AA F vs BA F - comparison...

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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:07 am
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AA F vs BA F - comparison...

Hello

I had the opportunity to upgrade J>F on AA coming back from JFK to LHR earlier this week, so thought Iíd give it go as Iíd never flown it before, also not sure Iíll get the opportunity to do so again.

Hereís a quick comparison...

Check-in
BA win. You canít beat the first wing.

Lounge and preflight
BA win, but Krug champagne in the AA lounge was good. The issue is the AA F lounge is a dining room with little in the way of lounging. The main lounge, with comfy areas, is busy and lacks the good food options. The CCR, with its spa, cabanas and range of seating knocks the new Flagship lounge out of the park. Even the popular ďwingĒ section wasnít all that - it seemed rather bland. Nice bar though and marginally better food than in the normal lounge. The food in F Dining was good but the lamb was over cooked and the tarte tatin was a 2Ē thick apple pie... oh, America...

Boarding
BA win. Group 1 at the gate so strolled straight on. Whilst not always offered, Iíve always found BA staff more welcoming. All I got was ďdown there on the rightĒ from AA. I then sat for about 15 minutes without any interaction from the crew before I wandered to the galley and asked for a drink and some PJís. Iíve found BA much more proactive at coming to say hello. They made up my bed nicely enough when asked, but the service all seemed rather functional rather than any sort of genuine care. Certainly no BAnter.

Soft Product
BA win, other than the AA PJís which were much nicer - softer and with pockets. The PDB in a plastic cup is ridiculous in F, as is collecting in headphones 45mins before landing as ďpeople steal themĒ. The new BA glassware is much better as is the crockery. The amenity kit contains almost identical items to the J version, itís just in a larger bag. The food was nice; good soup, nicely done steak with good potatoes. The wine list was very disappointing - no top shelf champagne, general low quality wines and no additional posh spirits over and above those in J. The dessert wine was nice but so it is on BA. Overall, there was nothing truly special about any of the AA soft product.

Hard product
BA win. Whilst I like the idea of the AA swivelling seat when pointing at the desk to work, in the fully-forward position (compulsory for TTL) it is uncomfortable to be so twisted to reach the ottoman. In reclined mode it was extremely comfy and didnít have the overhangs of the BA 789 seat which really eat into your space. The big issue is privacy - there isnít any. You can see everyone around you and vice-versa. The IFE is more reliable on AA as itís only on one aircraft (773) and so is all the same quality, so thereís no lottery about unrefurbed aircraft.

Arrivals lounge
BA win. It has a spa whereas the AA one doesnít.

Overall, very disappointing and ill be sticking with J in future (which is a lot nicer than BA J until CS arrives in every aircraft, even the unpopular 772 seats).
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:25 am
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I'm not sure it's fair to compare the check-in and lounge offerings between the two carriers at LHR as that's BA's main hub so it's bound to be superior.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:26 am
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Neither airline really takes F seriously
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:31 am
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Originally Posted by TheFlyingCyclist View Post

You canít beat the first wing.
You sure can! The F wing is great as a GCH/Emerald, but quite frankly, as an F facility, whilst better than before, it's not nearly in the same league as what is offered by AF, GA or even LH.

I agree with some of your point and disagree with others.

Agree:

I too prefer the CCR - notably the JFK CCR - to the Flagship (though flagship food is nice and their Champagne is better than the JFK CCR) and I'm no huge fan of the AA F soft product, and I too hate that stupid headset collection.

Disagree:

Typically, F boarding on AA is actually a lot better than on BA. F pax board before anyone else - no gold, no nothing - and are often escorted onboard. I've had to tell them that I'd really be happy to let the wheelchair pax go first because they'd even put you before them. And that's not even considering the zoo that F boarding can feel like at some LHR T3 gates.

In between:

Hard product. I'm no big fan of the AA F seat though it has a lot of space, but I'm equally not a big fan of the BA F seat on the 744 or on the 777 (the two plane types flown) except really 1A and K on the 744 on day flights which I personally like. I really would not call this a BA win. I would not call the arrivals lounge a BA win either. I agree that it is nice to get a treatment on BA in the arrivals lounge, but frankly, the food is better in the AA Arrivals lounge, the showers are much better, and the coffee and drinks are better. Again, certainly not a BA win for me.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:31 am
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It was interesting to see what they said over on the AA forum when someone recently asked for advice about both F products. According to the replies neither set the heather on fire but BA edged it.

