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January 17, 2015 / oneworld82

Thanksgiving: A Great Flight on MIA-LHR on American Airlines NEW Business Class on the B777-300ER

To get to Europe I decided to fly via Miami today to connect on AA’s new triple-seven-three-hundred, which would give me the best chance to upgrade to business class today. Having only tried AA’s old hard product, I was very excited about the prospect to try what’s dubbed as one of the best business class seats out there.

To be honest, I did not have high expectations for this flight – especially not after my last experience on AA from Paris to Dallas back in September. That flight was truly un-inspiring. But I decided to give AA the benefit of the doubt – even though that meant a double connection in MIA and LHR. My other realistic option was flying US Airways to Philadelphia and then nonstop to Amsterdam, but I did not want to fly Transatlantic on a 757 – so here I was.

My DFW-MIA flight was uneventful – but we were delayed about 30 minutes which made my connection in MIA somewhat tight. Thankfully, we had no further delays and I got to the gate in Miami five minutes before boarding started.

Flight AA81, MIA-LHR
Business Class, Seat 13J
11.26.2014, B777-300ER
My seat for the day was 13J. While I had the chance to visit the 773 right before its launch in 2013, I had forgotten how gorgeous the cabin looks like – and how private it feels. Honestly, the privacy found in this type of configuration is unrivaled by other airlines. One noticeable thing is how much storage space there is – something not necessary but certainly useful for people like me that always like to have tablets, phones, and cameras next to them.

I settled down in my little “suite” and started to play around a little bit to check everything out. I loved the number of power ports found everywhere – a real necessity for businessmen these days (and not only them!). The usual AA amenity kit was already present at the seat – AA could do better in terms of amenity kits (even more so in First Class), but I like, I must admit, the Eames Foundation dotted design. Also, apparently the products inside the bag have been downgraded in business class, as Dermalogica is now offered only in First Class.

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After almost all passengers had boarded, the flight attendant offered guests a first round of drinks. Water, orange juice, and sparkling wine (I like that she referred to it as sparkling wine and not champagne) were offered. Too bad AA has not got rid of those ugly plastic glasses yet – that’s my only complaint here.

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A second round was offered before departure, and then we took off promptly on time. The captain announced a flight time of less than 8 hours – which would allow me to catch some sleep after all. The amenity kit featured updated products, but the bag was the same as always.

Food orders were taken before take off, and the menu read as follows:

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Overall, I found the menu adequate for a business class flight. Still, I am not sure that a poor fish like tilapia be a good choice for a premium cabin…

Once airborne service started promptly – a first round of drinks with warm nuts was brought out.

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About 15 minutes after my table was set and the first tray with salad and appetizer was brought out. The chicken appetizer was edible, but not great, mostly because the meat was cold and I am not a big fan of cold chicken. room temperature would have been great though. The salad was fresh.

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Thai Chicken and salad with pretzel roll

The service of the meal was well-paced and the flight attendants made an effort to replenish my glass with the Gosset Champagne anytime they saw my glass getting empty. This is what ally made the difference between this flight and the last flight to DFW I had on AA: an efficient, friendly, no-nonsense service. You can have the best hard product out there, but if the service is not on par well, you lose.

Anyways, the chicken was timely brough out, and I was positively surprised by the quality of the dish. it was moist, perfectly crusted, with tasty spinach and rice. It did lack a bit of seasoning, but a bit of salt and pepper did the trick. Overall, a very decent entree.

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I opted out dessert but had some cheese with Sherry wine instead. Here too AA seems to have somewhat improved the quality – not bad cheddar and swiss cheese anymore. Yet again, there is room to improve this dish as well – and in a cost effective way too! Add a decent matured cheese and a blue cheese and you have a winner.

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I skipped coffee as I wanted to sleep, but I couldn’t help over-hearing the conversation between the guy before me and the FA. He asked for an espresso (clearly offered in the menu), but the FA said (in a very polite way) that it was only available for First Class passengers. When the guest rebuked that and showed what the menu said, the FA looked quite surprised but nonetheless made sure that the guest received his espresso, A little bit more training I think would help here.

During the meal I watched a very interesting albeit sad Irish movie – Calvary. Beautiful photography, and moving story centered around the Catholic church role in modern society in rural Ireland.

Anyways, I put my seat in bed mode and boy it was comfortable! I slept like a baby for 3 or 4 hours, and I was woken up by the sound of cutlery as breakfast was already being served. Overall I slept well and – while it wasn’t nearly a long-enough sleep – I felt refreshed.

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The flight attendant came by asking me whether I wanted eggs or fruit and yogurt for breakfast, and I opted for the latter. Fruit was fresh and the yogurt came with granola, which was actually of good quality.

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After circling over London a couple of times we landed on time in a foggy and gloomy weather. Soon after I was on my way to Terminal 5. So, how was my AA flight? Well, it was very good. While my SWISS in-flight experience was better earlier in August (mostly because of better. more polished service and better F&B), this was by far my best AA premium cabin flight to date. AA certainly has a solid product here, and I felt that the soft product was better than usual as well. Hopefully, with a little time and training AA will catch up with European competitors on this aspect, but nonetheless this was a very enjoyable flight.

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