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Starting in December, American Airlines is significantly upgrading its bedding options. Teaming up with mattress company Casper, the airline will roll out new bedding products in the premium cabins of many of its international and transcontinental US routes.

These won’t be limited to first and business class. Premium economy passengers will also get the chance to try out some of the new Casper products.

Available on lie-flat international business and first class seats, the full product includes a mattress pad, duvet, pillow, day blanket, lumbar pillow, pajamas and slippers. On the routes that don’t offer lie-flat business class, there will be a reduced set of amenities.

I got to try out the product for myself at American Airlines Media and Investor Day, and I’m impressed. The mattress pad isn’t some thin sheet laid out on the seat, but a very comfortable fitted sheet. The pillow is wonderfully fluffy, but still provides support when using it. The “day blanket” is a significant upgrade from the current blankets. Overall, you can tell that American Airlines spared no expense — which is a change from some of its recent stinginess on 767 and legacy US Air aircraft retrofits.

Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

After trying it out, I caught up with one of Casper’s co-founders, Neil Parikh, to talk about the product.

The Casper team did its homework. The product development team flew in international business class and observed the pros and cons of current bedding options. Using this real life research, it developed products designed to solve issues and be comfortable in the sky. To make sure they got it right, AA and Casper tested the new products on Los Angeles (LAX) to Auckland (AKL) and consulted with flight attendants about fit and comfort.

Rather than just going for brag-worthy items like high thread count, the team found that breathable sheets were a lot more practical and comfortable than dense high tread count sheets. In an attempt to eliminate frustration of the mattress pad moving when you move in your sleep, Casper’s mattress pad is designed as a fitted sheet.

Casper developed and tested over a dozen versions of the pillow to find the right one, and ended up with two pillows instead. Rather than just having one pillow that has to serves both as a back pillow when sitting up and a pillow for your head when sleeping, the team developed a dedicated head pillow and a dedicated lumbar-support pillow.

Which Routes?

It’s all well and good when an airline rolls out a new premium product. But, what matters is if it’s actually on your flight. And here’s the good news: American Airlines is going to offer this new bedding on a surprisingly large amount of flights.

  • Long-haul international: flights from the US to Europe, southern South America, Asia and the Pacific
  • Premium transcontinental routes: between New York’s JFK and Los Angeles (LAX)/San Francisco (SFO) and between Miami (MIA) and LAX
  • Boston (BOS) — Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York’s JFK — Seattle (SEA)
  • Miami (MIA) — Seattle (SEA)
  • US mainland to Hawaii
  • US to “Northern Rim of South America” (MAR, MAO, BOG, CCS, CLO, GYE, LPB, MDE, UIO, VVI)
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