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American Airlines begins business-class improvements

The AP (via The Miami Herald) reports that American Airlines has begun a major revamp of its business-class product, promising more comfortable seats and better in-flight entertainment options.

The move focuses on American’s long-haul jets. The airline says it is adding lie-flat seats and individual entertainment centers that it hopes will help it become more competitive with other carriers offering similar amenities. So far, American has only upgraded one plane, but it plans to make over the business cabins in all of its 58 Boeing 767s and 46 Boeing 777s over the next year.

American is actually coming rather late to the game, but is clearly trying to capitalize on a) long-haul international routes (in the face of extreme competition from low-cost lines on domestic routes), and b) the “return” of the business-class flyer.

Whether or not it can succeed when other U.S. legacy carriers are adopting a similar strategy remains to be seen. At least business-class travelers will be able to observe the airline battle from a comfy seat in the years ahead.

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