The Final Verdict
3.2
Check In
The Lounge
The Seat
The Service
The Food
The Drinks

Note: scores are based on the best possible experience found on any airline, for which the best airline would get a 100 in that category.

I really wish I’d eaten at Cafe Nero, and I hate Cafe Nero…

I’m going to “go there” right from the beginning. This flight was the business class equivalent of the Fyre festival. It was a total shambles masquerading as something much better, and of course, charging accordingly. Some flights are perfectly unremarkable, others flight simply mediocre, but this flight was remarkable for being such a complete and utter failure. Let me offer an amuse bouche into this gathering of the ages, which was actually just a nicer chair…

To begin this post mortem, it’s probably good to start with expectation. I make a point of flying constantly on new and different airlines to get a feel for service levels out there, and of all the flights I’ve ever taken in any cabin, this was the least friendly service.

The Service

Yes, I really cannot remember an economy flight left so entirely ignored and condescended to a point where I was verbally laughing. This is clearly a culture, not an exception. Let’s go through American’s marketing materials and square it with my actual experience.

American lists the following on their website for international flagship business class…

“Your Flagship® Business ticket gives you access to elevated amenities and services on international flights between the U.S. and Asia, Australia, Europe, New Zealand and South America.”

On an 8 hour flight, I was never once greeted with a “hello sir, welcome on board”, by name, or by anything other than “camera man” for taking a picture of the sunset on approach into New York around the 7 hour mark.

I was never offered a pre departure beverage, but managed to snag a lovely glass of water after an Office Space style “mmm, mmm excuse me, may I please have some water please”. There was no “sure, sir – here you go” either.

This may all seem unlikely but it’s true. The lukewarm hand towel service was offered with a grunt, and no reply at all when I thanked the crew member for actually leaving their seat. I left the “for actually leaving your seat” part out in real life. At that point, I still had hope.

I’ve never been in business class on any airline when a purser or member of the crew didn’t come through to welcome each person by name, or at least flash a big smile with a facetious “welcome”.

It usually happens when handing out a dining menu, but American has perfected the art of simply dumping one on your seat before you board so as to avoid ever being accused of creating a warm and welcoming environment. That’s what got me: this all just seemed so premeditated and normal for them.

When it came to meal service there was no “hello sir welcome on board, will you be joining us for a lovely meal today”. Instead, I was headed off with the preamble of “we don’t have this, that or this” and then an “and to drink?” I asked for a pinot noir and got a pinot grigio, and I never had enough eye contact to get that changed. I didn’t finish it.

To the best of my knowledge, the only meaningful service encounter was 7 hours in, after the third time the crew came over the loud speaker claiming that someone hadn’t returned their Bose headset. American charmingly collects all business class headsets 1 hour before landing, clearly when the best part of your movie or show is on.

Who, and I really mean this – who thinks that’s ok? What am I supposed to do, twiddle my thumbs for the last hour? Oh no, am I going to steal your AA branded headphones three generation old wired buds, and replace my immaculate Bose QC35’s which are wireless? I think not, Clouseau.

By this account and many others I’ve heard, passengers are searched and aisles are frantically patrolled. Some might draw comparisons to unpleasant dictatorships and that’s a rabbit hole we’ll avoid today now that we’ve planted the seed.

Perhaps, that’s actually the best thing about an inquisition being launched, it meant there were actually crew members to be found! They were there all along – who knew?! The funny thing: I can’t imagine anyone sitting in economy is ever effectively accused of theft, as the crew march up and down the aisle looking for clues. It was the only time I’ve wished to trade seats.

The Food

Onto the food, American claims the following on their website.

“Chef-inspired dining. Enjoy a multi-course meal, and pair it with our award-winning wines. Menus are inspired by big names in food like Sean Connolly and Maneet Chauhan on select flights.”

From my experience… the dogs at the Battersea kennel may have turned their nose up.

