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American introduces new Flagship Suite Preferred seats as it scraps first class

American Airlines will become the latest airline to offer a “business class plus” experience.

The Fort Worth-based carrier unveiled Wednesday what it’s calling the Flagship Suite Preferred experience, part of a larger overhaul of the onboard dining and amenities set to debut in the coming weeks.

Flagship Suite Preferred seats will be in the front-row bulkhead on newly delivered Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets and retrofitted Boeing 777-300ER planes.

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Flagship Suite Preferred. AMERICAN AIRLINES

Because of the layout of the bulkhead, these seats will offer additional personal space and more storage areas. They won’t feature buddy seats like you’d find in JetBlue’s Mint Studio or Condor’s Prime Seats, but they will be more spacious and desirable compared to the rest of the cabin. (Just note that the proximity to the galley could be bothersome during overnight flights.)

Aside from the additional space, American will also offer elevated amenities for the Flagship Suite Preferred seats. This includes a Nest Bedding-branded mattress pad, a throw blanket and a memory foam lumbar pillow. Flyers splurging for these seats will also enjoy Nest-branded pajamas and an exclusive amenity kit with additional skincare products from Thirteen Lune by Joanna Vargas and Relevant.

Flagship Suite Preferred bedding. AMERICAN AIRLINES

It remains to be seen if American can ensure that it provisions all of these extra amenities consistently on every flight that features the Flagship Suite Preferred experience.

American didn’t have too many more details to share about this upgraded product, but it will debut as part of American’s new business-class and premium economy cabins that were first announced in 2022 and are expected to take to the skies later this year.

The airline declined to share pricing information, nor did it mention if travelers would be able to redeem miles or upgrades for these seats. We’ll be sure to update this story with more information as it becomes available.

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Flagship Suite Preferred. AMERICAN AIRLINES

That said, TPG spoke with Raphael Girardoni, managing director of customer experience product and design, who confirmed that the existing ground experience will remain available to Flagship Suite Preferred passengers, hinting that they might get access to the Flagship First Dining facilities.

“We really focused on the Flagship Suite Preferred as that differentiated experience that introduces additional bedding and amenities to our customers that they can enjoy regardless of what the Flagship route is that they’re flying,” explained Girardoni.

The introduction of the Flagship Suite Preferred product comes as the industry has been going all-in on business class at the expense of exclusive first-class cabins.

Though a handful of international airlines are still committed to offering first class in key business and leisure markets, most carriers are instead going all-in on business class. This includes American, which is retiring its Flagship First product in the coming months in favor of fancier business-class suites with sliding doors.


And, as airlines have been debuting cutting-edge business-class products, a new cabin class is emerging, commonly referred to as “business class plus.”

These products usually occupy the first row of the cabin and offer additional space, storage and amenities that take advantage of the bulkhead’s unique configuration. Though JetBlue was among the first to popularize this concept with the introduction of the Mint Studio, several airlines have since unveiled something similar.

Virgin Atlantic offers the Retreat Suite on its Airbus A330-900neo, but there are just two of them in the center of the bulkhead and they don’t feature any additional amenities. German leisure carrier Condor unveiled a similar product dubbed the Prime Seat in the first row of its new A330neo, and it comes with extra perks, such as a special snack basket and pajamas.


Just last week, United Airlines began surveying customers about a possible Polaris Plus product in the first-row bulkhead of its upcoming 787 Dreamliners. The customer survey even included mention of additional amenities, including an option for “champagne-on-demand.”

While the Chicago-based airline hasn’t confirmed any details about this possible new product, the carrier may soon start feeling the competitive pressure from American’s new Flagship Suite Preferred experience.

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