[Click above for the video review.]
- Flight: AA135
- Route: LHR-LAX
- Equipment: Boeing 777-200ER
- Cabin: Business Class
- Seat: 9L/10L
After a nice getaway in Portugal, it was time to head back home. We flew British Airways Euro Traveller (Economy) from Lisbon to London Heathrow. I have to say that BA’s cost cutting measures have really affected the passenger experience. For a 2 hour and 20 minute flight, there was literally no service offered by the flight crew…not even water! I now have a better appreciation of Domestic and short haul travel within the US. At least we still get a drink and some pretzels in economy here in the States.
Anyway, back to the review. After arriving at Heathrow Terminal 3, we made our way to AA’s transit counters to undergo the usual
From there, we headed to transit security which took another 5 minutes. Then we went to our favorite lounge at Heathrow – The newly renovated Cathay Pacific Lounge. We walked to the C lounge area, and took the elevator up one floor to the lounge. We were greeted by a friendly lounge agent and were pointed over to the First Class section of the lounge (Oneworld Emeralds have access to the First Class lounge).
The lounge was reminiscent of the newly renovated The Pier lounge in Hong Kong. They used a lot of warm, wooden, and greenish tones for the décor and color scheme which made for a calming and relaxing atmosphere.
Since we haven’t had anything to eat since we left Lisbon, we went straight to the dining area, where they offered made to order food. We were greeted by an attendant, shown to our table, and given dining menus. My companion and I both opted for the Eastern meal set, which consists of some steamed dim sum items, jook (congee/rice porridge), and some stir fried noodles. The meal itself was delicious and very satisfying.
After the meal, we grabbed a drink, and took a couple of the window facing seats with ottoman which have sweeping views of the busy tarmac outside. The lounge was pretty empty during the time we were there so it was quite peaceful.
After an hour or so, we decided to visit the Business Class section of the lounge. I have to say that I actually liked this area better than the First Class lounge. The business class lounge was massive and probably about more than twice the size of the First Class section. It felt more casual, and less stuffy. It featured a noodle bar, hot and cold buffet, and a full bar. There were also plenty of tables and seating for dining and relaxing. The furnishings were identical to the First Class section as well.
45 minutes before departure, we started our usual trek to the gate area. It took about 10 minutes of brisk walking to get to the gate. There was a priority lane for business class passengers, so we didn’t have to wait long. Our boarding passes were scanned and we were let into the boarding area. Boarding hasn’t commenced when we got to the waiting area, so I decided to take some pictures of our plane, only to be yelled at by an angry security agent who told me that AA doesn’t allow pictures to be taken while at the boarding lounge – fine!
Soon boarding was announced, and just about everyone bum rushed into the jet bridge. Luckily we were already standing near the entry way, so we were one of the first passengers on the plane.
This Boeing 777-200ER was one of AA’s retrofitted planes which features 45 forward and rear facing flat-bed seats in a 1-2-1 configuration similar to the business class seats on their Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, which we covered here. The older 777-200ER configuration used to offer First Class, but AA has since removed those seats including the NGBC Business Class seats, which we also reviewed here in exchange for these.
One important thing to note is that these seats SHAKE! I was really hoping that the Boeing 777-200 seats didn’t suffer the same shaking problems as their 787 counterparts, but sadly they do. You can literally feel every move your adjacent neighbor makes, and I bet he or she felt every move I made as well.
It’s also good to note that last year, AA has actually dropped Zodiac for B/E Aerospace mid way through their 777-200 refurbishment. B/E Aerospace makes the reverse herringbone Business Class seats for Qatar Airways’ 787, A350, A380 planes, which I love! So you will notice that some of AA’s 77-200ER will have these B/E seats instead of these Zodiac seats.
My companion and I were seated in seats 9L and 10L in the rear business class cabin. This time I had a forward facing seat, which felt similar to AA’s 777-300ER Business Class Seats. Waiting at our seats were the pillow and duvet, as well as the Cole Haan amenity kit, and menu.