The starter was tiny cooked strips of salmon. Full stop. That’s it, there was no accompaniment, relish, sauce, or seasoning. If I had cats, it’s what I’d expect to feed them out of a can, if I fell on hard times. I’d try to at least mix in some real veggies, seasoning or something if times were ok. Carry on. My only guess was that someone read the instructions wrong, and cooked some already smoked salmon.

I was seated in 5J, the first row of the main business class cabin but was left to order last. I was told the fish was gone, the chicken was too, and I opted for the vegetable korma. It could arguably be called food, if a legal battle over whether or not it was food ever arose, but I’m not sure anyone could conclusively prove that it was food. I ate it, because what else are you going to do on an 8 hour flight?

The Seat

This really is a great business class experience for people who are entirely anti social and do not eat. The seat is almost perfect, and up there with what’s on offer in the middle top tier of business class on other carriers.

American Airlines uses a Zodiac (Safran) Cirrus reverse herringbone seat on the 777-300ER (thanks for clarifying Gary Leff), which is similar to what’s offered by Cathay Pacific, with the American seat just a bit less refined. It’s very comfortable and spacious and provides excellent privacy in any seat, but windows offer particularly good space and angle away from the rest of the plane.

Power ports are well located at eye level and there’s great space to store stuff, near you, below you and elsewhere. Do note, you can’t have anything below your seat during take off. There’s both USB and US electric adaptors on American Airlines 777-300ER business class seat.

If there’s one flaw with this seat, it’s the headphone jack. It’s hidden away from view, which leaves most passengers wondering what they’re doing wrong. It’s about eye level, in the area where the crew inevitably stashed your amenity kit before flight, so as not to have to actually talk to you. Basically, see where the controls are, and then look around the corner in the cubby, to a place which you wouldn’t see with your eyes. Makes sense, right?

American uses Casper bedding which is perfectly nice and definitely also somewhere in the mid to upper tier of business class sleep amenities. Here’s what the best look like, by the way. I got solid rest on this flight, which was a relief because it was the only thing! If you’re in it for sleep alone, American shines on the 777-300ER with this seat quality.

The Entertainment

The entertainment system on the 777-300ER is extremely good, but extremely frustrating. It’s good in the sense that American has it stocked to the max with great quality content. TV box sets, current big time blockbuster movie hits, classics and everything in between. I’d say it was one of the best in flight selections I’ve seen. Thank goodness for that, because entertainment wasn’t coming from anything else on this flight.

It’s frustrating in the sense that whoever designed this IFE system is an idiot, or at least someone who doesn’t test things they build. You’ll find yourself constantly tapping the wrong thing, only to need to go back, because the system uses an odd “up”, “down” method. It’s impossible to describe, but you’ll go “aaaah, this is what he meant” when you try it.

Post Mortem

Shortly after boarding a lady boarded the plane appearing distraught. From the conversation she had with a crew member, she’d missed a flight, was tired and overwhelmed. She stated she was in row 35 and seemed to be angling for an upgrade and the crew member in my section was extremely kind and understanding, offering a hug and a glass of business class prosecco to calm down.

I thought to myself wow, this could be an A-list crew. But then as my tweet above will tell you, 45 minutes passed and I was left alone at my seat. That passenger received better service in the first 5 minutes than I did on the entire flight!

The lone benefit of sitting in 5J, the first row of the main business class cabin, was that I could hear the disgraceful AA crew member who most frequented my section talking **it about passengers the entire time. Apparently someone wanted to switch seats because there’s was wet, and the guy was being a real nuisance. The disdain for every request and level of “above it all” was outstanding, in the least outstanding way.

I was promised luxury meals, fine wines and enhanced service. In the end, I got one greasy landing, a nicer chair and an inquisition. Points for originality, I guess?

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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93 Comments

  1. Going for greAAt? Its been hit and miss with AA service in J on long hauls. I’ve had some exceptional service and some piss poor service, but nothing like what you described.

