Major US carrier made an announcement that it is getting rid of its First Class on international flights due to complete lack of passenger demand for the seats in the premium cabin.
“First Class will not exist on the 777, or for that matter at American Airlines, for the simple reason that our customers aren’t buying it,” American Airlines’ CCO Vasu Raja announced yesterday.
But the departure of the First Class doesn’t mean luxury and comfort are going out the window at American Airlines.
Last month, AA rolled out its new ‘Flagship Suite’ Business Class, that will offer passengers a privacy door, chaise lounge seating option and more storage space, as part of scheme to expand by 45% the number of premium seats available on its long-haul routes within the next four years.
“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,” American Airlines’ Vice President of Customer Experience Julie Rath said last month.
According to Raja, complete removal of First-Class seats from carrier’s aircraft will allow it to add more Business-Class seats, which is what more passengers seem to prefer and are willing to purchase when booking their flights.
“The quality of the Business-Class seat has improved so much. And frankly, by removing [first class] we can go provide more business class seats, which is what our customers most want or are most willing to pay for,” Raja said.
New Flagship Suite will be a standard feature on America Airlines’ new Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A321XLR aircraft starting from 2024.
Twenty Boeing 777-300ER jets that are already part of the carrier’s fleet will be retrofitted with the new suite the same year. The updates will include 70 Flagship Suite seats and 44 Premium Economy seats.
American Airlines announcement comes as the US airline sector continues to rebound after the COVID-19 pandemic slump and severe travel restrictions imposed by the world governments.