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AA First Class 777-300 LHR/DFW

AA First Class 777-300 LHR/DFW

Old Jul 15, 13, 7:32 pm
  #1  
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AA First Class 777-300 LHR/DFW

Last October, I decided to book an award flight home to the UK from Miami. For my outbound flight, I flew BA's New First from IAH to LHR. I decided not to book their non-stop from MIA to LHR because there was still too great of a risk that the aircraft could have the old first product. As it turned out while waiting at the gate at MIA for my domestic connection to IAH, the BA flight was at the adjoining gate and by the blocked out windows I could tell it would have been New First. But better safe than sorry.

Anyway, this report is about my return flight on AA's new 777-300 in First. Originally, I booked the flight using miles from LHR to JFK. But due to schedule changes with my domestic connection, AA rebooked me via DFW instead. Fortunately the new flight was also on the 777-300 and my seat assignment of 1A was retained.

Approximately 2 weeks before departure, I logged into my reservation, only to find that my window seat 1A had been changed to an aisle seat 2G. No explanation could be offered but that's an entirely different thread. Fortunately, 3 days before departure, ExpertFlyer alerted me that window seat 1J had become available so I was able to grab that. Just to make me suffer, at the moment the text alert was delivered to my phone, I was heading into the middle of Exmoor and had absolutely no cell phone signal to be able to either call or get online to secure the seat. Luckily, a nearby pub owner allowed me to use his computer so I logged on and made the change.

The night before my departure from LHR, I decided to book into the Sofitel at LHR's Terminal 5. I had some vouchers to use up and my Platinum status with Accor earned me a room upgrade. I had a room with a view of the runway and also of the little 'pods' whizzing by between the terminal and the car park.

My flight would depart from T3, so the hotel arranged for a car service to take me over there in the morning. As part of the experience, I decided to try out AA's Five Star Service. At over $300 including tax, it was quite expensive, but I thought it may help to have it in case of any problems with the flight being overbooked or experiencing IRROPS.

Upon arrival at T3, I was greeted outside the Flagship Check-In building by Premium Services Rep, Jahmo. He escorted me inside where I answered some security questions and dropped off my bags. I had checked in online 24 hours prior just to make sure they knew I intended to show up and be in my assigned seat.

From there, we entered the main terminal building and proceeded through the Fast Track security checkpoint. After my boarding pass was scanned, we lined up in the Fast Track queue which ironically was longer and slower moving than the non-Fast Track queue. In fact several passengers behind me moved over to the regular queue when they saw it was moving more quickly.

After a few minutes we made it through and proceeded to the Admirals Club where Jahmo showed me into the Flagship Lounge. It was still quite early and the lounge was fairly quiet. I ordered breakfast and sat for a few minutes. WiFi was reasonably good and I was able to catch up on a few emails that had come in overnight.

My boarding pass also allowed me access to British Airways Galleries First lounge next door, so I took the opportunity to visit that as well. I will confess that I decided to have another breakfast. The lounge offered both a sit down dining room and a self-serve buffet area. I chose to eat from the buffet and enjoyed a decent full English breakfast. The lounge also featured a champagne bar and a second large seating area.

Returning back to the Admirals Club, I waited until Jahmo told me it was time to head to the gate. It was about a 10 minute walk. Upon arrival at the gate, my boarding pass was scanned again, I believe either 2 or 3 times before entering the waiting area. Jahmo had arranged for me to pre-board and escorted me onto the plane where I was introduced to the purser, Kay, who would also be my flight attendant for the duration of the flight. I dropped off my bags at my seat and quickly took a look around the other cabins on the plane before boarding began, as I was excited to see as much of the new plane as possible.





Returning to my seat, I was offered pyjamas, a menu and a drink. On the footrest I found the bedding including a pillow, duvet and day blanket, as well as the new amenity kit which also serves as an iPad cover. The seat itself is a very nice update to the existing Flagship suite found on the 777-200. It is very spacious and I love the fact that the seat can be rotated into two other positions. One at a slight angle away from the aisle, lining up with the footrest, and the other at 90 degrees, facing out the window, which would also serve as my desk.












The new suite features a host of new and updated gadgets included two international power ports including UK and US sockets, a USB port and iPod/AV inputs. Bose headphones were provided and were already plugged in to charge. The inside of the door to this compartment also has a mirror. Beneath that was the handset which featured a color touchscreen and keypad. When selecting various features such as the Flight Map, you had the option to display it either on the handset or on the large, high definition screen. Also next to the seat was a small lamp which had two brightness settings. Additional controls were available for the overhead light and for another lamp in the footwell beneath the desk area. A small compartment in front of the seat was available for storing shoes.





