First impressions of American’s new business class and 777-300ER

In the interest of full disclosure I was a guest of American Airlines on these flights, though all opinions expressed are my own. I’ll take it a step further — if you don’t think I’m being fair, let me know in the comments section!

Monday night I had the opportunity to fly American’s new business class between New York and London. American first began service with their 777-300ER in January between Dallas and Sao Paulo. They later placed the aircraft on the Dallas to London route. Now that they have another 777-300ER they’ve also started service between New York and London as of last week. In this post I’ll just be sharing my initial impressions of the new product, and in the next post I’ll share the joys of a six hour delay incurred in New York due to the weather. Hey, if you’ve gotta have a six hour delay on American, there’s no plane I’d rather be stuck on. And then when I return home I’ll also write a full trip report of my experience.

I briefly had the chance to tour the aircraft before boarding began. I figured I’d just share my initial thoughts on each cabin for this post.

First Class

The new first class is definitely a marked improvement over the old product. American has 16 first class seats on the 777-200, which is great for award space and upgrades, though there’s no doubt the cabin size takes away from the exclusivity and service. At half the size this cabin is definitely more exclusive and private. That being said I don’t think the difference between the new and old first class is nearly as drastic as the difference between the new and old business class.

On the plus side the screens are much bigger and entertainment selection better, though the seats could have been made to be a bit more private, in my opinion. To some degree I almost feel like American overshadowed their new first class with their new business class. Their new business class seat is the best in the industry, while the new first class seat is in the middle of the pack, in my opinion.

Business Class

If it’s true that business class is an airline’s bread and butter then American better be ready to make a lot of sandwiches. American’s new business class is in a reverse herringbone configuration with only four seats per row. I’d argue reverse herringbone seating (also found on Cathay Pacific’s entire longhaul fleet and US Airways’ A330s) is hands down the best business class hard product out there. It’s rare that I’ll claim anything is unarguable, though I think this is as close as it gets. I’d actually be curious to hear if anyone has flown reverse herringbone seats and thinks it’s not the best business class hard product they’ve ever experienced.

Business class consists of a mini cabin with two rows right behind first class, and then a larger cabin with more seats behind the second door.

At the end of the day what matters most on a longhaul flight in business class isn’t the food or service, but the comfort of the seat, and reverse herringbone is definitely the way to go. I’d argue these seats are on par with the first class seats offered by many airlines. In a way it’s funny, because I think American’s new business class is actually more private than their new first class.

Main Cabin Extra

Main Cabin Extra was surprisingly pleasant. All coach seats on the 777-300ER have personal televisions with audio and video on demand, though what really impressed me was how private the Main Cabin Extra cabin was. It only consists of a few rows and has a bulkhead behind it, so it almost felt like the premium economy products offered by many European and Asian airlines. The legroom was quite good as well, and seating was in a 3-3-3 configuration, as it should be on a 777. 😉

Main Cabin

On the plus side American has personal televisions with audio and video on demand. Unfortunately they went with 3-4-3 seating in coach, so the seats in coach felt extremely tight. Can I blame them? I think we’ve seen time and again that airlines are investing in their premium products while squeezing in as many coach seats as possible, given that most people book coach based on price.

Overall

Being on a brand new longhaul aircraft was exciting. Really exciting. I’m used to the “new plane smell” when flying Singapore, for example, but getting it on a US airline almost made me feel proud. The highlight of the plane really is the new business class, which is spectacular. First class is an improvement, though there are definitely more impressive hard products out there. Main Cabin Extra was a pleasant surprise, and would make me feel a lot better about flying coach. While the standard coach seats have added amenities and entertainment, they sure did feel tight, and I’d try to avoid them.

Comments

  1. You haven’t flown EK C yet so you can’t compare ALL of them. 😉 Btw, you like this seat better than the SQ C seat?

  2. What a tease! Looking forward to the in-depth review. Particularly how the AA product compares to Cathay given it’s almost exactly the same seat 🙂

  3. Hard to know whether you are being fair without testing myself. I will e-mail AA for my own complimentary business class ticket.

