When you can catch a good nights sleep at 33,000 feet, the Atlantic Ocean really does become a pond. Add in some drinks, lounges, gourmet meals and a fast track through the airport and the pond becomes something you can't wait to skip over. After countless flights on Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Delta to London, we put American Airlines new business class to the test.
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Check In + Lounge
Upon arrival at JFK terminal 8, Priority customers can make their way to the left side of the terminal if facing the gate area and security. Apparently American has quite a few "priority" customers, because I'm not sure we've ever waited so long to check in for an international business class flight.
AA check in line #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
As you can tell, it was a bit chaotic. Fortunately TSA Pre Check moved us through security in a timely fashion toward the lounge. So far, pretty disorganized.
Ahhh, the "lounge". American is gutting their current lounges, hopefully moving them into modern standards, but in the process, there is no real lounge, just a make shift sitting area, where there was literally not a single available seat or amenity. It was a f**king shambles and I found the terminal far more comfortable. It simply was not a "lounge". I'm not being a snob, it just was literally worse than the terminal. Let's move onto the seat, which was fantastic...
The Seat + Bed
AA cabin #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Our plane was swapped at the last minute from a 777-300, which features American's best forward facing seats, to a 777-200 where some seats face backward. Despite initial doubts of a reverse seat, we were very impressed with the stylish, modern cabin and the spacious, private business class layout...
As a couple traveling together we chose the middle seats, which apparently feature an immovable privacy divider. According to the crew, there's no way to control whether it goes up or down on this particular aircraft. Sometimes it's up, sometimes it's down. Today it was up, which is very attractive to solo travelers, but not quite ideal for couples.
The seat itself is fantastic. Modern, ample arm rests on both sides, great entertainment and easy access to charging ports.
AA upright good G #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
As you can see, at 6'3'' I found plenty of space and plenty of comfort, with only a couple other travelers in my peripheral view.
The positioning of the seat controls is excellent and easy to access, featuring an iPod like controller for the seat and the standard entertainment system control, which could be pulled out for pressing buttons while flying flat.
Not a bad way to spend a few hours up in the air! Arm rests are priceless!
AA bed #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
As always, it's all about the bed. This bed was well padded, long, wide and complete with a very comfortable pillow and duvet set. Top marks.
In case you haven't experienced it before, this is how you lay down on an airplane. Look cozy?
Though pictures rarely do in flight entertainment systems justice, this screen was very nicely sized with very clear picture, allowing enjoyment of every moment of The Departed. Great film selection.
AA dinner time #theta360 - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
Perhaps the best overall feature of this particular seat for business travelers and food enthusiasts alike is the extra large tray table, long enough to fit a tray of food and a laptop without issue. Fantastic.
American provided Bose noise cancelling headphones which not only help listen to movies, but mute cabin noise for when it's time to catch some zzzz's. On that note...
After meal service we managed to grab a comfortable four hours sleep, which is summed up quite well with this photo!
Food + Drink
This was the tale of two cities, both literally and figuratively. I found American's ground experience to be amongst the worst I've ever had while flying in a premium international cabin, while I found their seat to greatly exceed my expectations, bringing one hell of a way to fly flat. We had a fantastic and attentive crew by US standards, loved the privacy which the cabin offered and thoroughly enjoyed turning down while we crossed pond. I highly recommend the flight, with an asterisk to the ground experience in hopes that American listen up and make premium "premium" from the start of the journey to the finish.