For my return trip from Algeria, I connected in Qatar in order to sample American Airlines’ new longhaul flight from Doha to New York. Thankfully, I was able to upgrade to business class for the 777-200 journey of nearly 15-hours. I’ll offer my first impressions here ahead of my full review.
A Longhaul Flight On American Airlines 777-200 In Business Class
Oneworld business class passengers are now welcome to use the Al Mourjan Lounge prior to their flight and I enjoyed an excellent dinner, hedging my bet in case the food was lacking onboard. This lounge just keeps getting better…
Turns out that food was not an issue at all. Food was plentiful onboard and I enjoyed a lamb dinner after takeoff and breakfast before landing. In between, there were plenty of snacks available in the galley. It was great to see a real appetizer and a real made-to-order ice cream sundae, something I do not see anymore on United Airlines.
I ate a lot more onboard, which I will reveal in the full report. You do not have to worry about going hungry in American Airlines’ business class.
Stepping onboard, I was startled to see the “other” 777-200 business class configuration with rear-facing seats. My aircraft was scheduled to have the traditional reverse herringbone seats so to see these seats was a surprise (though I have never reviewed them, so that was a positive…).
The downside to these seats is that personal storage is severely lacking. The upside is they are private and still comfortable.
Between meals, I spent the vast majority of the flight sleeping. The Caspar bedding, including the mattress pad, was excellent and aided in my sleep.
As for the crew, I later found out they were quite suspicious at first when I took so many pictures upon boarding. But they never said anything. I felt the service was cold a first and there was preference given to the non-rev travelers in the cabin.
But during the flight, the service got better…much better, actually. Kimberly, the purser, was charming and took great care of me. Kathy and Juliet were also attentive and kind. I really thought it was going to be one of those horrible AA flights with grouchy FAs, but I am very thankful just the opposite occurred. It was Kimberly who told me they were a bit “concerned” about my photos, but when I self-deprecatingly said I was just a crazy av-geek, all was well.
One thing that irked me was that I forgot to ask for pajamas and they were not handed out proactively. Not that I need any more airline pajamas, but I would like to have tried them.
There was quite a bit of headwind, delaying our arrival at JFK by 30 minutes.
Overall, I give the flight a positive review. I will share a lot more details in the full review, including about the other amenities onboard, IFE, and full menu of food and beverage choices.
That catering looks amazing (relatively speaking). I was on United last week coming back from Frankfurt in Polaris. Revolting.
Totally agree! My husband and I were in UA Polaris on a morning flight from Frankfurt to Chicago and the catering was so poor that even the purser apologized! A disgraceful little egg/cheese concoction was it for 7 hours followed by an abysmal hamburger-like sandwich which was inedible. What the heck is going on, United? A few days prior we had a stupendous flight on Swiss from Zurich to Tel Aviv, a scant four hours; a full and delicious meal was presented, snacks were available and service was attentive.
I find airlines not giving out PJ’s like they used to. I just bring some in my backpack from previous flights. On long haul, as soon as I board I go directly to the bathroom and change into them. I keep them on until the last hour of flight.
Yeah, too much food is always a problem. Between the cabin food and the lounge food I usually eat double calories. It’s getting tougher with age to get them calories back out of my system.
Btw, the lamb looked good!
The weird thing I had my Qatar Airways pajamas with me and changed into them before bed – it never dawned on me that AA had pajamas in business class. It was only after I landed and someone mentioned it did I realize what I could have asked…
I hope you will use this platform to shame United by comparing their catering to what you had on American. Given that I have a choice, United is a domestic-only option for this 1K, due to their crap soft product.
How how United not improved their catering yet lol it is just funny at this point.
Glad to hear it was a good experience, Matthew. The photos look great, too. Looking forward to the in-depth review.
Sorry but if I were flying to or from Qatar, Qatar Airways is the only way I would fly. There is no way I spending more than 10 hours inside a plane of a US airline. It just doesn’t make any sense on the cost/benefit side.
I think Matthew flew AA to in order to review the “the new to AA'” route, and to see how it stacked up to QR; but I am with you. Avoid American carriers long haul if at all possible.
This is correct. It was purely for view purposes, though I am not sure how I could have upgraded my QR flight…
“hedging my bet in case the food was lacking onboard”
Call it that if you want lol
Sad to see that AA has possibly surpassed UA on the catering front.
AA has long since surpassed United on the food front. United is offering the worst international business class meal service of any U.S. carrier.
Idk, just flew Delta One from SEA to AMS, foord was abysmal, and high end drink literally non-existent. No champagne, No scotch, no port, finally gave up and had the same cheap ish from Coach. Purser had the audacity to respond when asked what happened: you guys drank it all…except Boone had been served yet. I assume “you guys” meant the previous flight and they hadn’t restocked…it certainly wasn’t OUR flight
Slightly off topic. Has anyone actually moved their business from UA due to their ineptitude with catering service?
Nope. Which is why UA won’t change.
In a sense, an individual might change, but a vast majority of folks fly UA because that is what they know.
Many do not know that there is better out there, I cannot tell you how many infrequent fliers I have talked to on flights over the last year or so.
One older lady and her husband thought UA Polaris was and I am quoting here, “the bees knees”.
