Review: American Business Class 777-300ER Hong Kong to Dallas

Introduction
American Business Class 777-300ER Dallas To Hong Kong
Hyatt Regency Hong Kong, Tsim Sha Tsui
Cathay Pacific “The Bridge” Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific “The Wing” First Class Lounge Hong Kong
American Business Class 777-300ER Hong Kong to Dallas


American 138
Hong Kong (HKG) ā€“ Dallas (DFW)
Sunday, September 14
Depart: 1:30PM
Arrive: 4:00PM
Duration: 15hr30min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 4J (Business Class)

Boarding was through door 2L, and I turned left into the business class mini-cabin and settled into my “usual” seat, 4J.

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American business class seat 777-300ER

As I mentioned on the outbound, I love American’s new business class hard product, and especially love the mini-cabin.

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American business class seat 777-300ER

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American business class seat controls 777-300ER

Most of the goodies for the flight were already waiting at my seat, including a pillow and blanket, bottled water, amenity kit, and Bose headphones.

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American business class seat 777-300ER

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American business class seat storage 777-300ER

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American business class bottled water and amenity kit 777-300ER

Boarding was completed within about 10 minutes of me settling in. While we were offered pre-departure beverages, I passed. I did change into my pajamas before takeoff, though.

At around 1:25PM the captain came on the PA to welcome us aboard and inform us of our flight time of 14hr6min, which he anticipated would put us into Dallas ahead of schedule. At this point every seat was taken in first and business class, while economy was about two thirds full as far as I could tell. Interestingly there was also an upgrade list of about 30 people that didn’t clear, and at least half of them were Executive Platinum members.

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Tarmac view Hong Kong Airport

We pushed back at 1:30PM sharp, right as scheduled, at which point the safety video began to play. My eyes were glued outside the window thanks to the cool variety of traffic at Hong Kong Airport in the afternoons.

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Tarmac view Hong Kong Airport

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Tarmac view Hong Kong Airport

The runway configuration was working in our favor today, as they were using runways 25L and 25R for takeoffs and landings, which are closest to the terminal. We taxied to runway 25L, which took all of three minutes.

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Tarmac view Hong Kong Airport

However, we had to hold short of the runway and give way to the Singapore 777, Cathay Pacific A330, and Philippine Airlines A321 ahead of us.

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Tarmac view Hong Kong Airport

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Tarmac view Hong Kong Airport

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Tarmac view Hong Kong Airport

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Runway view Hong Kong Airport

That wait took about 15 minutes, as a few planes landed on the runway as well, and they seemed to be spacing out things a bit more than usual. At 1:50PM we were cleared to line up and wait, and shortly thereafter began our long takeoff roll.

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Runway 25L Hong Kong Airport

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Cathay Pacific Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport

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HongKong Airlines Airbus A330 Hong Kong Airport

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View on takeoff from Hong Kong Airport

We hit some light chop on the initial climb out, though the ride got smooth pretty quickly once we passed through the initial layer of clouds.

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View on takeoff from Hong Kong Airport

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View after takeoff from Hong Kong Airport

The airshow indicated that the flight time might be a bit longer than the captain’s anticipated 14hr6min, though you never really can trust the airshow.

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Airshow between Hong Kong and Dallas

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Airshow between Hong Kong and Dallas

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Airshow between Hong Kong and Dallas

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View at cruising altitude

About 25 minutes after takeoff the flight attendants sprung up and began their service. They started by taking meal orders. On this flight they began taking meal orders in the front of the aircraft, given that it was an eastbound flight.

The lunch menu read as follows:

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The wine/beverage list read as follows:

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Service began with hot towels and was quickly followed by drinks and warm mixed nuts. I ordered a Diet Coke with lime, though since it was catered in Hong Kong it was actually a Coke Light.

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American business class hot nuts and drink

Within 15 minutes the appetizer and salad were served. The appetizer consisted of parma ham with arugula and melon salsa, and then there was a salad with Asian dressing. I also had a pretzel roll to accompany it.

