Higher walls. Bigger seats. Wider TV screens. Do Not Disturb signs. The U.S. legacy carriers are trying to win back business-class travelers from their competitors.
Business Class Reboot
Credit: Courtesy of Delta

Privacy is the hottest new amenity in business class. Ever since Etihad took first class up several notches with its exclusive Residences (complete with showers) and JetBlue rolled out its closed-door Mint “suites,” the legacy airlines have had to rethink their premium offerings. This month United will begin service of its new Polaris cabin, and by next year, Delta will roll out its new Delta One first-business hybrid. Here’s how American, Delta, and United are putting privacy at the top of the menu.

American Airlines

The largest carrier in the world has many different business-class seats aboard its various aircraft, but this fall it finally settled on a single version for the long-haul planes it will debut in 2018. American says its new seats will be roomier and have “infinite” adjustability.

Aircraft 787-9, A350-900, 777-200 (retrofit).

Debut Date October 2016, with the full rollout by 2018.

Configuration Reverse herringbone layout, with adjustable walls to afford more privacy.

Seat Dimensions 27.7 inches wide and 79 inches long (seven inches wider than the current model).

Perks 18-inch TVs, Cole Haan amenity kits, C. O. Bigelow products, menus by Michelin chefs.


In August, Delta unveiled the designs for Delta One, the new suite-style business-class seats with closing doors that it plans to install aboard its forthcoming long-haul aircraft. Because of those closing doors, Delta’s new business-class seats will offer the most privacy.

Aircraft A350-900, 777-200.

Debut Date Fall 2017.

Configuration Angled front-facing suites, with closing doors for privacy.

Seat Dimensions At least 21 inches wide and up to 81 inches long, the longest of the three carriers.

Perks 18-inch hi-res screens, Westin Heavenly bedding, Tumi amenity kits with Kiehl’s products, menus by chefs Linton Hopkins and Masatoshi Ishimoto.


The United Polaris cabin features higher walls between seats to increase privacy for fliers, who can turn on a Do Not Disturb light. United is also rolling out Polaris Lounges: the first opens this month at Chicago’s O’Hare, with eight more locations debuting in 2017.

Aircraft 777-300ER, 787-10, A350-1000.

Debut Date December 2016.

Configuration Staggered front-facing seats, with higher walls for more privacy.

Seat Dimensions 23 inches wide and 78 inches long.

Perks 16-inch monitors, Saks Fifth Avenue bedding, Soho House Cowshed Spa amenity kits, Illy coffee drinks, and menus planned by chefs from the Trotter Project.