American Airlines Fixes Its International Business Class Seat, Offers Less Padding In Coach

Two and a half years ago American Airlines ordered 47 more Boeing 787s. The 22 Boeing 787-8s that are part of this order were slated to begin arriving this year and they haven’t been deferred in spite of the global pandemic.

The new Boeing 787-8s American is receiving don’t have exactly the same interiors as the planes that they began taking delivery of in 2015. beam5192 on Instagram shared video of a new American Airlines Boeing 787-8 interior and two things really stood out to me.

  1. A tweak to the business class seats, which are the current Super Diamond seats found on newer 787-9s and some Boeing 777-200s (and thus different than the business class seats on American’s older 787-8s).

  2. Different economy seats as well.

Different Business Class Seats Than The Other 787-8s, And A Design Tweak

When American Airlines rolled out their ‘Concept D’ business class seat with the Boeing 787-8 and installed them on some Boeing 777-200s there were several problems. Some of the seats weren’t mounted to the floor well and passengers in one center seat could cause movement in another. In addition the dividers between the center seats would get stuck in the up or the down position.

These are the ‘forward and rear-facing fully flat seats’ American was buying from Zodiac.

American locked the center seat dividers in place. If they’re up, they’re up and passengers traveling together couldn’t see each other. If they’re down passengers in center seats lack privacy. They promised a fix for these seats two years ago.

When the airline switched seat providers and began installing ‘Super Diamond’ seats in their Boeing 787-9 aircraft and the rest of their 777-200s, they decided not to offer dividers at all for middle seats. Business class passengers traveling solo and stuck in middle seats just wouldn’t have privacy from their neighbor.

Here’s the Super Diamond seat on a Boeing 787-9. They’re all forward-facing:

The center seats have no divider between them.

However dividers between business class center seats have been added to the new 787-8 Super Diamond seats. They’re manual dividers, not electronic, but they should do the trick.

Credit: beam5192

Super Thin Seats In Economy

Here’s the current Boeing 787-8 economy seat used in the planes American has been flying since 2015:

Meanwhile here are the new economy seats with less cushioning.

Credit: beam5192

American would say this increases the ‘usable space’ of the seat, but taking away cushioning from the seat to get there isn’t the same as truly adding legroom. And since the Boeing 787 is designed to operate transoceanic flights, it’s likely to make anything beyond three hours more uncomfortable than it is today – and 9 seats across in a Boeing 787 is already a tight squeeze.

This is probably the Collins Aerospace Aspire seat, which is quite common. United Airlines uses it. And American has been buying all of their seats from this single supplier since 2016.

Premium economy is the Collins Aerospace MiQ and appears to be similar on these new planes than on the rest of the airline’s fleet – foot bars instead of foot rests except in the bulkhead, and the same basic seat that American Airlines uses for domestic first class.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. If I ever do fly that aircraft which I doubt I’ll bring my own portable seat and cushion with me .Do you think American will ever produce a product that customers might actually want to fly?Probably a stupid question

  2. Formerly UWorst Airways does it again! Had flown nearly 1 million with original AA. None with US.
    Gave left over miles to homeless CA street people.

  3. Having flown in a A321 neo, coach with the new seats for 6 hours, I didn’t have any issue and I have a lower back issue so like food, seats and padding are subjective. Yes all international and widebody planes have IFE in the seatbacks including live TV. The WIFI is scheduled to be moved to VIASAT from Panasonic over the next two years which will be HUGE!

  4. I have really had enough of AA. They are more concerned with $$ than their customers. Time to migrate.

  5. The armrests on the new seats appear to be smaller and have less cushioning. On the positive side, the headrest on the new seats looks to be an improvement.

  6. All airlines have been propped up by taxpayer funds and repay us all by acting like our deceitful government… embrace the suck seems to b the motto, profits first, robbery second and customer last

  7. The fact that their employees wear terrorist pins is enough to keep me off. One only has to Google BLM to see it is a hate Marxist group, having nothing to do with race. What’s next? KKKHoods?

  8. american airline is the worse— maybe next they will give plastic cafeteria type seats to economy
    class — worse air travel ever had internationally and nationally —

  9. Approximately two years ago, American Airlines President, Robert Isom explained that American wasn’t keen on improving anything for passengers unless it could make money out of that improvement while American’s CEO last year offered the view that customer service really isn’t all that important. The results of this philosophy are obvious when you look at the amount of seats being packed into each airplane, the reduced legroom, and now less cushioning.

  10. After flying from Phoenix, AZ to Daytona Beach on AA in August of this year (2020), I will never go anywhere via AA again. Horribly rude flight attendants yelling through the microphone that everyone must have their masks on covering their nose and mouth during the entire flight or AA guarantees that you will not be allowed on the return flight. Yet we were packed in like sardines so social distancing was out of the question. Never. Again.

  11. I stopped flying American 20 years ago. I’m 5′ tall and even I feel cramped in the stingy seats. First to charge for bags, then they were all in on it. Uh. Travel. Going somewhere? Might need as change of underwear? I let the rest of my miles expire — about 1,200 — 6 years ago. Even before I quit AA, I’ve been an egalitarian Southwest girl. Smartest domestic airline in the US. Comfy leather seats, lots if routes, a sane website. What is WRONG with AA, Delta and UA? My guess is they’re all the same airline run by one total jerk.

  12. I had issue with AA in LA. The late night flight was delayed. Then a family on samenflight said they had observed the pilot drinking heavily in one of the airport bars. Sure enough the pilot showed up and then he walked passed is and said they had refused to let him fly.
    So I went to the gate person and told the man what I had heard. He immediately started yelling st me and stating I was being too aggressive.
    I am handicapped and when we finally could board I was in line and the gate agent yelled my last name and told me to get out of line and he stated he most likely was not going to let me on flight. I called the main lab number for AA. He heard me speaking with them and he finally let me board as the last one on flight. I have medical issues with my legs so my legs was banging against every person’s legs etc. To get to my seat. Then no where to out my bag. I had to put it under seat in front of me which cramped up my bad legs.
    Then the same gate agent came on board and pointed me out to the pilot.
    I am a handicapped person that still works as I dont want to be dependent on tax payers etc. My company uses AA and recommends that its staff do so but I refuse to ever get on an AA flight again.

  13. I had eagerly looked forward to my first 787 Dreamliner flights in 2018. But I was sorely (in all senses) disappointed. I sat in one of the economy exit rows, so I did have some added legroom. But the 787 was designed for 2-4-2 seating, not 3-3-3. I’m rather tall, but not overweight, and I felt nearly crippled at the end of the 11-hour flight.

  14. I’m more tempted to fly Delta. Having heard and read about their ‘attention to detail’ on board service I think they are now THE premier airline in North America for passenger service and hope with seat comfort they never go the way of American Airlines or United.

  15. It’s obvious AA doesn’t give a crap & won’t do anything positive for the customer’s comfort! Their stock price is only $13+ while the other airlines are double or triple that! Where are the board of directors? Fire this nitwit or risk bankruptcy!!!!

  16. I’ve already left a comment about my horrible experience with AA but want to add that a friend of mine who travels constantly for her job and always flew 1st class AND knew most of the flight attendants has quit flying on AA. This happened mid-year THIS year.

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