The Guide to American Airlines Business Class

Different planes offer different seating configurations for those flying business class on American Airlines.
Updated
Profile photo of Ramsey Qubein
Written by Ramsey Qubein
Profile photo of Meg Lee
Edited by Meg Lee
Assigning Editor
Fact Checked
Profile photo of Elina Geller
Co-written by Elina Geller
Lead Writer
Profile photo of JT Genter
Co-written by JT Genter

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

American Airlines offers business class on long-haul international flights as well as transcontinental flying between major markets like New York and Los Angeles or San Francisco. American Airlines refers to its top-tier business class product as Flagship Business.

Flagship Business class has a lot of great perks to offer. Here’s what to expect when traveling in an American Airlines Flagship Business class cabin.

How to book American Airlines business class

In addition to purchasing an American Airlines business class ticket outright, travelers can also get a business class seat by redeeming AAdvantage miles.

The mileage cost depends on what route you're flying and the demand for that flight. If you're flexible, you can book American Airlines business class between the U.S. and Europe for as few as 75,000 AAdvantage miles each way.

Rack up miles or enjoy lounge privileges with our favorite American Airlines cards
Check out our nerdy picks for the best American Airlines credit cards and find the right card for you.

AAdvantage members also have the option to redeem miles to upgrade after purchasing an eligible economy or premium economy ticket. Just note that mileage upgrades typically require a cash copay. Depending on where you're flying, a mileage upgrade may not be the best value.

Complimentary upgrades to Flagship Business are available to all AAdvantage elite members on transcontinental flights and flights to Hawaii. AAdvantage elites generally need to be booked on a paid ticket — not an award ticket — to be eligible for an upgrade. However, Executive Platinum elites can even score an upgrade on award tickets.

In addition, flyers can use systemwide upgrades to upgrade to American Airlines Flagship Business class for no additional cost. AAdvantage members can select systemwide upgrades through the American Airlines Loyalty Point Rewards program or earn them upon reaching Million Miler status.

Whether you plan to purchase a business class ticket or use miles for the flight, it makes sense to use a credit card that rewards you for airline purchases. Even when you redeem airline miles, the award ticket usually has a tax surcharge that you can put on a credit card. Here's a sampling of cards that allow you to earn rewards for airline purchases.

Travel cards for booking flights
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Chase's website

The Platinum Card® from American Express
The Platinum Card® from American Express
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
American Express® Gold Card
American Express® Gold Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on American Express' website

Rates & Fees
Citibank Strata Premier Card
Citi Strata Premier℠ Card
NerdWallet Rating
Apply now

on Citibank's application

Rates & Fees
Flight booking benefits

• 5 points per dollar spent on travel (including flights) booked through Chase.

• 2 points per dollar on other travel (including flights).

Annual fee: $95.

• 5 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or through American Express Travel (on up to $500K per calendar year). Terms apply.

Annual fee: $695.

• 3 points per dollar spent on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com. Terms apply.

Annual fee: $250.

• 3 points per $1 spent on air travel and other hotel purchases.

Annual fee: $95.

Horizontal scroll
Citibank Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® Credit Card
NerdWallet rating 

If you're looking for an American Airlines card, depending on which card you get, you can earn between 2 and 4 miles per $1 on eligible American Airlines purchases. For example, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard® earns 4 AAdvantage miles per $1 on American Airlines flights.

The airport experience

American Airlines business class passengers can use priority check-in lines and accelerated security queues at some airports. Travelers can check two bags without charge, and these carry priority bag tags so that they should be delivered first upon landing.

flagship first boarding area

(Photo by JT Genter)

During boarding, business class passengers can board through the priority lane. You'll get either Group 1 or Group 2 boarding, depending on if there's a first class cabin. 

