American Airlines Business Class OneWorld Trip Reports

American Airlines Business Class Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner | Madrid to Philadelphia

[Click above for the video review.]

Airline: American Airlines (AA)
Flight Number: AA741
Route: MAD-PHL
Class: Business Class
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
Registration: N811AB
Delivered: November 2015
Flight Duration: 7 Hours 15 Minutes
Distance: 3,681 Miles

Overall Impression:

On our recent flight back from Madrid to Philadelphia on American, we were flying on a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner that had been in service for over seven years. The plane was equipped with older Zodiac Aerospace Concept-D Business Class seats. Half of the seats faced forward, while the other half were aft-facing. The biggest problem with these seats is that they are tethered together in pairs. This means that if your neighbor adjusts their seat or moves, you’ll also feel the movement in your own seat, which can be annoying, especially when you’re trying to relax or sleep. Fortunately, I was traveling with someone I knew, so it was less awkward.

Unfortunately, the flight was delayed for over three hours due to maintenance issues, which put both passengers and crew on edge, as most people were either trying to get home or catch connecting flights. Despite the long delay, the flight attendants on board were professional and efficient. They offered pre-departure beverages and hot towels, as well as the standard business class amenities.

While the food and catering were edible, but not particularly outstanding. Overall, the hard product and service were both satisfactory, despite the inconvenience of the delay in Madrid.

What I Liked:

The seats – Despite the tethering issue with the Zodiac Aerospace Concept-D Business Class seats, I must admit that they are still pretty comfortable overall. They all recline into a flat bed, making it easy to lounge, dine, and sleep during the flight. I was seated in 4A, a rear-facing seat, and was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t feel weird facing backwards during the flight.

That being said, the shaking and rocking caused by the tethered seats can be quite noticeable when the person next to you moves or adjusts their seat. But other than that, it was still a pretty comfortable ride across the pond. To sweeten the deal, this plane is also equipped with personal air nozzles, which can be a lifesaver during long flights.

The onboard service – Despite the long delay, the two senior flight attendants we interacted with were friendly and efficient. We were offered pre-departure beverages and hot towels. Despite the inconvenience of the delay, the crew remained positive and took care of our request in a timely manner during meal service.

The IFE – American Airlines’ Panasonic IFE is one of my top picks for in-flight entertainment. The interface is user-friendly and quick to respond, making it easy to use. Plus, there’s a wide range of media content available, including my favorite Panasonic Voyager moving map app. It was the perfect way to keep myself entertained throughout the transatlantic flight.

The Lounge – I had the pleasure of visiting the “Velazquez” Lounge by Iberia in Madrid. The lounge is spacious and well-lit, with plenty of comfortable seating options to choose from. The décor is modern and stylish, which creates a relaxing atmosphere before your flight. The lounge also offers a decent selection of beverages, snacks, and hot food items. Overall, the “Velazquez” Lounge by Iberia is an excellent lounge that’s worth checking out if you have the time before your flight.

What I didn’t Like:

Expensive in-flight WiFi – One of the disappointments during my recent American Airlines flight was the cost of the in-flight WiFi service. The cost has significantly increased from $20 for the entire flight to nearly double that amount at $35. This is quite expensive, and may be off-putting for many travelers who are looking for affordable in-flight WiFi options.

It was OK, I guess…

The Amenities – As part of its business class offerings, AA provides a range of amenities, such as a business class amenity kit, Bang and Olufsen noise-cancelling headphones (which are collected 45 minutes prior to landing), bottled water, and a full-size pillow and duvet set. However, it’s worth noting that no slippers, pajamas, or mattress pads were provided on this route.

The catering – The catering during my flight from Madrid with American Airlines was decent overall. The starter course of seasonal greens and vegetable antipasti was fresh and light, and a great way to kick off the meal. For my main course, I had pre-ordered the Sirloin Steak, and I was pleased to find that it was cooked to perfection and very juicy. My companion also enjoyed the grilled sea bass that he pre-ordered.

Unfortunately, the pre-arrival meal of Pulled BBQ Sandwich wasn’t very visually appealing, but it tasted OK. The meal was accompanied by fresh fruits and a pot of chocolate ganache, which were nice touches and helped to round out the dining experience.

Bottom Line:

In conclusion, we found the American’s Business Class offering on this route mostly satisfactory. The seats was a comfortable, as long as your seatmate doesn’t constantly move or adjust their seat. The in-flight entertainment was excellent, and the catering was decent. However, the expensive in-flight WiFi was disappointing. On the other hand, the “Velazquez” Lounge by Iberia in Madrid offered a relaxing atmosphere, comfortable seating, and delicious food options. Overall, I thought American offers a very good business class offering for this transatlantic route.

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