American Airlines has expanded its plans to replace first-class seats with business class on international flights.
Flagship Suites are new long-haul international flight seats. They feature doors and beds that can be converted into privacy seats.
Vasu Raja (the company’s chief marketing officer) first announced the changes last month. He reiterated them Thursday during a conference call with investors. He stated that the change was in response to customer demand.
He responded to a question by saying, “The first class won’t exist at American Airlines simply because our customers aren’t buying it.”
American Airlines later confirmed to CNN that Raja meant international flights.
“The business class seats have improved in quality.” Raja stated that by eliminating [first class], we can provide more business-class seats which are what our customers most desire or are willing to pay for.”
Domestic flights, which include almost all single-aisle aircraft, will still use the first-class standard seats at the front. They are not as comfortable as economy seats and have more legroom.
“This is mainly a name change. Mike Boyd, an airline consultant, said that business class is what most carriers call first class twenty years ago.
American Airlines has dropped “first class” seats on many international flights. Instead, they offer business class, premium economy seating that is slightly wider than standard economy and which fills the majority of the cabin.
Rivals United Airlines and Delta airlines have discontinued the first-class designation for international flights many years ago. They now offer more luxurious business classes. United made the same change in 2016, while Delta did it in 1998.