Nowadays, first-class cabins on U.S. airlines are a rare commodity given the shift towards upscaling business class cabins instead. American Airlines is actually the only one that offers first-class on long-haul international flights and essential transcontinental routes.
This service is branded as Flagship First and Flagship Business to distinguish their most premium cabin from their usual first-class and business class flights.
Passengers who book this cabin can expect premium amenities, impressive lie-flat seats, and a memorable ground experience at the airport.
Let’s check out the details in this American Airlines Flagship Business Class vs. American Airlines Flagship First Class comparison.
- Quick Glance: American Airlines Flagship Business Class vs. American Airlines Flagship First Class
- The Details: American Airlines Flagship Business Class vs. American Airlines Flagship First Class
- American Airlines Flagship Business Class
- American Airlines Flagship First Class
- Best For Which Airline Class Should You Book?
- Wrapping Up
Quick Glance: American Airlines Flagship Business Class vs. American Airlines Flagship First Class
|American Airlines Flagship Business Class||American Airlines First Class|
|Ground Experience||Enjoy priority check-in, security, and boarding at the airport. Get access to the premium Flagship Lounge in select hub cities. You also get access to Admirals Club lounges in certain cities.||Same as Flagship Business. However, on select Flagship Lounges, Flagship First Class passengers also get access to the stellar Flagship First Dining. This is an enhanced, sit-down restaurant. Guests can also have up to 3 free checked bags weighing up to 70 pounds each.|
|Seat||The 52 Flagship Business seats in 777-300 ER have a 45-inch pitch with a width of 21.5 inches. It has a 1-2-1 configuration with a reverse herringbone layout. The 787-8 has a pitch of 60-62 inches with a width of 21 inches. The 20 Flagship Business class seats also have a 1-2-1 configuration with a Safran Concept D design. In the 787-9 and 777-200, the seats have a pitch of 60-61 inches with a width of 21 inches. It has a 1-2-1 configuration, with the 787-9 sporting the Rockwell Collins Super Diamond seats. The 787-9 also has 30 forward-facing seats, while the 777-200 has 37. The A321T has 20 Rockwell Collins Diamond seats with 58 inches in pitch and a width of 19 inches. It has a 2-2 configuration.||The Boeing 777-300ER has 8 Safran Flagship First seats with a 64-inch pitch and a 21.5-inch width. It has a 1-2-1 configuration. The A321 Transcon has 10 Safran Cirrus seats with a 62-inch pitch and a 21-inch width in a 1-1 seat configuration.|
|Amenities||All passengers get a Casper Sleep Set with pajamas, pillows, a mattress pad, slippers (select flights only), and a blanket. The amenity kit is from luxury design brands Shinola and D.S. & Durga.||Same as Flagship Business Class: a premium Casper Sleep Set and an amenity kit from Shinola and D.S. & Durga.|
|Food and Beverage||A multi-course chef-designed meal is served in the air. You can also pre-select meals on the website. Complimentary drinks are available in-flight including premium wines, beers, and champagnes.||Expect a multi-course of regionally-inspired cuisine, depending on the duration of your flight. AA partners with the James Beard Foundation for a unique curation of dishes chosen specifically by elite chefs.|
|Entertainment||Each seat comes with a 15.4 to 18-inch HD touchscreen (depending on the craft) controlled by a remote or touchscreen. It’s pre-filled with a wide selection of movies, music, TV shows, and more. Noise-canceling Bang & Olufsen headphones are provided.||Each seat comes with a 15.4-inch HD-capable touchscreen with hundreds of movies, music, TV shows, and more. Quality Bang & Olufsen headphones are also provided.|
|Lavatories||The Boeing 777-300ER has 2 lavatories at the front. The other aircraft types usually have 1 to 2 dedicated lavatories for this cabin tier. The Boeing 777-200 has 3 lavatories for Flagship Business passengers.||In the 777-300ER, there are 2 lavatories in the front, while the Airbus A321T has 1 upfront.|
|Bed||All seats are lie-flat. Depending on the aircraft, the bed length starts at 75 – 81 inches.||All seats are lie-flat and fully reclinable. The 777-300ER Flagship First reclines to a full 78 inches, while the A321 Transcon reclines to 82.5 inches.|
|Service||The service can be a hit or miss. At times, the staff is friendly and accommodating, while the others are not so much.||Just like Flagship Business, it can be hit or miss. However, you are paying for the best service among the other cabin types.|
|Wi-Fi||Available on most flights but not free. Wi-Fi starts at $10 for an all-day pass. Monthly subscriptions for frequent travelers are also available, starting at $49.95 or $59.95 for 2 devices.||Wi-Fi is available but not free. Guests can connect to Wi-Fi for a fee starting at $10. Frequent flyers can opt for a monthly subscription staying at $49.95 for 1 device or $59.95 for 2 devices.|
The Details: American Airlines Flagship Business Class vs. American Airlines Flagship First Class
American Airlines Flagship Business Class
American Airlines’ Flagship Business Class comes with premium amenities and personalized service for long-distance travel, including international and transcontinental flights. These include select routes to and from the U.S., Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.
