[Click above for the video review.]
- Flight: AA60
- Route: NRT-DFW
- Equipment: Boeing 777-200ER
- Cabin: Business Class
- Seat: 6L
After landing in Tokyo from our Japan Airlines flight from Manila, it was time to head back to the States. This time we flew on American Airlines Business Class from Tokyo to Dallas. We were rather excited for this flight, as it was our first time trying out American’s new Business Class seats. No, these are not the “new”
shaking Zodiac Concept-D Business Class seats that I reviewed here.
So why a different seat? Back in 2016, American canceled its contract with Zodiac Aerospace due to production issues, and instead teamed up with B/E Aerospace to produce the business class seats for their new Boeing 787-9 orders and remaining 777-200ERs that were due to be refurbished. B/E Aerospace actually makes Qatar Airways’ excellent reverse herringbone business class seats on their 787, A350, and A380 aircrafts.
Back to the report, after disembarking from our flight, we made our way to the JAL First Class/Sakura lounge in the main terminal. Since we are Oneworld Emerald members, we had access to the First Class section of the lounge.
The lounge is a good size with plenty of seating. There’s a business center, a smoking room, and a dining area.
In terms of food and drinks, the selection is plentiful. There’s a hot and cold buffet, an actual made to order sushi bar, a sake bar, and a good selection of western booze.
And yes, they do have those automated Japanese beer dispensers!
I personally always go for the JAL signature beef curry and rice, and the freshly made sushi with my JAL Skytime drink.
After a nice meal, we first stopped by the duty-free store to pickup a few sweets on the way to the gate.
American usually departs from the satellite terminal. Today, we were departing from gate 86, which is about a 10-15 minute walk from the lounge. Thank god for moving walkways!
Pre-boarding had already commenced when we got to the gate, so we didn’t have to wait long until Business Class passengers were called to board.
We were greeted at the plane door by the purser and were directed to cross the galley and turn left into the forward business class cabin.
There are 37 business class seats in this refitted 777-200ER, split between 2 business class cabins in a 1-2-1 configuration. The forward cabin has 21 seats, while the smaller aft cabin has 16 seats.
My first impression of the new cabin and seat was wow! The new seat looks very slick and streamlined. The seats are very reminiscent of Qatar’s reverse herringbone seats, albeit a little less blingy. I was seated in 6L, which is the last seat in the forward business class cabin on the starboard side of the plane (next to the galley).
Waiting at my seat were the usual plastic wrapped bedding, Cole Haan amenity kit, slippers, Bose Canceling Headphones, the business class menu, and a bottle of Evian water.
Upon settling in, a flight attendant came by with a tray of pre-departure drinks. I opted for a glass of champagne.
Looking around the seat, I noticed a bigger IFE touchscreen monitor and touchscreen seat controls. The tray table slides back from under the IFE screen and folds out to a large table.
There are 4 storage compartments around the seat. One is hidden on the adjustable arm rest, which is intended to fit a bottled water. A push of a button reveals a small compartment, that can probably fit a wallet, phone, glasses, etc. Another button opens the cover of a larger compartment which also houses the IFE remote, AC & USB outlets, and audio input. The side compartment below the side panel can probably fit a pair of shoes. There is also an adjustable reading light just above the shoulder.
I also checked out the IFE system. It’s basically the same Panasonic AVOD product that American has on most of their modern fleet. There were plenty of new and classic movies, Live TV channels, a good selection of TV shows, audio programming and games. My favorite feature is the excellent moving map app.
WiFi connectivity was also available for about $20 for the whole flight. I used it and thought it was decent for overall web browsing and social media, though it probably wouldn’t work very well with media streaming sites, like YouTube.
Before I knew it, boarding was complete and the plane door was shut. The captain came on the PA to make his pre-flight announcement, and mentioned our flight time of 11 hours to Dallas. The AA safety video started playing as we pushed back from the gate.
During taxi, the flight attendant working our aisle came by to welcome us to the flight and also took our meal orders.
We taxied for about 15 minutes, before being cleared for takeoff.
We then had a powerful takeoff around sunset, which made for beautiful views of the vicinity below. The takeoff and initial climb were both very smooth.
About 10 minutes into the flight, the captain switched off the seatbelt sign, and the meal service began.
Gray linen was placed on our tray tables, then hot towels were given out and collected.
Then the drink cart rolled by, and I ordered another glass of champagne which was served with a ramekin of warm nuts.
I pre-ordered the Japanese Meal for this flight, first up was the cold appetizer tray, which was beautifully presented and very tasty.
Then the hot tray was served, which consisted of a cup of miso soup, fried rice (chahan), steamed fish and veggies, and some pickle vegetables on the side. The fish was surprisingly moist and flaky, while the miso soup, and pickles were a nice complement to the chahan. It was a delectable meal!
Finally, I ordered the signature ice cream sundae for dessert, which never disappoints.
After the meal, I decided to visit the lavatory so I could freshen up for bed. The lavatory was a good size, but rather bare. Other than the usual paper products, the only toiletry I could find was the hand soap, unlike the business class lavs on AA’s 777-300ER which feature 3LAB toiletries.
When I got back to my seat the cabin lights were already dimmed, so I reclined my seat and made my bed. There was a bit of a problem with the seat not going all the way flat, so I had one of the flight attendants try to reset the seat. They had to manually extend the foot rest, and it worked. The bed was very comfortable, and thanks to a nice and cool cabin temperature, I slept for a good 5 hours.
When I woke up from my nap, I visited the on-board snack bar to pick up a few items to nibble on. There were some cold sandwiches, olives, some dessert pastries, and a snack basket that had chips, protein bars, cookies, and other goodies available. A mid-flight snack was also available from the menu, but I was still full from my meal so I decided to skip it.
About 90 minutes before landing, it was time for the pre-arrival meal service. I ordered the quiche and candadian bacon, which was served with a side salad, and panna cotta & fruits for dessert. The quiche and salad were both pretty good, but definitely not as good as the Japanese meal I had earlier. The redeeming factor was definitely the panna cotta. It was light and not too sweet.
45 minutes before landing, the crew collected the Bose headsets. I know some people find it annoying that the crew collects them in advance, but I usually bring my own headset on the flight so it wasn’t a problem for me this time.
Soon enough, the captain announced our initial descent into the Dallas Fort Worth area. The seatbelt sign was turned on shortly thereafter and the crew started their preparations.
The weather was good in Dallas and we had some great views during our approach.
Landing was smooth and uneventful. We taxied for about 5 minutes before parking at the gate.
We soon disembarked and bid farewell to the crew. It was quite a walk to the immigration and customs hall, but thanks to Global Entry, we were through in no time!
Overall, I really like these new business class seats! They are very comfortable for both sitting and sleeping, private, and has plenty of storage space. These seats are definitely way better than the Zodiac Concept-D seats that American has on their 787-8 Dreamliners and some 777-200ERs. Both meal services were done in typical AA fashion, which may or may not appeal to some, but I though the crew were friendly, efficient, and attended to my needs. In terms of food, the Japanese meal I ordered was excellent (not as amazing as the food I ate on my recent JAL flight, but still very good). I think it also helped that the food was catered in Japan. The pre-landing meal was decent, but forgettable. My only complaint is the broken seat, but that was rectified by the crew and I was able to sleep for a good 5 hours thanks to the cool cabin temperature. I would give this flight a very good 8 out of 10.