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American Airlines Adding Flagship Business Plus Fare Category

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James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

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Countries Visited: 30U.S. States Visited: 35

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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American Airlines will soon be adding a new Flagship Business Plus fare category to select flights, in an effort to provide additional services to business class customers willing to pay for them. While true Flagship First fares aren’t going away, you’ll now be able to experience many of the luxuries reserved for this top-cabin while on a Flagship Business ticket.

What Is Flagship Business Plus?

Flagship Business Plus is a type of business class fare that will include more amenities than a traditional business class ticket, for an added fare premium.

For reference, here is what’s currently included preflight in most international and 3-class business class services:

  • On arrival at the airport, access to the Priority check-in and security queue, where available
  • The ability to check 2 bags for free
  • After security, use of the Flagship Lounge, reserved for business class customers and top-tier elites

With the new Flagship Business Plus fare, American will be offering a step-up from its current Flagship Business offering, for a fee, including:

  • Instead of just Priority check-in, Flagship Business Plus customers will get access to Flagship check-in, which is a private check-in area reserved for 3-class plane first class customers, ConciergeKey customers on any itinerary, and Executive Platinum members on international flights. The Flagship check-in area usually has little to no wait, as well as a separate area from the normal queues.
  • Instead of having 2 checked bags for free, Flagship Business Plus customers will get 3 free checked bags, similar to what a first class or top-tier Executive Platinum or ConciergeKey member gets.
  • The biggest benefit, by far, will be the complimentary use of Flagship First Dining in Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA), and New York (JFK). Flagship First Dining is an upscale restaurant dining atmosphere with a full menu and bar.

To be clear, Flagship Business Plus is not a separate or different seating area on board, and all onboard services are the same as Flagship Business. Flagship Business Plus only impacts services preflight.

On most routes, Flagship Business Plus appears to be approximately a $400 premium over the regular Main Cabin fare, so you’ll need to analyze whether the Flagship check-in, additional checked bags, and Flagship First Dining are worth this amount.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship First check in entrance
As part of Flagship Business Plus, you’ll have access to Flagship First Check-In. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

Why Is American Adding Flagship Business Plus?

American Airlines currently operates a true, 3-class first class product on its A321T plane from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), and Orange County (SNA), and Boston (BOS) to Los Angeles (LAX), as well as on its 777-300ER plane that operates many international routes, including those to Australia, the U.K., and Brazil.

However, considering the amount of aircraft that American has, it has a relatively low amount of truly first class seats, some of which go unsold. In order to maximize the investments American has put into its Flagship Check-In product and Flagship First Dining, American is offering the opportunity to upsell traditional business class customers to buy up to receive better airport service.

Hot Tip: Learn more about American Flagship First and Flagship Business in our guide to their amenities, routes, and booking options. 

Final Thoughts

American has now launched its Flagship Business Plus product, and we’ll soon see what fares are like when compared to normal Flagship Business fares. While the difference between the 2 likely won’t be drastically significant, you may wish to consider purchasing the Flagship Business Plus product to have a better experience at the airport.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.


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