How To Fly American Airlines' Best Business (and First) Class Seats Within the U.S.

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Usually, you're going to have to fly pretty far to fly in American Airlines' best lie-flat seats. However, the world's largest airline will sometimes operate these internationally-configured aircraft on domestic routes.

And good news for those that are flying soon: in January 2021, American Airlines is operating over 1,400 domestic flights with lie-flat seats upfront. That's a dramatic increase from just 226 flights in July 2020. Let's show you where AA is operating these planes and how you can book them.

Routes With Lie-Flat Seats in January 2021

During January 2021, American Airlines is using either a Boeing 777 or 787 (Dreamliner) on 50 different domestic routes. As the onboard product can vary between aircraft, let's break it down these routes by aircraft type.

Boeing 777-300ER (77W)

American Airlines' true “Flagship” aircraft is its Boeing 777-300ER. On international flights, this aircraft operates with four different cabins: Economy, Premium Economy, Flagship Business Class, and Flagship First Class.

On domestic routes, that's condensed to economy and (domestic) first class. So, those who book first class early enough may be able to select one of the eight Flagship First Class seats in rows 1 and 2.

If you can't snag one of the first class seats, the business class seats in rows 3-15 are excellent too.

Keep in mind that you won't get any of the typical amenities that you would get on long-haul flights — such as the Casper bedding, noise-canceling headphones, and other amenities in the picture above.

Holiday travelers could fly on this aircraft to Orlando and Hawaii. But, from January 5 to 31, 2021, you can find this aircraft operating just one domestic route: between Los Angeles (LAX) and Miami (MIA).

According to American Airlines' schedule, here are the exact flights that are operating in January 2021 using the 777-300ER:

FromToFlight #StartingEnding
DFWMCO27911 Jan3 Jan
DFWHNL51 Jan4 Jan
DFWMCO27161 Jan4 Jan
DFWMCO27181 Jan4 Jan
HNLDFW1021 Jan4 Jan
LAXMIA3691 Jan4 Jan
MCODFW20751 Jan4 Jan
MCODFW27161 Jan4 Jan
MCODFW27181 Jan4 Jan
MIALAX22891 Jan4 Jan
LAXMIA3695 Jan31 Jan
MIALAX22895 Jan31 Jan

Boeing 777-200 (772)

American Airlines' “other” 777s are Boeing 777-200. This aircraft is arranged with three different cabins: Economy, Premium Economy, and Flagship Business Class. But, the business-class seats vary between aircraft. Some are situated with a combination of forward- and rear-facing seats:

Others have all forward-facing business class seats in a reverse-herringbone seating arrangement:

You can find the Boeing 777-200 operating on 38 domestic routes in January 2021. However, only 24 of these routes are still operating after the holidays:

  • Charlotte (CLT) to Miami (MIA) — and reverse
  • Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) — and reverse
  • Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to Los Angeles (LAX) — and reverse
  • Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to Miami (MIA) — and reverse
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Honolulu (HNL) — and reverse
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Kona (KOA) — and reverse
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Maui (OGG) — and reverse
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Miami (MIA) — and reverse
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Miami (MIA) — and reverse
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to New York Kennedy (JFK) — and reverse
  • Miami (MIA) to New York Kennedy (JFK) — and reverse
  • Miami (MIA) to San Juan (SJU) — and reverse

According to American Airlines' schedule, here are the exact flights that are operating in January 2021 using the 777-200 — excluding the routes ending before January 5:

