American Airlines has expanded plans to eliminate first-class seats and replace them with more business-class seats on its international flights.
Some of the new seats on long-haul international flights will be called ‘flagship suites’ There is also a seat that converts into a bed and door for privacy.
The change was first disclosed last month and was reiterated on Thursday on a conference call with investors by the company’s chief commercial officer Vasu Raja, who said the change was in response to customer demand.
“First class will not exist … on American Airlines, for the simple reason that our customers don’t buy it,” he said in response to a question.
American Airlines later told CNN that Raja was referring only to international flights.
“The quality of business class seats has improved a lot. Frankly, by removing [first class] We can offer more business class seats, which is what our customers most want or are willing to pay for,” Raja said.
Most aircraft used on domestic routes, including nearly all single-aisle jets, will continue to have standard first-class seats in the front of the plane. While they also have more legroom and may recline more than economy class seats, they don’t lie flat.
“It’s mostly a name change. Business class on most airlines is what we called first class 20 years ago,” said Mike Boyd, an airline consultant.
Many of the planes American Airlines use on international flights have ditched seats designated “first class” in favor of business class, premium economy class that’s slightly wider than standard economy class, and economy class seats that take up most of the cabin.
Rivals United Airlines and Delta Air Lines A few years ago, they ditched the title of first class on international flights in favor of more luxurious business class. Delta made changes in 1998 and United made changes in 2016.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that American Airlines was dropping all first class. It only eliminated first class on international flights.