AA will install 'enhanced' business-class seats on newly-delivered Dreamliners starting in 2020
American Airlines placed a blockbuster order for 47 new Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft in April. The order — which would be valued at more than $12 billion at list prices — will more than double AA's existing Dreamliner fleet.
American Airlines expects to take delivery of the first 12 Boeing 787-8 from the order this year. However, we've wondered since since AA placed this order: what seats would the airline use for business class?
Across its fleet, AA has many different types of premium-cabin seats. However, since American Airlines abruptly terminated its contract with seat maker Zodiac in September 2015, it has installed only one type of business-class seat: the Rockwell Collins (formerly B/E Aerospace) Super Diamond seat.
The Super Diamond is a solid lie-flat reverse-herringbone business-class seat, well-designed storage areas and an integrated shell to help provide a sense of privacy.
In fact, the Super Diamond has become somewhat of the industry standard recently; airlines such as Air Canada, British Airways, Fiji Airways and Virgin Australia all have recently opted to install a version of the seat in business class.
Since American Airlines already uses this seat on other Dreamliners, it would seem like an obvious choice for AA to opt to install the Super Diamond. That's why I was intrigued in August 2019 when AA declined to say which seat it would install on its new Dreamliners.
I followed up on this question last week after American Airlines released its financial statements. "We have chosen a seat for the 787-8s that we’ll receive in 2020," a spokesperson told us. "It’s an enhanced version of the Collins Super Diamond seat model that we have on our current 787-9 and some 777-200s."
Now the question is: how will AA enhance this seat?
One option would be for American Airlines to copy its UK-based partner British Airways by adding a closing door to enhance the seat's privacy.
Another detail that is missing from AA's current versions of the Super Diamond seat: a retractable privacy divider between the middle seats. While having an unobstructed view of your neighbor could be a positive if you're traveling with a companion, this isn't a positive if you're flying next to a stranger.
AA could opt to use the same middle-seat divider that British Airways is using on its new Club World Suite:
Unfortunately, for now, all we can do is speculate about which enhancements will be made to the seat. For now, American Airlines isn't ready to share further details.