A few weeks ago, the Simple Flying team wrote a story about the high likelihood that American Airlines would eliminate its first class product. Multiple other media outlets thought the same. I had even heard from American Airlines staff that the product was going away, but after yesterday’s Flagship Suite unveiling, The Design Air seems to think that the Flagship First product will not be going away so soon.

American may not get rid of its first class product

Yesterday, American Airlines announced a much-needed update to its premium hard product on its aircraft, unveiling complete suites with privacy doors. The new Flagship Suite will be featured on the new Boeing 787-9s and Airbus A321XLRs that the airline will receive beginning in 2024. The Design Air does not believe that the Flagship First product will go away soon, based on a few things in the new cabins’ renderings.

Though this was not mentioned in the press release, it looks like American will offer a ‘Premium Business Class’ hard product at the bulkhead seats of the cabin, which is becoming a trend with airlines. A closer look at the renderings would reveal that the bulkhead seats have a different color door and trim. This likely means that Adient is offering a separate front-row seat, providing much more room than the traditional seats. This would be similar to JetBlue’s Mint product but even better.


Mint has 24 business seats: two studios and 22 suites. Photo: James Pearson | Simple Flying.

Though first class products are beginning to disappear, this could be an excellent strategy for American Airlines, as it would offer something that neither of the other two major U.S. airlines can offer. United Airlines and Delta Air Lines had upgraded their premium products, offering United Polaris Business Class and Delta One, but American had fallen behind. Yesterday’s announcement excited many people in the aviation industry and passengers. Still, many criticized American’s customer service and said that although the new product is very appealing, that American should improve its service.

If American truly offers this upgraded premium product, it will likely be a first class “light” product with just a few differences in the hard product and a few extra soft products. The airline’s goal will be to offer a better product without drastically increasing operating costs.

New Premium Economy

American Airlines was the first to introduce a long-haul premium economy in the United States in 2016. The offering has been a popular one because it is a better product than standard economy without the high cost of a business class product. The new premium economy seats are the same ones that Delta uses on its Airbus A321neo aircraft, labeling them as first class.

Delta debuted its Airbus A321neo first class cabin a few months ago. Photo: Delta Air Lines

American is putting its cards on premium products, increasing premium seats by 45% by 2026. The demand that the airline is experiencing for a premium class above economy and below business must be high for the airline to be investing so much into this class of product.

What do you think of American’s current premium products and customer service? Does the new product make you want to fly with American? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: simpleflying.com

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