In terms of transcontinental premium products, American Airlines currently offers a better overall product than either Delta or United. This review covers my journey from JFK-LAX aboard American Airlines 777-200 in business class.
American Airlines 777-200 Business Class Review
After clearing immigration in Terminal 8, we were met by National Guard troops who were collecting contact tracing information. However, when I mentioned that we were simply connecting to Los Angeles, we were waived on.
Upstairs, we re-cleared security in what was a very quiet afternoon.
After a few hours in the Admirals Club, we boarded our flight to Los Angeles. With kids in tow, we were among the first to board.
American Airlines 3
New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Wednesday, January 6
Duration: 06hr, 22min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 8H (Business Class)
I was a lot more thankful for the upgrade on this flight than the longer London to New York flight. It was late, we were all tried, and the plan was to sleep.
American Airlines offers two business class products on the 777-200. One is Safran (Zodiac) seat that alternates between forward and rear facing. I hear these are not the most comfortable, though have not tried them. The other is the Rockwell Collins (B/E) Super Diamond seat, which my flight featured.
Business class is divided into two cabins with a total of 37 lie-flat seats, featuring seat pitch of 60 inches and width of 21 inches. In sleeping mode, the bed is 81 inches long. The pictures above are from the rear cabin, where I was seated. I grabbed one picture of the forward cabin after landing:
While I don’t think it is any better for sleeping than most other business class flat bed products, I love that there is plenty of space and personal storage.
I do prefer the reverse herringbone Cirrus Business Class (also made by Safran) available on the 777-300ER because the tray table does not invade your knee space.
Like an international flight, Casper bedding was available including a thick duvet and plush pillow. After the meal service, I spent most of the flight trying to sleep, with the key word being trying. More on that below.
My son sat across the aisle from me, always preferring a window seat:
APL branded amenity kits were disturbed prior to takeoff. Contents included:
- Eye shade
- Dental kit
- Zenology hand lotion
- Zenology lip balm
I used the lavatory before sleeping and found it roomy and clean. There were no extra amenities.
Food + Beverage
One (very small) upside to the pandemic is that meal service commences immediately after takeoff and is quickly complete. While an extended meal service with each course served separately is fun on a daytime flight in international first class, on a late-evening transcontinental flight I just wanted to eat and sleep.
First came pistachios and biscoff with choice of beverage. While I always loved mixed nuts, especially when they are served warm, a bag of unshelled pistachios is really a treat. I ordered club soda to drink but also took a couple bottles of Aviation-branded gin home to add to my mini-bar (I should do a separate post on that…)
Menus were distributed and I was impressed to see four dinner choices:
Flight attendants served meals via cart. I ordered salmon while my son Augustine ordered chicken. My wife, seated on the other side of the cabin with the baby, also ordered chicken.
When unwrapping Augustine’s chicken, I noticed it was not chicken at all, but pasta. The pasta (spinach and ricotta rotolo with pesto and pine nuts) looked really delicious, but Augustine had eaten enough carbs so we swapped it for chicken.
The chicken had an Asian-flavor and was seriously delicious and tasted fresh and nothing like the rubber chicken often served on airplanes.
After ensuring Augustine was comfortable, I returned to my seat and unwrapped my salmon, served with vegetables, rice, and herb butter.
I must again give American Airlines high accolades for the great meal. The burrata appetizer and even the bread roll were tasty and the salmon was excellent (actually much better than my salmon on the same route a couple years earlier).
After the meal service, flight attendants set up snacks in a buffet area that included:
- Chocolate chip cookies
- Parmasean crisps
- Fig bars
- Beef jerky
- Water bottles
What a nice selection of snacks! Far better than the snack baskets on United Airlines.
I slept for the last couple hours of the flight, so not sure if the cookies (pictured above) were warmed. Doubtful, though.
My four-year-old son picked up where had left off on the London to New York flight, continuing to watch the same 22-minute Disney cartoon over and over again. Each time, he continued to laugh…though it did not take him long to fall asleep
after during dinner.
I briefly checked out the in-flight-entertainment library, which included:
- TV shows
- AA’s in-flight “American Way” magazine
I also liked that the IFE included the full drink menu:
Bang & Olufsen noise-cancelling headphones work quite well.
Children’s Mask Incident
There was another family in business class with a young boy and girl. Extremely cute. But neither could keep a mask on. The girl was four year olds and the three-year-old boy was the biggest “one-year-old” I’ve ever seen.
The kids were screaming and would not sit still. It made me look at my two children and smile, though it’s not like Augustine has not had a few bad flights over the years…
The kids were constantly up and about (with the parents) during the flight. At one point, a flight attendant told the mother to ensure her daughter had a mask. The mother, clearly frazzled, noted that she would not keep it on.
Rather than divert the flight or threaten to call the police, the flight attendant just shrugged and moved on.
Thank you for the common sense!
The screaming and crying certainly did interrupt my nap, though!
There was no “Julie” on this flight that provided unparalleled service. Then again, the cabin was occupied at 35/37 so it was quite a different environment.
I noticed one interaction between the flight attendant and passenger in front of my son that raised my eyebrows. The passenger had trouble hearing the flight attendant because she (rudely) did not take off her noise-cancelling headphones. But rather than waiting patiently or motioning for her to remove her headphones, the flight attendant got exasperated.
But the same flight attendant was very kind to my son and me and I am thankful the flight crew did not become militant in enforcing the mask policy on the two small children.
We landed ahead of schedule in Los Angeles and had a short taxi to the gate. This was another great flight on American Airlines. I particularly appreciated that American Airlines still offers a very nice meal service onboard. I recommend business class on AA 777-200 without reservations.