American’s new domestic first class seat is literally the same seat that they use in premium economy, except that it lacks a foot bar or foot rest. The seat is, therefore, premium economy-lite. It’s disingenuous in the extreme to call it ‘business class’.
Airbus A321neo interior, credit: American Airlines
However on some routes, up until now, that’s what they’ve done when flying Boeing 737s to Latin America. It’s especially galling when they replace a Boeing 757 or larger aircraft that has flat beds up front, sold as business class, with a 737 that has only a larger domestic seat – and still call that business class.
American, though, is finally taking Delta’s lead in branding domestic first class as premium economy when it flies transatlantic. When Delta runs domestic Boeing 757s across the Atlantic, as they do to Iceland, the forward cabin is called ‘Premium Select’ and there’s no business class offered.
That’s exactly what American is doing when their Philadelphia – Keflavik flight resumes June 3, 2021 operated by an Airbus A321neo. “W” is the fare class for premium economy:
As of now, the flight resumes June 3 and June 3 is that very farthest out that American’s schedule is published. So only one day is available for this flight, and oddly AA.com will only sell it so far in coach.
And unfortunately this practice doesn’t appear to have been extended to other routes, for instance American is still selling the front cabin of the Airbus A321 serving Miami – Lima as ‘business class’ despite offering a domestic product.