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AA inaugurates Hong Kong–Dallas service

13 Jun 2014 by Clement Huang

American Airlines (AA) has today launched its inaugural flight from Hong Kong to Dallas/Forth Worth. The airline is the first carrier to offer a direct link between the two destinations.

AA operates the route daily, with flight AA137 departing Dallas at 1245 and touching down in Hong Kong at 1805 the following day. The return service flight AA138 takes off from Hong Kong at 1330 before arriving back in Dallas at 1630.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony

Business Traveller Asia-Pacific attended the launch ceremony for the new route at the Hong Kong International Airport, and witnessed the ribbon-cutting ceremony as well as a special send-off performance by the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. In addition, we were given a tour of AA’s new Boeing 777-300ER that offers a three-class configuration.

Economy class

Economy/main cabin is made up of 350 seats. While the main economy section of the plane features a 3-4-3 seat layout, AA does offer four economy rows just behind business class that sport a 3-3-3 layout. Known as “Main Cabin Extra”, this is not a premium economy product, but rather slightly wider seats with more leg room. Main Cabin Extra seats feature a pitch of 36in/91cm and a width of 18in/45cm, compared to economy seats that offers 31in/78cm pitch and 17in/43cm width.

Executive Platinum and Platinum members of the carrier’s AAdvantage frequent programme and their Oneworld equivalents, as well as Chairman, Gold and Platinum members of US Airways’ Dividend Miles Preferred programme holding full-fare economy tickets, will be allocated Main Cabin Extra seats when available.

IFE system in economy

A touch-enabled IFE system is offered in every economy seat, which delivers up to 250 movies, over 180 television programmes and 350 audio choices. A universal AC power outlet and a USB port are also available.

Business class seat in a lie-flat configuration

With a design that is similar to Cathay Pacific’s long-haul business product (known as “Cirrus” and designed by Zodiac Aerospace), AA’s offering features a seat width of 20in/50.8cm in upright position. When the seat is being turned into a fully flat bed, the armrest lowers to increase the width to 25in/63cm. All 52 business class seats allow for direct aisle access and are arranged in a 1-2-1 layout.

There is a side compartment suitable for storing small items. In addition, this doubles as a privacy screen between the pair of adjoining seats in the middle. There is also a vanity mirror so that the passenger can do some grooming whenever necessary.

Control panel and side compartment in business class seat

The control panel for the seat is located on the side-wall, along with the stowed IFE handset and AC power outlet. There are also video-in and video-out jacks for passengers to connect their mobile and electronic devices with the IFE system. Bose noise-cancelling headphones are offered to all business class customers, as well as amenity kits with products by Akhassa, a Thai-American brand based on the “natural benefits of herbs, plants, fruits and essential oils indigenous to Asia”.

Unlike the “Sicma Aero Cirrus” type seats in business class, the design for AA’s first class product is entirely original. Developed by the airline itself, the seat is arranged in a 1-2-1 layout, and can be made into an 80in/203cm bed when fully reclined. Like the business product, the armrest can be pushed down to allow for easier access and more sleeping space.

First class seat in a lie-flat configuration

A unique feature of the new design is that the seat has a swivel capability. With a 90 degrees turn, the seat becomes a workstation as the side of the seat is a flip-open table (see picture below)

Swiveling the seat turns the space into a workstation/dining area

According to Ian Bradley, director of corporate communication at AA, this feature is particularly useful for companions who wish to work directly across from one another, or enjoy a meal together.

First class control system

For privacy, there is a side-wall between seats in the middle that can be lifted and retracted with a push of a button. In addition, first class passengers have the option of a “do not disturb” switch that can be activated via the mini control system at the side of the seat. The system can also be used to control the seat position. A 17-inch touchscreen monitor is available in each of the eight first class seats.

First class seat in an upright position

Wifi is offered on the B777-300ER on international routes and will be activated once the aircraft is at cruising altitude. There are three different pricing packages available. A two-hour pass is priced at US$12, while a longer four-hour package will set you back US$17. For passengers that wish to be connected throughout the entire flight, AA offers a “Duration of Flight Pass” at US$19. This service is available across all cabin classes.

Walk-up bar with champers 

Finally, there is a cabin walk-up bar between the first and business class cabins. AA stocks it with an assortment of snacks, sandwiches and sweets throughout each flight for premium passengers to enjoy.

See you onboard!

For two Tried & Tested reviews of the aforementioned business class product, see here and here.

For more information, visit www.aa.com

Clement Huang

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