American Airlines is dropping first class on international flights.
In an earnings call Thursday, Vasu Raja, chief commercial officer at American, said “first class will not exist on the 777, or for that matter at American Airlines, for the simple reason that our customers aren’t buying it.”
The company hinted at this move when it said in September that it was adding premium Flagship Suites for “long-haul” flights. Delta and United have already nixed first class for international flights to implement more business class seats, in 1998 and 2016, respectively, the outlet reported.
Airline expert Samuel Engel of consulting firm ICF told Entrepreneur that as business class seats became nicer and more popular with travelers, first-class seats went unused. Raja echoed as much on the call.
“The quality of the business class seat has improved so much,” he said. “And frankly, by removing [first class] we can go provide more business class seats, which is what our customers most want or are most willing to pay for.”
Engel also discussed American’s focus on expanding its suite offerings. Airlines in general are looking for ways to add little luxuries, such as dividers, to make flights more comfortable — while stuffing in as many people as possible.
“It’s a way of juicing up the product without necessarily using so much real estate,” as a full, lying-down suite does, Engel said.