Skip to content

A look inside the newly delivered American Airlines Boeing 787-8 with 'enhanced' business class

April 30, 2020
5 min read
A look inside the newly delivered American Airlines Boeing 787-8 with 'enhanced' business class
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

This post has been updated with new information from American Airlines.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, American Airlines has accelerated its retirement plans for a large portion of its fleet.

Specifically, the Fort Worth, Texas-based carrier has committed to retiring more than 100 planes, including the entire fleet of Boeing 757s and 767s, as well as the Airbus A330-300 and Embraer E190.

With these retirements, AA is paving the way for new jets. Though it's possible that the carrier will pause or defer delivery of some orders, the pandemic hasn't stopped the airline from taking delivery of its newest wide-body jets — a batch of Boeing 787-8s.

For more travel tips and news, sign up for our daily newsletter.

AA has already received two of these new planes. On March 17, the first new 787-8 Dreamliner for AA since 2017, with registration N870AX, flew from the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington to AA's mega-hub in Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW). Since then, the plane has been parked in Tulsa (along with a good portion of AA's fleet).

And just yesterday, April 29, AA took delivery of its second new Boeing 787-8, with registration N871AY. AA expects to receive an additional 10 of these "baby" Dreamliners by the end of 2020, joining the company's existing fleet of 20 787-8s.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B-7j5avBrdZ/

Though the new Dreamliners may look the same as the others on the outside, they're radically different on the inside.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Specifically, the new 787-8s feature a new business-class product compared to the other 20. While AA previously installed rocking Safran Concept D seats (that alternate forward and backwards), these new Dreamliners sport the Rockwell Collins Super Diamond reverse-herringbone product.

American's existing business class on the Boeing 787-8. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.)

This above-average seat has been adopted by many international carriers, including Air Canada, China Airlines and Virgin Australia. In fact, this isn't AA's first jet to feature the Super Diamond. The carrier already has them installed on the larger 787-9s and select Boeing 777-200s.

But the Boeing 787-8 features an 'enhanced' version of the seat — never before seen on any AA jet. So, what does that mean?

Related: Best American Airlines seats ranked from best to worst

Well, AA modified its standard reverse-herringbone seat by adding a retractable privacy divider between the two center seats. American's other planes that feature the Super Diamonds don't have any divider between center seats, making them unpopular for solo travelers.

Now, with the addition of this retractable privacy divider, couples and solo travelers alike can rest assured that they can have privacy when they want it.

American Airlines enhanced business class on the Boeing 787-8. (Photo courtesy of American Airlines)

Additionally, the enhanced business-class product features a larger footwell area. Though we originally told that bed space would be increased, the adjustments were actually made to the footwell and ottoman area to create more "open living space." Nonetheless, this should help make it easier for people with larger feet to sleep.

Unfortunately, American didn't have further details to share about these modifications, but we'll be sure to review the new jet once it's safe to do so.

Though the center seats will certainly be more private, AA didn't elect to install a sliding door like its transatlantic partner British Airways did on its newly-retrofitted jets.

Nevertheless, these 'enhancements' are a welcome improvement to those who've found themselves stuck in a middle seat staring at their neighbor for a long-haul flight. Plus, the extra sleeping space will be much appreciated.

American's existing business class on the Boeing 787-8. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.)

Though it'd be great if AA retrofitted its existing planes with the enhanced biz, I'd bet that in light of the pandemic, the carrier would prefer to save the cash.

Related: American Airlines adds more than 100 jets to those retiring due to the coronavirus

Of the major U.S. carriers, United's the only other operating the "baby" 787-8 Dreamliner. Though UA isn't taking delivery of new 787-8s, it is retrofitting all of its existing 787-8s with the new Polaris and Premium Plus product. I had the opportunity to fly on the first reconfigured jet and enjoyed my flight in the new Polaris mini-cabin.

Either way, I'm excited about AA's new 787-8. It'll feature 20 business-class pods, 28 premium economy recliners, 48 extra-legroom Main Cabin Extra seats and 138 seats in coach. In fact, the economy product has been updated to the Rockwell Collins Aspire seat.

The carrier has let us know that these jets will be receiving Viasat Wi-Fi, which is a marked improvement from the Panasonic Wi-Fi installed on the carrier's older 787-8s.

All in all, these enhancements were in line with my expectations. I'm looking forward to the day when it's once again safe to fly these new jets. After all, there's nothing like the new plane smell.

Featured image by NurPhoto via Getty Images

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers

TPG featured card

Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

Fair/Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees
Apply for Credit One Bank Wander® Card
at Credit One Bank's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for earning alternative rewards for travel purchases
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
3 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel partner site
5XEarn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
1XEarn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel

    Earn 10,000 Bonus Points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    Fair/Good

Why We Chose It

The revamped Wander Card from Credit One Bank earns cardmembers up to 10 points per dollar spent on eligible travel purchases. With no foreign transaction fees, the card is also great for international travel. However, points earned from this card can only be used at a fixed value, so it may not be the best option for those striving to get maximum value from their rewards.

Pros

  • This card has no foreign transaction fees and earns up to 10 points per dollar on travel purchases through the Credit One Bank travel partner site.

Cons

  • While cardholders can earn a significant amount of points on travel purchases, there isn't any way to redeem points from the Wander Card for maximum value (beyond 1 cent per point).
  • Earn 10,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first 90 days and redeem for a $100 statement credit, gift cards, or travel
  • Earn 10x points on eligible hotels and car rentals booked through the Credit One Bank travel site
  • Earn 5x points on eligible travel, dining, and gas
  • Earn 1x points on all other purchases
  • Redeem your reward points for statement credits, gift cards, merchandise, flights, hotels, and more
  • With $0 Fraud Liability, you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges
  • Free Online Credit Score and Credit Report summary, terms apply
  • If you are a Covered Borrower under the Military Lending Act, you may get a different offer
  • See Rates & Fees