On their third quarter, financial earnings call American Airlines executives stated they plan to end first class on international flights because customers aren’t willing to pay for it.
“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’s chief commercial officer Vasu Raja said during on a call about the company’s third financial quarter.
The price cap for what customers are willing to pay for ends with business class seats.
“And frankly, by removing [first-class seats], we can provide more business-class seats, which is what our customers most want or are most willing to pay for,” Raja said the third quarter call.
These first class seats will be replaced by business-class suites on certain long-haul flights. Delta and United airlines have both dropped first class designation on international flights years ago.
But just because first-class is decreasing doesn’t mean premium options are.
Additionally, in September American Airlines unveiled plans for new premium Flagship Suite Seats. Flagship Suite seats will feature privacy doors and lie-flat seats at the beginning in 2024.
“We are enhancing the customer experience across their entire journey with American,” American’s Vice President of Customer Experience Julie Rath said. “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 said premium seating in their long-haul fleet will grow more than 45 percent by 2026. Re-designing aircrafts and strategies to fit the high demand of non-luxury travelers is something American and all other airlines will need to keep in mind.