28th April 2011 at 15:52 #500291
Next routing, AA Seattle to Chicago, 737-400 in first class, yes that’s right first…remember that part…first.
Check-in, simple, no waiting and strait through. Staff were smiley and helpful. So far so good. After clearing security I headed to the lounge, I am flying first after all! My hopes are dashed to find that AA does not have a lounge in SeaTac, in fact it does not even have a share agreement with BA to user their terraces lounge, and even if they did the BA lounge is a good 15 mins from the AA pads by transit.
Oh well, Starbucks it is then.
Boarding, first passengers were called, well, first. Seems a lot flying today I thought, I was soon to see why. You see in AA land they don’t have a first class transcontinental, my mistake; they don’t have a business class. They have what we FF call a business class but call it a First instead. So they have first and econ and no business. Everyone with me on that? Good!
The plane: one can only describe it as disappointing. The standard 2+2 config in FIRST. Worn cloth seats that were dirty, I had to brush the crumbs of food off mine before I sat down. The seat was wide and looked well padded but after 20 minutes I was getting a numb backside and no amount of adjusting was shaking it off. The recline is a 3 set position affair that goes back a maximum 35 degrees from vertical. No foot rests, I ended up using my bag to put feet on. The inflight entertainment was some rubbish selection of sitcoms on over heads. It looked rubbish so I didn’t bother putting the in ear bud type earphones on. Instead I just put on my Bose’s flicked the noise cancellation and tried to sleep. Why didn’t I watch something on my laptop? Well, apart from it acting as my footrest I had also killed the battery in the meeting earlier and sat in the gate. Did I forget to mention that the power points don’t charge laptops? That’s right according to the trolley dolly (I use the term dolly very loosely) the power points can manage a cell phone charge, anything above that and they cut out. Oh u smug I pad users! I think jobs came up with I pad idea from taking one too many AA flights.
Food, cannot comment. I looked at the passengers next to me and refused what looked like slop with the consistency of toothpaste. I tucked into my Starbucks macadamia’s instead which I can highly recommend. The most interesting part of the flight was having to do a last minute abort on landing due to bird strike on the plane in front.
And that’s it; apart from check in I have not one good word to say about AA first/business whatever you want to call it. We all, well many of us have our gripes at BA but AA make BA look like the world’s best airline. If BA uses AA as a benchmark it may explain a few things.
Next up, region air American eagle (AA easy jet) Chicago to Lexington KT.
I have done this flight many times, its only 55 mins long, single class 1+ 2 config. It’s a bus that happens to fly and as busses go, it does what it says on the tin and the right price. One comment, the much smaller seat was far more comfortable that the AA first seat. Now and then it nice to fly on a small plane, one where u feel every bit of turbulence or pilot control, makes flying fun again.
No pluses, no minuses. I am taking same flight back to Chicago then onto Philly in AA….First…oh deep joy
when I have completed I will tidy this lot up and out them in flight reviews3rd May 2011 at 21:44 #500292
The final 2 legs, I have gone into great length in another thread regarding the lounge, or lack of on the AA Chicago to Philadelphia so I will jump strait onto the flight.
I was travelling in AA first, as I had done this before I was already prepared that this isn’t first as most of the planet knows it. The aircraft on this this run was an MD80, adequate for the short 1.5 hour hop east. Upon boarding passengers were immediately hit with a terrible smell! Sometimes on these smaller planes it’s common to smell some of the jet fumes but this could only be compared to severe smell of vomit. I wasn’t alone in this with some passenger boarding with their hands over their mouths and noses. The smell was not alone it had a companion, filth. This aircraft was absolutely filthy. In one of my other threads I have put some pictures up. The armrest had years of ground in grime, I was able to scrape at it with my fingernail and ended up using my hot towel to wipe it down. The seat backs were stained, there was mouldy food debris in the arm pocket where the table was stored. The overhead buttons showed black dirt of the type you often find on switches commonly used but never cleaned. There was also the rubbish contents of the previous passenger left in my seatback.
I have to say, this is the dirtiest aircraft I have ever flown in, so much that I started to think that if they take such poor care on the cabin, what about the quality of the maintenance?