Flagship Business class passengers can access American Airlines Admirals Clubs and American Airlines Flagship Lounges on the day of travel.

liquor options in flagship lounge

(Photo by JT Genter)

The latter are impressive lounges with large buffets offering sushi, soups and salads. Self-serve bars offer a wide range of cocktails, wines, beers and champagne while refrigerators stock bottled water, juices and sodas.

buffet in flagship lounge

(Photo by JT Genter)

Business class travelers flying into London Heathrow are treated to another special perk: the Arrivals Lounge.

(Photo by JT Genter)

Unique to London, it features a place to relax with a cup of coffee, refreshments, breakfast and showers. The lounge also offers clothes pressing so travelers can head straight to a meeting from the airport.

American Airlines business class seats

All American Airlines Flagship Business class seats can recline 90 degrees into fully-flat seats. Even better, on all American Airlines Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft, each seat offers direct aisle access — meaning travelers don't have to step over anyone to move around the cabin.

However, some American Airlines business class seats are better than others. Here's our breakdown of the best business class seats on American Airlines.

Best American Airlines business class seats

After a massive fleet simplification in 2020, American Airlines offers four types of business class seats. Here's our ranking of how they stack up.

1. Safran Cirrus II seats (Boeing 777-300ER)

The business class seat found on American Boeing 777-300ER aircraft is generally regarded as American Airlines' best business class seat. This reverse-herringbone business class seat is spacious, offers well-designed storage compartments, easily accessible outlets and seat controls. Most importantly, this seat avoids the pitfalls of other American Airlines business class seats.

Safran Cirrus II seats (Boeing 777-300ER)

(Photo by JT Genter)

These business class seats are found on all American Airlines Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. That means you can book this aircraft and know that you'll have an excellent business class seat. Unfortunately, that's not true for other American Airlines aircraft.

2. Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats (Boeing 787-9, 777-200 and 787-8)

American Airlines' new business class standard is the Super Diamond seat. These seats are well-regarded for all facing forward, offering a variety of storage and feeling spacious.

Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats

(Photo by JT Genter)

The only ding against these seats is with the tray table. The tray table is stored under the in-flight entertainment screen, reducing the clearance of the footwell. Side sleepers may feel a bit squeezed in the thigh or knees when trying to sleep with the seat fully reclined.

Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats

(Photo by JT Genter)

Super Diamond business class seats are found on all American Airlines 787-9 aircraft, over half of 777-200 aircraft and the newest deliveries of 787-8 aircraft. On these newest aircraft, the seat has been improved even more with the addition of an adjustable privacy screen between middle seats.

3. Safran Concept D seats (Boeing 787-8 and 777-200)

American Airlines "Concept D" business class seats are typically considered American Airlines' worst long-haul business class seats. These seats alternate between forward- and rear-facing seat pairs.

Safran Concept D seats

(Photo by JT Genter)

The seats are connected to one another and aren't anchored down properly. So, when your seatmate moves, you'll feel it. These seats also don't have as much storage as the Super Diamond business class seats.

🤓Nerdy Tip

You can tell that your aircraft has Concept D seats by looking at the seat map. American Airlines places a reverse arrow on seats that face backward.

flight map with Safran Concept D seats

You'll find Concept D installed on most American Airlines Boeing 787-8 aircraft and just under half of American's Boeing 777-200 fleet.

4. Collins Diamond seats (Airbus A321T)

Last place goes to the business class seats on American Airlines' A321T — which operate transcontinental flights such as New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco. That's for a simple reason: All seats don't have aisle access.

Collins Diamond seats

(Photo by JT Genter)

These aircraft have two business class seats on either side of the single aisle. That means window passengers have to climb over the aisle seat passenger to access the aisle. Still, this is a perfectly fine seat to fly across the country.

