American Airlines Business Class OneWorld Trip Reports

Review: American Airlines Business Class Boeing 777-300ER| Los Angeles to Tokyo Haneda

 

[Click above for the video review.]

Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA27
Route: LAX-HND
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Registration: N-717AN
Delivered: December 2012
Flight Duration: 11 hours 35 minutes
Distance: 5,487 Miles

Overall Impression:

Welcome to another trip report! Come join me and let’s fly American Airlines Business Class to Tokyo!

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I’m a Oneworld guy, and naturally American Airlines (AA) is my US carrier of choice. AA isn’t certainly the best in terms of service, but I’ve experience worse service on United’s Polaris product. I’ve flown this route before when it was serviced by a 3-class Boeing 787-8 (Business, Premium Economy, and Economy). American recently up gauged their aircraft on this route from a 787-9 to a 777-300ER. This flight from LAX-HND offers 4 classes of service ranging from First Class, Business Class, Premium Economy, and Economy Class much like their LAX and DFW to Hong Kong service. There are 52 seats in business class configured in a 1-2-1 reverse herringbone layout. There is a forward mini cabin consisting of just 8 seats, and a massive main business class cabin with 44 seats.  All seats have direct aisle access and turn into a full flat bed. This is my favorite business class seat, as it is very comfortable for both sitting and sleeping. The onboard service though far from being excellent, was adequate and the flight attendants were charming and well intentioned. The catering on this flight was actually pretty good, though probably not as good as my previous flights on JAL, but still edible. Overall, I think AA offers an excellent business class hard product. The seats are comfortable, amenities very good, and the food wasn’t bad. Oh, and this plane actually has air nozzles! The service could use some improvement, but it wasn’t bad at all.

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What I liked:

Qantas First Class Lounge at LAX – We got access to the Qantas First Class Lounge via our Oneworld Emerald Status. This is my favorite lounge at LAX. There’s plenty of food and beverage options including a sit-down restaurant with made to order food and a full bar inside the lounge. There’s also plenty of seating to lounge and relax before the flight.

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The Seats – I love AA’s business class seats on the Boeing 777-300ER (similar to Cathay Pacific’s Business Class seats). These Zodiac full flat seats offer plenty of space, privacy, comfort for the 11.5-hour flight to Japan. There’s generous leg and foot space while lying down, and the 1-2-1 configuration gives all business class passengers direct aisle access. The seat itself is also wider, so I didn’t feel cramped. The storage spaces, control panel, tray table, and IFE monitor are all intuitively placed, and within an arm’s length from the seat. I was seated in 4J in the forward business class (mini) cabin. I love how this section felt cozy and quiet since there are only 8 seats.

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The IFE – I love AA’s IFE system. The interface is easy to navigate via the wired remote of touchscreen. There are dozens of new and classic movies, TV programs, Live TV, audio content, a handful of games to choose from — and not to mention it has my favorite Voyager 3D moving map.

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The Cabin Temperature – AIR NOZZLES! Yes, AA has air nozzles on this plane! The cool air really helps me cool down and relax when it’s time for bed. The crew also kept the cabin relatively cool during the flight, so it was easy to fall asleep.

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What I didn’t like:

AA Flagship Lounge at LAX – The flagship lounge at LAX was recently renovated, but I feel like the lounge is always so crowded when I’m there. It took us a while to find a seat, but it wasn’t all bad. There’s an extensive buffet spread with cold and hot food items, and a very good beverage selection. There’s also a taco bar during certain times of the day.

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Onboard amenities – I’ve flown AA’s LAX/DFW-Hong Kong route a lot, and I love the Casper mattress pad, and pajamas that are available for business class passengers. Sadly, neither of those were available on this flight let alone a food and wine menu. The lavatories, though clean lacked the usual toiletries/amenities found on other carriers’ business class lavatories.

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It was OK…I guess:

The Food – AA’s onboard catering is kind of a hit or miss from LAX. Thankfully the food on this flight was decent. I ordered the Japanese meal for the first meal service and thanks to AA’s menu collaboration with JAL, the meal was delicious and beautifully presented. My companion had the western meal and beef short ribs for the main, and he said it was pretty good though somewhat forgettable. For dessert, I had AA’s signature ice cream sundae while my companion had the passion fruit torte. Both were a nice end to the meal and did not disappoint. AA also offers some made to order light meals mid-flight and I ordered the cold Zaru soba noodles served with some fruits. It was light, yet still satisfying. The crew also sets up a walk-up snackbar near the galley for those opting for something quick. 90 minutes before landing, the second meal service commenced, and I ordered the chicken and rice bowl (oyako-don), served with some salad greens, and cheesecake for dessert. The meal didn’t look very inspiring, but it was actually pretty good.

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The Onboard Service – The flight attendants delivered decent service for a US carrier. They weren’t actively  rude, just a bit indifferent. Pre-departure beverages were offered upon boarding, and hot towels were passed out after takeoff and right before landing. The crew were efficient during the meal service, but I the service felt rushed, and they wanted to get the meals out quickly and be done with the service. Some flight attendants would occasionally pass through the aisles during the flight to see if anyone needed anything, but for the most part they just hung out in the galley.

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Bottom Line:

In spite of what’s lacking, I actually enjoyed this flight. When it comes to business class, it’s all about the seat, and everything else just comes second. In my opinion, AA’s ( or Cathay Pacific’s rather) business class seats are still among the best in the market. The seat felt very private and comfortable even during a long haul flight across the Pacific. The catering doesn’t compare to AA’s international competitors, but it was still pretty good. The service is probably AA’s weakest point, as it was a bit lacking. Regardless, this was still a solid flight, oh and did I mention they have air nozzles? 😉

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