Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > American Airlines | AAdvantage
Reload this Page >

Flying Transatlantic - what can I expect now with AA

Flying Transatlantic - what can I expect now with AA

Old Nov 16, 20, 3:14 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: AAdvantage
Posts: 89
Flying Transatlantic - what can I expect now with AA

Sorry for asking such a simple question but Iím about to book the return leg of an 8 month COVID delayed return from the UK to Chicago and I wondered what the seating and food arrangements are like in practice on AA. Will I see spaced seating in Y, what about the center seats in J, are masks compulsory for the entire 8 hour flight? Food service ??

Any advice appreciated, just trying to plan ahead.
Fonsini is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 3:24 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Programs: AA EP
Posts: 1,989
Lots of info in various threads here. Short answer: masks required the entire time. No defined social distancing rules as AA stopped limiting capacity back in July. Loads are fairly light in all classes so u should be able to distance yourself.

Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
Sorry for asking such a simple question but Iím about to book the return leg of an 8 month COVID delayed return from the UK to Chicago and I wondered what the seating and food arrangements are like in practice on AA. Will I see spaced seating in Y, what about the center seats in J, are masks compulsory for the entire 8 hour flight? Food service ??

Any advice appreciated, just trying to plan ahead.
AAExecPlatFlier is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 8:29 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Programs: AAdvantage
Posts: 89
Originally Posted by AAExecPlatFlier View Post
Lots of info in various threads here. Short answer: masks required the entire time. No defined social distancing rules as AA stopped limiting capacity back in July. Loads are fairly light in all classes so u should be able to distance yourself.
Perfect - many thanks !
Fonsini is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 8:49 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: ASE
Programs: AA EXP, Hertz President's Circle, National EXC, Hyatt EXP, UA/HHonors/Marriott Gold, IHG PLT
Posts: 2,926
Food service is decent. Better than many other airlines over the pond, including BA and even TK. AA is a good choice transatlantic at the moment. Note that depending on when you are leaving, all of the flights to hubs other than DFW on AA out of LHR have been suspended for the upcoming months due to the lockdown, so you may have to connect. There is no domestic service in Y, there is (though not pre-COVID) service in F.
UAPremierGuy is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 9:10 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 10,797
Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
Sorry for asking such a simple question but Iím about to book the return leg of an 8 month COVID delayed return from the UK to Chicago and I wondered what the seating and food arrangements are like in practice on AA. Will I see spaced seating in Y, what about the center seats in J, are masks compulsory for the entire 8 hour flight? Food service ??

Any advice appreciated, just trying to plan ahead.
You aren't guaranteed spaced seating in any cabin, though I would expect the flight to be pretty quiet so this shouldn't be an issue. Yes, masks will be required throughout the flight with the exception of eating and drinking. AA is still serving food on intercontinental flights so you would have a meal service.
cmd320 is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 11:57 am
  #6  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: East Coast
Programs: AA CONCIERGE KEY, HILTON DIAMOND
Posts: 10,290
Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
You aren't guaranteed spaced seating in any cabin, though I would expect the flight to be pretty quiet so this shouldn't be an issue.
But if the OP is in J, he can get a single seat since AA has 1x2x1 configuration on all long-haul flights now in J and loads have been pretty weak for the most part, not sure why the OP would have to settle for middle seat (not a true middle seat in J though).
cmd320 likes this.
fly747first is offline  
Old Nov 16, 20, 12:06 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 10,797
Originally Posted by fly747first View Post
But if the OP is in J, he can get a single seat since AA has 1x2x1 configuration on all long-haul flights now in J and loads have been pretty weak for the most part, not sure why the OP would have to settle for middle seat (not a true middle seat in J though).
Agreed, it should be easy to snag a solo J seat today on an intercontinental.
cmd320 is offline  
Old Nov 17, 20, 11:00 am
  #8  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: East Coast
Programs: AA CONCIERGE KEY, HILTON DIAMOND
Posts: 10,290
Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
Agreed, it should be easy to snag a solo J seat today on an intercontinental.
And to AA's credit, its entire long-haul fleet now offers 1x2x1 in J; UA certainly can't guarantee that
cmd320 likes this.
fly747first is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 8:59 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: RBKC
Programs: AA EXP and Eurostar Carte Blanche
Posts: 3,223
Service was fine on my recent ORD-LHR. Helpful, cheerful FAs, decent meal served all at once on one tray (food quality and choice not as good as normal, but hey, it's a decent meal), drinks whenever you wanted. Masks at all times when not eating or drinking. Only three people in J so it was perfectly comfortable.
ExpatExp is offline  
Old Nov 18, 20, 2:11 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Programs: Bonvoy Amb; AA EXP
Posts: 1,132
Originally Posted by ExpatExp View Post
Service was fine on my recent ORD-LHR. Helpful, cheerful FAs, decent meal served all at once on one tray (food quality and choice not as good as normal, but hey, it's a decent meal), drinks whenever you wanted. Masks at all times when not eating or drinking. Only three people in J so it was perfectly comfortable.
I might be doing a lot of drinking on that flight.
jhalapin and GrumpyYoungMan like this.
Score8 is offline  
Old Nov 19, 20, 12:39 pm
  #11  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: East Coast
Programs: AA CONCIERGE KEY, HILTON DIAMOND
Posts: 10,290
Originally Posted by ExpatExp View Post
Service was fine on my recent ORD-LHR. Helpful, cheerful FAs, decent meal served all at once on one tray (food quality and choice not as good as normal, but hey, it's a decent meal), drinks whenever you wanted. Masks at all times when not eating or drinking. Only three people in J so it was perfectly comfortable.
3 people in J?!?!??! Yikes... that flight must have set a new record in terms of unprofitability.
fly747first is offline  
Old Nov 24, 20, 4:13 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: RBKC
Programs: AA EXP and Eurostar Carte Blanche
Posts: 3,223
Originally Posted by Fonsini View Post
I wondered what the seating and food arrangements are like in practice on AA.
Not directly related to your original question, but here is my experience with the PLF (Passenger Locator Form) that the UK government will require you to complete in anticipation of your arrival in the UK.