    Tip for you on meals for next time if you dare, pre-order your meal more than 24 hours in advance and avoid getting stiffed on meal selection.

  2. The headphones thing really astonished me. On the already short Philadelphia to London night flight, when you are desperately seeking every minute of sleep, I was actually shoved awake by a cabin crew. This was not for my headphones, they were not in use and easily collectible from the side of my seat, but a ‘missing’ case. The cabin crew member made me get up, turn out bedding for a case which it transpires the cabin crew already had-so angry at losing out in an extra hr of sleep!

  3. Did a paid upgrade to J on a recent CDG-PHL flight. I did it because we need the flat beds as the wife was really not feeling well the last few days of trip.

    Service was excellent, and friendly. This is not common on AA.
    Seat was good, but the IFE simply didn’t work.
    Food was positively inedible. Horrifically bad.

  4. O was pleasantly surprised by the AA lounge on a JFK-BOS flight last year, but have a rather limited choice within the US. When flying transatlantic I would avoid any US carrier like the plague, even accepting BA’s crappy Club World. Even with Delta flying direct from EDI I’d rather fly to LHR and connect on Virgin

    Am I being too harsh? What does their CS Dept offer in light of your complaint?

  5. Sounds like a former US Airways crew. Although there were no headphones to be confiscated, you pretty much summed up our journey. Had to ask for coat to be hung up, ask for pre departure drink, etc. The only saving grace was the seat. It was the old “envoy class” seat. Same seat as CX.
    AA miles are great-just don’t use them on AA metal.

  6. Verbally laughing was really an intelligent and deeply funny
    strike from the writer.. If you (commenters) read enough high quality literature, you’d feel it.

  7. I don’t understand why anyone would want to be so bad at their job.
    FA jobs are tough, no doubt. But once you’re pulling transatlantic routes and working in j/business, it’s a pretty cool job actually. Wouldn’t you want to do it well? Be thought of as great at your work? Be prized by your customers, that you spend a lot of time with?

    FAs on US carriers just simply don’t think providing service is part of their jobs. It’s a shame, because you reap what you sew. Their experience is just as bad as the one they gave you on this flight. And doesn’t that seem pointless?

    If you really hate what you do, and the people you do it for, then go do something else! It’s a great economy out there, now is a great time for a career change, AA FAs!

    1. Please don’t lump all fa’s into the same category. Many of us absolutely love what we do, love our passengers and our company.
      I take great pride in making sure my passengers’ needs are met and that they feel welcomed, appreciated and are safe and comfortable.
      E
      NY based FA

  8. Oh no, I’ll be flying on same aircraft to Dallas this coming Saturday and I was looking forward to it until after reading your experience.
    I think I will try to preorder my meal to avoid disappointment.

  9. Flying the same aircraft down to Brazil on Tuesday. Been a while since on the 777-300 with AA. Hoping for a LAA crew. I don’t think US Airways knew service and it’s a shame the whole thing is barely now being kept together at the seems by what remains of legacy AA.

  10. Had a similar experience a few nights ago DFW-LHR. It was almost like the FAs were trying to keep people awake by slamming the cabinets in the galley. I thought it had to be a joke or something; everyone was looking around like wtf? I finally went back to check and the typical old wildebeest AA FA was huffing and puffing about God knows what while 4 others stood around talking…
    This was 4 hours into a flight everyone desperately wants to sleep on. I couldn’t find the words to be polite in that moment and just asked if she could stop slamming things. “You picked a seat close to the galley, that’s what happens.” I turned to the nearby FAs like… is that acceptable? They just shrugged like, she’s right you know.

    Sadly, I’ve made a habit of putting the provided headphones on the bulkhead in front of me and asking FAs to leave them there all flight. That way, they don’t take them early and “forget” and accuse me of stealing… but if I’m asleep during collection, they’re easy to grab. My 35s are better and I’ve no desire to wear those things that never get cleaned.

