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American and Casper will soon be working together to bring custom-designed bedding to the airline's long-haul flights. A hipper brand such as Casper may resonate better with younger flyers than legacy brands such as Westin or Saks.

As the gulf between premium and economy cabins continues to grow, airlines are increasingly turning to onboard amenities to create unique distinctions between products.

Early in 2013, Delta started working closely with Westin to promote the airline’s “Sleep Experience” initiative, which took advantage of pillows and comforters developed in collaboration with the hotel chain. A big part of United’s Polaris launch, as well, took advantage of a Saks Fifth Avenue collaboration on the bedding design.

Now, American Airlines is launching a partnership with Casper, the upstart bedding company, to develop a mattress pad, duvet, pillow, day blanket, lumbar pillow, pajamas, and slippers for some of American’s premium cabins.

Casper’s mattresses, around which the company was arguably built, are ironically not part of the collaboration. Instead, Casper engineers worked together with American to develop a series of materials and products that better suit in-flight consumers.

That the company’s game-changing mattresses aren’t part of the equation may also be secondary to the true nature of the partnership. As a brand, Casper has fared well among younger audiences interested in simple, digital-first design (Casper’s mattresses initially only shipped direct from online purchases). As that same audience considers which airline to book from New York to Los Angeles, a younger, hipper brand may resonate better than a legacy brand such as Westin or Saks.

American plans to employ the Casper bedding on select transcontinental flights operated by the A321T, its three-class premium aircraft with lie-flat beds in first and business. Long- haul international flights will also get the updated amenities.


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Tags: airline innovation, american, in-flight

Photo credit: American Airlines' Casper-branded in-flight bedding may appeal to a younger set of passengers. American Airlines

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