23rd January 2011 at 22:06 #499184
Anonymous23rd January 2011 at 22:06 #499185
Thanks for this review, BT. I don’t know about others but I found it incredibly depressing for a review of what purports to be a First Class offering – had I not known different, I would have read it as referring to the business class product of a very second rate carrier. It really highlights the problems facing golobal alliances where some semblance of product consistency may reasonably be expected. How does this experence shape alongside equivalents in BA, CX and QF?
As for “value for money”, at £8,568 , it sounds a total rip off. Maybe BT reviews should make an assessment of value for money issues as a matter of course?23rd January 2011 at 23:53 #499186
Having just flown F class on AA from DFW/ LAX to connect with QF94 to MEL, I can vouch for their very poor service. On the 757 from DFW/LAX I was in 1C and when the meal was served they commenced at the back of the F cabin and by the time they got to the front row there was a choice of pasta or pasta!. The attendant laughed this off and said I will make sure you get desert. So much for your Emerald status! The upgrades got their choice but not the revenue pax. I know that this is a domestic flight but try QF on a similar sector MEL/PER or even BA on Euro flight between LHR/ATH there is just no comparison. I got to LAX and enjoyed the QF F sector home, a glass of Tattinger Comtes, great food and wine selection. Sorry but the Americans have a long way to go.24th January 2011 at 00:54 #499187
I think that any on who is under the illusion that flying First in America is simillar to even business in Europe, needs a reality check, except of course for some of the coast to coast routes/ First as a US product is more like premium economy than business. All the services, drinksw/meals/etc are very slow to cut down on the amount given and the crews are generally more interested in chatting among themselves. Flying internally within the US is more like a the Greyhound bus service. Mind you the airports themseles are in the main nice and modern, but I would not dream about wasting my companies money going anything other than economy.
Interestingly, some of the best and roomiest flights I have taken in the States have been on Jet Blue, Air Trans – the so called budget airlines.24th January 2011 at 01:47 #499188
I think all of the biggest five airlines in US (United, Continental, Delta, American and US air) have a long way to go. Here are those points
1 How they don’t serve but sell meals to Economy passenger on their transpacific flights. There you go, in next month I will be in Dulles-LA flight which is the flight time is varying on 6-8 hours. I bet that Austrian and her fellow sisters in Europe will serve us something more than just plain water, coke, or fruit juice on the flights with same length.
2 The seats which fellows in here would know how NG Economy seats looks like. Yep, in my flight I will “sit-tight” in the 32″ Economy seat to LA (yikes even their ally Thai Airways offers a better pitch of 34″) I hope that they’ll bump me into Economy plus, so that I will survive the flight.
3 Uses of Aircraft like the narrow body airbuses A319/320. I know that they have enough range to fly transcon, so let’s hope that my flight don’t have to stop somewhere in the middle like Denver, Phoenix, or Las Vegas just to refilled!!! Well I hope when United finish integrating the fleet, they would put back some bigger aircraft that will guarantee that I and others who will rely on transcon flight to travel in winter which they have really strong winds will reach the final destinations 100 % without extra stop
4 The weird scheduling for transcon flight, for my flight back to DC, it will be the last flight out of LA (depart 11:30 PM) to Chicago (arriving 5:30 AM) I have to wait for my next flight in three full hours. If you have had this kind of red-eye flight and long early morning layover, you will be exhausted and annoyed. I when I bought the trip online a couple of months back, the layover time in Chicago land was only 50 minutes. Then there you go, a new year present from United which is a schedule change which gives you another 2 hours and ten minutes of layover. United could have done better works at schedule the flights but they don’t.
Well, sadly I have to be on one of those 5 biggest airlines of the US because of the schedule issue. I could have choose Southwest or JetBlue which they treat Economy passenger better and spend some extra time going a longer way, but unfortunately, I don’t have enough time to do it.24th January 2011 at 01:57 #499189
The point is, Martyn, that this Tried and Tested review addressed trans-Atlantic First and not domestic. We all know that Domestic First in the US is a poor attempt at Business Class and no more but to charge that amount, Transatlantic, for First and give such poor quality in terms of both product and service is a scandal.24th January 2011 at 03:16 #499190
You are right TominScotland having travelled up the front in the past 12 months on UA between SFO/SYD and LHR/DFW on AA, value for money is very poor.Considering you can purcahse a F ticket on BA/QF LHR/SYD GPB5000 return.[wish it was that cheap out of Aus] and frankly you cannot compare the service.24th January 2011 at 07:28 #499191
Interesting posts, my experience is somewhat different to most of you perhaps due to choice of carriers.
A few points to consider; I lived in the US from 1993-99 as a student before eventually moving back to Europe and Scandinavia. The deterioration of overall service (from telephone call centres, ground experience, to on-board) is reminiscent of many “flag” carriers in Europe. To single out US carriers only would be a bit unfair as many European carriers have diluted their offering as well.
I can’t claim to be an expert on the aviation industry. However, I have made the following observations:
1. The LLC model has significantly reduced average fares, and suppressed yields for many legacy carriers, including US carriers
2. The flying public (perhaps not all on this forum) has accepted the new paradigm that a low base fare is the most important, followed by a “pay as you go/use” model as the preferred model from the “older” all inclusive model
3. Oil prices have been extremely high (in general over most of the past decade)
4. We’ve experience one major terrorist incident that impacted airlines severely, and two global medical situations impacting results
5. It costs me the same to fly to Denver today as in 1993, despite inflation
I noticed a few points regarding the use of aircrafts. If BA uses as A318 from JFK-LCY it should be no issue for UA to use an A320 from EWR-SFO. However, US carriers decided to park older, less fuel efficient aircrafts in the desert, and increase load factors by using smaller aircrafts. Many operate with close to 90% on domestic routes, and still struggle with profitability.