Flagship Business cabins are available on several planes including the Boeing 777-200, 777-300, 787-8, 787-9, and Airbus A321T for its transcontinental routes. Meanwhile, Flagship Business Plus is found on the Boeing 777-200, 787-800, and 787-900.
The difference between Flagship Business and Flagship Business Plus is that the latter offers access to Flagship First Check-in, Flagship First Dining, and an additional bag for check-in.
Flagship Business Class passengers receive exclusive perks on the ground like expedited check-in, fast-track security, and convenient boarding.
In select airports, passengers also get exclusive access to American Airlines Flagship Lounges and Admirals Club. The Flagship Lounge is considered one of the best airport lounges in the world.
You can find these in 6 locations including major hubs like Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), and New York (JFK).
The Flagship Lounges have premium meals designed by chefs, a specialty bar, and a designated wine area that passengers can enjoy while waiting for their flight. The spacious area has plenty of space to relax and unwind including “quiet” areas for work. Some lounges even offer shower suites.
In some cities, Flagship Business passengers get access to the Admirals Club. This is found in over 50 hubs worldwide such as Brazil, Canada, and France. Although it doesn’t look and feel as premium as the Flagship Lounges, there are complimentary amenities and services to enjoy, such as buffet-style snacks and drinks.
Some locations also have shower suites, a business center, and made-to-order specialties. Personal travel assistance is also available. You can even download digital magazines and newspapers to read on your flight for free.
Considered to be the airline’s “flagship” aircraft, the Boeing 777-300ER has one of the best Flagship Business class seats. The 52 Safran Cirrus seats feature a 43-inch pitch and width of 20.5 inches. These seats lie flat measuring 75-inches with a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone arrangement. All seats have direct aisle access.
The Boeing 787-8 also has a 1-2-1 layout with alternate seating arrangements between forward-facing and rear-facing rows. The seat’s pitch is approximately 60-62 inches with a width of 21 inches. Together with the Airbus A321T, it has one of the smallest business class cabins with 20 seats.
In the Boeing 787-9, the 30 forward-facing Super Diamond seats provide ample privacy with a 1-2-1 configuration. The seat’s pitch is 60-61 inches with a width of 21 inches.
The Boeing 777-200 has two types of seating arrangements. Both have 37 flat-bed seats with all direct aisle access and a pitch of 60 to 61 inches with a width of 21 inches. Some aircraft have seats alternating between forward and rear-facing. This zig-zag arrangement is called the Safran “Concept D.”
Some love the seats, others not so. These are positioned so you can see your neighbor which can be uncomfortable and awkward. They’re also quite narrow for a business class tier. In addition, these seats are attached, so if a seatmate is moving or standing up, you can feel it.
The Airbus A321T routes are available in premium transcontinental flights. The seat pitch is 58 inches with a width of 19 inches. There are 20 lie-flat business class seats with 2-2 seat configurations. With its seat controls, you can move specific parts of it to your liking. It also comes with a touchscreen remote to control the inflight screen.
