Video Review: American Airlines New Flat Business Seat 777-300ERBack to Forum
Anonymous20 Aug 2013
I was lucky enough to fly from London to New York on one of AA’s brand new 777-300 planes, and have made a short video trip report covering the flight.
Click the link below to see the video on YouTube:
The most amazing thing about this plane is the fact that American Airlines – finally – have a flat bed in business class. British Airways have totally outclassed AA on the transatlantic routes for the last 15 years or so, leaving AA to offer cheap or free upgrades to its existing customer base.
However, their new planes have not just matched the competition’s seats, but actually go further and offer a high class premium product. In fact, these business class seats are a slightly-smaller version of the seats British Airways offer in First Class – and the same as Cathay Pacific (one of the world’s best airlines) offer in business.
Every seat has direct access to the aisle – no jumping over people’s feet here – and is very private. The only downside is that it is maybe too private if you are travelling with a small child – it’s hard to see what they’re doing, and keep them where they are supposed to be!
The onboard service has improved as well – each bit of food is cooked separately and then served nicely on your plate (so you get crunchy vegetables). This means more work for cabin crew, which it turns out is not a bad thing. Anecdotally, the less-motivated AA crew (who are quite familiar to regular longhaul passengers) are avoiding the new planes due to this extra work, leaving more motivated staff to fill their place. Certainly, the crew I dealt with leaps and bounds ahead of the average AA crew.
The planes have wi-fi access (at additional cost), which worked well for me as well as regular power sockets and good in-flight entertainment.
There’s now a snack area if you get hungry during the flight – although they tend to serve plenty of food as part of the normal service! They also offer a dine on demand service, which is great for passengers. The amenity kit has Akhassa products in it and Bose noise-cancelling headphones are still provided (albeit in a manner similar to a prison workshop, with ticks going next to your name on a list as they are handed back and ruthlessly collected later!).
The only downside is the limited alcohol selection, which is poorer than British Airways by a significant margin. Note also that these plane are running limited routes at the moment – you’ll find them on some flights between London and New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.Check the timetable carefully before you purchase!
For solo transatlantic travellers, this is a great choice – rivalling Virgin’s service, and far better than British Airways. If you’re a couple or have small kids though, you may be better off with BA’s “double bed” seats.20 Aug 2013
@ NiceTravelAdventures – 20/08/2013 12:19 GMT
I meant to comment when you posted this earlier, thanks a lot for the comprehensive video footage and the tips.
I am flying AA’s new plane on 3 long legs in November, LHR – JFK and JFK – GRU return, the latter both being night flights so I shall be able to see how private/quiet and comfortable the seats are in their lie-flat positions.
I’m booked in 3 & 4A, in the quieter cabin for all the legs, your video has whetted my appetite further.
Oh, I was also very impressed with your MAS video, flew the A380 in March, most comfortable bed I’ve used and it was a phenomenal experience.20 Aug 2013
After decades with an outdated business seat and lacklustre service, it’s great to see American Airlines emerging from Chapter 11 with a new product on this route.
I’d certainly give it a try.
How long will it take to roll out this flat bed on its other exUK US destinations?20 Aug 2013
I was pootling around on AA.com over luncheon to read up a bit more about the service etc on the new planes, and I have to say that despite the massive improvement in seating, and the fact that the website been revamped and looks a lot more slick than before, it is still woefully bereft of up-to-date information on the new seats. Take, for example, this main page (http://www.aa.com/i18n/urls/fullylieflat.jsp?anchorLocation=DirectURL&title=fullylieflat) on the new 77Ws – which also refers to the “Main Cabin”, shows a picture of the bar but not the seat, and contains outdated information (entertainment on a Galaxy Tab rather than on the built-in iFE). You can’t even find (well, I couldn’t) a decent picture of the new seat. It really does seem to be a missed opportunity to promote what looks like an excellent new product.
Sar’ntMajor, the new plane is available to London from Dallas and LAX as well as JFK21 Aug 2013
The product is superb and on a par with BA First. The 11 hours to LAX were superb though I could not manage the 2nd meal.