Agreed, but it could also be convenience. If you live in the Washington, Houston, Denver San Francisco area, UA offers the largest selection of flights, frequencies and destinations, so it is convenient, and convenience often trumps making a different selection leading to a more pleasant on-board experience. If I can fly from EWR to Palma non-stop versus transit stops in Madrid, Barcelona or some other European city, well then UA is the only game in town.
Why would they? No airplane meal in any class will beat a nice sit down restaurant (michelin starred or not). Will the flight get me to where I want to go at a decent price (or points) and allow me to get a good nights sleep?
You said you enjoyed and excellent dinner before you flight.
But you still had the on board meal !!!!!!!
The excellent dinner didn’t hit the spot !!!
I do not seem to have a problem eating, even cumulatively.
The food looks good but surely the hard product on this flight is trashy at best. Absolutely no privacy between you and your neighbors, no privacy dividers and that forward backwards configuration is awful, just awful. You end up starting at your neighbors eyes for the whole flight, 15 hours imagine that, simply unacceptable. And then the part about the non-revs being cared for and treated better than the revs, is simply, well no comment, speaks for itself. And then, this is why kids, all the AA sycophants start whining. moaning and crying as to “why did they take away and shut down First Class!!! Why???” . This is why!!! And don’t get me started about the part where the glorified waitresses on the flight were starting to think this guy was “suspicious “ because he was taking a lot of pictures??? Cmon!!, they’ve never seen or met an av geek before?? They were about to open up a can of whoop, ass AA style on this guy!
Unless you’re 7 feet tall (and for all I know, you are) you won’t be making eye contact with anyone in this configuration. It’s plenty private, though I wish they had the privacy divider between the middle seats.
You’re a real winner there Gravel pinhead boy. WOW! What is your problem? My gosh you must have zero friends or family with your idiotic attitude. “Glorified waitresses” would run circles around you any day of the week. I’m one and damn proud. You couldn’t hold a candle to me or to anyone I know. Slither back down in your gravel pit. You and a few others on here love to just rag on F/As. Must make you feel like such a proud proud man. Get a life!
I would like to see you in your pajamas.
You would have had a storage compartment behind the seat if you would have chosen the last aisle seat in business class
poor things. slumming it in AA business class where you have to deal with the “glorified waitresses” fetching you lamb for dinner. and don’t like looking at your neighbor in that comfy Casper bed? well then go sit in coach where you can stare at the back of a seat 12 inches from your face for the entire 14 hours. you reek of entitlement.
This is a blog about premium travel…
Not sure I’d like the rear-facing seats. Not a fan of them on other modes of transportation either. Catering looked really good though.
Pajamas are only given in Flagship First and not in business class.
My understanding is the ultra-longhaul business class routes provide pajamas.
I want to let you know my 87 y/o father-in-law got back to Odessa, Ukraine safely. He flew IAD-KRK and then rail to Przemysl and from there to Odessa. Power and water are fine (knock on wood). We have 80k UA mileageplus points for something in case he needs to come back, but he likes being independent. Ukraine and Polish railways are amazing and reliable. I envy your ability to travel, it seems like my 6 year old girl doesn’t give me ANY time off.
I found AA’s flagship business to be good on the DOH-JFK route, particularly with relatively easy upgrade options (compared to Qatar Airways). While Qatar Airways overall is better in J than AA, there are a few areas that I prefer AA’s Flagship Business to Qatar’s business class.
1. The bedding. I found the bedding to be significantly better on DOH-JFK with AA than with QR.
2. Baggage. I found that American was a lot better with my bags than QR. No mishandling, no missed connections, no lost bags for a month.
3. Consistency. I found American’s staff and the airline as a whole far more consistent than QR’s. AA at least will give you the same answer each time, even if you don’t like it, unlike QR. QR, like everything in Qatar, is very consistent at being inconsistent.
4. IFE. Honestly, I’m not a fan of Oryx One. It’s inconsistent with its options (sometimes you get plenty of new stuff, other times you get next to nothing – even on the same day! it varies by plane.) I far prefer AA’s IFE on the 777 to QR’s Oryx One.
5. Pajamas. Honestly wasn’t a huge fan of the QR pajamas. They fit me oddly (pants were ok, shirt was waaaay too big. I’m a skinny, tall guy). I really, really like AA’s pajamas that they offer in Flagship Business on the route.
I’m actually typing this message onboard AA’s domestic First from DFW-JFK to catch AA120 JFK-DOH.
For the right price… AA’s Flagship Business is definitely worth it on the long haul from Doha to New York. 25000 miles+$350 – worth it!
Honestly why would you even fly this and not Qatar at least using miles.
For the pajamas.
Becuase I’ve flown QR several times this year and this will allow me to do a direct comparison between the two on this route.
Casper. Not Caspar.
Well I for one, enjoyed your article. Good positive and negative points. Thank you! All you other complainers can go back to your spot under the bridge.
Completely agree that the attendants have a big part in the enjoyment or lack thereof of a flight. I always try to be friendly but sometime you can tell they hate their job so it becomes a business transaction. ( Fly and go about your own business.) Other times some pleasant or even (gasp) fun banter has ensued. Weird that they were apprehensive to someone who was taking pictures. With the number of influencers out there, your bound to run to to them. You should have asked for your pajamas repeatedly while talking really fast when you boarded. Think rain-man style. You definitely would have gotten more attention!