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American business class appetizer and salad

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American business class parma ham appetizer

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American business class salad

For the main course I had the stir-fried prawns, which were served with noodles, snap peas, and carrots. The dish was surprisingly flavorless, especially taking into account that it was catered in Asia (which usually means the food is at least a bit more flavorful).

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American business class stir-fried prawns

I skipped dessert, and instead decided to connect to the inflight wifi and get some work done. As was the case on the outbound, the cost for unlimited wifi on the flight was $20, which is a heck of a deal. That’s especially true compared to airlines which charge based on data usage, where you can maybe load your email inbox for $20 if you’re lucky.

Anyway, the meal service was done maybe 90 minutes after takeoff. The crew on this sector was fine — they were efficient, friendly enough, and completely unmemorable (which is a good crew for a longhaul flight on a US airline, as far as I’m concerned).

About 30 minutes after the meal service the snack bar was set up, which I snapped a few quick pictures of before all the business class passengers circled it like starved vultures.

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American 777-300ER business class walk-up bar

As I’ve said before, I find the business class bar to be a really nice touch. It’s not that expensive on the part of American, though in a way it shows at least some commitment to their premium soft product, which I really appreciate.

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American 777-300ER business class walk-up bar snacks

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American 777-300ER business class walk-up bar snacks

I worked for a while, and eventually we were already over Southern Japan, at which point I figured it was time to sleep, especially since the sun was beginning to set.

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American airshow between Hong Kong and Dallas

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Window view at sunset

I managed to get about four hours of sleep, and upon waking up found us right over the middle of the Pacific, cruising at 710+ miles per hour. Yowza!

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American airshow between Hong Kong and Dallas

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View over the Pacific

Since I woke up literally at the halfway point of the flight (like, to the minute), they were just starting the midflight snack service.

The snack menu read as follows:

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I had the smoked salmon sandwich, which was served with horseradish cream sauce, potato salad, and a bowl of fruit.

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American business class smoked salmon sandwich

After that I decided to have some Hong Kong style milk tea. Naturally I sought out one of the new hire Chinese flight attendants to make it. šŸ˜‰

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American business class Hong Kong style milk tea

I worked for a little while longer, and then napped for a couple of hours. Before I knew it we were already over the US.

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Airshow approaching Dallas

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Airshow approaching Dallas

I worked a bit longer on my laptop, and then about 90 minutes before landing the brunch service began.

The brunch menu read as follows:

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I ordered the dim sum for brunch.

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American business class dim sum brunch

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American business class dim sum brunch

The dumplings were actually quite tasty, there just weren’t very many of them. The noodles were bland so I skipped them.

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American business class dim sum brunch

Then there was a salad with cherry tomatoes and croutons.

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American business class salad

And then a blueberry cheesecake bar for dessert.

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American business class cheesecake dessert

About 30 minutes before arrival the captain came on the PA to inform us of our updated arrival time. He expected we would touch down at 2:50PM, which was over an hour before our scheduled arrival time.

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American 777-300ER mini business class cabin view

As we began our descent I changed out of my pajamas and back into my jeans and t-shirt, and stored my carry-ons.

The views on descent weren’t especially exciting.

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View on approach into Dallas

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View on approach into Dallas

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View on approach into Dallas

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View on approach into Dallas

We had a smooth touchdown on runway 18R at 2:50PM sharp, and a 10 minute taxi from there to our gate. We taxied past some of the more exciting international airlines at DFW, including Qantas, KLM, and Lufthansa.

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Taxiing to the gate DFW Airport

Eventually we parked at Terminal D, right next to another American 777-300ER bound for London Heathrow.

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American 777-300ER DFW Airport

American business class bottom line

This was another good flight in American business class. The food was decent, service efficient, and hard product top notch. Add in wifi with unlimited data at a great cost, and this is a very competitive product for flying transpacific, in my opinion. Of course you can’t beat the ability to upgrade from cheap economy class fares either.

