Could This Be The New American Airlines Business Class Seat

I shared this month that American Airlines is still planning new cabins for Boeing 787-9s they take delivery of, and Airbus A321XLRs. There will be full mockups of the cabins for testing this time.

Just before the pandemic American Airlines was previewing potential seat choices. My initial bet was they’d stay with the current ‘Super Diamond’ business class seat and add doors similar to British Airways.

However serious consideration was being given to the new Adient Ascent seat and two different configurations of that seat were being shown.

The Adient Ascent seat is a new entry from Adient and Boeing. This is a very modular seat which can be laid out in a number of different ways, depending on the density and quality of experience desired by the airline. Here’s a fantastic video of the seat (HT: @xJonNYC):

Adient Ascent has been around less than three years. The first customer for the seat is Hawaiian Airlines, on their Boeing 787s.


Credit: Adient Aerospace


Credit: Adient Aerospace

This seat is now fully certified.

The seat model is designed for widebody cabins and is available with various options such as doors to provide passenger separation and privacy: both growing trends, particularly given a desire for social distancing.

In an ideal world American would pick a version with at least part of the center of the cabin that turns into effectively a double bed. And hopefully they’d offer nice trim and ample storage.

This seat, in its more generous configurations, would be an excellent choice for the airline. It’s meant for widebodies, so would be most likely for its Boeing 787-9s, but Adient could also provide a seat for narrowbodies. Any plane – even the A321XLR – that American sends transatlantic needs to offer fully flat seats if they’re selling a business class cabin per the carrier’s joint venture agreements.

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 InsideFlyer.com, 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. Looks good to me. I think AA would be wise to invest in the best seats as their service will never be up to competitors, especially foreign ones.

    I think that airlines often underestimate the value of a marginally better seat, and overestimate the value of marginally better soft product for business class passengers — I know I almost only care about the former, and hardly for the later — I rarely eat or drink much on planes even on ultra-long-hauls, and only really care about being comfortable. I care even less for the nick-knacks and doo-dads they give away (i.e., KLM’s houses and EVA’s Rowenta mini-suitcases) which must cost airlines tons of money but are totally lost on me.

  2. I have been EXP for about 10 years now and have ZERO desire to fly on AA again as the on-board service is worse than taking a train ride.
    New seat would not change things, in my opinion. They should go back to the fundamentals.
    Gone are the fun, old days and welcome the new normal with American.
    I really think it has to do with the people hired from US(scare)Ways.

  3. I’ve always figured the “add-ons” (lounge, food/beverage, amenity kits, even stuff like luggage allowance, etc) are all there to provide increased perceived value for various customers. Seems to me that the real cost for providing business class is the increased floorspace on the airplane. While the additional add-ons certainly cost money to provide, I’d be curious about the economics of it vs plane space. I figure they’re a relatively low-cost way to offer value to different customers (I may value lounge access, you may value food/drink, etc), and if you start removing too many of them, you’ll start removing value from different customers.

    To measurably increase the floor space per passenger would really cost money. Wasn’t this one of the main points of United’s Polaris seats, to give all aisle access seating without lowering the density?

    “Better” seats means more efficient use of space, without the passenger feeling like they’re getting packed in more densely.

  4. Just keep giving me a comfortable bed for those SDY and AKL odyssey’s and I’ll continue to be a happy camper.

  5. Years ago, I used points to fly Singapore Air to Frankfurt in First Class. I showed my business partner photos of the seats, converted to a double bed and with rose petals spread on them. He asked me if I thought I could get lucky! Lucky? I can’t have sex when my kids visit us! With strangers?! Still laugh over it.

  6. New seas always look nice and this one is no exception. It would be a big improvement to have a business class seat where your feet and lower legs don’t have to fit into a tiny cubbyhole under the console of the seat in front. That is one of the primary differences between first class and business class seats.

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