    More seriously, what do you think this portends for the future of the combined AA/US Airways fleet? How much of the US Airways long-haul flight is awaiting upgrades, do you know? And do you think those planes will get these new AA business-class seats or the latest US Airways product, which you have told us previously is pretty good. Since US Airways’ overseas flight has no first-class, only business, do you seem them upgrading the US Airways fleet to include trans-Atlantic first-class seats after the merger goes through?

  4. Very exciting.
    I’ve been very anxious to fly this product. Yea, just from the looks of it, First Class does not look like a huge upgrade. But, we better try them both to find out.
    And I agree seat is the most important part on a long haul. For me, I usually try to sleep.
    So how was the bed?
    Also, you never mention the food? Was it the same as their other biz products?

  5. Delta never gets any love in business class comparisons around here, but you might mention that its 747 fleet is equipped with reverse herringbone, its 777 fleet is equipped with herringbone, and its A330 fleet will be equipped with reverse herringbone by year’s end.

  6. I think @oneeyejack has a good point. SQ C is probably still better.

    I understand why 3-3-3 makes sense, but I still miss the 2-5-2 arrangement on United. It sucked if you were in the middle, but I was usually flying with a companion in one of the pairs on either side.

  7. LOL, If I was being flown for free by the airlines, how would I NOT be biased when reviewing them and flaunt them as the best out there?

  8. If a roundtrip MileSAAver award ticket between the USA and UK is 100K miles in Business Class and 125K miles in First, do you feel that the new First is worth the additional 25K miles over the new Business? On a sidenote, I do wish they would remove the premium bedding and amenity kits from the plastic wrappers, I think it looks kind of tacky. I guess they are delivered wrapped in plastic to show they are new and clean, but there has to be a more elegant way to present them.

  9. I think I might say Emirates C class on a A380 is superior – but other than that the reverse herringbone is a winner – I do agreee.

  10. I’m a bit “used to” seeing 3.4.3 seating on 777. After all, AA is just following a number of big names using the ten-abreast seating.

    Having said that, I still prefer a nine-abreast seating plan, particularly a 2-5-2, since it caters groups of 2,3,4, and of course, 5 🙂

  11. How is the business class for couples? The seats look great for privacy for a single flyer, but not so good for a couple who want to speak to each other during the flight.

  12. In the middle F sections, can you raise a divider between you and your neighbor for increased privacy?

  13. I do love the reverse herringbone. I flew it on Cathay Pacific to Hong Kong and fell in love and never want to fly to Asia in a less comfy seat than that.

  14. Lucky, you should do a trip that takes on you Delta Business Class and UA business class for the exact same route. I know it is not “aspirational”, but now they all have lie flat products in Biz class it would be great to see a comparison of the soft and hard product on JFK-LHR or something similar like that.

  15. The 4 cabins look good! I would just like to see in Economy Extra footrest like AA had on flights to Hawaii back in the Something Special In The Air days. I like the First Class cabin cause if I’m flying with someone I can see and talk with them. The privacy factor is not a big issue for me. I started flying first class when the still had the Lazy-boy chair. I do like the fact that Business Class is more private that’s where I would want it.

  16. @ oneeyejack — I do like it more than Singapore business class, unless I can snag ths bulkhead on Singapore. I find the foot cubby for the other Singapore business seats to be on the small side, and I don’t like the fact that you have to flip over the seat to sleep in it, which means there are few comfortable positions for relaxing.

    I haven’t flown in Emirates business though I have sat in an empty business class seat while flying Emirates first. I still found the reverse herringbone seat to be much better.

  17. Nothing like a brand-new plane, and it looks really good…aside from the fact that the color scheme is a bit on the dull side.

