American is looking at installing a new business class seat. The timing is expected to coincide with the arrival of new Boeing 787-9 planes into the fleet in three years. They’re focus grouping two options now.
I recently wrote that I believed the seat they would choose is the current Super Diamond seat they’ve been using, with doors added. That sticks with Rockwell Collins as their rock bottom priced seat provider, mirrors what joint venture partner British Airways has done, and allows for cost-effective retrofit of existing cabins (since they’d just need to replace the skins on the seats they’ve already installed).
New British Airways Super Diamond Business Class, Credit: British Airways
However there is a second choice and it’s potentially more ambitious. For the reasons I’ve explained it seems like a long shot they’d choose it. Always-in-the-know JonNYC appears to have details on option two:
this I believe is option B:
Adient Ascent. Very modular, can be configured many ways (see the video I tweeted earlier) Hawaiian uses a version of the seat. pic.twitter.com/tIaZ87RZVw
— JonNYC (@xJonNYC) February 7, 2020
The second option American is testing appears to be the Adient Ascent seat, a new entry into the market from Adient Aerospace which is a joint venture between automotive seatmaker 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 two years. The first customer for the seat is Hawaiian Airlines, on their Boeing 787s.
Credit: Adient Aerospace
Credit: Adient Aerospace
The seat offers the ability to put the privacy divider all the way down so that passengers sleep side-by-side next to each other, but thoughtfully both passengers have to push their button for this at the same time in order to prevent it from accidentally happening (and to ensure privacy when one passenger doesn’t actually know the other). This is better than a physically moved barrier, something American had skimped on with its existing Super Diamond seats.
The seat JonNYC leaks as option two looks fantastic. 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. I know about ten of the people that have been involved in the seat focus group over the past week. They’ve all signed non-disclosure agreements and of course none of them would violate their agreements in any way. Nonetheless I’m hoping they gave feedback to American to do something interesting with their new seat.
Update: It looks like there are actually three seats under consideration.