a group of people in an airport

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.

This post contains 360* Virtual Reality images YOU control. Simply swipe (mobile) or click and drag (desktop) in any direction to rotate photos any way you like, as if you’re there…

Check In + Lounge

a group of people in an airport

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.

a group of people sitting at tables in a restaurant

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…

a woman putting luggage in an airplane

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.

a seat in a plane

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.

a seat with a device in it

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.

a seat in a plane

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.

a woman lying in a chair

In case you haven’t experienced it before, this is how you lay down on an airplane. Look cozy?

a person's leg in a chair with a television on the wall

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.

a woman in a plane with headphones

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…

a woman sleeping in a plane

After meal service we managed to grab a comfortable four hours sleep, which is summed up quite well with this photo!

Food + Drink

food on a table with a glass of wine

We went with an off menu option suggested by our excellent cabin crew purser (chief) Alex, a ravioli filled with vegetables in a cream sauce. Very comforting, though I struggle to resist steaks on a plane. Enjoy the full Food + Drink menu’s by clicking food or drink

The Experience

a bowl of nuts and a glass of beer

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.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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