    I think reverse herringbone sounds like something you’d find described in the Kama Sutra. That said, I recently flew Envoy on a US A330 and thought it was great. Then again, I don’t have much basis for comparison, as the only other biz class product I’ve tried was on a BA 777-200 (which was perfectly nice).

  18. @ john — US Airways’ hard product on their A330s is actually almost identical, also with reverse herringbone seats. The only planes that don’t have the new business class are the 757-200s and 767-200s, and there are no plans for those to be reconfigured as of now. The latter will probably be retired sooner rather than later, while the former will likely be reconfigured with a different business class product once the merger happens (probably to a similar product American has on their transatlantic 757s).

    Keep in mind that once American starts reconfiguring their 777-200s with the new business class they’ll be removing first class. So I don’t think we’ll see first class on the US Airays A330s either. In a way I have no clue why American chose to keep first class on the 777-300ERs, as they’ll be the only planes to feature them. Doesn’t seem worth the effort, in my opinion.

  19. @ Travel is Free — Right, this post wasn’t focused on the actual flight, but rather the plane as such. In the next post I’ll cover the flight (including food), and then in a week or so I’ll post a full trip report of the roundtrip journey.

    The food is the same as on the rest of the fleet, though it’s worth keeping in mind that American recently (somewhat) improved their international catering, so it has gotten a bit better at least.

    The bed was great as well. I wish they had a mattress pad in which case it might as well be first class, but I can understand why they don’t.

  20. @ Mark — I haven’t done the Delta 747, though if it’s a similar product then kudos to them as well. That being said, I don’t think a standard herringbone like Delta has on their 777s is in any way comparable to a reverse herringbone configuration.

  21. @ Scottrick — Having done Singapore business many times, I disagree. Enjoyed the seat on Cathay and American considerably more than the Singapore seat.

  22. @ Matt — I didn’t say American was the best out there. I said their new business class hard product is the best out there.

    In November I flew Cathay Pacific’s new business class, which features an identical product. Check out the review here:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2012/11/21/chasing-the-sun-cathay-pacific-business-class-bangkok-to-hong-kong/

    At the end of the report (which was written long before American invited me on this trip) I wrote:
    “Cathay Pacific’s new business class product is a huge winner, and makes even me rethink the value of first class. US Airways has a similar product on their Airbus 330 aircraft, and American will soon be rolling out a similar product on their 777-300ER aircraft. This is no doubt the business class product of the future.”

  23. We’re flying DFW-LHR r/t on the 77W in main cabin extra in April. Right now we’re on row 16 (first row of main cabin extra) on both flights. From your picture, it looks like a ton of legroom, though that means the screen is way far away. Now I’m tempted to switch one of the flights to a row not the first so the screen isn’t so far away, but at the cost of a load of legroom.

    What do you think? Are the screens big enough for it to not make a huge difference for the front row of main cabin extra?

  24. @ Chris — Totally agree, though also see why there are two sides to it. Sucks to have all the plastic wrapping, but it’s also nice to see it’s clean. I love the approach that good Singapore flight attendants take, whereby they unwrap it in front of you. Best of both worlds.

    Is it worth a 12,500 mile premium per direction to fly first class? As a OneWorld Emerald I’d say it’s about a wash, since I get the same lounge access anyway. But in first the food marginally better, the service is better (in theory), you get pajamas, and you get a mattress pad. I’d say that’s worth the small premium, though I know others may disagree.

    *Definitely* worth it if the choice is between old business class and new business class, though.

  25. @ nyflyer — Arguable the product has too much privacy. Good problem to have, eh? In the second picture under the business class section you’ll see the two center seats. Those panels with mirrors close, so you do have to lean forward a little bit in order to talk to one another. The first class cabin is actually less private, so arguable better for couples.

  26. You don’t seem to understand what conflict of interest means. It doesn’t hinge on whether you think you’ve compromised your views.

    Of course you will claim (and will want to believe) that you have remained objective. That is pure delusion.

    By accepting an expensive product from AA and implicitly or explicitly agreeing to write a review in return, you were effectively hired by AA to review the product for them.