My flight was ORD-LHR on AA, last week. I should have known something was up when neither the app nor aa.com would let me check in online. Called AA and they said everything was fine and there was no reason that I should not be able to check in. I got to the airport and discovered why I couldnít check in online: AA has an AA-specific policy that AA must check the PLF twice, first before passengers are permitted to check-in (according to the check-in agent for my first flight, which was a domestic US flight) and also before passengers are permitted to board the LHR-bound segment (according to the gate agents handling the ex-US flight). But when I called AA, they did not know that this is AAís policy. It's certainly possible that both AA employees understood the requirements incorrectly.

Notably, this does not appear to be a UK government requirement; it is my understanding that the PLF must merely be submitted between 0 and 48 hours prior to one's arrival in the UK and presenting your passport at the UK border. AA seems to have either misunderstood the rules, or seems to have decided to make the PLF into an AA-specific requirement, for reasons that donít appear to provide any benefit to AA. Perhaps someone at AA has mistakenly concluded that passengers will be AAís responsibility if they turn up at LHR without a completed PLF.

In any case, it creates some chaos when people are not expecting AA to have any interest in the PLF, and passengers have to dig into their bags to get out their phones / laptops / printed pieces of paper. The boarding area for the ex-US flight was a mess.

At the first AA PLF check when I checked in for my domestic connecting segment, the check-in agent compared all the data on the PLF to my passport to ensure it matched. At the second AA PLF check when boarding the ex-US segment, they simply glanced at the big QR code from too far away to read anything, and waved me through.

When we arrived in the UK, literally nobody asked about the PLF or asked to see it. Also, I did not see anyone else being asked about it, and I didnít see anyone else being asked to show it. I used the e-gates, which may have made a difference.

tl;dr: AA cares about the PLF, even though they say they donít. The UK doesnít care about the PLF, even though they say they do.
Originally Posted by fly747first View Post
3 people in J?!?!??! Yikes... that flight must have set a new record in terms of unprofitability.
Yes, it was a shame, though I admit I was happy to have the peace and quiet
ExpatExp is offline  
Old Nov 24, 20, 4:23 pm
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MCO
Programs: AA, B6, DL, EK, EY, QR, SQ, UA, Amex Plat, Marriott Tit, HHonors Gold
Posts: 10,797
Originally Posted by fly747first View Post
3 people in J?!?!??! Yikes... that flight must have set a new record in terms of unprofitability.
In fairness, you never know what they might have been carrying down below.
cmd320 is offline  
Old Nov 24, 20, 4:29 pm
  #14  
VFR
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: BOS/PVD/ORH
Programs: AA PP
Posts: 501
Originally Posted by ExpatExp View Post
Perhaps someone at AA has mistakenly concluded that passengers will be AAís responsibility if they turn up at LHR without a completed PLF.
In non-COVID times, if an airline transports someone to a foreign country and they get turned away at the border for due to an improper visa or passport issue, the airline that transported them there is legally responsible for transporting them back where they came from. Naturally this could be very expensive, so the airlines have invested a lot of money in trying to avoid this scenario.

The system that most airlines use to check visa requirements is called Timatic. AA agents generally will scan your passport before the first flight on an INTL itinerary and before the INTL segment. Ticketing and gate agents are trained about the above policy: transporting someone to have them rejected at the border is expensive for the airline and generally bad.

Airlines have been using Timatic to keep track of the COVID-related health admission requirements as well, which I would bet for the UK a PLF is a listed requirement. So during the normal passport checks, AA agents will make sure you have your PLF.

I would agree that it's frustrating to do that and then have the UK Border Force not really care about it, but that's my best guess as to why it happens that way. It's also possible the UK government is doing some digital matching of PLFs to names, so they don't need you to produce it at the border.
VFR is offline  
Old Nov 24, 20, 5:33 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: RBKC
Programs: AA EXP and Eurostar Carte Blanche
Posts: 3,223
Originally Posted by VFR View Post
The system that most airlines use to check visa requirements is called Timatic.
What's interesting is that the check-in agent at the beginning of my itinerary agreed with me that Timatic did not require AA to check for a PLF, and agreed with me that Timatic did not indicate that completing the PLF was required in order to check in. We both pulled up Timatic at check in and read the text out loud together. It was great

Of course, I had checked Timatic before going to the airport (thank you ExpertFlyer Voice ), and the check-in agent was kind enough to confirm that the requirement to display a completed PLF was an AA requirement, and not a UK government requirement.

In other words, Timatic does not indicate that a PLF is required in order to check in. But AA has a printed sheet of COVID travel requirements (the check-in agent showed it to me) and that sheet requires them to confirm that the PLF has been completed.
ExpatExp is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: