Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. 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.
» Learn More: The guide to the American Airlines AAdvantage program
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Business class travelers flying into London Heathrow are treated to another special perk: the Arrivals Lounge.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
» Learn More: The guide to airlines' in-flight entertainment
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.
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.
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.
Dessert usually includes a cheese plate or ice cream sundae with toppings that are added upon request.
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.
(Top photo courtesy of American Airlines)
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card