    It is a fantasy to think that your opinion is not affected by the party that hired you, as much as you might try to minimize any bias.

  27. @ Voice of reason — You’d think I’d get a chance to review my flight before I’d be called out. 😉

    Let’s recap the facts so far. I flew Cathay Pacific business class last November. I said it was the best business class hard product in the world. American has the same business class hard product.

    So far that’s where we’re at, no?

  28. Although your opinion cannot be 100% objective when your flight is paid for by someone other than yourself, I may be more satisfied in that you are likely able to provide a detailed review of the product at an earlier point in time rather than when you would naturally book this flight.

    Next time, you can ask them for a 2nd ticket and bring me along.

  29. Regarding SQ C vs the reverse herringbone, SQ’s teeny tiny footwells and forced diagonal sleeping isn’t my idea of fun. Even though you’re aligned diagonally in these, you’re still straight in your seat.

    Regarding the comp, Lucky, I think you need a little more Colonel Jessup in you… “I run my blog how I run my blog.” Honestly, if folks have a problem with it, they can just ignore the review and stick to the ones where you “pay” for your own seats… I don’t think you owe any explanation other than just a disclosure that it was comped.

  30. While I can see why some may question or argue that Ben’s “effectively hired by AA to write a product review for them”, with the amount of trip reports and new products Ben go through on a yearly basis…I’d argue that this new AA product would’ve been in one of the upcoming reports anyways, paid via his own miles or other means such as coach+EXP systemwide..

  31. Would it have been good business for Lucky, as a pro blogger, to have just turned them down? Strangely, that seems to be what a few are basically advocating.

    I’m thankful to be reading a blog by someone who is evidently considered meaningful enough for American to invite in the first place. Lest we forget, even only on twitter- over fifteen thousand followers. Is it good for AAir? Yes.
    And for Lucky and the rest of us? Double yes.

    So, Thanks for not turning them down.
    Looking forward to the rest of the report on this great new plane!

  32. Lucky, one thing Cathay did for their BC seats is, they move forward so people in the middle seats don’t have to lean forward as much when talking. Do AA seats have the same feature, and if so, does it help?

  33. Lucky, I don’t think you’re quite getting Voice of reason’s point, which is a valid one.

    Conflict of interest is not a results-oriented phenomenon. Your review – good or bad, critical or not – has no bearing on whether or not a situation presents a conflict of interest.

    Now surely you will have some critiques, and you will say, “Look, I critiqued them on this and that.” But again, that misses the point.

    Glad you got a comfy free flight. Very jealous!

  34. Disagree this is the best J set up. I think LX’s J is the best. It allows for a window seat if you’re sitting with a friend on the AB side, a guaranteed single seat on the JK side and aisle access for a middle seat. Can’t get any better. Plus, if you’re short, the throne is AWESOME

  35. Of COURSE you can’t treat this as the same as if he flew on his own dime. And he isn’t.

    That being said, it’s not like people don’t write trip reports all the time while they aren’t flying on their own dime… including Lucky, who reviewed American’s products on a paid trip before. So I’m afraid he’s been “conflicted” for a long time.

  36. I agree and improvement, still doesn’t compare to the 1st in Cathay Pacific though. I wonder why no domestic airline can match of their international counterparts.

  37. Qantas invented business class back whenever when and they still do a very nice job especially in the upper deck configuration of the A380. Private lounge to go hang out in – stand up bar – flatbed seats with mattress pads, large pillows and comfy blankets and of course Qantas pjs. Its a more industrial style but in seat massager is great and plenty of privacy in a 2-2-2 configuration. Food and service are exceptional.

  38. Oh come on who cares. As though ANY boardingarea blogger isn’t comprised up the wazoo with credit card affiliate links, etc. How is this ANY different?

  39. I agree with Lucky in that Cathay reverse herringbone business is the best hard product. I flew it from HKG-ORD and it was great. Would certainly do it again!