BA 772 vs AA 77W First Class
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:36 am
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Originally Posted by TheFlyingCyclist View Post
Check-in
BA win. You canít beat the first wing.
AA Flagship check-in at JFK is great though, if you have TSA-pre they put you straight through a private security area like first wing, if you don't; a nice lady takes you (very embarrassingly) to the very front of the main security queue.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:37 am
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Originally Posted by golfmad View Post
I'm not sure it's fair to compare the check-in and lounge offerings between the two carriers at LHR as that's BA's main hub so it's bound to be superior.
AA was JFK to LHR. So a main hub too.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:41 am
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Originally Posted by YacozA View Post
AA Flagship check-in at JFK is great though, if you have TSA-pre they put you straight through a private security area like first wing, if you don't; a nice lady takes you (very embarrassingly) to the very front of the main security queue.
I don't have TSA-pre, and it is always a bit chaotic to clear security after we use the Flagship check-in even though we're always brought to the front of the line for document check (at LAX they don't even always bother bringing you to the front of the line). The FW is a nicer and calmer experience.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:42 am
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Originally Posted by TheFlyingCyclist View Post


AA was JFK to LHR. So a main hub too.
Sorry, I misread the OP.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:46 am
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Originally Posted by orbitmic View Post
the food is better in the AA Arrivals lounge, the showers are much better, and the coffee and drinks are better. Again, certainly not a BA win for me.
Which food to you think is better in the AA lounge? The ham was cheap (vs nice pulled ham hock in CCR breakfast room) and the poached egg was solid, the the coffee and buffet spread was the same quality IMO. Yes, the AA showers are certainly nicer, fair point. No hospital chic in AA! I did miss the spa, though. A quick facial is wonderful after a flight and is a great end to a holiday - feels like itís been stretched right to the end.

Also agreed re T3 zoo, but if we are comparing flagship products (T5 LHR vs T8 JFK) then Iím not sure thatís fair.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:46 am
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Fair conclusion, difficult to argue with most of this other than to agree with @orbitmic that I don't know what you see in the BA Arrivals Lounge (I suppose I never take the spa treatments either there or in the departure lounges, which probably explains part of it).

I am someone that is probably slightly too obsessed with being in the highest class of travel available wherever possible, but the AA 77W is probably the only aircraft I fly frequently where I pretty much don't care whether I'm sat in J (as long as it's in the mini-cabin) or F, which probably tells you something about AA's F product on the 77W.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:53 am
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I never tried AA F, but I don't think I would bother. AA J is quite enough for me... unless maybe (maybe!) on the Transcon, but just for the fact the F seat is a single one.
On the other side, I would upgrade to F on BA any reasonable time (GUF, enough avios, minimal difference over CW).
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Old Aug 14, 19, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by Lefly View Post
I never tried AA F, but I don't think I would bother. AA J is quite enough for me... unless maybe (maybe!) on the Transcon, but just for the fact the F seat is a single one.
On the other side, I would upgrade to F on BA any reasonable time (GUF, enough avios, minimal difference over CW).
Agreed. I did J on an AA transcon on the same trip and was very envious of the F seats... they are lovely on the A321T. Sadly a totally full flight so no scope for an upgrade.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 2:22 pm
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Agree, AA has a very nice J product, but F is disappointing.

For those without TSA Pre, I find JFK T7 much better (it has a real fast track) compared to T8, where, in a typical American fashion, people are grouped into "TSA Pre" and "all others, including Y, J, and F". Non-lounge dining options are better in T8 though.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 6:07 pm
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Did you try to dine-on-demand off-schedule on AA in F?

Last time I tried that, by asking for some of my meal to be held until later, it worked out poorly. The AA crew told me, with an air of amused incredulity at my request, that there was none left of what I had asked to be kept for me. It was clearly a concept they did not entertain.

BA crew have never failed to keep my requested item for later and dining off-schedule is entirely within their worldview.

The peanut gallery likes to slate BA F as "J+" but AA F really is "J+", the service style is exactly the same with better items: slightly better food, better seat, etc.

I might take AA F if I had a strong need to work intensively on a daytime flight as the desk setup is actually pretty good, basically like a flying "office by the hour" setup (think Regus). Otherwise, BA all the way.
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