On the desktop another small electronic pad served as the seat controls. These included various pre-set positions such as take-off/landing, dine, work, relax and sleep. The seat also featured lumbar control and a massage feature. There was also the option to select "privacy" which would illuminate a red light on the outside of your suite indicating to the crew that you did not wish to be disturbed. On the left side of the frame enclosing your seat were two buttons for quickly choosing either the sleep or upright position for the seat. I also appreciated the individual air vents for each seat, allowing me to ensure a comfortable temperature. Sadly this was lacking on the BA flight and as a result the entire cabin was rather too warm.



Gone are the no-smoking lights on the 777-300, replaced instead with a new light indicating when electronic devices must be turned off. No photo of this light for obvious reasons. Once the light had been turned off, I was able to power up my laptop and connect to the international wi-fi service. At $19.95 for the duration of the 9 hour flight I thought this was a good deal, allowing me to stay connected, and have internet and email access throughout the journey. The connection was reasonably good, only dropping out a couple of times for a brief moment before reconnecting again.

About an hour into the flight, menus were distributed, including one for the main meal, another for the dessert and a wine menu. Kay set up my table and presented an amuse-bouche of chicken pakora with mango chutney, followed by a starter, soup, salad and main dish. I had pre-selected my main course, the grilled fillet of beef with gnocchi, on aa.com which was available up to 30 days before departure. For dessert, I chose a Ben & Jerry's ice cream sundae.







After the meal service was completed, Kay offered turn-down service which I accepted while I went to the bathroom to freshen up. The interior of the bathrooms have been updated since the 777-200 with a new design, wooden trim and Dermalogica products. The faucet is now motion activated and allows you to choose the temperature with the push of a button.



Another new feature on the 777-300 is the walk up snack bar located at the front of the main business cabin. (There is also a small business cabin of 8 seats located directly behind First). Color changing LED lights in the ceiling illuminate the snack bar area which was set up with a wide choice of desserts, snacks and drinks. A selection of these items was also made available on a cart located at the front of the First cabin. I was very impressed by the presentation of the snack bar and watched as two flight attendants meticulously arranged each individual item on display.





Returning to my seat, Kay had made up my bed and I was able to settle down and get a few hours of sleep. As a bed, the seat was very comfortable. The armrests can be lowered to the same height as the seat, giving several inches of additional width. The length of the bed was also very good and I had no trouble falling asleep right away.



About an hour and a half before landing, a light meal was offered - either a cheese pizza or a tandoori chicken cold plate, followed by fruit or cookies.







All too soon, the announcement was made that we would soon be landing and it was time to put away all our gadgets, return the seat to the forward and upright position and prepare to say goodbye to what had been the fastest 9 hours of my life. I think this is the only time I have wished a flight would last longer. With the comfortable seat, great service from the crew and ability to be connected online, I would happily have stayed put.

Upon arrival at DFW, I used my Global Entry to quickly pass through Immigration. Unfortunately it took almost an hour for the bags to be delivered to the carousel. My connecting flight to FLL was not scheduled for another 3 hours, so I took the Skytrain from terminal D to terminal A to try out the showers in the Admirals Club over there that I had heard such great things about. Sure enough, the shower was worth the trip - with 6 high powered wall jets, a rainfall shower head and another wall mounted hand-held shower, it was like going through a car wash and it felt great.

Returning back to terminal D, my connecting flight was delayed by an hour. Finally we boarded, pushed back and were taxiing across the runway when the aircraft came to a halt and the engines were shut down. Turned out that due to severe thunderstorms, the FAA had grounded all flights into FLL and MIA that had not yet departed. We sat on the runway for about an hour until finally receiving the all clear and proceeded to take off.

It was after midnight by the time I finally arrived home, 24 hours after I woke up at the Sofitel. It was a very long day, but one I will always remember and one I would gladly do all over again in a heartbeat. A special thanks to Jahmo at LHR, who was fantastic, as well as the purser Kay, who was a delight to fly with. AA's 777-300 is a fantastic aircraft and now I look forward to trying out the business cabin at the next available opportunity. Cheers!