    I am glad to hear that AA is getting this product too. It gives me more options to go longhaul in a great seat!

    I personally believe that AA First is not worth a 25k premium unless you are looking at angled business seats as the only alternative. I might consider it then but still unsure.

    Biased or not… thanks for the review lucky! Your website is a great resource on photos and info on many premium products where I can decide for myself. Keep it up!

  40. @ Lucky — I agree that the reverse herringbone configuration is better than herringbone, but why do they think the two are “in no way comparable”? Certainly, herringbone lacks table space, but the concepts are otherwise similar. I prefer both to the staggered configuration that confines your feet to a small cubby beneath the previous row’s armrest.

  41. @lucky – i agree with rudolph; using your own miles would have been a different story… being offered free stuff to review is getting into TPG territory (with Chase). i think you can’t claim to be unbiased having been offered a free product. am i jealous? yes, but i dont review products and give advice for a living. i think you said something earlier about the FA not knowing who you are… but even in the event that they did know, how can the FAs provide unbiased service to you knowing that AA offered said product in return for your review. the appearance of being unbiased is lost regardless of result.

  42. Even though I now know that you are “conflicted” and “delusional”, I still really enjoy the blog. Just as long as you are not a danger to yourself or others…

  43. who is this “coach” to whom you refer? does he sit in the rear of the plane where my dog defecates?

  44. I found Cathay Pacific’s 777 business class to be awesome. On the day of departure for Bali, I was wakened by AA at 0345 EDT to tell me of a flight cancellation, resulting in our flying STX-MIA at 0715 vice 1400. By the time we got on our LAX-HKG flight at 0045 PDT we were frazzled. After takeoff, it was flatten the bed and crash. Normally I sleep poorly on planes. I was SO comfortable, I slept for 11 1/2 hours! I’m happy AA has adopted what appears to be the same seat. Too bad it’s not on MIA-LHR route.

  45. Just returned from Europe to the west coast. Economy, It is very important to have reasonable legroom on a long haul. People remember anything with comfort!

  46. Somehow the space of business class seats looks a lot tighter than that on CX. I’m sure the seats and configurations are the same, but the space between the seat and the feet rest looks tight.

  47. The herringbone configuration is great when you are traveling alone and don’t want to be disturbed. However when you travel with a spouse, partner or friend, talking is difficult and almost impossible when you are partially reclining.

  48. It appears like there is a pull up screen between the centerline F/C seats for privacy, which they have on the standard 777. Did you miss that or did it not exist on this new airplane?

  49. @ Warren Leigh — There is in first class, though best I can tell there isn’t in business class, given that there isn’t a need with the amount of separation between the seats.

  50. @ David — Interesting, because I found it equally roomy if not a bit roomier, given that I flew Cathay Pacific business class on an A330, which is a narrower aircraft also with four across seating in business class (though they’re likely at a bit less of an angle).

  51. @ Mark — I find standard herringbone seats to be MUCH less spacious than reverse herringbone seats. They lack privacy given that you’re looking right at the head of the person next to you, are horrible if you’re traveling with someone, and don’t have nearly the personal space of a reverse herringbone configuration. I do think the difference is substantial.

  52. @ tri — To clarify, I don’t think I ever said the flight attendants didn’t know who I was, or that I’d get “normal” service. But I haven’t even written about the actual flight yet, so if you’d like to criticize me on that I’d suggest waiting till after that post is up.

    Do you have a natural bias when you’re given something? Sure, I think that’s a fair statement. That being said I think there’s limited bias that can be applied on a post that’s simply based on walking around a plane while on the ground.

    I’ve flown dozens of the top airlines in the world, and I stand by every cabin summary above. If there’s one cabin you think I’m being too flattering towards, I’d be curious to hear!

  53. 1) How do you think AA F seats/cabin compare with BA F?

    2) At what pace does AA plan to retrofit planes?

    3) Are there specific routes where there is a near guarantee of getting new C and F?