One of the highlights of Flagship Business pods is the ample legroom and storage space. You’ll have no problem stretching your legs because there is plenty of space!
While the dimensions vary per aircraft, there is plenty of room to store your belongings. A convenient bi-fold tray table is available if you want to use your laptop or tablet in flight. Some planes also offer a shoe storage compartment.
Furthermore, the armrest raises and lowers to create more sleeping space, and it also serves as a storage compartment to store items like water bottles, sunglasses, or wallets. Each seat comes with a universal AC outlet and USB-A charging ports to charge electronic devices conveniently.
All Flagship Business passengers are handed a Casper Sleep Set. The set contains cozy pajamas, pillows, a plush mattress pad, and a throw blanket. Casper slippers are only available on international flights. With these amenities, guests are guaranteed maximum comfort for a luxurious sleeping experience in-flight.
The faux leather amenity kit pouch is designed by the luxury brand Shinola. Inside you’ll discover travel essentials such as an eye mask, socks, earplugs, mouthwash, dental kit, and a pen. You’ll also get a lip balm and lotion from New York-based transportive fragrance brand D.S. & Durga.
An experienced points consultant can offer you several short turnaround booking options. That way, you don’t have to spend time, stress out or exert so much effort researching it on your own.
Food and Beverage
Flagship Business passengers can indulge in curated chef meals from their elite partners at the James Beard Foundation. They are usually inspired by the route.
A menu is given to passengers before takeoff, but it’s possible to pre-select meals within 30 days before a flight. An impressive range of free beers, wines, and spirits are also served throughout the flight.
Like most premium airlines, a complimentary pre-departure drink is offered in a beverage of your choice after you settle on your seat.
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All Business Class seats feature a 15.4 to 18-inch HD-capable touchscreen monitor that can be controlled via remote or as a touchscreen.
Recently, AA has expressed its decision to move away from providing in-flight monitors instead they’re ramping up their Wi-Fi and providing streaming services to guests.
Most flights come with free in-flight entertainment, consisting of hundreds of movies, music, TV shows, audio selections, and more.
These can be accessed via the American Airlines app on your electronic device (phone, tablet, or laptop). Even more unique, AA has partnered with Skillshare where you can learn various new skills. They also have Rosetta Stone videos for a quick language lesson midair.
Watch Apple Originals and stream Apple Music on your device too. There’s also a host of kid-friendly movies and TV shows provided by one of AA’s inflight partners, HOMER.
Passengers get a pair of Bang & Olufsen headphones which are known for their excellent noise-cancellation features. These can only be used during the flight, not during takeoff or landing.
Wi-Fi is available on most planes for a fee. For an all-day pass, it starts at $10. If you fly regularly, monthly subscriptions are available starting at $49.95 for a single device. For two devices, monthly subscriptions start at $59.95.
These connections have no data cap, allowing you to easily browse, check emails, and watch videos.
In the Boeing 777-300ER, two lavatories are located in the front for Flagship Business passengers. The one near the cockpit door is larger.
In the other aircraft type, there are usually 1 to 2 dedicated lavatories for Flagship Business guests. The Boeing 777-200 has 3 lavatories.
While more spacious than most standard lavatories, they are pretty basic. The bathroom amenities such as hand soap and lotion may differ from aircraft to aircraft. Some have branded amenities, while others don’t.
Flagship Business Class seats are all lie-flat and reclinable so you can have a restful sleep. The only difference is the length of the beds, as it varies per aircraft. It starts with at least 75 inches and climbs up to 81 inches of space to enjoy.
Staff and Guest Services
American Airlines is known to be a hit or miss in its service. While the service is guaranteed to be more personalized than in the main cabin, some flight attendants will go above and beyond to make their passengers feel as relaxed as possible.
When it’s excellent service, the staff are proactive and will make sure to refill your drinks or ask if you need anything to feel comfortable.
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Who Is It For?
All Flagship Business passengers will get an enhanced ground experience, premium lounge access, lie-flat seats, refreshed amenity kits, and chef-curated meals.