Food consisted of a piece of breaded chicken, some potatoes and a salad. The salad was ok, the chicken a tried but it was so dry I decided to leave it. Wine was offered, red or white. I asked what type, not that I cared but I wanted to see what the reply was. She did not know. Fair enough, so I stayed on my tomato juice and ice.
The flight left 20 minutes late but landed just 10 minutes late. Bags were almost an hour coming out and no-one from AA was on hand to answer
As FF will know the MD80 is an old plane so if you take it don’t expect anything in F other than a wider seat than economy. My advice would be flying another airline or if you must use AA, save the money and stick to economy. I went to the extreme and rather than use AA back to UK I rebooked on BA3rd May 2011 at 22:07 #500293
BA 767 Philadelphia to London.
Check-in, nice simple easy and strait in. after going through the usual TSA check it was strait into the lounge. The BA lounge here is very good, divided into 2 depending on the class flown. Plenty of space, a good selection of food and drinks available to help yourself and as this was a late evening flight a full supper was served as well. I did not partake having just eaten before arriving at the airport, however it looked popular with my fellow travellers. Oh, and free Wi-Fi too. No complaints about the lounge and really only one comment. It is glass fronted on the main walkway so more often than not you have other airport users pressed up against the glass to take a look at what was happening inside. My advice, sit with your back to the windows or be forever waving at friendly kids.
Boarding was a breeze as far as BA were concerned, however a certain action had just happened over in Pakistan which would possibly explain the 8+ heavily armed black clad types randomly stopping people as they went down the jet way, this included me as I was dressed I my finest terrorist uniform of suit, tie and brogues. After a grilling I was allowed to board.
The aircraft was welcomingly clean and the staff immediately made me feels good to be flying BA. As a patron every month of Qatar and Cathay I do bash BA somewhat in comparison. However as you read from my previous I have never been so happy to be flying them!
The moment we took off I dropped my seat to sleep, the plane has flat seats, however it seat itself is short and there is a drop down from that to the footrest, this can be somewhat uncomfortable on the calves but I still managed to get about 4 hours sleep out of the 7.5 hours trip. I have 2 negative comments as much as I would not like to have them.
The IFE in my seat was nonfunctioning; despite several attempts to get the attention of the crew I ended up having to get up to see them. The controller was broken and making the screen constantly goes to home page. Not too much of an issue as I always travel with a bunch of movies on my hard drive.
The second and oft commented bane of BA was the food. Breakfast consisted of 3 slices of fruit, a pastry and a small dry hard bacon sandwich. Despite BAA stacking us we still managed to land on time and by the time I had made my way through security bags were already waiting in the hall.
All in all apart from the food and the IFE which was just unfortunate I give BA a good thumbs up on this one.
And that as they say is that! Next week I fly to CAN with Qatar and in July I go round again with BA to the US, NOT AA internal US, Cathay round to HKG and BA back to London4th May 2011 at 04:26 #500294
Interesting and useful report, thanks Steve. Next year I’m hoping to do a RTW with wife and kids in F and kids in C, though in my case it will be Star carriers. No particular route just yet, though I want to include M.E. India, Asia, New Zealand and back via Canada. All info and hints are gratefully read.15th May 2011 at 08:50 #500295
Thanks, Steve, that was fun reading and probably pretty close to some of my own experiences…19th May 2011 at 21:17 #500296
Long live Swiss !!!…best ever food and drinks service and quality (they always get it right ….afterall the best hoteliers are indeed in Switzerland !)….moreover now they have excellent lie flat ,horizontal beds on all routes to US aboard the A333,343 ,so there is no reason why it shouldn t be Swiss from EU to US via Zurich….19th May 2011 at 21:38 #500297
@KSHaggag: actually there are many reason to prefer the very civilised BA to the weird Swiss:
1/ The planes: those A330 and A340 are terrible especially when First and Business classes must live together (Swiss staff are themselves saying it is impossible for them to serve the clients properly on-board these planes)
2/ ZRH airport: to be avoided. Looks a dead expensive mall with a stupid and useless train in the middle
3/ Miles&More: the ugliest mileage program requiring the passenger to fight to get the deserved miles credited.