  54. @ Carol — While the BA seat is a bit more private I prefer the actual hard product on American. That being said the cabin on BA is a bit more elegant.

    American should be taking delivery of 10 777-300ERs this year, all of which will feature the new product. I believe the first 777-200 will be reconfigured next year.

    As of now American publishes the flight numbers operated by the 777-300ER, and as of now there are only plans to fly it to GRU and LHR.

  55. @lucky i thought i read a tweet; FA calling you by the wrong name…? perhaps im thinking about a different flight? but what i meant was, if the FA knew who you were, then we’d expect service to be different and better, right? i cant argue if you’re biased or not – i honestly dont know. its just my impression is that accepting ‘payment’ for a review is well, can be influential.

  56. @ tri — Yes, the flight attendant on Seattle to New York incorrectly referred to me as Nathan instead of Ben the entire flight. I think if she had been “briefed” she would’ve gotten my name right. 😀

  57. I’m planning on flying in first class with 4 others on the 777-300 from SAN through JFK to LHR this July. I’ve flown to LHR in first class on the 777 in first class back in 2004. I’m very much looking forward to seeing the changes. Thank you for the review.

  58. Im waiting for new comfortable planes when flying across the U.S.. as well as direct flight from DC to SD. Very long day and rushing through Dallas ……my trip is every bit as long as from DC to London by the time it is all said and done. Yet I have to put up with crappy planes.

  59. I am always amused by readers referencing integrity, but have no problem fleecing the the travel industry and their employers for all they can get.

  60. Ben, the more you protest and assert that your integrity is intact, the more you place that integrity in doubt. The less you give a F%*! what anyone else thinks or says, the greater your integrity. That’s just the way the world works.

    Enjoy the freebies, write your story, and don’t worry.

  61. @ MEOW — There are no plans to fly it to Tokyo (yet), but it should be on the Los Angeles to London rune as of June of this year.

  62. If somebody is assuming that the posters are fleecing the travel industry and their employers I assume he must also see Lucky in the worst light.

    I csn accept that Lucky was not influenced, but there is also a reason many companies bar gifts of any type over a nominal value ($50 where I am). Readers seeing the appearance of conflict of interest can be as bad as actual conflict (especially new readers).

    I assume the other Carl is further amused.

  63. @lucky: I’m with @Mark regarding Delta. I love your blog, but you really need to keep up with the major US carriers’ products. For several months now, Delta’s entire 747 fleet has had the same seat that American is just rolling out on their 77Ws. (Yes, US and Cathay had it first, but please give Delta some credit.) The 747 upper deck is configured 1-1 with only 14 seats now, which should make for a great ride. As @Mark says, the A330s will start going in this year for the same seats (although I think they won’t be done until next year).

  64. I can’t wait to try these new aircraft. We are flying to London in the late summer from Chicago and I hope American has these new aircraft in place in Chicago by then.
    I flew to São Paulo this past summer and got bumped backwards (downgraded) after being upgraded due to a flight cancellation. Not a great way to treat an ExPlat.

    I look forward to experiencing the new business or first class.

  65. @ Mitch — I’m not sure why there’s a need to get Delta involved here. US Airways was the first to have the seat, and Cathay Pacific was the airline I flew it on. I never claimed any other airline did or didn’t have the product. Qatar also has it on their 787s, but I’m not sure I see the relevance.

  66. @Lucky – I think what Mark and Mitch are saying is that you give credit to US Airways and Cathay Pacific but not to Delta for having the same product before American did. DL gets a lot of flak on a lot of blogs (and sometimes, for good reason) but they’ve really overhauled their fleet and have some great hard products that otherwise don’t get talked about much, including reverse herringbone or other direct aisle access business (including on all flights to London).

    Meanwhile, AA gets a lot of publicity on your blog since (1) you’re an AA flyer and (2) they invited you to check it out, while DL gets either ignored or railed. This isn’t an isolated incident either, it’s really something that’s commonplace on your blog and something I’ve noticed over the course of many posts.

