First, it was business class with beds rather than recliners that won hearts and minds. But when Qatar Airways launched the Qsuite, the new standard for top notch business class moved up a notch, or twelve. Doors, big screens — it’s got everything.

To this day, even 5+ years on, airlines have continually struggled to create a business class seat with the privacy and finishes needed to rival this masterpiece of design. ANA finally got there in 2019, but even that’s debatable.

American Airlines appears poised to take its best shot though, as details regarding upcoming deliveries of the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner take light. The airline is bringing business class and premium economy seats back in significant numbers and business class seats with doors are expected to be part of the experience.

aa 787

American Airline Launching Premium Planes

Per View From The Wing, American Airlines will launch a “premium” cabin heavy 787-9 Dreamliner in 2023. It could instantly become one of the most compelling airplanes in service for a US based airline.

For years, American shrunk business and premium economy cabins on these jets, down to just 30 business class seats currently, but the latest deliveries are expected to be a significant reversal that focuses on added comfort s the premium leisure market grows.

A grand total of 51 business class seats are reportedly expected for the new 787-9’s, which have been designated as 787-9P’s, to signify their premium configuration with more business and premium economy seats.

More business class seats potentially means more seats using points, too.

Business Class Seats With Doors

Perhaps most notably, American Airlines is said to be getting into the business class with doors game, joining ANA, Qatar Airways, Delta and British Airways in this rare category.

There are a variety of rumors surrounding which seat American will use for this new level of luxury, and the Adient Ascent appears to be a likely choice. Qatar Airways, the pioneers of the business class door game, chose to modify this seat for Boeing 787-9 deliveries.

Doors in business class vary greatly from novelty, such as the short doors found on British Airways seats, to truly private, via the likes of Qatar Airways and ANA. Let’s hope American chooses the latter for their new ultra-premium configuration.

New Premium Seats For American, Too?

Premium Economy has become a hot ticket in the great travel rebirth, as people trade up to better experiences. Trends show people are traveling less often, but are happy to spend more when they do.

That’s seen surprising rebounds to premium cabins including business class and premium economy not by the corporate travelers who usually fill these cabins, but by leisure passengers. Premium will jump from 21 seats to 32 in the new configurations.

After mixed reviews of previous Premium Economy seats, rumors suggest American may also be looking to create a bespoke or heavily modified premium economy seat to win even greater leisure business.

Exciting Times For American Airlines Flyers

American Airlines has made real strides in recent years with the introduction of their Flagship Lounges and premium touches. The pandemic hampered those efforts, but all indications are that the airline is pushing forward with passenger friendly changes.

Delta has pushed the US “premium” market in the last decade with its own doors in business class, but American will have the latest word when these seats take flight in 2023.

If these Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner planes are delivered as expected, they’ll instantly become among the most compelling configurations offered by a US airline.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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4 Comments

  1. They need to improve the food. Last flight to DCA in F was a wrapped sandwich. Disgusting. Flew Delta One on the way back and it was so much better.

  2. I don’t get it (and have accumulated 8 million FF miles while traveling all over the world). These are not “privacy doors” unless someone is crawling in the aisle and looking in at you. They are 3-4 feet high (except for some international carriers that actually have full private seats. Anyone walking up and down the aisle can look down on you. IMHO this is a fad and I have yet to hear anyone explain what is so special about having a partition blocking the aisle that is only 3 feet or so high.

    Please enlighten me on why this even matters?

    1. AC,

      I can see where you are with some of these criticisms, but since you asked, I’ll try to enlighten.

      So even with the shorter doors…

      1) Business privacy: people are often working on confidential material in business class and the more angles removed from potential view, the better.
      2) Personal privacy. People sleep on their sides, butt cracks often become visible from the side. Again, this helps prevent that from being as obvious.
      3) Air flow: air flows down, and since it’s hitting physical barriers, particles are less likely to carry as far.

      I am totally in favor of the higher partitions, like those on ANA and so forth, but even just a bit of privacy for watching a movie can be nice.

  3. I would much prefer AA upgrade its seat, meals and other aspects of its soft product.
    Flew AA/QR in business class a few months before the pandemic started. It was like night and day between AA and Qatar. I will not be spending money to fly AA’s premium cabins again. Simply not value for money.

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