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Why American Airlines Removing International & Transcon First Class Is a Good Thing

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Daniel Ross

Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...

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American Airlines recently unveiled its gorgeous-looking Flagship Suite which will replace the airline’s Flagship Business and Flagship First products starting in 2024.

In doing so, it means the airline will cease to offer passengers a classic “first class” experience on its long-haul international flights as the Flagship Suite becomes American’s all-encompassing premium product.

For those who only like to fly first class, this could come as a blow. However, when comparing Flagship First and the new Flagship Suite — at least on a hard product level — it’s nothing to be sad about at all.

Hear me out on this one.

Flagship First vs. Flagship Suite

Flagship First

Only found on long-haul international and some domestic flights operated by American’s Boeing 777-300s, as well as on its infamous Airbus A321T that flies transcontinental flights, Flagship First was already dying out.

Let’s face it … when you take into consideration first class on other airlines such as ANA, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines, the first class product offered by American Airlines on both of those aircraft is just a good business class in comparison.

Credit where credit’s due, the Flagship First seat on the Boeing 777-300 does have the unique swivel feature which goes some way to making this seat more comparable with other first class products.

American Airlines swivel seat aboard its Boeing 777-300 in the Flagship First cabin. Image Credit: Daniel Ross

As for the Flagship First seat on the A321T, it has no feature which sets it apart from a standard business class seat.

American Airlines Flagship First class A321T. Image Credit: Stephen Au

Ultimately, both these seats’ lack of privacy alone would rank them very low in the league table of first class seats.

Bottom Line: American Airlines’ Flagship First is more of a business class than a true first class product. Check out our reviews to get an idea for yourself about what it’s like flying American Airlines Flagship First on the Boeing 777-300 and the Airbus A321T.

Flagship Suite

Flagship Suite is the name that American is giving to its brand-new business class cabins.

We can only go off of the images we’ve seen, but the Flagship Suite, complete with its sliding privacy doors, brings American into line with the most up-to-date and private business class cabins of some of the world’s most luxurious airlines.

I mean, just look at it!

The all-new Flagship Suite seat on American Airlines’ yet-to-be-delivered Boeing 787-9s. Image Credit: American Airlines

When it comes to price — the jury’s out on this one. We can expect to pay less than what a Flagship First ticket would be, but whether American will use the new Flagship Suite as a way to bump up its current business class ticket prices will remain to be seen.

Also unknown is what will become of Flagship First Dining within Flagship Lounges and the Flagship Business Plus fare category that was recently announced.

Final Thoughts

The long and short of it is, rather than losing first class, we should actually think of it as gaining an improved premium experience that’s actually closer to first class than Flagship First ever was.

The Flagship Suite appears to be leagues above American’s current Flagship First and brings the airline’s business class into line with some of the big industry contenders.

We can’t wait to put it to the test.

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.


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