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Comments

  1. Think you mean Terminal D at DFW? I can see the Grand Hyatt peeking out in your last photo, and D is where Immigration and Customs are located šŸ™‚

  2. I managed to get about four hours of sleep, and upon waking up found us right over the middle of the Pacific, cruising at 710+ miles per hour. Yowza!

    At 35,000ft the speed of sound is 660.7MPH. Obviously your air speed wasn’t that high, but still cool to think that your “ground speed” was above Mach 1.

  3. As you defined: Unmemorable!!! Unless AA biz is way cheaper than CX I would never trade of a CX flight for AA.

  4. @ Santastico — I agree, though I will say that for me personally the wifi is a big differentiator. Cathay Pacific is better in every other way, but having wifi on a 14+ hour flight is invaluable to me.

  5. @Lucky: Totally agree that in your case wifi means a lot. As a business traveler where my company pays for my ticket I prefer to have an amazing service and an amazing seat for 14 hours after working for a full week in Asia with jet lag. Also, what really bothers me is that AA does not charge less than CX even knowing they offer a way worst product. Thus, if I have to spend $10k+ on a business class ticket I rather get the best quality vs wifi.

  6. great report, thank you for posting, it seems like a great way to spend time on a mileage run!

    Cheers,

    PedroNY

  7. Thanks for that Lucky. How did you know that there were 30 EXP members on the waiting list that didn’t clear? I’m doing the DFW-HKG round trip in late November. I booked business on the way to HKG so I could system wide upgrade to first (I didn’t want to chance booking a ticket and ending up in economy for that flight time), however, I booked economy on the way back. My upgrade hasn’t cleared, unsurprisingly, but now I’m getting nervous after reading your trip report! Oh well, at least I have the outbound taken care of.

  8. Do you think this flight is especially hard to get upgraded on as EXP? How did you get upgraded? I have a flight booked in mid/late Nov and am very very nervous. Couldn’t even get MCE so that 14 hrs could get really uncomfortable with a 6’3″ frame, both for me and my seat neighbors!!

  9. “Interestingly there was also an upgrade list of about 30 people that didnā€™t clear, and at least half of them were Executive Platinum members.”

    Ben – how can you tell? (that half of them were EXP)

    Thanks,

  10. “I did change into my pajamas before takeoff, though.”

    Ben-Were these provided to you or did you bring some of your own? If given, then that is yet another small element of the in-flight service where AA is doing things better than United. I just flew UAL Global First Tokyo-SFO and was surprised to find NO pajamas provided. It was a daytime departure but would think for such a long flight that it would be something available no matter the scheduled time. Also, the snack bar (or lack of one) was pretty depressing as far as the selection and quality of items offered.

  11. @ Chris Stuart — Because I know a few EXPs that were on the flight and were halfway down the upgrade list.

  12. @ Eric — Given how long it is, yes, I suspect it will be one of the toughest upgrades in the system. I confirmed upgrades at booking. When American first announced the route they had a ton of confirmable upgrade space, but now there’s of course very little space to be confirmed in advance, so you do have to chance it in many cases.

  13. Lucky: I fly American domestically a lot and often in first class (rarely on miles). The meals that you were served on this flight from Hong Kong to Dallas seem only maringally better than the slop, er, meals served domestically on American. It got me thinking…. Given the hefty fares charged by airlines for business class and first class (particularly on international flights), how much does it actually cost American (or, for example, Etihad or Singapore) to actually cater these biz and first class meals? For the food and inexpensive wine that you were served (I have never heard of Champagne Dangin, but what do I know?), did it cost American $50?? $75?? $100?? It would seem to me that if they are able to charge thousands of dollars more for biz and first class, it would not kill them to spend $20 or $30 extra to enhance their meal service and serve something a litttle bit more special. But maybe I have no clue what it takes to serve good food on a airline. Your thoughts? Thanks.

    Brian

  14. @ Brian — I tend to agree. I suspect catering the entire meal service for one passenger in business class is a LOT less than $100, and probably even a lot less than $50.

  15. @Lucky

    For signing up for the WiFi, do you know if the price is for a single device (iPad, laptop, etc) or for a multiple devices?

    Thanks.

