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New American 777-200 retrofit Business Class (AA 772 J) trip report

New American 777-200 retrofit Business Class (AA 772 J) trip report

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Old Oct 15, 14, 10:04 pm
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New American 777-200 retrofit Business Class (AA 772 J) trip report

This will be a relatively short report with not exhaustive list of photos (compared to other more extensive reports usually found here), but I thought that I will give it a try, because this is a brand new configuration of AA 777-200 plane and no one has posted trip report for this plane yet.

Barely after a week since the new AA 777-200 Retrofit plane started to fly the DFW-SCL-DFW route (AA945/AA940) we were booked on a flight from DFW to SCL. I specifically looked for the day of the week when they fly the new configuration, because at the moment it is just 3 times a week (Mon/Thu/Sat to the SCL (AA945) and Tue/Fri/Sun back (AA940)).

Almost up until the last moment I wasn't sure if we're going to get J seats as this was a SWU upgrade flight. However both of us cleared the day before flight with 5 free seats to choose from, all of them were rear-facing seats. We easily snagged seats together in the middle row and were good to go. For statistics I would like to say that there were 10 people on the waitlist for the upgrade on the day of the flight and only two of them cleared by the time we boarded.

I purchased the tickets just a little over one month before the day of departure, but being EXP granted me priority in the upgrade list (and also, because it was a connecting flight). But it looks like the demand for this new plane is quite high. At the checking we were told that we've got a new plane. Well technically the plane isn't new, it's only the configuration and fittings, but nevertheless we were very excited to try it.

Before getting on the plane, we hit the Admirals Club, because after the recent change in oneworld lounge access rules, it's the only choice left when flying AA. New rules doesn't allow entering third party operated lounges on behalf of BA or QF. It was quite empty in the early afternoon or 'soulless' as others have described it, but around 7pm it was already quite full.


Still quite emtpy Admirals Club lounge

The boarding started on time and as the business class passengers we were first to board. Business class is divided into two sections and you enter the plane in between those two where the galley with snacks between meal services is located.

Privacy and seat comfort

The first thing I was concerned when choosing seats is that the heads of the middle rear-facing seats are almost next to the forward-facing seats behind them. However the dividing walls are quite high and some people heads almost didn't reach the headrest, so looking at the seat photos can give you wrong impression. Seats feel as private as the ones on 777-300ER. In this photo you can see how low is the person sitting in the seat.




Headrest position

The seat felt a little bit wobbly (considering is is almost brand new), but maybe that's the design, it however adjusted easily and felt very comfortable. I would describe it as comfortable as the one on 777-300ER. For sleeping I really couldn't prefer on or another, for me both felt the same.

The seat is controllable using controls in two different locations. One is on the very side of the seat (next to your head) and switches seat between fully flat to fully seated positions. This is useful when you are sleeping and want to get up.


First control of the seat (next to your head)

The other control is more sophisticated and is a touch sensitive screen about the size of (old) iPhone. There you can easily change the position of each individual part of the seat or variate between 4 preprogrammed positions. There is also an option to memorize one position of your own and at any moment get to that position which was quite cool. The control screen turns of after being unused for a while and turns on after touching it. It is also possible to set privacy mode using this controller. You can set it to not disturb and red light instead of green will be illuminated on the side of your seat for FAs attention.


Second, more sophisticated control of the seat

Rear-facing seats

Now a little bit about flying in the rear-facing seats. This was the first time for me flying in rear-facing seat and I can tell you it's not that bad. There is a strange (unnatural) feeling during takeoff and landing, but once you are in the air, there is almost no difference. Regarding rumurs that there is more workspace for rear-facing seats and flying as a couple in the middle rear-facing seats you are closer. Both of these are true, rear-facing seats get two workspaces (albeit small) while forward-facing seat have just one (not as big as those two combined). Also you feel more close to the other person if flying as a couple in the middle row rear-facing seats. That is if you can lower the divider between you,which we couldn't… It was stuck in the up position, FAs tried to do something, but without any success. On the other hand the divider works very well, since we almost had to get up to speak to each other during the flight. So if you're flying in the near future, better don't choose row 10 middle seats, because who knows when they will be fixed. Again something I wouldn't expect for almost brand new fitting.

Here is comparison of the forward-facing seats and rear-facing seats.

Forward-facing seats


You would have to lean quite a bit forward to talk to the person next to you. As you can see the wall between J and Y+ is quite thin and there is even hole in the wall between last row and MCE.


Very similar to 777-300ER



Rear-facing seats



Workspace for rear-facing middle row seats


First workspace


Second workspace (table stowed inside)


Storage space

There is very little storage space for this configuration. The space next to the USB/power outlets is that small that even current amenity kit doesn't fit into it.

Storage space next to USB/AC outlets

Then there are two small storage compartments on both sides of the seat. One is for literature only and is quote full already.


The other is also quite small, I used it to keep the Bose headset case in it and it was full.


That's it, there is no more storage space, except for your shoes under the footrest.


Connectivity

This airplane also features AA WiFi (which I didn't use). There are also two USB and two power outlets for each seat. Not that I need that many, but maybe someone finds it useful.


IFE

The screen is very nice and bright, 15.4-inches big and touchscreen works perfectly. However for me it was quite far away from the seat, so scrolling through movies and reading the description of them was quite tiring. But once you choose something to watch, the distance was very comfortable.


Distance of the screen from the seat


IFE Screen

It is possible of course to switch to the small controller right next to your seat, but if you scroll through the IFE program on it, you also need to look and read descriptions of movies on that small screen, because none of it is showing on big screen, only after you select something to watch.


Small controller and a small light next to it with three positions - Off / 50% brightness / 100% brightness

I liked to put flight info on the small controller screen and set the brightness to lowest while watching the movie on the big screen, this way I could always easily check the flight status and time which was really nice and much more easily seeable right next to my shoulder (compared to 777-300ER).