American Airlines business class amenities

American Airlines Flagship Business class seats offer ample storage space with nooks for smaller items and side pockets to store tablets or phones. Some have flip-up storage spaces for other things like eyeglasses and reading material. Power outlets are at every seat and generally within easy reach.

aa business class seating

(Photo by JT Genter)

Onboard, passengers will find a bottle of water waiting at their seat, as well as an amenity kit (short-haul Hawaiian flights don’t get amenity kits). There is also a comfy duvet and oversized pillow, which are part of American’s partnership with Casper bedding.

A wide variety of movies, TV shows, audio programming and often live TV is available on large screens at each seat. American also gives passengers access to Apple Music while they are flying. To enjoy the entertainment, noise-reducing headphones are given to each passenger.

Unfortunately, these headphones are often collected about one hour before landing — which can be annoying if you aren't finished enjoying the in-flight entertainment. Flight attendants generally offer low-quality earbuds as an alternative.

All American aircraft that offer Flagship Business class seating feature in-flight Wi-Fi for a charge.

In-flight dining

Before the flight, American Airlines flight attendants offer trays of orange juice, water and sparkling wine. Printed menus are delivered to each passenger (or are waiting at each seat) to explain in-flight offerings.

food in aa flagship business

(Photo by JT Genter)

Multi-course meals begin with warm nuts and a tablecloth placed on the tray table. American uses aisle serving carts for its service, which speeds up delivery, but is not exactly a premium experience. Drink refills are typically plentiful and followed by a tray with an appetizer, salad and warm bread.

meal in aa flagship business

(Photo by JT Genter)

American is the official airline partner of the James Beard Foundation, and some of the menu choices have been designed by talented chefs. Travelers can choose from one of several main courses, which usually consist of a beef, poultry, seafood and pasta option.

aa flagship business meal selection

Dessert usually includes a cheese plate or ice cream sundae with toppings that are added upon request.

aa flagship business dessert

(Photo by JT Genter)

Customers can pre-select their meal 30 days before departure via the airline’s website. In addition to the standard menu choices, there is a choice of special meals like Asian vegetarian, diabetic and Kosher options. Meals must be pre-ordered at least 24 hours before departure. Otherwise, passengers can always choose their selection from the standard menu on the flight.

On Boeing 777 and select 787-9 aircraft, American offers a food and drink station where business class passengers can help themselves to water, sodas, sandwiches, snacks and other refreshments. Other aircraft offer in-flight snacking stations on long flights, but it tends to be at the front of the business class cabin.

Frequently asked questions

On many American Airlines aircraft, business class and first class can be used interchangably. That's because only two American Airlines aircraft offer both a Flagship Business and Flagship First Class cabin — the Airbus A321T and Boeing 777-300ER. On other long-haul international aircraft, Flagship Business class is the best cabin that you can book.

On most domestic and short-haul international aircraft, the front cabin is referred to as "first class" but is typically no more than a larger recliner seat with better food and drink service.

Yes, international and domestic business class receive complimentary drinks — including a variety of beers, wines and spirits to complement the food menu. Note that short flights might not offer a full drink service.

Yes, whether you’re flying domestically or internationally, all American Airlines Flagship Business class seats recline fully into lie-flat seats. However, on domestic and short-haul international flights on American Airlines single-aisle jets, first class and business class seats typically only recline a few inches.

All Flagship Business class passengers — including passengers on transcontinental domestic flights, qualifying Flagship flights to Hawaii or qualifying international routes — have access to American Airlines Flagship Lounge and Admirals Club lounges.

(Top photo courtesy of American Airlines)

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.
To view rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, see this page.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

Cards for American Airlines from our Partners
Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

on Capital One's website

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
4.7
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

2x-5x

Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day. Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options.

Miles

Intro offer

75,000

Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.

Miles
Citibank Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® Credit Card

on Citibank's application

Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®
4.6
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x

Earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage® mile earned from purchases.

Miles

Intro offer

70,000

Earn 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first 3 months of account opening.

Miles
Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
5.0
NerdWallet Rating
Rewards rate

1x-5x

5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

Points

Intro offer

60,000

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Points
See more cards
Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.