American Airlines exec cites demand to tell investors ‘first class will not exist,’ business class to expand

In a call with investors, an American Airlines executive announced that they will no longer be offering first-class tickets to its passengers.

On Thursday, the airline’s chief commercial officer, Vasu Raja, told investors that due to a lack of demand “first class will not exist,” according to the Daily Mail.  However, it’s not quite as dramatic as it sounds.

Raja went on to explain that the evolution of business-class seating is the reason for the waning demand of first-class tickets saying that there is little difference between the two offering little incentive for a traveler to upgrade.

“The quality of the business-class seat has improved so much, and frankly by removing it, we could provide more business-class seats, which is what our customers most want or are most willing to pay for,” Raja said.

According to People, flight attendance has declined 9.6% percent since 2019. But, as Covid-19’s impact on daily life continues to lessen, things might be looking up for the air travel industry. The average cost of Thanksgiving and Christmas flights are up 50% since before the pandemic.  A Thanksgiving flight is set to cost on average $468 while if you’re looking to travel for Christmas, it will set you back an average of $574 this holiday season.

The upturn of airfare and profits come on the heels of the air travel industry receiving approximately $45 billion of taxpayer’s money during the pandemic an effort to keep the industry afloat – or flying, as it were.

Unfortunately for travelers however, Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights, warned consumers that airlines will likely continue to bump up pricing as the holidays loom closer; making a pandemic trend of cashing in on in-demand travel times a permanent feature of the industry now that Federal mask mandates on air-travel have ended.  Keyes went on to say that the best time to purchase a ticket for holiday travel was back in June putting an end to any hopes of waiting for prices to dip before the holiday season.

Despite the decline in flight attendance, American Airlines posted a record third quarter of this year. The airline reported a a quarterly revenue of $13.5 billion, an increase of 13% from the same period of 2019. Looking to capitalize on this success, the commercial airline has announced a new “premium experience” of flying their calling Flagship Suites. The forthcoming Flagship Suite Seats will include sliding privacy doors and a full bed.

The suites will be installed on the Boeing 787-9s, Airbus A321XLRs, and Boeing 777-300ERs, and the airline plans on them being available in 2024. The airline has plans of increasing the amount of premium seats available on long-haul flights by 45% by the year 2026.

It might be best however, in spite of the newly added luxuries, to not expect better customer service to accompany your inflated ticket price.  A recent Twitter thread from conservative political commentator, Sydney Watson, went viral after an American Airlines trip left her irate.

After finding herself physically sandwiched between her fellow passengers for her entire flight, Sydney Watson, who has a follower count of over 330k, took to social media to air her complaints.  In response, American Airlines had only this to say:

American Airlines has not publicly offered a statement on how they plan to mitigate these instances in the future.  Instead, they have offered Watson the olive branch of a $150 voucher for her future travel plans. It’s doubtful that Watson will chose American Airlines in the future but if she does, one thing is certain, it won’t be first class.


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