For long-haul flights, it’s an excellent option for business and luxury travelers who want peace of mind as they embark on their trip. However, some inconsistencies will differ from aircraft to aircraft, such as in-flight service and different seat sizes and configurations.
One thing to note is that seat configurations vary per plane, which may affect your in-flight experience. The Boeing 777-300ER will offer the best experience, so if you know you are taking a flight with this plane, you’ll know it’s worth it.
Otherwise, some aircraft configurations offer less spacious seats and storage space, so consider that before spending your cash or points on a Flagship Business seat.
American Airlines Flagship Business Class Gallery
American Airlines Flagship First Class
American Airlines’ Flagship First Class offers its passengers the most exclusive type of access, amenities, and service. It is only available in their Boeing 777-300 and their Airbus A321 aircraft.
Flagship First Class passengers will experience smooth and efficient service on the ground. They have Flagship First privileges: an exclusive room, personalized assistance, and expedited security and boarding access.
Like Flagship Business Class, passengers also get sole access to American Airlines Flagship Lounges and Admirals Club. In some Flagship Lounges, Flagship First Dining is available. This is an upscale, restaurant-style dining experience.
In partnership with the James Beard Foundation, this service offers chef-inspired specialties in each location. Enjoy these meals with a selection of signature wines, signature cocktails, spirits, and craft beers.
This elevated dining experience is available in four airport Flagship Lounges: Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), and Dallas Fort Worth (DFW). If you’re flying to London, enjoy the amenities of London Heathrow’s (LHR) International First Class Lounge. These come with spa showers, a full breakfast and lunch buffet, a coffee and champagne bar, and more.
American Airlines’ Flagship First Class are only available on two types of aircraft: the Boeing 777-300ER for their international routes and A321 Transcon for their transcontinental routes. All seats lie flat with direct aisle access for guests.
Out of the two, the Boeing 777-300ER is the most exclusive. It has 8 Flagship First seats in a Safran Flagship First design. It has a seat pitch of 64 inches and a width of 21.5 inches. It also has a seatback screen, live TV channels, power outlets, and ample storage.
This premium cabin is arranged in two rows of 1-2-1 seating. Each row has two window seats on both sides of the aisle. For couples, the middle seat is perfect so they can sit next to each other.
Meanwhile, the A321 Transcon has 10 Flagship First seats in a Safran Cirrus reverse-herringbone design. The seat pitch is smaller at 62 inches with a width of 21 inches. The aircraft cabin has five rows of 1-1 seating, so each seat has a window and aisle access.
You can also adjust individual sections of your seat to your liking, such as the leg rest, bottom, and back. You can easily find the right position when eating, watching, working, or sleeping.
One unique thing about the seats is it swivels to a desk so you can face the window and work while looking out over the clouds. Look around the seat and there are plugs for headphones, a mirror, USB ports, and a small reading light. On the other side is a touchscreen remote for the inflight entertainment system.
If you get a window seat, there is a small storage shelf where you can keep your amenity kit and bottled water. There’s also a small wood-paneled surface for setting down your drinks.
Meanwhile, the bi-fold tray releases from a compartment and can function as your desk if you want to work. It’s worth noting too that Flagship First seats don’t have any closing doors.
Like Flagship Business passengers, all First Class passengers are given the same Casper Sleep Set and amenity kits from lifestyle brands Shinola and D.S. & Durga. The only difference is that these don’t contain lip balm and mouthwash. A different type of eye mask is also provided.
Food and Beverage
Flagship First Class passengers can indulge in a multi-course, chef-designed meal depending on the route. Guests can pre-select their preferred meals online between 30 days and 24 hours before their flight.
Since American Airlines is the official airline partner of the James Beard Foundation, you can expect a fantastic dining experience in the air. All the meals are based on the region or location of the flight.
Enjoy multiple courses starting with an appetizer, bread choices, and a salad. The main entree follows it, and of course, delicious dessert. Flagship First guests can also relish a hearty soup. These meals are paired with various drinks including handcrafted cocktails, premium wines, and champagne.
Both aircraft types come with a 15.4-inch, HD-capable entertainment seatback screen that you can use via touchscreen or remote. Choose from a wide range of curated movies, music, TV shows, and audio selections.