FromToFlight #StartingEnding
JFKLAX11 Jan31 Jan
LAXJFK21 Jan31 Jan
JFKLAX36 Jan31 Jan
LAXJFK41 Jan31 Jan
DFWHNL55 Jan31 Jan
OGGDFW61 Jan31 Jan
HNLDFW1025 Jan31 Jan
DFWOGG1191 Jan31 Jan
DFWKOA2291 Jan31 Jan
KOADFW2301 Jan31 Jan
MIAJFK2435 Jan31 Jan
JFKMIA3137 Jan31 Jan
ORDMIA3741 Jan31 Jan
SJUMIA10911 Jan31 Jan
JFKMIA11011 Jan31 Jan
ORDDFW11145 Jan31 Jan
MIAJFK11407 Jan31 Jan
ORDLAX11635 Jan31 Jan
DFWORD12581 Jan31 Jan
CLTMIA13441 Jan31 Jan
MIACLT13441 Jan31 Jan
DFWMIA14565 Jan31 Jan
LAXMIA14731 Jan31 Jan
MIASJU15701 Jan31 Jan
MIALAX22835 Jan31 Jan
LAXORD23431 Jan31 Jan
MIADFW27796 Jan31 Jan
MIAORD27966 Jan31 Jan
MIADFW28086 Jan31 Jan
DFWMIA28956 Jan31 Jan

Boeing 787-8 (788)

Business class on American Airlines' Boeing 787-8 are the same forward- and rear-facing seats that you'll find on some of the 777-200s:

Excluding holiday flights, you can find the Boeing 787-8 operating on 8 domestic routes in January 2021.

  • Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to Miami (MIA) — and reverse
  • Chicago O'Hare (ORD) to Philadelphia (PHL) — and reverse
  • Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Miami (MIA) — and reverse
  • Miami (MIA) to Philadelphia (PHL) — and reverse

According to American Airlines' schedule, here are the flights that are operating in January 2021 using the 787-8 — excluding holiday-only flights:

FromToFlight #StartingEnding
DFWMIA20081 Jan31 Jan
MIAORD11599 Jan30 Jan
MIAPHL3665 Jan31 Jan
MIADFW29021 Jan31 Jan
MIAORD13081 Jan31 Jan
ORDMIA2199 Jan30 Jan
ORDPHL12227 Jan31 Jan
ORDMIA14525 Jan31 Jan
PHLORD3247 Jan31 Jan
PHLMIA6105 Jan31 Jan

Boeing 787-9 (789)

Meanwhile, business class on American Airlines' Boeing 787-9 are the same all forward-facing seats that you'll find on the other 777-200s:

You can find the Boeing 787-9 operating on 6 domestic routes in January 2021 — but only one route now that the holiday schedule has ended. And that's between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Los Angeles (LAX).

According to American Airlines' schedule, here are the flights that are operating in January 2021 using the 787-9 — excluding routes ending before January 5:

FromToFlight #StartingEnding
DFWLAX18071 Jan31 Jan
DFWLAX21127 Jan29 Jan
LAXDFW6445 Jan30 Jan
LAXDFW6448 Jan31 Jan
LAXDFW19747 Jan29 Jan

Best Ways to Book These Flights With Miles

American Airlines AAdvantage

It's a good idea to start your search with American Airlines. AAdvantage uses dynamic award pricing for American Airlines flights. So, you may be able to book some of these flights for pretty cheap using AAdvantage miles. However, AA may charge a premium for nonstop flights — particularly on these nice aircraft.

British Airways Avios

Speaking of nonstop flights, your best option to book shorter nonstop American Airlines flights with saver award availability is British Airways Avios. As long as there's saver award availability, you can pay as few as 15,000 Avios for a nonstop business class flight on the 650-mile route between Miami (MIA) and Charlotte (CLT).

Iberia Avios

If you're booking a connecting itinerary — but the total distance isn't very long — consider booking with Iberia Avios. Iberia just counts the total distance of an itinerary when pricing American Airlines awards, regardless of the stops.

The award chart is based on the total distance flown across the round-trip. That means business class trips between 1,001 and 2,000 total miles costs 34,000 Iberia Avios. And trips between 2,001 and 4,000 miles in distance cost 46,000 Avios in business class.

Iberia award chart for AA flights

Chase Ultimate Rewards

The cash rates for business class in some of these flights are quite cheap. That means that using Chase Ultimate Rewards to book a cash flight through the Chase Travel Portal could be the best way to snag one of these lie-flat seats.