    Sad we have these issues when paying many thousands for flights. Next week I have my 5th version of this route (DUB-LHR-DFW-TUL) and return three days later, this year alone. You’re so right though– these seats turn you anti-social. You just hope no food or people come your way… being left alone is better. LOL

  11. In re previous comment… I do have to be fair. On my third iteration of that route a few weeks ago, I had an excellent crew. But it was one of those where you’re not sure if they are pissed off or just joking with you, ya know?
    I think younger people (I’m 24) get that attitude a lot and I can’t tell until a few interactions whether they actually hate your existence or are just trying to be cool.

    Anyway, that was a very good (daytime) flight. Food was serviceable and crew worked hard. But…. I’ve flown LHR-DFW-LHR in J five times this year and only one was good enough to mention. That’s so incredibly bad.

  12. Even though AA’s food blows, they offer pre ordering for meals. Was it not available on this flight? Would have loved a picture of that salmon as well.

  13. I am a frequent Traveller domestically on AA, and maintain their top tier of Executive Platinum. I am not at all surprised of what you posted. It seems like the good ol US airways crew. My experience, they are worst of all. I can clearly tell AA crew from US airways crew, latter are usually much older and horrible attitude.
    Their service cannot compare with middle Eastern or Asian airlines, not even close. They can’t compete, so they try to force them out, like they did to Etihad from DFW and hurt all the passengers who used to enjoy their service and lower ticket prices due to competition on the routes. Now you have to consider AA and BritShit Airways..latter charging high $s for connecting via London. Say no to both…there are better airlines for international routes..

    1. Ignore all those flight attendants sticking up for their fellow lazy nasty coworkers , I just flew sfo-jfk j and had a gate agent take my carry on bag after pointing to my garment bag and 4×4 leather pouch and saying it was one and giving no explanation why they had to check it, with half of business class compartments empty and my garment bag being hung up(this was after the fact Alaska economy 3 flights no one said boo)and after being told by that agent to go on the plane and being screamed by the other agent “where do I think I’m going stand in line like everybody else”. It goes without saying no one on board could care to help and they had their own trouble figuring out what drinks they actually had and after asking if I could hang my coat up I had to hunt
      Them down to find out where I could hang it myself. I Would suggest to fly JetBlue mint as I just had a great experience jfk-sea or even delta. Thanks Gilbert for keeping it real. your one of the few bloggers who offer a fair assessment and good tips

  14. I’ve flown AA and not had that sort of horrible customer service; in fact on my last 77W flight, I called my purser and his team out on Twitter and made sure @AmericanAir knew he was great. Not the sort of servile service you get on some carriers, but fun, engaging. It felt like coming home (and I was, I am American).

    The thing is that great hard product you get no matter how variable the service is…

  15. It’s unfortunate to pay that much to be aggravated when you could be unhappy further back in the plane for a lot less.

    Personally, it would be a rare and unavoidable circumstance that would find me on a US carrier, with the exception of JetBlue. I’m particularly biased in favor of Asian airlines, as they seem to be far more service-oriented instead of simply selling a point A to point B product, like the Greyhound bus model.

  16. Sounds just like so many flights I’ve had with one of their one world partners… Won’t name check but mileage can and does vary and this clearly poor experience is a world away from am AA flight I did transatlantic in August 18

  17. Perhaps the reason it seemed so premeditated and normal to them, is because it IS. GSTP, you are just not as special as you think. Your sense of entitlement astounds. I bet anyone sitting in econ would have gladly borne the appalling lack of customer service in your comfy business seat. You’re just mad that no one made a fuss over you.

    1. You do realise that this is review? If I paid economy, then I would accept those standards. If I paid 3-4 times as much for business, then I expect an appropriate service.
      If I review a Rolls Royce, I tend to judge it to a different standard than a Ford. This seems fairly basic to me

  18. Americans Airlines is perfectly good and I’ve never had a bad experience. If you have so many problems and issues why don’t you just leave and go on Emirates or whatever.

