Click the video above to see American Airlines’s 777 Business Class reviewed on a flight from London to New York.
American Airlines’s 777 Business Class
American Airlines business class used to be a bit of a joke with frequent fliers – they used to sit on their foreign carriers, enjoying flat beds and fine food laughing at the poor schmucks that paid cash for American’s recliner seats that meant to get out you had to jump over someone – who had normally received a free upgrade to sit there.
Someone at American has decided to stand up for national pride and hit back at the bullies in a strong fashion – installing an amazing seat on their new 777-300ERs along with lots of soft touches. We were lucky enough to travel on their flagship business class route between London and New York, a route American Airlines share with their business partner British Airways. Can they make American Airlines great again?
American Airlines’s Business Class Check-In Experience
OK, so things didn’t get off to a world class start – there’s no limo service here, and you leave from Heathrow Terminal 3. This terminal was converted from a multi-level car park, so there’s no natural light and the ceilings aren’t exactly high!
There was a well-segregated American Airlines business class check-in which meant our bags were dropped off after just a short wait, and our boarding passes came with fast-track security so we could stand in a tolerable, rather than terrible, line!
The benefit of flying from Heathrow Terminal 3 is that many other of American’s partners also fly from here – and because they are all part of the Oneworld alliance, you can access their lounges free of charge on your American Airlines ticket.
Unless you’re desperate to become re-acclimatized with an American accent, you should skip the American Airlines lounge as there’s better ones out there. We started with the Cathay Pacific lounge – great views, decent drink and some noodles to eat. We wanted to have something to remember London by, so also went to the British Airways lounge. Here we were able to get a bacon sandwich (with ‘brown sauce’ or ketchup to choose from) and a free glass of champagne to wash it down with.
Onboard American Airlines’s 777
Our expectations were admittedly low when we stepped on-board the plane, but we were blown away by what we saw – it was as though we’d gotten lost and stepped on board Cathay Pacific, one of the world’s best airlines. The cabins were virtually identical, although we were reassured we were on the right plane as the crew were American! The seats/beds were laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, with everyone having direct aisle access and a fully flat bed – awesome!
The seats were impressive – there was a normal power socket (that accepted all sorts of plugs without the need for a funny airline adaptor), electronic seat controls, individual reading light that was effective (take note British Airways!), good sized TV with video on demand, as well as cubby holes to store all your stuff. Bose noise-cancelling headphones were provided as standard – impressive!
What was less impressive was being roused from my nap to hand them back an hour before landing. Two crew members (one with a clipboard checking the work of the other one) were making sure they were all handed back in; I can’t imagine there is a huge theft problem, especially as the connector on the headphones only works with American Airlines planes and it cost $7k to get access to them in the first place, but then I don’t work in loss prevention! Either way, it was a decidedly less than premium moment.
The new aircraft even came with mood lighting – the crew adjusted this during the flight as the time zones changed, at one point having a patriotic red, white and blue display. The washrooms had also had a makeover – gone were the funny tiny silver sinks we were used to, replaced with modern rectangular white ones.
American Airlines’s 777 Business Class Food & Drink
Soon after we took our seats, we were offered some fizzy wine in a plastic glass. Whilst not as impressive as other carriers’ champagne in real glass, it did mean we could leisurely enjoy it whilst we taxied and took-off rather than having to hand it back before push back.
American Airlines crew have had a bad press in recent years, but we received amazing service. One of the crew mentioned that this new 777-300ER aircraft was more challenging to work on, so lazier staff tried to avoid it! The service has indeed be redesigned – you, as the passenger, are in control and can choose to dine whenever you want. This is very useful when you’ve been lounge hopping before the flight, but many other carriers only offer this service in first class.
Soon after take-off we were presented with some warm nuts in a ramekin along with a glass of real champagne. It may only be a small detail, but it’s a number of points like this that made the flight feel much more premium than British Airways – who just hand you a packet of nuts and leave you to get on with it! Likewise, when it was time to eat our table was set properly – BA just hands you a tray with your food on it!
The food was very impressive. Each part was cooked separately before plating, so the steak was cooked just enough whilst the vegetables weren’t nuked in to soggy oblivion (a personal peeve!). Presentation was spot-on, and American Airlines made sure no-one went hungry between the large salad, garlic bread, salmon starter, beef main, ice cream sundae for dessert before cheese. Ice cream on a plane! The 7 year old me would not be able to comprehend it.
Drinks were plentiful, with the cheery crew offering regular top-ups and not minding in the slightest as I worked my way through the wine list.
Best Seats in American Airlines’s 777 Business Class
American Airlines business class seats are very impressive – they fold fully flat whilst you’re sitting on them, and there’s plenty of room to spread out. Your feet go in to a box built in to the seat ahead of you, but unless you have massive feet this shouldn’t be a problem.
We’d pick the very first row (next to first class) to maximize privacy and minimize sound, otherwise most of the other rows are pretty equal. Go for a window seat if you’re a solo traveller, and go for the center seats as a couple. If there’s more than 2 of you, or you’re travelling with small kids, consider flying British Airways instead – their business class seats are more densely packed and less private. On American Airlines new business class you could go most of the flight without ever seeing who is in front or behind you!
American Airlines’s 777 Business Class Conclusions
American Airlines business class on the 777-300ER really impresses – a great seat, amazing service, fantastic food and a flat bed mean this is a great choice. Pick carefully – as there are other types of business class seats being flown around by American Airlines – but if you get the right plane, then you can’t go far wrong.
When the biggest downside is that the seats are too private and you won’t be able to keep an eye on your kids, you know American Airlines new business class product is a great one for the majority of travellers.
Want a BA First Class Review?
For a review of British Airways First Class on the A380, click here.
Want to see a BA 747 business class review?
For a review of British Airways 747 business class cabin, click here.