American Airlines will no longer be offering first-class seats and will turn those seats into business class for passengers with an international destination due to the low number of people actually willing to purchase pricey tickets.

According to Vasu Raja, American Airlines’ chief commercial officer, business class seats, which come with more legroom, food options, free wifi, pillows and blankets are the tickets “our customers most want or are most willing to pay for.”

Raja also told investors in a Thursday meeting that the airline will be focusing more on their “Flagship Suite” option in response to passengers’ reasons for flying changing in recent years.

Before, nearly half of frequent fliers were traveling for work, but now around 60% of fliers are traveling for leisure. For international flights, they will offer seats that fully recline with private doors for travelers who want the best possible flight experience. The airline will aim to expand the flagship program by around 45% within the next three to four years.

Planes used for domestic routes will keep their first-class seats.

The change is not unprecedented. In fact, other large airlines like United and Delta got rid of their first-class seats on international flights in 2016 and 1998, respectively.

Airlines are currently seeing a boom in business, especially with people traveling following the Covid-19 pandemic. Hybrid and remote work schedules have allowed more people to travel for leisure and have led to a 13% increase in the third quarter for the American Airlines Group, which also includes Piedmont, PSA and Envoy.


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