    Also, the Qatar 787s have barely even flown, so that’s not too great an example 😉

  67. Agreed on the Delta bias around here. To be honest though, if I had a blog I would almost certainly exert the opposite bias, so it doesn’t really bother me. It seems difficult enough to maintain the level of prestige that Lucky does with a subset of airlines, let alone all of them. It’s just too bad that there is not a more Delta-focused counterpart to this blog.

    As for all of this conflict of interest hooey, everybody please give this a rest and learn to take things with a grain of salt. A lot of what Lucky writes is not debatable (e.g., you see what you see in his many pictures), and a lot of it can be verified elsewhere (e.g., menu selections, entertainment offerings, etc.). Sure, there is the potential for him to say that the food tastes much better than it is or that the service was better than it will be for you, but I have never gotten the impression that he oversells anything. If anything, I think he has a tendency to sound a little whiny about airplane food!

  68. There ‘premium economy’ does not look that great to be honest certainly compared to the AF hard product [not saying much I only fly AF when I have no other choice!].
    The seats and pitch look how a Qantas 747 Coach seat was circa 1976!. [aside from the Screen!]

  69. @ Mike — Right, that’s correct, though this isn’t really a premium economy product. Air France and most international airlines market it as a separate cabin with larger seats, better service, etc., while in the US there’s a nominal fee to buy up to it, and it’s available to elite members for free.

  70. @ Scottrick. I’m with Lucky on this. I live in Singapore and fly SQ more often than I’d like to. Their business class seats are rather wide but not all that comfortable. When possible, I’ll fly CX primarily for the seats (there are also too many announcements on SQ disturbing sleep, which is valuable given that most flights for me allow for only 5-6 hours of sleep prior to a full work day) even though it means an extra connection for me.

  71. I really hate the new configuration in Main cabin extra and in the main cabin. I love the actual 777 configuration of 2-5-2 . Most of the premium passages will be always on the 2 seats that are more private than sharing the third seat with an extranger

  72. @lucky, thanks for the post. Actually was trying to get in AA fist class to. Europe, but now I might just stick to Business Class. Do you know of any where to gurantee you will be on a new AA business class? Trying to get to Frankfurt, Germany in the fall. Any tips?

  73. @ Jacob — Just look for routes with flights operated by the 77W. In the fall there should be service from New York, Dallas, and Los Angeles to London, so if you route through London you can add a connecting flight on British Airways from London to Frankfurt.

  74. Are Main Cabin Extra seats (in 3-3-3 configuration)any wider than Main Cabin seats (in 3-4-3 configuration) ?

  75. 1. Comps and bias happen all the time and in every business, but for some reason doctors and Lucky seem to be the only ones called out on it. Give the guy a break.

    2. I recall reading somewhere that 3-3-3 requires fewer underseat hardware kits for AVOD than 2-5-2 and that’s why airlines have changed the seat configs.

    3. Lucky, I love your blog but I too would like to see you cover more/different products. There are only so many LH F trip reports one can read before they blend together. How about something more unusual like F on AF? If you really want to go outside your comfort zone you could always try Air Koryo’s coach service!

  76. Very true, Cathay Biz, def the most comf & private biz class seat out there. frankly, CX’s has more storage space then BA first. and yes, AA cld have given the F class cabin a bit more of a private feel, follow JAL & Korean Air’s example, or even SWISS.

  77. Although I think the comments are fair, I personally think the A380 business class on Singapore Airlines does trump American, except if you can’t be bothered to stand up before going to sleep.

  78. Reverse herringbone is indeed optimal for the solo traveler, but conversation with a partner is more difficult. For this I would opt for the alternating 1-2-1, 2-1-2 used by Brussels Airlines in their A330s. I would caution however that the single slot in this configuration reclines into a flat bed that is noticeably shorter than those in the double positions. I am not excessively tall at 5’11” (180 cms) and my had to bend my body to fit the confines of the single bed.