  19. Those who suggested complaining to the CSD, there are none on American. There is nobody with lead or supervisor status on a cabin crew. The purser is merely someone who gets a few extra scraps of pay for doing the flight paperwork.

    If you complain to AA Customer Service, you’ll most likely get some nonspecific boilerplate reply and some miles dropped into your account.

    AA has no customer-centered culture. Crew members rely on their own values, whether good or bad for a service industry, because there is no genuine corporate culture that offers or values strengths in customer service. And it’s not unusual for the good and the bad to “buddy bid” to fly with like-minded personnel. That way you can have a polished, enthusiastic cabin crew or a bunch of burned out, disgruntled shirkers.

  20. Gilbert I know it’s not really the point of the article but I think the AA seat on thee 777-300ER is actually better than the CX version. I’m from neither the US or Hong Kong by the way so unbiased! I tend to fly to the States with BA and back with AA. I prefer the service with one and the bed with the other.

  21. My wife and I flew AA to Asia in first class a few years ago and had a similar experience. “Order now or the business class people will get your selection “. Never addressed by name. Nary a smile to be found. Crew hiding somewhere. Things like that. Pretty awful experience, but it makes you appreciate good airlines.

  22. I had my head rammed by a drinks trolley, while I was sleeping, mid flight, premium economy (British airways). While asleep I slumped over my armrest (situated mid-way of premium economy, on the aisle). Clearly in view from either end. Two weeks I had a lump on my head. No apologies, nothing.

  23. Sorry to see this. I flew DFW-LHR on this aircraft in October and the flight was fine. I preordered my meal 30 days out and got what I ordered. Crew was friendly enough, not superb but not unfriendly. Also got 15k miles after reaching out on Twitter because one side of my headphone jack wasn’t working.

  24. I had an experience not too far off of what you did on my way back from NRT to DFW at the end of Jan. I was in business class and I’m lucky enough that I get to flight business class for work whenever I go internatonal so I’ve had enough flights to know good and bad. One thing that really struck me about the crew is before take off they announced to the cabin that they were there for primarily everyone’s safety but they would also help out with service requests as they could. The seat I was sitting in was $7700 and does seem like it should come with some perks for over 5 times the cost of economy. The only saving grace was there was one flight attendant that I saw at the beginning and at the end of the flight that made the experience palatable. Now of course I can’t prove it, but based on the time table more than likely I also got food poisoning on the flight I sent American Airlines a message about it and never heard back . . .

    1. wow. just wow. dreading my flight back on AA – LAX to LHR in a few weeks. I will eat in the lounge and just go to bed. will follow the ‘headphones’ suggestion left above by someone – leave them within eyesight of the crew.

      Will just eat at BA arrivals lounge.

  25. This is why I always try to fly international carriers when possible. I realize with all the code shares its sometimes a challenge. You really can’t beat the Asian and Middle Eastern carriers.

  26. It’s funny that all of the people saying they must be Usairways don’t realize that JFK and DFW are AA bases, even now, with a smattering of transfers from the other side. These were AA crews, sorry. Now, if you’re talking about PHL or CLT, you’d have a leg to stand one.

  27. Fly United….much better service… attitude from FAs and a superior hard business class product and lounge. I think Oscar and Kirby is making things better.

  28. Fly United….much better service… attitude from FAs and a superior hard business class product and lounge. I think Oscar and Kirby is making things better.
    Flew recently from TPE-SFO on United Polaris Business. Guess I was lucky to be the highest FF member being a platinum. No GS or 1K or other platinums. The purser provided me with a truly outstanding service. The FAs made sure to serve food for around 60 ppl within 10 minutes on Polaris business.
    The only had service I had on Polaris (in fact not the real Polaris) but the 2-2-2 on a 777-200 from IAH-LHR where a female FA wearing Christmas lights around her neck kept ignoring her assigned area on a Christmas Eve flight. But still the purser was outstanding though.

