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March 6, 2017 / oneworld82

Back home from Rome: FCO-LHR-MIA on BA Club Europe and American Airlines Business Class (A320 and B77W)

After our fantastic weekend in Rome, we had a (very) early morning rise to catch a taxi to the airport. We used one of the many chauffeuring services available online, and for 50EUR each way we got a comfortable Mercedes C250 to take us to and from the hotel – a very good deal if you ask me.

We got at the airport around 6.15am – our flight 551 to London on BA was leaving around 8am. We checked n, got our seat on the first row, and then proceeded to security (which was a breeze) and on to the BA Galleries Lounge.

The lounge is located one floor up, which you can reach through escalator or elevator. We were quickly checked into the lounge, which is spacious but disappointing compared to other BA lounges I visited in the past. Let me explain: while there is plenty of seating, furniture is old and worn out. The lounge looks messy – carpets are old as well – and not particularly clean. The food offerings for breakfast were poor (cereals, bad pastries) and the drinks selection was totally forgettable. Overall, the only good thing about the lounge was the working wifi – not much in my opinion.

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About 30 minutes prior to departure they announced our flight, and we quickly went to our gate. We boarded promptly, although we were among the last Club Europe passengers to board, and to my dismay all the overhead compartments over the business class portion of the cabin were full – so I had to go far back in coach to store my bag – annoying.

Our flight attendant was very nice and attentive – she took care of my jacket and she took very good care of us – and the flight itself was pretty unremarkable. My wife had preordered an Asian-Vegetarian meal that unfortunately was not available – but this morning they had for some reason three choices of breakfast so she was able to find something she likes. I opted for the cold cuts plate – good as usual – but mostly we spent time sleeping throughout the flight.

A very good breakfast

A very good breakfast

After we landed we transferred from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3, as our connection to MIA was on AA. We both cleared our upgrade at check in, and so we both got a nice, comfortable business class seat on AA’s 77W – not a bad way back home! 🙂

We checked out the Admirals Club for a quick snack, and then we proceeded to the Gucci store where Thuy did some shopping, before going to the gate for boarding. I find the whole boarding process for AA flights very chaotic – too many people at the same time at gates too close to one another. We fought our way through (literally), and we took our gorgeous seats on the plane – together with some water promptly offered by what would be an excellent, all male crew.

The seats on the 77W business class are definitely top notch; the color scheme is very “corporate America”, but overall the look and feel of the cabin is great; as of today, AA probably really has the best hard product across the Atlantic – at least to London. When you factor in soft service, Virgin Atlantic and British Airways probably have a comparable offering, but still it’s amazing to see AA having a leading product once again (at least in this part of the World).

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One of the things I was eager to try on this plane was the food, given the new partnerships that AA now has with top chefs. The menu read as follows – it certainly looked promising.

The captain announced a smooth ride to Miami, and doors were closed right on time for what would be an almost 11h-long flight.

Flight AA57 LHR-MIA

10/17/2016, 12:35p – 05:50p

B77W, Business Class

Seat 12D

After a rather standard taxiing we took off smoothly for the US. I don’t remember when lunch orders where taken, but about 20 minutes into the flight the first round of drinks with the usual nuts was offered. I was glad to see some pistachios (and not only cashews) among the mix.

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After the first drink, lunch was served on the usual tray. We started with some appetizers and an always fresh salad – no complaints here.

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The samosa was a bit soggy was overall ok, and the middle eastern appetizer was a nice change of pace from the usual fare.

Then the entree followed. Thuy had the grilled salmon…

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…while I went for the lamb with mashed spinach and potatoes.

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Both dishes were rather good – a marked improvement in terms of flavors and presentation from the old AA that shows the company is truly investing in its food product.

We watched the Conjuring 2 after lunch before sleeping for a few hours – the AA seat is always very comfortable.

The crew, as in most AA flights, was unfortunately unmemorable. I still do not understand why the flight attendants insist on keeping the curtain between the cabin and the galley open – do they really think that customers want to see them reading books or collecting trash? That’s something minor if you like, and easy to fix, that could have a big impact on customer satisfaction. Take note, AA!

In any case, around 90 minutes before landing a pre-landing snack was offered. Thuy went for the salad, and I for the croque monsieur. They both were good, and for a change I had a Samuel Adams with my sandwich 🙂

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We landed in Miami on time, and we spent the following hour or so getting through immigration.

Overall, this was another solid AA flight. F&B is fast improving, and the hard product is top notch. If only AA could improve service, we’d have a true 4* airline.

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