[Click above for the video review.]
- Flight: AA38
- Route: MIA-LHR
- Equipment: Boeing 777-300ER
- Cabin: Business Class
- Seat: 4A
Admittedly, we’ve flown American Airlines a lot this year and we’ve also flown on their Boeing 777-300ER in Business Class a few times already this year as well, but none of them were from Miami. Now, I’ve heard horror stories from people about how bad their experiences were in Miami. Some complain about the airport experience, while some complain about the service they receive in the sky from Miami-based crews. I’m happy to report that our experience was mostly positive.
We arrived Miami early in the morning from our red-eye from San Francisco. We had the whole day to spend in Miami before continuing on to London, so we decided to go to town. Upon arrival, we walked down to arrivals and looked for the signs for the Rental Car Center (RCC) tram. It was about a 10 minute walk to the tram station. A tram arrived every few minutes, and the ride to the RCC took only about 5 minutes.
I got an email from Hertz earlier in the day notifying me of which parking stall my car was in, so when we arrived at the rental car center, we just had to locate and walk over to my assigned parking stall and drive off. No need to worry about tolls either. Each car has an electronic toll tag, so you just drive through the toll gates and you’ll gate a separate bill from the rental car company for a few dollars – all in all very convenient.
We spent the first half of the day in South Beach to enjoy the warm waters of the Atlantic and to get some authentic Latin American food. The drive from the airport to SoBe took about 30 minutes. We booked a room at the Hyatt Centric South Beach the night before, so that we can have a place to store our stuff and freshen up after a few hours at the beach.
The Hyatt Centric SoBe is not a beachfront property. Instead, they partnered up with Loews Miami (which is a beachfront property), across the street to provide guests with 2 beach towels, and 2 beach chairs. We also wanted an umbrella, which cost us $25.
After a nice dip in the Ocean, we went back to the hotel to freshen up and get ready for lunch. There are tons of restaurants within 5 minutes walking distance from the hotel. We ended up eating at Chalan on the Beach, which is a Peruvian restaurant. The food was pretty good.
After lunch, we checked out of the hotel and drove to the Vizcaya Estate Museum and gardens. I highly recommend visiting this place, if you’re ever in Miami.
We spent a good couple of hours at the Estate before heading to the airport to catch our flight.
Upon arriving at the airport, we looked for the TSA precheck line. There was quite a queue when we got there, but it moved fast and we were through in about 10 minutes.
We still had an hour to kill before boarding, so we decided to visit the Admirals Club near gate D30.
We took a quick shower, walked around the lounge a bit and waited until boarding for our flight was called.
We left the lounge and started walking towards the gate. It was a quick 5 minute walk to the gate.
The gate area was jam-packed. Good thing there was a dedicated priority lane for premium passengers, so we were able to board right away.
The flight boarded using door 2L, and upon boarding we were greeted at the door by a flight attendant, and were instructed to turn left into the business class mini-cabin.
I was originally seated in seat 3A, but was asked by a couple if I could switch to 4A so they could sit across from each other. I happily obliged as seat 4A has an extra window.
Waiting for me at my seat was the Cole Haan amenity kit, bottled water, Bose noise canceling headphones, and a pillow/blanket set.
Upon settling in, a flight attendant passed out menus, reading materials, and pre-departure drinks. I opted for a glass of champagne.
Soon boarding was complete and the Captain came on the PA to announce our departure and our flying time of 8 hours to London. He also reminded passengers to keep their seat belts on as there might be some chops along the way. We pushed back from the gate shortly, while the safety video started playing.
Taxi to the end of the runway took about 15 minutes, during which the flight attendant working our aisle took our meal orders. The takeoff roll was smooth, though we hit a few bumps on the way up. We also took off around sunset which made some great views of the surrounding area.
About 15 minutes into the flight, the captain switched off the seatbelt sign, and the meal service began.
The beverage cart came by and I continued with another glass of champagne, which was served with warm nuts.
Then my table was set and the appetizer and salad tray was served. A selection of bread was also available, in which I chose the pretzel bread.
The salad course was kalette, and saffron orzo salad, which honestly sounds better than it tasted.
The appetizer was a melon manchego carpaccio plate. It was very light, yet flavorful and delicious.
For the main course, I ordered the fenugreek herbed chicken with greens and quinoa. The chicken was moist, and the green beans still had a slight crunch. Not bad!
For dessert, I ordered the strawberry cheesecake ice cream, which was sinfully delicious!
After the meal, I visited the lavatory to freshen up for bed. The lavatory right behind seat 4J is the biggest in the plane, so it’s easy to move around in it especially if you want to change in and out of your pajamas (which sadly were not available in business class on this flight). I was, however surprised that there were no 3LAB toiletries available at all – boo!
After I got back to my seat, I converted it into a bed and I slept for about 3 hours.
Upon waking up, I went over to the walk up snack bar to refill my water bottle, and pickup a few snacks. I opted for a roast beef roll and a banana cream parfait. The beef roll was kind of dry, but the parfait did not disappoint.
90 minutes before landing, the second meal service started. I ordered the quiche lorraine, which was served with a warm biscuit, and a fruit bowl. I also ordered a cup of coffee and a glass of orange juice. The quiche was kind of disappointing, as was the biscuit (which was under cooked). The highlight of the meal was actually the fruit bowl. The assorted fruits still tasted fresh despite being in the air for over 6 hours.
After the meal, the flight attendants cleared our plates. About 45 minutes before landing, the purser came on the PA to announce that they will start collecting the Bose headsets. The crew did pass around ear buds to passengers that were still using the IFE, but I find it sort of annoying to have to stop what you’re watching, return the headphones, and resume the IFE. It’s trivial, I know…
A few minutes later, the captain announced our initial descent into London. The flight attendants came around to distribute landing cards and fast track passes to premium passengers, as well as cleared any remaining service items. I visited the lavatory once more right before the captain switched on the seatbelt sign.
It was a relatively clear day in London, which made for a smooth descent and touchdown.
We taxied for a good 10 minutes before reaching our gate in Terminal 3.
As always, it was quite a long walk down to immigration and the line was long. We got through in about 25 minutes after deplaning which isn’t bad for Heathrow.
We had some time to kill in Heathrow, so we also decided to check out American’s Arrivals Lounge. The lounge is newly renovated and the decor is consistent with AA’s newly renovated Admirals Club at LAX and JFK.
I decided to take a quick shower upon arrival at the lounge. Their shower suites are impressive! The room was bright, serene, and very spa-like.
After a nice shower, I sat down at the dining area and ordered an eggs benedict from the menu.
The lounge also has both a hot and cold buffet with a good selection of food items, as well as a nice espresso machine.
After a few cups of cappuccino and the nice breakfast, we bid adieu to the staff and made our way to Central London.
Overall I thought this was an OK flight. The ground staff and crew on this flight were good. Not too chatty, but they weren’t rude or anything. The seat, as you know is probably my favorite business class seat in the sky since it’s so private and spacious. The food was kind of meh. I mean the meals were edible, but there were a few misses and some of the dishes were disappointing. The redeeming factor for me was the Arrivals Lounge in Heathrow. I really loved the bright, airy, and spa-like atmosphere in the lounge. I also liked their shower suites, and made to order food. All together, I would give this flight a 7 out of 10.