  29. I can almost guarantee you that this was NOT a legacy UsAirways crew… the UsAir bases do not fly the 777.
    It’s very unfortunate that you had such a rotten experience- I I hope you have or will write AA with your detailed complaints. I’m certain there are equal “good” and “unpleasant “ flight attendants on legacy Aa and legacy US.
    I agree that AA could do better in the customer complaint department.

  30. Former USAirways flight attendants are just now transferring into AA bases…and since the author didn’t say what the city pairs were (which is pretty odd in a decent trip review), it’s hard to tell where the crew was based, but it most definitely was NOT a Legacy US crew on a 777-300.

  31. In the 90’s I used to fly AA DFW-LHR in Y quite regularly. That was during their largest seat pitch days. Flights were great and legroom fantastic.

    Can’t say I’ve flown them much since then and whenever tempted I read an article like this and back off.

    Maybe soon all the disgruntled will retire and things will improve. Perhaps “when pigs fly”

  32. Have had my own personal headphones taken by AA while I was asleep. They’re a different model and the connection plug isn’t a triangle!

    Took a while before they looked at their list and confirmed that I didn’t take a pair of theirs before they looked for mine and returned them.

    AA crew don’t know ‘service’ they just know a routine.

  33. This article is so embellished for drama it’s difficult to read.
    Tip: if you’re going to lie about your wine, hide your glass, as that is clearly red wine in your photo.
    FYI, AA serves Champagne not Prosecco in international business class, read the label or the menu.
    Their appetizers are usually chilled as well, not cooked, so who knows if this statement was another fabrication.
    Pre-order your next meal, which you should know if you are an experienced traveler.
    Clearly a fabricated exaggerated experience generated to earn a living writing negative blogs. Can’t believe anything you read these days..thanks for nothing

    1. 1) I got a glass of red myself from the galley after everyone f’d off and I poured out my pinot grigio.
      2) AA, like some others fakes it on pre departure beverages with prosecco, not champagne. It’s true, a very mediocre champagne is served in flight, but not on the ground. It’s AA dirty trick. If you actually flew regularly, you’d know that. It’s common knowledge.
      3) I don’t know what I want to eat in 3 hours, let alone 30 days. I shouldn’t have to choose a meal in advance to get fed and even if I do choose, it shouldn’t taste like roasted ass.
      4) Read my blog. I don’t make a living off negative. In fact, it’s one of the more upbeat out there.

  34. I’m never flying with an American carrier!
    Thank god for QA.
    Your story blows my mind. I think I may have lost the plot if I received service like this.
    Qsuites all the way for me!

  35. It is hard to believe the entire experience with out thinking he’s embellished his story quite a bit. If you notice in his photo of his korma there is a glass of red wine…which makes his wine anecdote a total lie.
    “I asked for a pinot noir and got a pinot grigio, and I never had enough eye contact to get that changed. I didn’t finish it.”

      1. Let me get this straight. You got up during the busiest phase of the flight to get wine with 4 aisle FA’s and a galley FA? You sir, have not been honest and your attention to detail is lacking. You have a hot meal in front of you and there are two FA’s working each aisle. And the snacks are not set up until after the meal and dessert service are finished, there is no room or time to set the bar up before the meal service. But you were able to get up between hot towels, beverages & warm nuts being delivered from a cart that has all of the beverages and wines on top, tray delivery with two carts in the aisle, and hot meal delivery. Wow!!!

  36. AA went to great lengths to institute a program for pre-ordering your meal choice ahead of time. Of course it needs a few days notice to occur. Try that the next flight to Ben sure you get what your prefer.

    You mentioned you got Pinot Hrigio but preferred Pinot Noir and never got it yet the photo shows a different story…sure looks like red wine to me!

