Tried & Tested

Flight review: American Airlines B777-300ER business class

4 Dec 2022 by Tom Otley
American Airlines 777-Business-Class

Background:

American Airlines flies 5 times daily between London Heathrow and New York JFK and has 21 daily flights from Heathrow to various US destinations.

I arrived at Terminal 3 at 1445 for my 1705 departure on AA107, a flight time of seven and a half hours. Check in for premium was in Zone D and there was no queue. I had no bags to check-in so got my boarding card and then took the lift up to the departures level. There was only a short queue for Fast Track security but it still took around 15 minutes to get through. From there I walked to the Lounge.

The-AA-Admirals-Club-Lounge

The Lounge

The Admiral’s Club lounge has had a ‘light’ refurbishment but is still a very large room with lots of grey or burgundy seats and not much thought given to the design.

There is a fair selection of food, both some salads and hot food and a selection of drinks (prosecco, not champagne) though with self-pour spirits.

The Flagship First which is for first class flyers and oneworld Emerald,  is closed until ‘Q1’ next year. This will also get a ‘light’ refurbishment.

The-AA-Admirals-Club-Lounge at Heathrow

Boarding

We boarded at Gate 27.

The flight had already been flagged as being around 30 minutes late, and when we got to the Gate we processed through and then were left standing for around 30 minutes as more and more passengers entered a low ceilinged room.

Eventually boarding commenced, through one Gate, with Groups 1 and 2 called together. Once on board it was very busy, and it took another 30 minutes for all passengers to be seated. In the economy cabin there was a lack of overhead space so eventually several of these bags were brought down to be placed in the overhead lockers in business class.

It also meant that because of the congestion in the walkways, no drinks could be served until a few minutes before take-off. We pushed back at 1815 and were airborne by 1825.

Crowded-gate at Heathrow

At the seat was a Shinola-branded amenity bag with the bare essentials – flight socks, ear plugs, eye mask, toothbrush and toothpaste, pen and hand lotion. I would have liked some hand sanitiser. It’s good that these bags are recyclable, but they feel a bit stingy.

American Airlines business class B777 The-seat-window

The seat

This B777-300ER was fitted with four classes: 8 First, 52 business, 28 premium economy and 216 economy. The business class seat is the Safran Cirrus seat in a reverse herringbone configuration, meaning the window seats point at an angle towards the windows, while the centre seats point towards one another. It has stood the test of time fairly well in terms of design, with a 1-2-1 configuration in a cabin with seating in rows A-DG-J, with the front row being Row 5 and the back row 15 making 44 seats. There is also a small business class cabin of two rows in front of the galley so this makes a total of 52 business class seats.

AA business class -seat

There is plenty of space around the seat, with an open area where the noise-cancelling headphone are kept prior to take off, another large area in the side of the seat and also a footlocker area in the other side of the seat.

American Airlines-Business-Cabin

I mentioned the design has stood the test of time, but of course, seats get old, and need to be maintained. There were various problems with them. My AC power didn’t work for my laptop but did work, occasionally, for my phone. My travelling companions had problems with headphones, and when they tried to use their own – Bose and Sony – found the sound was much better, but came out of only one ear – so perhaps a special adaptor is necessary. Across the aisle I could see a flight attendant repairing another seat with masking tape.

Best seats

Centre seats are best for couples, window seats for single travellers. If in a window seat, avoid row 11 which has no windows.

The flight was fairly uneventful, and the flight attendants worked hard to make up for what had been, through no fault of their own, a fairly shambolic first impression with the boarding and the early part of the flight. This effort started with the meal service – details of the food follow, but skip this if you aren’t interested.

Menu

Small plate: poached lemon grass prawns with paprika coriander sauce, chicory, guacamole. Salad: seasonal green, baby leaf salad, sliced carrot, cherry tomatoes, golden sultanas served with balsamic vinaigrette.

I had ordered a vegetarian meal. Here is the starter.

AA business class seat Main-meal-starter

Main plates

  • Beef brisket – port wine and shallot gravy, cheddar mashed potato, sauteed haricot vert, sauteed carrots.
  • Corn fed chicken with pepper cream sauce, creamy asparagus risotto, asparagus tips, grilled red pepper
  • Salmon fillet with truffled hollandaise sauce, seven grain rice, sauteed spinach and semi dried tomato
  • Indian vegetable korma with basmati rice, blanched mini okra, paratha bread and red chili.
AA Main-meal

Desserts:

  • Traditional ice cream sundae – vanilla ice cream served with a variety of sundae toppings
  • Gourmet cheese plate with fresh fruit and a selection of cheeses with crackers
  • Chocolate mousse duo.

Express meal – single course meal with a seasonal salad, entrée and fruit and cheese or sweet dessert.

Wines:

Charles de Cazanove Brut Tradition NV,

White wines: Dandelion Vineyards Twilight of Adelaide Hills Chardonnay and Shreckbichl Colterenzio Pinot Grigio Alto Adige DOC.

Red wines: R Collection by Raymond Merlot Lot No 2 California and Vinchio-Vaglio Serra I Tre Vescovi Barbera d’Asti Superiore DOCG.

Port: Ferreira LBV Douro Port.

AA Moving-map

After the meal I watched the beginning of the very depressing The Batman film with Robert Pattinson and then decided to recline the seat and go to sleep. I found the bed comfortable with plenty of room, though for me it’s better if I recline it completely and then raise it a little, because I find it disguises the gap between the seat cushion which always seems to be in the small of my back.

In the end I slept for three hours, which was a bit longer than I meant to, but when you’re tired, you’re tired. The over blanket was of good quality, as was the pillow, but it was a little disappointing there was no under sheet so you end up sleeping directly on the seat cushions.

When I woke I avoided the mid-flight snacks in the galley and waited for the light meal offered prior to arrival. Here the choice was mini pies – steak and ale, chicken or wild mushroom, or a Mediterranean salad with tzatziki sauce, pine nuts, sauteed asparagus, roasted eggplant, roasted bell peppers, fusilli pasta, balsamic vinaigrette.

I had a vegan option – the berries had mold on them, but I ate everything else.

Light-meal-before-landing

We arrived only a few minutes late, and were quickly disembarked. There was no queue at immigration, an then we made our way to the Airtrain to take a couple of stops to the TWA Hotel.

Verdict

After a fairly messy beginning around boarding, this was a pleasant flight on a good flat bed seat. It wasn’t exciting, and the seats need a soft refresh, especially since it will be years (if ever) before the new business class seat is seen on these B777s. The flight attendants were friendly and professional.

To read about the forthcoming business class (2024) see

American Airlines unveils new business and premium economy products

Loading comments...

Search Flight

See a whole year of Reward Seat Availability on one page at SeatSpy.com

Business Traveller December 2022 / January 2023 edition
Business Traveller December 2022 / January 2023 edition
Be up-to-date
Magazine Subscription
To see our latest subscription offers for Business Traveller editions worldwide, click on the Subscribe & Save link below
Polls