Will American Airlines finally eliminate international first class?

We’ve been predicting it for years, but a knowledgeable insider suggests that international first class on American Airlines is finally on the way out.

Insider: American Airlines will eliminate international first class

Currently, American Airlines offers its International First or Premium Class products on board select Airbus A321s and Boeing 777-300ERs.

As recently as last week there was intense speculation that the first class Airbus aircraft, known as the A321T, would undergo a modernization that would remove first class and add premium economy class from here 2024.

That would have left only the 777-300ER fleet in first class.

Last night, industry insider JonNYC posted the following message:

American Airlines is also introducing a new business class seat for its 777-300ER and with that will come an upgrade. JonNYCwhich is almost always accurate, indicates that the first class seat is likely to be removed during this process.

And let’s face it, that makes sense. American Airlines chose not to invest in its first-class onboard product (really, a missed opportunity) and it just doesn’t make sense to have additional service cabins.

> Find out more: Five ways American Airlines can deliver a premium first-class product

Even the old “but Hollywood contracts need real first class” argument is no longer the case…the contracts have been renegotiated. First class is generally not required.

Now, all of that, if true, is years away. We won’t see a new business class seat unveiled until next year and probably won’t see it on the 777-300ER for several years. But it marks another step towards the elimination of the first class. This time, however, it’s more than speculation.

What will AA do with Flagship First Dining?

Currently, AA offers an innovative restaurant-style service for passengers traveling in international first class. I don’t expect AA to shut down these flagship restaurants. Instead, I think AA will create either a special program aWorld Emerald Lounge (this has been rumored in cooperation with joint venture partner British Airways) or will integrate the dining experience into the Flagship Lounge, much as United Airlines does with its Polaris Lounges and as Delta would expand with its new range of Lounges Delta One.

Either way, I would expect these catering facilities to stay. After all, AA has already invested in this beautiful common space and that marks a product differentiator as possible. monetized in any other way should disappear the first class.


I consider the elimination of international first class on American Airlines a loss, for the reasons I have outlined above. As the only US carrier to offer it, American had (and still has) a chance to differentiate the product and sell it…believe me, my wealthy customers at Award Expert are willing to shell out the money if the product is convincing. Unfortunately, AA has already pretty much given up on first class. News regarding the A321T last week and the 777-300ER this week suggests that AA will soon deliver what we have already predicted as official news.

picture: American Airlines

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