American Airlines has initiated a face-lift for its business-class product, promising more comfortable seats and better in-flight entertainment options on American’s long-haul jets. The airline says it is adding lie-flat seats and individual entertainment centers to have an edge over other carriers offering similar amenities. While some airlines offer seats that recline totally, American Airlines seats will only go part of the way back (9-degree angle), but a lot further than regular airline seats. The seats are 20 inches wide and slide forward 10 inches if passengers see some advantage in doing so. So far, American has only upgraded one plane, but it plans to makeover the business cabins in all of its 58 Boeing 767s and 46 Boeing 777s over the next year.
The battle is getting fierce as more U.S. airlines shift capacity to long-haul international services. Although no official word is revealed on how much American Airlines is spending on the makeover, the seats, made in Fort Worth by a unit of Germany’s Recaro Aircraft Seating Inc., cost $50,000 a pair for the Boeing 767-300. Officials said they don’t have seat prices yet for their 46 Boeing 777s, which will get new business cabins beginning next year.