That was the evening flight so after the meal service and one movie, I went to sleep. The sleep was very comfortable as I overslept until the breakfast time and didn't get to see/try the snacks and refreshments in between, but I guess that speaks good about the comfort of the seats Here is the one photo of the starter which included seared tuna and salad with very tasty dressing, however then I got distracted enjoying my flight so that was about it.

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Old Oct 15, 14, 10:29 pm
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Thank you very much for the TR and posting it early! This is really in-depth with great pictures, very much appreciated.

Could you expand a bit on how the new J seat is wobbly?
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Old Oct 15, 14, 10:46 pm
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Originally Posted by gengar View Post
Thank you very much for the TR and posting it early! This is really in-depth with great pictures, very much appreciated.

Could you expand a bit on how the new J seat is wobbly?
Thanks!

Nothing major, just if you move on the seat, you can feel that some parts of the seat move back and forth a few milimeters. In combination with the stuck dividing wall left a feeling of unfinished design before releasing this product. Seats on the 777-300ER and new 767-300 felt more firm. But when you just sit or sleep you don't feel it at all, the seat is very confortable and spacious and you can adjust every single bit on it separately, which I think has even greater flexibility than on the two other configs I mentioned.
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Old Oct 15, 14, 11:51 pm
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Thanks for the review. The space looks terribly confining. Probably better than in the back of the bus, but certainly not like the F seats I have been accustomed to.

Last edited by Moomba; Oct 16, 14 at 1:03 am Reason: removed full quote of original op
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Old Oct 16, 14, 12:03 am
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Finally a TR on the 772 retrofit. It definitely looks like a big improvement to the NGBC. Thank you for the TR.
To the previous reply, what was the need to quote the entire TR again?
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Old Oct 16, 14, 12:57 am
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Thanks for such a detailed report! I'm surprised that AA didn't make a big deal about the fact that the new 772 is now flying around.

Hope to fly her in the coming year (that is if my SWUs will cleAAr...)
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Old Oct 16, 14, 2:37 am
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Great report, thanks so much for sharing so many pictures! This really helps a lot.

Originally Posted by TokinaMaso View Post
being EXP granted me priority in the upgrade list (and also, because it was a connecting flight)
Just as a point of clarification, being a connecting passenger helps for upgrades at the gate only. Before the flight goes to airport control it has no bearing.
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Old Oct 16, 14, 3:28 am
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Thanks for sharing. Are all 772s going to be refreshed with this configuration? I have avoided flying business on AA 772s or 767s from LHR - ORD route flying BA CW instead. Maybe when this one comes around I would prefer this over BA.
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Old Oct 16, 14, 8:36 am
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Originally Posted by avneeshj View Post
Thanks for sharing. Are all 772s going to be refreshed with this configuration? I have avoided flying business on AA 772s or 767s from LHR - ORD route flying BA CW instead. Maybe when this one comes around I would prefer this over BA.
Yes, all 772s are being refitted to this configuration.

The 763s that will fly transatlantic are also in the process of being refitted with new lie flat seats.
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Old Oct 16, 14, 9:31 am
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Great review of the new J on the 772. Thank you for documenting it well!

The new J looks nice, but I'm still left wondering why the didn't just use the same seats as on the 77W. I'm also still a bit miffed about the loss of F.
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Old Oct 16, 14, 11:25 am
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
...The new J looks nice, but I'm still left wondering why the didn't just use the same seats as on the 77W. I'm also still a bit miffed about the loss of F.
Time to accept the former and get over the latter.

GREAT trip report, thanks so much for sharing, TokinaMaso
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Old Oct 16, 14, 11:29 am
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Originally Posted by cmd320 View Post
Great review of the new J on the 772. Thank you for documenting it well!

The new J looks nice, but I'm still left wondering why the didn't just use the same seats as on the 77W. I'm also still a bit miffed about the loss of F.
I also don't understand why they didn't just go with the popular Cirrus seat. By my count the seat density is only slight higher than the 77W (52 seats in 13 rows on 77W vs. 45 in 11+1 seat in row 6 on 777). They only get one extra seat in the new config vs. the Cirrus seat.

The Cirrus seat is really, IMO, the best business class in the sky. It is the perfect blend of privacy, space, comfort and layout. Just flew CX in the same seat and slept great.
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Old Oct 16, 14, 3:17 pm
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Thanks for the early report!

Though it's not exactly the 77W it's more spacious than Cathay's first herringbone coffins "I'm goingk to sleep now, Igor!") and though I'll miss F, it's obvious many of us were up there thanks to upgrades. This is certainly in line with the many airlines removing F from the majority of flights a la Qantas, but retaining some F seats for premium routes.

As to the "whys" about these seats:

Originally Posted by FWAAA
(in part) The 772 forward/backward configuration wasn't ready in time to outfit the 77Ws, so AA went with off-the-shelf business class seats for the 77Ws.
and this is apparently the seat to be used in the coming 787.

A comfortable 77" bed is a big boon for longhaul redeyes!

Last edited by JDiver; Oct 16, 14 at 3:24 pm
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Old Oct 16, 14, 6:04 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
Thanks for the early report!

Though it's not exactly the 77W it's more spacious than Cathay's first herringbone coffins "I'm goingk to sleep now, Igor!") !
Sorry to be off topic, but you are commenting about CX's first class seat in a critical way. I'm thinking about flying them to HKG in F. Are you suggesting that in your experience their F seat is less than ideal? Are CX J seats any good?
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Old Oct 16, 14, 6:21 pm
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It seems Lucky has this TR linked to his OMAAT blog. I knew bloggers got some of their content from this site but linking it directly! Well that's something else!!
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