    I can’t help but wonder why you didn’t ask to speak to the lead or purser if your experience was so horrendous. Not that they could have gotten you a different meal choice because when it’s gone it’s gone, but they certainly would have listened to your concerns and tried to address them then and there.

    American, by procedure collects the Bose headsets about Ann hour before landing so they can be inventoried and locked up.

    Also by procedure your soft goods, meaning pillow pack and amenity kit are pre-placed. Some crews do vary things and put menus out ahead of time.

    I pay attention when I fly, never have I ever heard the flight attendant just blurt out, all I have is ____for dinner.

    I think you are an attention hog and you embellished your experience to an extent for affect.

  37. The crews are now merged so the fas you are getting could be former Legacy AA or Legacy US. As always, you can pre-order your meal 24 hours in advance. But, if you upgraded, fas have to follow rules set by the new management when taking orders.Since you were traveling from Europe, fas have to take preferences aft-forward so by the time she got to you, she honestly ran out of the meat dishes. More and more people preorder now. Once again, preferences are taken according to the direction of the flight.
    Eastbound-Southbound, Fwd-aft. So if you didn’t pre-order, get a seat in the first row.
    West and northbound-Aft-forward. So, coming out of Europe, get the last row.
    The new management set these rules, including collecting Bose headphones 1 hour before landing. We have to do a complete inventory and we get in trouble for incorrect counts. I wish you a better experience next time. I can’t make excuses for how you were treated but if you upgraded, depending on where you are seated, you may end up with a good choice or not so good choice.

  38. Another option for meals… you can preorder what sounds like the most palatable option and change on board. If there’s a “safe” dish, I’ll preorder that and then if something else sounds better, I switch.
    Of course, it’s subject to availability but it would be either way if not preordering.

  39. From a (european airline) long haul crew point of view I find this almost difficult to believe as the level of hostility is almost at a level where it seemingly required active effort. I’m not F.A extraordinaire and i’m human sometimes I come to work not really wanting to be there. I’m just being honest here. However – I know i’m making things much easier for myself by not being nasty and just demurely smiling.

    But just to pick up on a few point (and not ‘nit pick’).

    ‘I’ve never been in business class on any airline when a purser or member of the crew didn’t come through to welcome each person by name, or at least flash a big smile with a facetious “welcome”.

    On the non asian/ME carriers a Purser wafting around giving personal introductions is more the exception than the norm these days. Why? Down to two combining factors really – more seats in the premium cabins and less crew. At my airline up until about five years ago the Senior crew member was in addition to the serving crew complement. Their ‘job’ was essentially to roam around talking to people dipping in and out of the service here and there. Now, they are busy serving food and drink too. The personal ‘welcomes’ have been reduced to First Class and top tier FF although sometimes on a full 6hr transatlantic with up to 97 J class passengers (many sleeping) this is impossible.

    Airlines like Qatar or Cathay etc etc work differently. They have the luxury of having extra crew on board freeing up their senior.

    The thing that leaves me struggling with the review and the attitude of the crew is their reaction to the distraught passenger that boards late. The way the crew handled her seems a commendable way with a human touch which is at total odds with the way they interacted with a premium passenger. For me this just does not compute and makes me wonder if there was some altercation of situation at the beginning of the flight which got the crews back up about the reviewer? STILL not that that is any excuse. A professional F.A would smile sweetly and then go to the galley and whisper to their colleague ‘5A is an absolute A-hole’ before returning into the cabin through that curtain sweet as sugar.

  40. I fly from the US to LHR 3 times a year on the 777300ER. I’ve had good and bad service. My last trip on 3/20/19, flight 79 LHR/DFW, had the nicest crew I’ve ever experienced. Continually checking to make sure I had everything I needed, using my name each time, thanking me multiple times for flying AA. I agree the food doesn’t live up to the seat and comfort. The wine, however, was very good.
    My previous trip I made the mistake of sitting in row 4 next to the galley. All night the FAs were talking and slamming doors. I didn’t sleep at all. I just wish AA service was more consistent.