4/ The “beds”. Actually looks like coffins. It goes down into its box to get flat.
5/ Average limited IFE.
6/ Food OK but no more (OK, here I agree, BA’s is not much better)
7/ Limited network in the US
Definitively, fly BA or even AF but not LX or LH…19th May 2011 at 21:48 #500298
Dear Swissdiver !
With all respect to your taste ,please do not compare LH to LX ..it would be the most unfair practice on earth ..please !…I do believe that Swiss is the gem in the LH group ….something LH does not want to admit ….!
As for limited network ,this is something I was not evoking as long as they cover the main hubs in US ….
I do agree with you on the other hand that BA Exec Club is far better and more attractive than Miles & More ..but afterall ,my dear friend ..Miles & More was and is still a purely german invention and LX had to abide and abort its fantastic Swiss Travel Club /Qualiflyer programme …!..I sigh !….
Swiss is indeed consistent ..you always come to expect what you gonna get in advance ..no surprises …..but with BA ,u can sometimes have a sensational experience and sometimes an awful one ….this happened to me several times ….the crew can be the most indifferent in the world ( especially on Middle East routes ) and sometimes can be the BEST EVER in the world !!!..pretty true!…apart from this ,I love the LCY/JFK Club only product of BA s and wish I can only cross the Atlantic using this service ,however connecting thru LCY is not always a possibility ….!!!!
Cheers !20th May 2011 at 05:11 #500299
OK. LX is better than LH now they have the fully flat bed. When I am flying to the US however I am trying not to transit there. Hence BA that flies directly to many cities… And honestly had only once a bad experience, something they generously compensated.
Never tried the LCY/JFK product though. Is it that good?
Cheers20th May 2011 at 08:40 #500300
Hi Swissdiver !
The LCY/JFK service provides u with the feeling of a private jet ,offering a soothing ambience ,let alone attentive crew and a fantastic boarding/deplanement in seconds with just 32 fellow travellers ( if the flight is packed )..something that does not happen often really ….It is one of the most civilized services to fly to the Big Apple ..however u will have to make a concession on lounge facilities on the outbound leg at LCY …minimal facilities ,however on your way back it is the magnificent BA Galleries lounge and the Elemis Spa at JFK !!!!….an experience to fly for in my opinion ….don t forget ( if u are interested !) that this LCY/JFK leg is treated like a First Class service in terms of miles and Exec Club points accrued ..u get the credit of the F class miles and points ….!!!..I wish to see BA extending this service to other US points e.g. IAD,BOS,ORD ..but the point is that the A318 cannot fly everywhere due to its limited range ..on the LCY/JFK westbound ,they refuel in Shannon ,Ireland and u clear immigration and customs there arriving at JFK like a domestic passenger ,just to collect ur bag if u have checked in any !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..
Just to add to this ..my favourite way of crossing the Atlantic so far is BA Openskies from Orly to either EWR or IAD ……..my favourite ever ever ..I go out of my way to fly to ORY and catch it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!..it might not be widely advertised in UK or even Switzerland …Switzerland because of the accessibility of ORY from ZRH or GVA …..it is AN EXPERIENCE !!!….find it hard nowadays to fly any other carrier /service to EWR or IAD ……………it s a mystery ….they have a 96.85% satisfaction rate among their customers ……I do vouch for them …..BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG TIME !…u see ..this is still BA !!!!….
By the way..my favourite country in the world is indeed Switzerland !!!..ha ah …see u there !
Cheers !7th March 2012 at 11:29 #500301
Well i am doing it all again in march. BA to HKG, CX to LAX and BA Dallas to LHR. its about 9 months since my last RW trip on OW so lets see how they have changed!
I stuck to my rule never to fly AA again, my internal flights are all AA free!7th March 2012 at 14:25 #500302
@ Steve: On miles or cash?7th March 2012 at 15:18 #500303
@swiss, Cash. 5200 GBP business class fully flex. that price also includes my LAX to houston, houston to dallas, dallas to lexington, lexington to dallas legs
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