Tried & Tested

American Airlines B777-200 business class

13 Dec 2011 by BusinessTraveller

Check-in I had tried to check in online for my 1835 departure on AA136 from Los Angeles to London Heathrow but I could not. My ticket had been booked by BA but my ticket reference did not work on the AA website and the BA website would not allow me to check in.  

I arrived at LAX Terminal 4 very early at 1500. The check-in area was deserted and whilst very few desks were open I made my way to the business class desk and was checked in immediately. I proceeded upstairs to the premium security area which took me about 15 minutes to clear. On exit I found myself very close to gate 41 which I would be departing from, and the AA Admirals Club which was opposite gate 40. 

Lounge The Admirals Club has two lounges and as I was a Oneworld Emerald cardholder I was given access to the Flagship/first class lounge. All lounges are on the first floor but the Flagship lounge is accessed by a credit card style key that is issued to you when you enter the lounge complex. 

The lounge was a good size with a variety of seating and desks for working. At one end is a bar area which is self-service with a good selection of wines, spirits and soft drinks. Snacks are also available including soup, crisps, biscuits, sandwiches, salad and fruit.

The lounge also has showers, two PCs and printers which you can print to via the free wifi. There are also a number of comfortable chairs which have headphones and music systems where you have a choice of piped music styles.  

Boarding Gate 41 is right next to the lounge so I left at 1750 for the scheduled boarding at 1755. Boarding commenced at 1800 with business, first and Oneworld given priority. My jacket was taken from me, and I was offered a drink and a newspaper.

The seat The Boeing 777 is fitted in a 2-3-2 configuration with 5/6 rows in the business cabin. The seat is angled lie-flat with four presets and a massage function. Despite not being a flat bed it is one of the more comfortable seats of this type and I managed to sleep quite well with a poly-cotton covered pillow and quilt. For a seat plan of this aircraft click here.

The seat had a coat hook, storage for shoes, a glove box (for storage of magazines etc), dc power supply (requiring an adaptor) and a light in the ceiling above the seat. There is also a table in the arm and a table in the back of the seat in front. 

The amenity kit was preplaced in the shoe storage area and contained Dermatalogica hand and nail cream, lip balm and moisturiser as well as socks, eyeshades, earplugs, toothbrush, tissues, wet wipe, comb, pen and slippers.

The flight The plane pulled away from the gate on time and we were airborne 15 minutes later at 1850. The stewardess came through the cabin taking meal orders, introducing herself and addressing each passenger by their first name. I asked the crew for a headset and I was told that they would be given out later. I subsequently realised that most seats had been given earphones and that Bose noise cancelling headphones were lent out for the flight to those that wanted them. For some reason my row had not been given the earphones.

As I wanted to sleep I waited up for the headphones and then reclined my seat. It took quite some time to fall asleep as the cabin was noisy and I seemed to be the only person not eating.  

Had I waited for the meal I would have had shrimps served with pineapple and spiced coconut to start with along with a salad and choice of dressings.  For main course there was a choice of rib eye steak, balsamic chicken, ginger soy salmon or cheese ravioli followed by Ben & Jerry’s and fruit and cheese.

I woke about three hours before landing and watched a couple of programmes on the AVOD IFE. It was easy to use and had a good selection of films and TV. The only frustration was that every time you started a new programme it went back to the main menu and only on the second attempt did it work.

Breakfast was served one and a half hours before landing. There was a choice of omelette or cornflakes with yoghurt, bagels, croissants and fruit. Around 45 minutes before landing the Bose headsets were collected. This was followed by a final serving of still or sparkling water with a slice of lemon.

Arrival The flight landed early at 1245. It was a long walk to immigration where there were no queues. I was one of the first to arrive at the luggage belt and I found my bag already there. 

Verdict Despite not being a flat bed I was surprised by how comfortable it was. 


Julian Gregory

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