  41. About a month ago, same seat, same experience. My first contact with crew at my seat was a crew member coming up to me saying they have ran out of all but the vegetarian meal.

    It came across as business as usual.

    I was astonished.

  42. Comment to ALAN from 3/18/19:

    You must be a flight attendant to make those comments. Either that or you’re high. Everything Gilbert stated in his review is accurate. I’ve experienced it myself. I hear FA’s talking smack about passengers all the time; acting like you’re disturbing them when you ask for something; and God forbid, when you go to them in the galley to follow up, they act like you’re invading their personal space. They run out of meal choices all the time too…for as much as I pay for international Biz class, they should make a few extra meals so they don’t run out. That’s what all the foreign carriers do…I’ve never been told “we’re all out” by any foreign carriers.

    1. Joe you’ve clearly not taken alot of BA flights… I can’t recall one where I haven’t been told Sorry we’ve run out…. And on several memorable occassions Sorry there’s nothing available as not enough meals were loaded…Best Avoided so #flyabba

  43. Agree completely. We normally fly Delta or Air France but our Regent cruise booked us with American, Miami to Barcelona. Two hour delay, then once boareded there was no air, we sat on the tarmac for another two hours, with a half class of champagne and no water bottle in my seat. Flight attendants were rude. Food was awful and beverage service amounted to one glass of wine on a nine hour flight.

  44. This made me laugh so much. We have only done two trips with AA in business/first and we were underwhelmed both times but travelling to Hawaii from the UK, we had no other choice.
    The seats were good on the 773ER and even on the A330s, but the A321 from Hawaii was disappointing. Food was atrocious (we even pre-ordered) and the wine list was disappointing and on one occasion they served white wine warm and when we asked them to chill it, she brought it back with 2 ice cubes!!! Honestly, who does that? I suppose that was better than when they told us they ran out of a certain wine even before we took off???
    We now try to avoid AA as much as we can since BA, for all their faults, at least have good food and wine and entertainment but the old Club world seats are inferior to the AA 773ER out of London.

  45. Reading the tone of your comments, I can understand why you seem to attract poor treatment wherever you go. Entitled candyasses get what they get.

  46. Sounds like someone’s one time experience and a bit bias. I fly this aircraft all the time. Service is excellent and very comfortable. As for the headphones if you’ve ever flown business class with American it’s expects so to act surprise is let’s say bull

    1. Hah how can you (or anyone) say across the board that any service is excellent. Each service is different, each crew is different and with American, some 777-2’s are different to others.

      Being surprised by headphones isn’t bull even when you know what’s coming, because no other airline does it. It’s nonsensical.

  47. So let’s blame the FAs for the quality of the meal, the number of meals, the meal choices, the wine selection, the required headset pick-up issue, etc, etc, etc. Didn’t get your precious Members Only jacket hung up the nanosecond that you sat down? Look around, you’re not the only person on the plane. Oh, can’t find your phone? Must be a flight attendants fault. Seat not working, video screen out? Let’s see, oh yes, it’s the flight attendants fault. Too hot, too cold??? Well, you get he idea. Do you think they might be a bit weary of being blamed for everything that goes wrong or that you find inadequate on your flight?

  48. Is it possible that you were treated this way because you were clearly doing a flight review and maybe the FAs are getting tired of thousands of people doing this? You were unhappy about being referred to as the “camera guy” and you claimed you had taken only “a picture of the sunset on approach into New York around the 7 hour mark”, yet your review is full of photos. Did you take them? And did you take them during boarding and during the flight?

    I’m beginning to think any comments about service written by travel bloggers should be ignored.
    A polite traveller who isn’t taking photos and nitpicking every detail might be treated completely differently.

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