I fly perhaps, 3-4 domestic segments in First in the US annually. I exclusively fly on Star Alliance carriers. I would suggest:
US Airways – stay away. Dreadful on-board product, nothing that suggests premium experience
(Old) United – decent aircrafts, mostly good F&B and staff in my experience
(Old) Continental – new fleet, in-flight entertainment, good F&B, good/great staff
We’ll see what the new United will bring.24th January 2011 at 11:18 #499192
Interesting subject this – and reading the review, the synopsis at the end seemed generous.
I had the misfortune – at great expense – to fly from Japan to the East Coast of the States in First on AA. I’m not going to go into every detail, but it was one of the worst flights I’ve ever been on. The FAs – every one of them – should have been summarily fired for their utter rudeness, lack of attention and care, and loud chattering in the galley behind my seat that kept me awake.
The food was exactly the same experience as AA biz, in other words, very average. The appetisers were actually the same, as was the infamous ice-dream sundae – fine as it is. Nothing screamed “First Class”. In fact, it whimpered more like Ryanair.
One can concentrate on details, as we know, but overall the question for me is this: was I made to feel special, and did someone seem to really think and care about the experience I’ve just received? Here the answer was resoundingly no.
Incidentally, while the seat was perfectly acceptable, it seems like a dinosaur these days. Club World is ten times more confortable. And the gimmicky swivel/work/rest/meeting-between-four-people nonsense should be thrown into the “seemed-like-a-great-idea-at-the-time” bin.
Why one would choose any of the US carriers over almost any of the European ones, I do not know.24th January 2011 at 12:52 #499193
austline, it is AA’s standard practice to begin meal services in the premium cabins at the rear, and move towards the front. It’s why you’ll often see the more experienced AA pax choosing row 4 over row 1, for example.
When Americans come to Australia, they invariably comment on the ‘luxury’ of domestic air travel here. And indeed, domestic travel in Australia (well, except for Tiger and possibly JQ) is probably the highest standard in the world – it certainly beats the US hands down and is better than most airlines travelling in continental Europe.24th January 2011 at 13:01 #499194
Um, actually AA operate FEBO for their food service:
serve from the Front of the cabin on Even numbered flights
serve from the Back of the cabin on Odd numbered flights.
Most frequent AA travellers know this, and choose seats accordingly, should meal option be of importance to them. It is strange that AA do not favor revenue customers over upgrades. Hmmmm. Bit of an oops there, I think.
Eirtraveller – I couldn’t agree with you more. I actually had the option of flying NRT-LAX on AA (in the days before JL were OneWorld), but opted for NRT-HKG-LAX on CX in First, simply because CX are a million miles better in product and service that AA. I had a choice, and have no regrets about it. I’d do it again tomorrow if I could.
The AA product is identical in F as it is in J, with a couple of exceptions: appetiser and salad cart, one extra main, and some extra wine options. Otherwise, the F&B loaded is exactly the same, just plated on different crockery.
I’ve had some lovely FAs on AA, who have given good service, but sadly they no longer have the quality tools with which to provide service that makes the customer feel special. Shame.24th January 2011 at 17:25 #499195
Agreed with JohnPhelanAustralia, our side of the world (Asia+Ocania) is the trend setter in Premium Quality First and Business for long-haul flights. Numerous Airlines such as CX, BR, JAL, NH, SQ, TG (some of them like TG&JAL use to be one of the best years ago)
I agreed that some FA’s come from place where social custom is you have to ask for something to get it. Other place like Japan or other Asian countries where courtesy is in their society, you will receive a better service. In today’s world there are cases of exceptions etc. etc.
I know that short-haul flights are screw by those LLC, but the airlines were happy with them because LLC open up new sector of the market. There you go, a bigger market since those pax will want to try better products on Premium Airlines. So these pax will grab some great promotion fares, have a good experience and will come back for more.
I agree with other posters here that AA’s in-flight product apart from the BOSE is antique, maybe that’s the reason why they didn’t make a profit at all last year compared to other airlines. So AA’s now have only revs from their FF fliers and from their ATI/JV. Some posters in A.net states that AA will have to double or triple their revenues just to get out of red numbers on their sheets.
Rabbz_*A24th January 2011 at 17:59 #499196
Agree with most of you in general that all the US carriers offer worst service/price than any other major airline, although i would like to fly once to Narita with AA on first or Business just to experience this service :
”American Airlines have teamed up with MCAS Helicopter service to create this amazing promotion. With the purchase of a full fare Business Class or First Class ticket (Business Flexible/First Class Flexible) on AA.com Japan, American Airlines will throw in a free trip on a MCAS Helicopter to AND from Narita Airport. And with American Airlines flagship service, you have the assurance that youre getting a lie-flat product on every flight, every route between Japan and the United States, every time.
MCAS Helicopter Service connects users to Narita from the heart of Tokyo, with service between Akasaka and Narita. Whether you are rushing to get to the airport and want to make every second count, or if you would like to have a trip of a lifetime door to door, let American Airlines give you something more.”
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