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:
- Rockwell Collins seat with doors
- Adient Ascent herringbone
- Adient Ascent staggered
- 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.