity by adding more premium economy seats to its international services.

In 2016, American Airlines was the first airline in the US to launch a winning premium economy product in the long haul market. Six years later, American has redesigned its premium economy product to provide more comfort, offer more privacy and double the in-seat storage space.

Photo: American Airlines

As for the new Flagship Suites, it will be offered on the new premium economy Boeing 787-9, Airbus 321XLR and revamped Boeing 777-300ER from 2024. The Boeing 787-9 will have 51 Flagship Suites and 32 premium economy seats, while the Airbus 321XLR will have 20 Flagship Suites and 12 premium economy seats. On the other hand, the renewed Boeing 777-300ER will offer 70 Flagship Suite seats and 44 premium economy seats.

Photo: Vincenzo Pace I Simple Flying

With the introduction of the new business and premium economy product and the abolition of first class, premium seats in American Airlines’ long-haul fleet will improve by a staggering 45% by 2026.

What do you think of American Airlines’ decision to remove first class from international services? Let us know in the comment section below!

Source: American Airlines; CNN

  • American Airlines Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner From Above

    American Airlines

    IATA/ICAO Code:
    AA/AAL

    Airline Type:
    Full Service Carrier

    Center(s):
    Charlotte Douglas International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Miami International Airport, New York JFK Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Philadelphia International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

    Establishment Year:
    1926

    Alliance:
    a world

    CEO:
    Robert Isom

    Country:
    United States of America

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