You did not mention inflight wifi which is reasonably priced and very fast.
I thought the amenity kit was excellent especially the inclusion of a pen for all the form filling. The products were useful and whilst you might not keep the bag, which airlines business class would you keep?
Your pictures of the food were also excellent and showed off the restaurant style dining ver well. So much better that the silly square things on BA, and again which airline offers sundaes in business class. The self service bar was stunning.
I would take issue with families being better off on BA. The trick is to get the mini cabin and then book the row 3 window and row 4 middle as those seats can talk to one another with ease. Otherwise 4 seats adjacent in the main cabin. Being able to have direct aisle access is everything to me and so travelling with family would be less hassle as there is absolutely no chance of disturbing others while you or your kids, climb over those at rest.
The seat is guaranteed on LAX JFK and DFW specific flights ( a real advancement on even new First) and I think part of the rather low key approach is so they do not upset partner BA. I think things would have been very different had they not been in partnership. So much for competition!21 Aug 2013
@NiceTravelAdventures – 20/08/2013 12:19 GMT
Very nice review. Like AOTG, I will be trying AA`s new seats from DFW in early January. You say the Fizz was still dissappointing, can you share the wine list you had? I thought AA served Gosset Champs in Business? Originally, we were scheduled to fly out to JAX via DFW on BA in late December, but the connecting flights to JAX have changed so we have been re-routed onto an AA flight via Miami (awful) connecting to an AA ERJ (likewise awful, but will try the tip re: free drinks for BAEC Gold) up to JAX. The trip to MIA is on an AA 777, with their current Business seats. have you tried them, and if so, what are they like. Hopefully for a day flight they are OK. Thanks again for the great review.21 Aug 2013
I have yet to experience the new B77W myself, but positive trends are clear at AA (IMHO). Over the past 12 months I’ve had 12-15 segments on AA in Domestic First or International Business to the Caribbean. With one notable exception, all flight have featured great and new airframes (mostly B737-800s) or refurbished B757-200s. I am actually nervous how much damage Doug Parker and the other none-customer-focused management team members from US Airways can do to this improving carrier.
My friends that have been in Business and First on the B77W are very positive. I think I will try it myself for my next Eastbound flight. Ground experience leaves a bit to be desired, but overall on-board is very good from their reports.
In terms of fleet management, my understanding is this:
There are 20 B77W to be delivered, with new F and C (edited)
The existing B777-200s will be refurbished, but without F and only with new C
The existing B767-300ER will be replaced by B787, some could be refurbished
The B787 should be delivered with the new C, but given the trend on the B787 that no carrier (to my knowledge) have ordered so far with F I would suspect AA would be without F
The other interesting development is the delivery of the new A321 Transcon product from January 2014, to replace the old B762 on the Flagship Service JFK-LAX/SFO. AA will be the only carrier come 2014 with C and F on the transcon routes.21 Aug 2013
dutchyankee – 21/08/2013 08:45 GMT
The trip to MIA is on an AA 777, with their current Business seats. have you tried them, and if so, what are they like. Hopefully for a day flight they are OK. Thanks again for the great review.
rferguson did a terrific flight review of the older AA seat, he suggested if travelling solo to get an aisle seat which was a great tip for me as I always go window, his review was quite complimentary about the service and food.21 Aug 2013
Thanks AOTG and Ian, we have at the moment row 13 window and aisle as travelling with my better half. The only other seats were in the middle set of three so always would have someone next to us. I will keep checking to see if we can get a row further forward, but for now, this was all that was available. A bit annoyed as our original flight to DFW was on a BA 747 and we had 62J and K. But the reviews of AA service and food look great, and a step ahaed of BA, so it will be intersting for us to try.
Thanks again.21 Aug 2013
Just so I am clear, and to avoid me looking (more like) a douche, even without status I can use the Cathay Lounge at T3 when flying with AA? If so, I presume I can use all OneWorld lounges at my other destinations too (JFK / GRU)?
AOTG.22 Aug 2013