Business class seat guide – Americas

2 Feb 2023 by Tom Otley
Delta One suite – seat

In the third part of our series, we have compiled a summary of business class seats on airlines flying long haul out of the Americas.

Welcome to our round-up of long-haul business class seats available on US airlines (plus LATAM – South America’s largest carrier). In the last couple of issues we have looked at European airlines (November) and Middle East carriers (December-January). Asian carriers will be next month.

As a reminder, here we are focusing on the seats available rather than service elements, such as food and drink, inflight entertainment, amenity products and whether there is wifi available onboard. In part this is because these elements change frequently, and often depend on the length of the flight sector, and also for reasons of brevity. You will find numerous reviews of most of the airlines on the website, where those aspects are discussed and assessed.

The good news for travellers is that the majority of airlines offering long-haul flights now have seats that recline fully flat in business class. Most airlines choose from one of several designs, and then, to a greater or lesser extent, add bespoke elements to those seats. This may mean just choosing a distinctive colour scheme to fit in with their brand, or it might mean adding a door to a seat and calling it a suite. The balance for the airline is how to stay price competitive while at the same time differentiating itself from competitors by offering a distinctive experience.

Air Canada

Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner Business Class

Air Canada’s business class – which it calls Signature Class – has three types of seat, and with three different names, so it can get confusing. The first is found on some B777-300 aircraft, the B787 and A330s. This is a herringbone configuration of either 1-2-1 or 1-1-1 depending on the width of the aircraft.

Then there are the Studio Pods, which are the Collins Aerospace Vantage seat, and this Air Canada calls ‘Classic Pod’. It is a 1-2-1 or 1-2-2 configuration, with the seats staggered.

Finally on the B787-9 aircraft you have the Collins Aerospace Super Diamond – the same as British Airways flies as its new Club Suite and also Etihad Airways. Air Canada calls this the Executive Pod, and it is a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration, meaning the window seats face the windows. This has direct aisle access from every seat, reclines into a 6ft 7in fully-flat bed and has a 17-inch inflight entertainment screen.

American Airlines

American Airlines-Business-Cabin

American Airlines has a consistent business class product across its long-haul fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft. The Safran Cirrus seat offers a fully-flat bed in a reverse herringbone configuration, meaning the window seats point at an angle towards the windows, while the centre seats point towards one another. It was introduced several years ago and has stood the test of time, with a 1-2-1 configuration in a cabin with seating in rows A-DG-J and a seat width of 21-21.5 inches.



Delta introduced its business class seat – Delta One, in 2017 on the A350 fleet and since then it has been retrofitted across the rest of the long-haul fleet. The seat is a hybrid of the Vantage XL and an earlier Vantage model by Thompson Aero, though because of the different widths of some of the cabins, there are differences – most notably on the A350s where the seat has a privacy door, while on the narrower A330s and B767s it does not, though there are higher sides to the seat and there is a divider between the middle seats for privacy. The A330-900 neos do have the privacy door – new materials have made it thinner and lighter. All seats are in a 1-2-1 (A-BC-D) configuration and have direct aisle access. The seats are staggered, so that 1A and 1D are close to the aisle, while 2A and 2D are closer to the window with the side table protecting from the aisle.


Jetblue's new Mint suite

Jetblue flies across the Atlantic using the narrowbody A321 aircraft with its Mint Suites as the business class seat on board. These have been designed by Acumen (also responsible for the design elements of United’s Polaris seat), and are based on the Thompson Aero Vantage Solo platform for single-aisle narrowbody aircraft (not to be mixed up with several different Vantage and Vantage XL seats elsewhere in this guide). The Vantage Solo is in a herringbone configuration, meaning the seats face away from the windows, though that does mean your head is away from the aisle. All seats have direct access to the aisle and extend to become a 77-inch fully-flat bed.


LATAM's new business class seat

LATAM has a large fleet of long-haul aircraft, including B767s, B777s and B787s, and has been retrofitting them for several years with a consistent business class seat – the Vantage XL. There are still many aircraft with the older business class seat flying however, and this is a lie-flat seat which comes very close to being fully-flat by stretching out to a ledge beneath the seat in front, though it is still angled. The layout for these is 2-2-2 (AC-DH-JL) on the B787 and there is not direct aisle access for every seat. Meanwhile, the Thompson Vantage XL goes fully flat and is in a staggered arrangement layout of 1-2-1 followed by 2-2-1.


Polaris business class on United's B787-10

United’s Polaris seat was first introduced in 2016. It is an adapted version of the Optima seat designed by Acumen Design Associates and Priestmangoode and manufactured by Safran (formerly Zodiac). It was subsequently rolled out across the whole of its long-haul fleet with only a few B787s still waiting for the seat. It is a unique design in that the seats alternate, facing either forward or at an angle, but ensuring that each passenger has direct access to the aisle. The seats recline into a 6ft 6in (198cm) fully-flat bed.

Many airlines have varied fleets of long-haul aircraft with sometimes several different types of business class seats onboard. We have contacted all the airlines here to check the facts, but it is possible we have made mistakes, for which we apologise and will, of course, keep the online version of this feature corrected.

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

The cover of the Business Traveller April 2024 edition
The cover of the Business Traveller April 2024 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below