Airlines are treating the bicoastal set to something new: a few hours’ sleep. Carriers have been rolling out new lie-flat business-class seats on their transcontinental narrow-body jets to woo passengers flying between the east and west coasts. Here’s a comparison of the latest offerings.
Where you'll find it: New Airbus A321’s on JFK–LAX and JFK–SFO.
The seats: Air-filled cushions and ample space (more than 22 inches wide and six feet eight inches long when fully reclined) make for a restful ride. Most of the cabin is a 2-2 configuration; four larger single “suites” have privacy doors.
The experience: The menu—small plates by New York’s Saxon & Parole—is one of the best and most creative we’ve tasted in-flight. His-and-hers amenity kits are curated by Birchbox. Movie selections could be better (only eight looping options, rather than on-demand).
Bottom line: Brimming with personality (and priced below its competition), Mint is the un-business business class. But JetBlue’s limited loyalty program and lack of airport lounges make it less enticing for road warriors.
American Airlines Business Class
Where you'll find it: Airbus A321T’s on JFK–LAX, JFK–SFO, and MIA–LAX.
The seats: The 2-2 configuration may come as a letdown after passing through first class, which has two seats per row—meaning everyone has aisle access. But the business-class lie-flat seats are comfortable, if slightly narrower than we like (21 inches with the armrest down).
The experience: While the food and wine are standard AA premium-class fare (beef filet with mushroom sauce; classic lasagna), the ability to reserve your entrée in advance is a bonus. Bose headphones come with every seat.
Bottom line: AA’s commitment to three-class service is great for Million Milers and celebs, but it means that fliers in business are literally second-class citizens, with first class getting even more VIP perks (special check-in area; an onboard espresso machine). That said, the fresh-baked cookies and ice cream sundaes in business should help mollify any grumblers.
Where you'll find it: Boeing 757-200’s on NYC–LAX, NYC–SFO, and NYC–SEA.
The seats: Delta already has lie-flat seats on its wide-body transcon 767’s; now the narrow-body 757’s have them. There’s plenty of space in the 2-2 configuration: seats are slightly wider than on American and rows are staggered for a touch more privacy.
The experience: Each BusinessElite passenger gets a Tumi amenity bag with Malin & Goetz products. Italian-inspired dishes from chef Michael Chiarello are paired with wines selected by Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson.
Bottom line: Delta’s business class is about what you’d expect, but the thoughtful little touches (Westin Heavenly bedding; full-size stem glasses; mood lighting; streaming movies and TV shows via Gogo) give it a slight edge over its legacycarrier competition.
*Round-trip business-class fare NYC–LAX, departing Monday, 11/9, returning Thursday, 11/13.
Peter J. Frank is T+L’s director of editorial product development.