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American Airlines to reportedly drop first class seating for international flights

During an investor call last week, a company official said there are plans to replace first class seats for certain flights with more business class ones.
Credit: AP
FILE - Two American Airlines Boeing 737s are shown at the gate, Thursday, July 7, 2022, at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines is looking to move forward with plans to change up seating for certain flights.

The Fort Worth-based airline is reportedly planning to drop first class seating for international flights in favor of more business class seats due to customer demand.

According to multiple reports, Vasu Raja, American's chief commercial officer, addressed those plans during an investor call last Thursday.

"First class will not exist... at American Airlines, for the simple reason that our customers aren't buying it," Raja said.

American later clarified that Raja was speaking about international flights when talking about first class changes. The company said it plans to continue first class seating for domestic flights.

News about American's seating changes began when the company unveiled its new "Flagship Suites" plan in September.

The company described the new suites as a "private retreat in the sky," with privacy doors, lounge-type seats, personal entertainment centers and even storage space, according to the Dallas Business Journal.

The new seating is expected to arrive with new Boeing 787-9 and Airbus A321XLR jets in 2024. The company said it will also retrofit 20 Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with 70 "Flagship Suite" seats and 44 premium economy seating.

"By removing [first class] we can go provide more business class seats, which is what our customers most want or are most willing to pay for," Raja said.

American released its third quarter earnings report last Thursday. According to the report, the Fort Worth-based company earned $483 million following a busy summer travel season.

The report also showed that revenue reached a quarterly record of $13.46 billion.

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