American Airlines is reportedly planning some seat upgrades for its business class cabin onboard its new 787 Dreamliners. The first planes from its latest order of 787s will begin arriving in 2023, and it’s thought they will come with an onboard suite! Here’s what we know so far.
American’s new long haul seats
According to reports from One Mile At A Time, American Airlines’ new Boeing 787 Dreamliners will be getting a brand new premium seat product. The airline already has over 40 Dreamliners in service, but subsequently placed a huge order for an additional 47 of the type, ordered to replace its aging 767s.
OMAAT reports that these will not start delivering until 2023, and that when they do, they’ll come with a business class product that is much more ‘suite’ than seat.
What seat will it be?
As The Points Guy notes, American already uses a variety of business class seats, but has been narrowing down its selection since it stopped working with Zodiac in 2015. Since then, the only seat it has installed in premium cabins has been the Rockwell Collins Super Diamond seat. TPG claims this is the seat on all its 787-9s and around 50% of its 777-200s.
The Super Diamond is fast becoming the most popular seat for premium interiors. The new BA Club Suite product is a Super Diamond, albeit slightly modified with the addition of a door. Fiji’s A350 uses the same set, as do many of the Chinese carriers including Hainan and China Airlines. It’s lie flat, it gives direct aisle access and makes great use of the available space when configured in the natural reverse herringbone formation.
American Airlines uses the straightforward Super Diamond on its existing Dreamliners, so it was widely assumed it would be the same choice for its incoming fleet. However, a spokesperson told TPG,
“We have chosen a seat for the 787-8s that we’ll receive in 2020 … It’s an enhanced version of the Collins Super Diamond seat model that we have on our current 787-9 and some 777-200s.”
So it will be a Super Diamond, but perhaps not as we know it!
How will AA modify the seat?
As a close partner of British Airways, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to hear that AA is considering installing a door on the Super Diamond seat. This would effectively turn the ‘seat’ into a ‘suite’, albeit not a very spacious one when using the reverse herringbone formation.
With any luck, AA can learn a few things from BA, such as not to have a big red handle on the door that looks amazingly tempting to pull to open it… when it actually dislodges the door from its frame (as an emergency escape mechanism) and requires all manner of faff to put back in place.
What would be interesting is if AA decides to play with the arrangement of the seats also. Rather than going for a reverse herringbone, the airline could look to stagger the seats, giving each passenger more privacy and space. This could end up being something not a million miles away from the stunning Qsuite found on Qatar.
For now, we’ll have to wait and see. And with AA’s new batch of 787s not arriving until 2023, it looks like we’ll have to be very, very patient!