American Airlines is canceling first class on international travel

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Flying overseas in business class or better is one of those things – like getting the good seats at the game – that once you’ve done, it’s hard to go back to coach or the stands. Some luxuries, you will convince yourself, are worth paying for. In accordance The Wall Street Journalone such option – first-class seats on international American Airlines flights – is soon gone. American says this decision was made, partial, to add more business-class seats, which these days, is pretty much what the old first class was anyway.

American had previously said as much last monthalthough WSJ reports that on an earnings call on Thursday, an American executive said clearly that the airline is making the change for the simple reason that first class does not sell as well as the other good seats on the plane.

“And frankly, by removing [first-class seats]can we offer more seats in business class, which is what our customers most want or are most willing to pay for” [said Chief Commercial Officer Vasu Raj.]


…the airline will equip its long-haul fleet with new “Flagship Suites”, which include lie-flat seats and sliding doors for privacy, in a revamp that will increase premium seating on these planes by more than 45% by 2026.

The new suites will be included on newly delivered Boeing 787-9 aircraft and Airbus A321 XLRs starting in 2024. American will also retrofit its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to include the new suites.

The sliding door thing seems a bit unnecessary, but then again, people get really weird on airplanes, especially on long-haul trips, and some people value their privacy more than I do. More importantly, this says that many of the business-class seats lie flat, which is the real game changer, as traveling abroad after hours of restless, rubbish sleep in an upright chair as opposed to restful, continuous sleep lying flat makes a night-and-day difference.

In any case, this seems mostly an exercise in branding, only as “first class”. sounds more expensive than “business-class”, like, like WSJ notes, have most of the same benefits anyway. Are any of them worth it to you, you poor dirtbag? It’s a personal decision, although I prefer to save my money for my destination, and arrive in London or wherever stiff as a board, after flying coach. The times I’ve flown first or business class were paid for by someone else, which was nice of them. On one such flight I even sat next to the actress Rooney Mara once. I’m sure she was doing something much cooler in France than driving a stupid luxury SUV.

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