  79. Agree not good for a a couple. We like to be able to talk and share while we’re headed to London. Some seats should be configured with this in mind. BA does it so it can be done.

  80. Herringbone seating is aweful. I don’t like sitting facing backward and studies show an overwhelming amount of passengers don’t like it either. Plus the soace is drastically reduced This is just a way for the airlines to squish more seats into the cabin and maximize revenues. Herringbone seating is a deal breaker and I won’t book it unless there are no alternatives.

  81. Stupid me…please explain the difference between herringbone and REVERSE herringbone and what makes RH so much better…thanks..

  82. @ Rich — Not a stupid question at all. The business class product above is a reverse herringbone. Meanwhile here are a few links to trip reports I’ve written about herringbone seats.

    Like on Virgin Atlantic:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2011/03/20/five-star-virgin-virgin-atlantic-upper-class-from-san-francisco-sfo-to-london-lhr/

    And Air New Zealand:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2011/08/03/four-continents-and-37000-miles-in-two-weeks-star-alliance-lounge-london-air-new-zealand-business-premier-london-to-los-angeles/

    And Air Canada:
    http://onemileatatime.boardingarea.com/2008/08/01/trip-report-dps-sin-pvg-on-sq-pvg-yyz-ord-on-ac/

    As you can see, the reverse herringbone seat is much more spacious than the herringbone seat.

    Hope that answers your question.

  83. First, I think your review is fair and don’t understand all these other comments about bias.

    Next, I’m not sure if I’m seeing the photos correctly, but are the TV screens in Business at an off-angle? Are you required to push it out and angle it to see the screen?

    Finally, if you have any pull with AA, please have them put new 777-300’s in MIA as well! I can’t believe DFW-GRU was the first flight when all the Brazilians are coming to MIA!?

    thanks!

  84. @ Eric — Thanks! Yes, you do have to pull out the TVs to watch them. They’re stowed at an angle during taxi, takeoff, and landing.

    I agree, I hope they start service to MIA eventually as well!

  85. As someone who flies Coach often (due to someone else paying for the flight), I can tell you right now that the AA Coach configuration encourages me to choose another airline. And after my last AA flight to South America in Coach, I swore I would never fly that airline again. Tight and ergonomically nightmarish seats, shallow pitch, and dirty cabins made for a seriously miserable flight. When we changed to LAN, the difference was pronounced — welcoming gate attendants, comfortable Coach seats, decent food, and sparkling clean.

    From my home in South America I can choose a number of airlines, including LAN, which has one of the best Coach products available. Although AA flies to my country, after my last experience with them flying to South America in Coach, I swore I would never fly AA again.

  86. To answer your question in the blog, I am the one who thinks, reversed herringbone is not the best business class seat in the air. I prefer Swiss’, KLM’s or Austrian’s staggered seats. In my opinion the staggered seats are very uncomfortable to look ot of the window, something I like to do during take off, landing and also during the flight. As I do not think, the herringbone seats are more comfortable than the staggered ones, I prefer the latter ones. Also when traveling with a compagnon, chatting is much more comfortable in the staggered seats.

  87. I think that while reverse herringbone may be private, and comfortable. I argue that when traveling with someone it would be much nicer to be in say, Lufthansa’s business class seat. Agree?

  88. @ Noah Sprenger — Nope, Main Cabin Extra seats are a bit wider thanks to 3-3-3 configuration instead of 3-4-3 configuration.

  89. NEW COMMENT ADDED APRIL 6, 2017:

    April 4, 2017, I posted a comprehensive comment about this article and the new 777-300 ER and it had disappeared the next day.

    At this point, NOBODY HAS HAD THE MOST ELEMENTARY DECENCY of telling me the reason why it disappeared…

    I notice that the last comment goes back to February 2013!

    THIS WEBSITE IS OFF THE LIST!

    Dr. Efrin Knight
    Miami Beach, Florida

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