  16. I live in Hong Kong, and do ~10x round-trip to the US each year on CX in J and F and bank to CX’s program. There is zero chance I will ever switch my biz and take this AA flight. As long as price is identical to CX (~10k USD for round-trip J), I have no incentive to switch. I guess AA prefers to fill the plane up with guys buying cheap tickets…which is to Lucky’s point this route is probably short lived.

    For the same price I get AA’s 77W, which has the same (in fact, licensed I think) J hard product of CX, and vastly inferior service. In F, the gulf is beyond enormous in favor of CX. I could care less about wifi for 14 hours. And there are no cheapo upgrades on CX J and F, meaning the cabins don’t always go out full sometimes, and there are no systemwide coupons or equivalent. When I have to fly AA, I feel like I’m the idiot flying AA paying full fare J and F when I know a lot of people are in there using systemwide coupons or the AA mileage currency. There is almost no integrity to premium cabins. Not banking my miles to AA, I just know that I’m a huge sucker if I pay for the premium cabins on AA. Forget it.

    I really wouldn’t mind taking AA if the price was cheaper, but it’s not….and I cannot justify shelling out the same cash I’d pay on CX to use this flight.

  17. Believe it or not, there are many American business travelers who feel more comfortable flying on an American Airline (American, United, Delta) than a foreign airline. These are the type of people who might pick this flight over Cathay. It is their loss…

  18. @ UnitedEf — Didn’t run speed tests. It’s quite a bit slower than Gogo. So it’s definitely best for responding to emails, etc., and not for watching videos or downloading stuff.

  19. @ Min — It’s for one device at a time. So you can sign up for an account for the flight and then use your phone, log out, use your laptop, log out, etc. You just can’t use more than a single device at a time, but can switch between devices over the course of a flight.

  20. “I ordered the dim sum for brunch.”

    Looks more like a noodle plate with a side of dim sum…strange though that the Asian offerings were weak when departing from an Asian destination.

  21. I know that many are so enamoured with CX, but I’ve flown my share of them and it seems to be superficial. Are we really to get excited by after dinner cheese? They smile a lot, and are gracious when apologizing for running out of things, apologizing for marginal food, etc. I don’t DISLIKE Cathay, but I think it is vastly overrated. I just returned last week from HKG, roundtrip CX F. Meh. Lots of extra miles burned for a larger seat.

    I am intregued by this report. The snack bar looks really great. And the wifi is a huge plus for me. And I don’t think you get the PJ’s in CX J. šŸ˜‰

    The seats are the same, it looks like I can use fewer AsiaMiles roundtrip to HKG on American than I can on CX, will have reasonably comparable service, and have WIFI. What’s not to like?

    Did I miss in the report the cost of the wifi?

  22. @ Mike — Sorry, mentioned wifi cost on the outbound trip report. It’s ~$20 for unlimited data. Very reasonable, in my opinion.

  23. Yeah, I saw that right after I pressed POST. Again, great report. I am going to see about trying them next month. I think these seats would be cheaper using AsiaMiles than it would be to be to book J seats on CX using AsiaMiles.

  24. I agree 100 per cent with Mike. I find CX service to so overrated. I have flown with them a lot in all cabins and now I find myself preferring the informal, casual, familiar approach of American. It was a different discussion when AA’s hard product was dramatically inferior but now they are exactly the same. I am thrilled that AA is flying to HKG..here are a few reasons…no annoying endless inflight commercials on the entertainment system, no relentless announcements in 3 or sometimes 4 languages, no more small glasses for your wine and water. These things may seem small but they have grown to irritate me after a while. I’m looking at a flight in J in November (it’s March now). The round trip cost is $4,000 from LAX…this is a steal. CX can’t even come close

  25. How did you find seat 4J in regards to it’s proximity to the Lav. and Galley? I’ve read a lot of reviews with people complaining about the noise coming from these areas when seated in 4J (or 4A). I’ve got an upcoming trip and am currently in the mini cabin, but I don’t want to get locked into a poor seat for 17 hours. Please advise.

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