UPDATE: Just added some more photos here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/21114513-post33.html

Last edited by kingdomchris; Jul 17, 13 at 2:47 pm Reason: added more pics
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Old Jul 15, 13, 7:46 pm
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Looking good the new AA. Not great, but good. Although that tv... so small...
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Old Jul 15, 13, 8:58 pm
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kingdomchris, thanks for the excellent report with great pics. Based on what you've experienced, that aircraft alone makes me glad that I booked AA instead of BA as part of our return to CMB next year. And while the food is not even close to LH or NH, they only have to beat or tie BA, which it would appear they do.
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Old Jul 15, 13, 9:21 pm
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Fantastic report. I'll be on AA LHR-DFW in December, but in J. I appreciate the shot of the main J cabin and the snack bar area. Gotta say, the snack bar setup looks pretty impressive. I know they don't do self serve booze from it, but are their beverages beyond bottled water available?


Question about the iPod connectivity. Did you try it out? What kind of cable does it use? It looks like the panel has some sort of round connector. But I don't know what that could be.

Maybe you'll fly in in J before I get a chance too. In any case, I hope I can create a trip report as nice as yours.
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Old Jul 15, 13, 9:37 pm
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I believe there were some juices as well as water at the snack bar. I took the photo just as they were completing the setup and didn't go back, so it's possible they may have added other items, but I'm not sure.

The IFE is based on Panasonic's eXport system. You'll need an eXport cable like this one to connect and control your device. I don't think it's compatible with iPhone 5.

http://store.griffintechnology.com/e...ht-video-cable

Also, check out AAdvantage Geek's excellent report on the connectivity options for this aircraft which provides plenty of additional information:

http://boardingarea.com/aadvantagege...inment-system/

I have a trip booked in J early next year, so you'll probably get to report back on that experience before I do. Having walked through the cabin, the new business seats look very nice and private and should provide a good night's sleep or daytime nap, combined with an excellent IFE sytem.

Originally Posted by jsmeeker View Post
Fantastic report. I'll be on AA LHR-DFW in December, but in J. I appreciate the shot of the main J cabin and the snack bar area. Gotta say, the snack bar setup looks pretty impressive. I know they don't do self serve booze from it, but are their beverages beyond bottled water available?


Question about the iPod connectivity. Did you try it out? What kind of cable does it use? It looks like the panel has some sort of round connector. But I don't know what that could be.

Maybe you'll fly in in J before I get a chance too. In any case, I hope I can create a trip report as nice as yours.
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Old Jul 15, 13, 9:55 pm
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Awesome report kingdomchris!
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Old Jul 15, 13, 10:12 pm
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Originally Posted by oneworld82 View Post
Looking good the new AA. Not great, but good. Although that tv... so small...
Maybe not great for EK standards, but definitely miles ahead of UA and any other U.S. carrier.
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Old Jul 15, 13, 10:57 pm
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Thanks for the excellent report, kingdomchris! I'm excited to give the 777-300 a try! MCE really looks like an improvement over standard AA Y!

I wonder how easy it is for Y pax to access the F/J snack bar. I'm sure that it's a well-kept secret for the most part, but is it difficult for Y pax to sneak up to the snack bar and start munching?
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Old Jul 15, 13, 11:05 pm
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Thanks for the report, Kingdomchris. I took the opportunity to fly the B77W in F a couple of months ago on the same route. Having just come off of EK F and QF F, the food was a little bit of a letdown (not that I had high expectations for AA), but the seat was definitely in line with my previous two flights.

Eric
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Old Jul 15, 13, 11:22 pm
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Desserts at the bar look great but SERIOUSLY AA the pizza has to go - its not F class when you serve pizza!
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Old Jul 16, 13, 2:34 am
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That bar area for business class looks very swish, almost VS rivalling.
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Old Jul 16, 13, 2:37 am
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Great report, looks like a very good hard product. But how on earth AA think that a cheese pizza is an appropriate dish to serve in an international First Class cabin is beyond me.
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Old Jul 16, 13, 4:05 am
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Wow that screen is aweful! I;m sure it's smaller then BA F?
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Old Jul 16, 13, 5:59 am
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Originally Posted by GodAtum View Post
Wow that screen is aweful! I;m sure it's smaller then BA F?
That's the best you can do? Other than the CR, everything else in AA 77W First is way better than BA.
That AA seat/suite and only 8 pax First make BA First look a poor man's Business Class.
And even the pizza, as pathetic as it is, is better than BA scones, clotted cream and cucumber sandwiches.
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Old Jul 16, 13, 6:43 am
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The snack bar is amazing!
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