Why American Is Showing Customers 4 Business Class Seats When They’re Only Considering Two

American Airlines is evaluating new business class seats, expected to debut in 2023. The new business class will have doors. They’re looking at one from their current seat provider, Rockwell Collins, and they’re looking at the Adient Ascent seat (a joint venture between auto seatmaker Adient and Boeing).

What seemed confusing is that in the seat focus groups last week American was actually showing four business class seats. I speculated this was a second version of the Adient seat because it is a particularly flexible and modular seat that can be configured in a number of ways, and “some kind of control rather than a real choice under consideration.”

It turns out that both guesses are exactly right. American is showing:

  1. Rockwell Collins seat with doors
  2. Adient Ascent herringbone
  3. Adient Ascent staggered
  4. The existing Super Diamond seata (no doors) as a control

These are four seats being shown, but comes down to American considering Rockwell Collins and Adient Aerospace.

Credit: Adeint Aerospace

Adding doors to business class is generally an improvement, though it’s no longer revolutionary and won’t be when we start to see these in 2023 (or later if there are delays). The Adient Ascent seat looks fantastic. Hawaiian Airlines adopted it for their Boeing 787. However there’s so much variance in how the seat can be configured that it’s hard to know what American’s implementation would be like. Regardless, American’s business class seat is already better than United’s Polaris seat, which isn’t yet fully rolled out. This should be a move that keeps them competitive for a long time.

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. Given the major lack of saver award space on AA, I have yet to try the new business class product. How tight is the foot cubby?

  2. Question?
    Why all of your writers called it Rockwell Collins (orignally B/E aerospace) when they had already changed their name to Collins Aerospace since 2018 ?

  3. @Jason – there’s only one writer (me) and I’m not too concerned with a company’s decision to rebrand, I still call Rewards Network iDine…

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