American Airlines 777-200 First Class MIA-LAX
AA Flagship Lounge LAX
AA Admiral’s Club SFO
American Airlines A321T First Class SFO-JFK
BA Galleries Lounge and First Dining EWR
British Airways 777-200 First Class EWR-LHR
Check-In and Arrival
I flew in from a flight from San Juan earlier in the day. I spent a short time in the D40 Admiral’s Club at Miami International Airport. It was very crowded and I did not think it was worth reviewing yet, since I wanted to focus on the segment that was about to start. I will say though that when the flight was delayed for an hour, the agent was very nice and efficient at changing my LAX-SFO segment to a later flight so as to not miss my connection.
Boarding and Pre-Flight
At gate D26 there was a long line of people trying to fight the poor gate agent who had nothing to do with the delay, which was later clarified as the crew was delayed inbound and they had to swap crews. About an hour after the scheduled departure time, they began boarding. First Class was called first. Since this is a Transcontinental Service, they offered Flagship First, Business and Coach on this flight. Upon boarding, the purser welcomed me aboard, and asked one of the First Class flight attendants to escort me to my seat. I was seated in seat 3J. On wide bodies I tend to pick the right side of the aircraft, since for me there is no cooler sensation than crossing the galley of an aircraft and turning left. The seat was the old style Flagship Suites.
The seat has a large ottoman that doubles as a buddy seat. In the buddy seat was a large pillow and a duvet. The pillow is one of the nicest ones I have received in domestic US travel. The duvet is thick and soft, but not as nice as Delta’s bedding and pillow.
Soon after I was done taking pictures and settling in, the flight attendant for my aisle, a very nice lady in her mid-30s, asked me if I wanted to drink anything, offered an amenity kit and if I would be having breakfast after take-off. I answered yes to all of them. She handed me a menu, and asked me what I wanted to drink. I told her a glass of orange juice. The menu offered a three course breakfast, consisting of a parfait and fruit plate, a main dish (which I chose the Tomato, Leek and Turkey Bacon Strata), and a selection of sweet treats. At the end of the flight, it offered a selection of fruits and cookies. They offered Gloria Ferrer Sparkling Wine, two white wines (both sell for $9-$20) and two reds (about the same price range).
The flight attendant came with a small amenity kit, the one they usually offer in Business class from JFK to LAX or SFO. It had a packet with Red Flower products, as well as socks and eye shades.
She also gave me my orange juice and a pair of Bose Noise Canceling Headphones. That is probably the best perk of flying a premium cabin on AA on transcontinental service. Some airlines, even Emirates and Etihad, offer really poor headphones on their first class cabins.
Departure and In-Flight
The flight was slated to depart (originally) at 10am, by the time we pushed back it was already 10:57am. After a short taxi, the captain came on the PA and welcomed us aboard. He mentioned a flight time of 5hrs20min. Soon after, we were on our way to LAX.
Once we leveled off, and the seatbelt sign was turned off, I took advantage of what I consider to be American’s Flagship First’s best feature: the swivel chair. It offers three pre-set positions, one for lounging, one for what I call the “sky desk” and the take-off and landing. I set up my work station on the sky desk position, and had the chance to work looking at my screen with a great view.
The flight attendants soon began preparing for the meal. I wanted to have my meal on the sky desk, since I think it is a really cool opportunity. First, they set up the table, brought drinks and came the appetizer course. It consisted of a fruit plate, alongside with a parfait. I am not a big fan of fruit, but the parfait was pretty good.
For the main course, I ordered the strata. There was no difference in size, or quality when comparing it to the strata offered in a shorter domestic business class. The main difference came in the plating, which probably was the best plating I have had for a business class level meal. In itself, the strata was tasty, but very salty.
After breakfast, I played around with the IFE for a short while. It is still the tiny screen that has resolution worse than most smartphones out there. I enjoyed the airshow for a while, and had another drink.
To take advantage of the main difference between First and Business class seat here on the 777, the lie-flat seat with all aisle access. I changed into my BA First pj’s, and while I changed, the flight attendant for my aisle took to making my seat into a bed. When I came back, the seat was very comfortable, much wider than the Business class seat. I took a two-hour nap and soon, we were on approach to LAX.
Our approach to LAX was one of the nicest I have ever experienced at LAX in a while. We were racing a United 737, and unfortunately we lost, but it was a cool ending to a wonderful flight.
Once we arrived at the gate, the flight attendants told us that we would be arriving at the TBIT, which meant that I would have a chance to take the new TBIT-T4 connector. Once at T4, I headed off to the AA Flagship Lounge.
American offers the only First Class option to cross the country. Nonetheless, the soft product is not much different to that of what is offered in Business Class on American. The amenity kit was lacking when comparing it to the one they would offer later on my SFO-JFK flight. Service was efficient, but it was not over the top, as would be expected on American. On the current MIA-LAX flight, First class makes a difference based on the seat you can get, but for a shorter flight, I would not pay the difference between First and Business Class, especially when the food you get is basically the same. Overall, American has a great hard product on a transcon flight, but I cannot see it being competitive with most international airlines when it comes to a much longer flight.