These can also be accessed via the American Airlines app on your electronic device (phone, tablet, or laptop). Guests also get Bang & Olufsen headphones which are known for their noise-cancellation features.
Wi-Fi is available, but it’s not free. The price starts as little as $10. Monthly subscriptions are available starting at $49.95 for a single device and $59.95 for two devices. Just like in Flagship Business, the signal quality may differ per route.
In the Boeing 777-300ER, 2 lavatories are located at the front for passengers and pilots. The one located near the cockpit door is a bit bigger. Meanwhile, on the Airbus A321T, there is a single dedicated lavatory for guests.
Aside from being more spacious than the main cabin, the First Class lavatory are standard, so don’t expect too much.
The fully reclinable lie-flat seats of Flagship First Class will help you sleep more soundly during your flight. In bed mode, the Boeing 777-300ER seat reclines to a full 78 inches, while the A321 Transcon seat reclines to a full 82.5 inches.
The airline has the passenger’s comfort in mind by providing complete Casper amenities that include beddings (two types of pillows and two light blankets with different thicknesses), a mattress pad you can fold over the seat, and pajamas.
Staff and Guest Services
American Airlines is known for the inconsistent service quality provided by its crew. Some staff can be amiable and personable, while others tend to be more formal and slightly indifferent.
Who Is It For?
While the privileges of Flagship Business and First Class are similar, there are Flagship First highlights that make it worthwhile. For instance, you get access to Flagship First Dining if you’re flying from any of the four airports where it’s available.
Another distinct offer in Flagship First is the seat. It swivels so you can sit and work at a desk fronting a window. It makes for a fantastic viewing experience whether you’re working or relaxing. Plus, there are significantly fewer seats in this cabin compared to business class, so you don’t have to worry about privacy.
American Airlines Flagship First Class Gallery
Best For Which Airline Class Should You Book?
|Winner||What Makes It Great|
|Best for Food||Tie||Both Flagship First and Flagship Business passengers enjoy chef-designed multi-course meals and an extensive menu of drinks.|
|Best for Seats||Tie||It depends on what you’re looking for. Flagship First Class seats swivel into a desk-like position that will appeal to those who work or just like to admire the aerial view. On the other hand, Flagship Business Class seats have more privacy and storage options.|
|Best for Ground Experience||American Airlines Flagship First Class||Access to Flagship First Dining is an excellent perk for Flagship First passengers.|
|Best For Comfort||American Airlines Flagship First Class||The comfort of Flagship Business seats may be a hit or miss since it will depend on the aircraft type. The Flagship First seats in both aircraft types are comfortable and ideal for long-distance travel.|
|Best for Families||American Airlines Flagship Business Class||Families will enjoy nearly all the same premium perks as Flagship First Class but at a lower price. The seats also offer more storage options which will be beneficial for moms.|
|Best for Couples||American Airlines Flagship Business Class||Couples who want to sit next to each other can do this by getting the center seats.|
|Best for Service||Tie||While the service in American Airlines can be hit or miss, the service is relatively the same on both cabin types.|
|Most Exclusive||American Airlines Flagship First Class||The number of Flagship First seats in the aircraft is significantly lower than Flagship Business, so your in-flight experience will be more intimate.|
Flying the American Airlines’ Flagship premium classes is an excellent choice for long-distance travel. You can enjoy premium lounge access, lie-flat seats, personalized service, excellent meals with the option of dine-on demand, complimentary drinks, in-flight entertainment, refreshed amenity kits, and complete bedding.
If your departure airport has a Flagship Lounge with Flagship First Dining and you still have the budget, consider upgrading for a genuinely luxurious ground experience. It will start your trip on a high note.
Regarding the seats themselves, the Flagship First Class certainly has its perks: fewer overall seats, a unique swivel function, and ample privacy. Meanwhile, the Flagship Business seats are also great depending on the aircraft you’re flying on.
In the end, it’s really up to you what you’re looking for. Regardless, both make great choices for a luxury travel experience.