The seat featured dual USB and dual AC Power outlets for us gadget nerds. The touchscreen IFE remote, seat controls, and adjustable reading lamp are in a panel right above the shoulder for easy access. One thing that was apparent was the lack of storage space, unlike the 777-300ER seats which had a huge side storage compartment.
A flight attendant came and asked us if we wanted any drinks before take off. We both ordered a mimosa. It was promptly served, along with a pair of Bose noise canceling headphones. Another flight attendant passed by the aisle offering newspapers, but I declined.
Soon the boarding was complete and the Captain came on the PA to announce our flight time of 11 hours to Los Angeles. We soon pushed back from the gate, and the safety video played. All passengers seated in the front facing business class seats were reminded to fasten their shoulder belts for take off and landing.
We had a rather long taxi to the end of the runway, during which the flight attendants went around to clear our glasses and also took our meal orders.
Soon it was our turn to depart, the Captain asked the flight attendants to take their seats and we rocketed away down the runway. Our takeoff roll and ascent were smooth considering it was a cloudy day in London.
The seatbelt sign was turned off after 10 minutes, and the crew started their service. Hot towels were distributed.
Our table was set, and then in typical AA fashion, the drink cart rolled by and I ordered a glass of champagne. It was served with a ramekin of warm nuts.
Soon the meal service started with the caprese appetizer and salad which was served on a tray.
For the main, I opted for the Organic chicken breast which was very good.
The dessert cart rolled by, and I ordered the ice cream sundae, which was delicious.
After the meal, I visited the lavatory to brush my teeth and freshen up. There were 2 lavatories in the business class cabin. Both of which are next to the galley. I noticed that there were no hand lotion or other amenities in the lavatory, which was rather disappointing. The only thing I saw was a bottle of air freshener and hand soap.
Then I went back to my seat and prepared my flat-bed. I slept for a good 4 hours.
Upon waking up, I went to the walk-up snack bar which was setup in between the galley and the rear business class cabin. There was a good selection of snacks, both sweet and savory, as well as bottled waters available.
I took a few items and went back to my seat and I fiddled with the IFE selections for a bit, but fell asleep. I woke up just in time for the pre-landing meal service.
The meal cart came by and I was offered a hot croque monsieur sandwich, or a waldorf salad. I ordered the former since I wanted something hot. I also ordered a diet Sierra Mist. The entire meal was served in one tray along with small bowl of potato salad, and chocolate pudding for dessert.
We only had about 45 minutes left in the flight after the meal service was complete, so I decided to visit the lavatory once more to freshen up before the rush. I went back to my seat just in time for the captain to announce our initial descent into the Los Angeles area. The flight attendants soon collected the Bose headphones along with other last minute service items.
Our descent was pretty smooth. The weather was rather cloudy in Los Angeles, but we still had good visibility. Landing was uneventful, and we taxied to the Tom Bradley International Terminal.
We soon disembarked and walked over to the Immigration and Customs hall. The place was packed since a few other flights arrived at the same time we did. Thanks to Global Entry, we were through in no time.
We took the escalators down to baggage claim, and exited customs within a few minutes.
My overall impression of AA’s Zodiac Business Class seats on the 777-200ER is OK. Though I personally like the seats on the 777-300ER much better because of the extra storage space, and they don’t suffer the same shaking problems as these seats. At the end of the day, these seats were still very comfortable for sitting, lounging and sleeping. The food selection and presentation on this flight wasn’t the best, but it was fine. The walk-up snack bar was definitely a nice offering when one is feeling peckish in between meal services. Service was good, but as with my previous flights with AA, mediocre compared to Middle Eastern and Asian carriers. It felt like the flight attendants were only going through the motions and were generally disinterested in engaging with any of the passengers. Still overall a good flight. I give this one a 7 out of 10.