For example, you can fly in the international business class cabin on American Airlines' Boeing 777 or 787 Dreamliner between Chicago (ORD) and Miami (MIA) for just $119 one-way. Chase Sapphire Reserve® cardholders can book this flight for 7,960 Ultimate Rewards points each way through the Chase Travel Portal:

Or, book a first-class flight from Charlotte (CLT) to Miami (MIA) for $127.50 each way. Sapphire Reserve cardholders can book this flight for 8,500 Ultimate Rewards points each way through the Chase Travel Portal:

Final Thoughts

It's always nice to get to try out a premium seat when flying domestically. However, the extra space and privacy is especially valuable now during the pandemic. If you're traveling this month, look out for these internationally-configured aircraft when booking flights. And make sure to consider all of the ways — miles, points, and cash — that you can use book these tickets.

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  • Avatar
    irene beatriz hart says:

    Excelente Business Class.

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    Some of these deals are amazing, wow!

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    Good news for DFW flyers. I’ve flown on 77W and 772, and they were turly impressive!

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    Juan Ignacio says:

    Very useful resource, thank you for the update.

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    Wish this was available out of more cities, sounds like a great treat for after quarantine!

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    This would be a great thing to kick off travel this year after only one flight last year.

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    Keith Anderson says:

    Also, any flights to Mexico on these aircraft?

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      Yes! AA operates flights to Cancun (CUN) from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) using a 787-9 and from Philadelphia (PHL) on a 787-8. And over the holidays, AA also flew to Cancun from Chicago (ORD) and New York Kennedy (JFK) using widebody aircraft.

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    Keith Anderson says:

    Nothing worthwhile to or from IAD?

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    I have stopped booking domestic flights based on the aircraft type in 2020 after several aircraft changes after booking tickets due to COVID-19. Basically, I would book a route with a lie-flat seat, and they the plane would get changed to a smaller aircraft with no lie-flat premium cabin later.

    This is a nice article to point out good domestic AA routes for premium seats, but in my experience these days you can’t count on it even after you book.

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      I understand that frustration myself! Hopefully, these flights won’t be changed as they are within the next few weeks.

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    Interesting to know but I would still keep my miles and use it for international flights in order to have a longer time to enjoy my ride.

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    It would be such a treat to travel from MIA to LAX in Flagship First.

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    Jessica Arbai says:

    Thank you so much for updating these tidbits in relation to flying Business via American Airlines. Honestly and personally speaking, I would not mind just simply having recliner chairs with much leg-room and privacy in comparison to lie-flat chairs. Reclining is pretty good enough, to be fair. But, definitely a big plus for recliners than the regular Economy barely-even-reclining chairs, by a long shot! Thank you for the post!

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    I have certainly booked a less-convenient flight when I saw that it would be in a wide body so an upgrade would mean a lie-flat seat. It is certainly more restful than the normal recliners, even if you don’t make actually make the bed lie flat.

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    Very good option, I hope they do that extensive to other shorth-haul trips. I usually travel overseas rather than domestic trips. AA airplanes flights to the Caribbean with only 3 cabins,economy,premium and First class.

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    This is definitely good news since business class flying domectically is usually not a luxurious event. This will make it feel more of a pampered event.

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    Very useful resource.

    Although worth pointing out that using Iberia Avios on AA flights is much more difficult than the other options…

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    The downside is you are traveling short so you are not really enjoying the seat or sleep in it like a transatlantic flight to Europe.
    What happend to to a321T flight that used to fly transcontinental NYC to LA ?

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    Will there be that many people flying during the Christmas season of 2020?

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    I think American Airlines’ Boeing 777-300ER is a great way of traveling anywhere. A lot of domestic routes.

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    Nice article! A bit off-topic question but does anyone know if there is any chance to get upgraded with 500-mile upgrades although I am non-elite? Is it possible to use them if I don’t have any status? thx

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    Wow too bad no flights from my home airport!

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    Since Avios are worthless for BA flights, you should definitely use them for AA or long-haul Iberia flights (transferring to an Iberia, not BA, account).

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    Just my luck. American changed my flights in a way that apparently their only route to Hawaii is not one of the ones flying the best seats!