British Airways has a one minute spot with two kids debating the merits of American Airlines and British Airways business class.
American and British Airways (along with Finnair and Iberia) have an anti-trust immunized joint venture across the Atlantic, which allows them to share revenue and coordinate schedules and pricing. They are (or in theory should be) largely indifferent as to whose metal you fly across the Pond.
So naturally the argument in this spot is that both are awesome! They highlight:
- Fully flat seats
- Noise cancelling headphones
- Personal touch screen monitor with on demand entertainment (movies, tv shows, games)
- Inflight power
- Amenity kits
Here’s the spot:
But this is, of course absurd. American and British Airways business class aren’t the same, and business class isn’t even the same on the same airline regardless of equipment.
For the most part, American Airlines doesn’t just offer “fully flat seats” they also offer “direct aisle access.” On all of American’s transatlantic aircraft that have been retrofit with flat seats, except their 757s, they offer direct aisle access which is something British Airways does not offer.
American has 5 different fully flat business class seats and planes that do not yet have flat seats.
On all retrofit aircraft except the Boeing 757 it is a no brainer to fly American Airlines rather than British Airways. Here’s what British Airways business class looks like on its Boeing 777:
Here’s an American Airlines business class seat on the Boeing 787-8:
American Airlines also offers inflight internet on its Boeing 777-300ER, retrofit Boeing 777-200s, and Boeing 787s.
On the other hand, American’s 767s and flat seat 757s there are tablets, not personal televisions.
So contra the British Airways child’s take, business class products aren’t the same.
- Features and benefits differ — from inflight internet to video on demand, depending on the aircraft.
- Seats differ substantially — American’s 777-300ER, retrofit 777-200, Airbus A330, and Boeing 787s offer much better seating than British Airways dense configuration that’s 8-across on their 777s (compared to 4-across at American).
On the other hand, you don’t want your American Airlines business class swapped in for an unreconfigured 777 whose seat looks like this:
(HT: Economy Class and Beyond)