After spending about an hour and a half in the fantastic Admirals Lounge, an announcement was made that my flight to Dallas (DFW) would begin boarding shortly so I decided to head for the gate and spend some time wandering the airport a bit. Although I have transited London-Heathrow (LHR) many times, I always seem to forget just how massive the airport is. It took me about 10 minutes to walk at a brisk pace to the gate where I would be boarding my first 777-300ER flight operated by American.
As I mentioned before, I opted to redeem American Airlines miles for my return trip, mainly because I have a lot of them and because I was able to find a routing through London with low taxes and fees that allowed me to review the flagship American Airlines 777-300ER. For this redemption, I redeemed 57,500 AAdvantage miles for a business class ticket. The taxes and fees were somewhat reasonable at ~$176 and were high due to multiple European connections (so I could review more products) and flying through London. Overall, I was pretty happy with the redemption value on this ticket.
Introduction – Europe On A Whim
Review – United 737-800 BusinessFirst – RSW-IAH
Review – KLM Crown Lounge – IAH
Review – United 767-300 BusinessFirst – IAH-EWR
Review – Lufthansa Senator Lounge – EWR
Review – Austrian Airlines 767-300 Business Class – EWR-VIE
Review – Sky Lounge (Non-Schengen) – VIE
Review – Sky Lounge (Schengen) – VIE
Review – Austrian Airlines Lounge – VIE
Review – Austrian Airlines A320 Business Class – VIE-DUS
Review – Holiday Inn Express Dusseldorf
Review – Element Amsterdam
Review – KLM Royal Crown Lounge – AMS
Review – Air France A318 Premier Class – AMS-CDG
Review – Air France Salon Lounge – CDG
Review – Air France A320 Premier Class – CDG-LIS
Review – Intercontinental Lisbon
Review – ANA Lounge – LIS
Review – Iberia A320 Business Class – LIS-MAD
Review – Iberia Sala VIP Velazquez Lounge – MAD
Review – British Airways 767-300 Business Class – MAD-LHR
Review – British Airways Galleries Lounge – Terminal 3 LHR
Review – No. 1 Lounge – Terminal 3 LHR
Review – Swissport Lounge – Terminal 3 LHR
Review – American Airlines Admirals Club – Terminal 3 LHR
Review – American Airlines 777-300ER (77W) Business Class – LHR-DFW
I was actually fairly excited about this flight as I had never flown on American’s updated 777-300ERs and was excited to see how their reverse herringbone business class seats compared to the likes of Cathay Pacific. While I had low expectations going into this flight since it was operated by American Airlines, I was actually pretty blown away by the quality of the hard and soft product on this flight.
American Airlines 79
London-Heathrow (LHR) to Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
Depart: 3:05 PM
Arrive: 7:20 PM
Duration: 10 hours, 15 minutes
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 7A (Business Class)
By the time I made it to the gate, the digital board showed that the flight was already closing for boarding.
Except boarding had not even started for the flight. This cause a LOT of confusion from people who ran up to the gate agent asking if it was too late to board. You would think that the gate agents would have some control over the board and would change that, but they never did.
Boarding ended up being delayed by about 25 minutes as the boarding hallway was shared with arrivals and a British Airways 747 had just landed and was still unloading during our scheduled boarding time.
Near the boarding gate was a small stand that offered complimentary newspapers and magazines to passengers. While I usually only see this from foreign carriers, it was nice to see American offer this for passengers.
When boarding finally began, it was a chaotic mess and very rushed. I finally made my way down the jet bridge and boarded through door 2L where I turned right into the main business class cabin. On American’s 777-300ERs, there is a small mini-cabin directly behind Flagship First.
Since the seating map showed the mini-cabin as being pretty full and the main cabin only about 1/4 full, I opted for a seat in the main cabin. Upon turning right towards the main business class cabin, I was greeted by the fantastic site of reverse herringbone seats.
I love reverse herringbone seats because they are comfortable and offer ample space for someone tall and goofy like me while also offering direct aisle access for all passengers.
I quickly found my way to my seat – 7A – which was a window seat on the left hand side of the aircraft.
It is worth noting that the overhead bin above 7A houses emergency equipment, so you will need to find space in the other overhead bins. Since this flight was only about 1/4 full, that was not a big deal for me, but might make a difference on a full flight.
The first thing I noticed about the cabin was that everything felt fresh and new. While these aircraft are some of the newest in the American Airlines fleet, they seemed, for the most part, to be well cared for as well.
American’s reverse herringbone seats seemed identical to Cathay Pacific’s (which I love) and offered a well padded seat.
Waiting at my seat was a pillow and a packaged blanket.
Across from the seat was a small ottoman that made up the end of the bed when the seat was in the fully flat configuration.
Next to the seat was an area that could be used for storage, along with the seat, entertainment and lighting controls.
Below this area was a nice little storage area which was big enough for a laptop or a small carry on bag.
Waiting in that area was the amenity kit, which was Cole Haan.
The amenity kit was pretty well stocked with things like socks, a pen, ear plugs, an eye mask, a dental kit, headphone covers, etc.
Waiting in the storage area was a pair of American Airlines branded Bose noise canceling headphones and a bottle of water.
I really appreciate that American offers true noise canceling headphones in their business class cabin as that can really make a big difference on such a long flight.
The seat controls were easy to use.
There was also a universal style power plug AND a USB plug, which I really like as I often want to charge both my iPhone and my laptop at the same time.
This area also house the controller for the in flight entertainment (IFE) system and a small adjustable light.
One thing I really appreciated about American’s 777-300ER was that the aircraft features individual air vents. I often get hot on flights, so having my own air vent (or two in this case) is something I very much appreciate.
Under the armrest area of the seat was a small storage area that was ideal for shoes so long as your feet were under a size 9.
The one thing I did notice was that there was some water damage to the area near the window. I am not sure how this happened, but it was the only area that did not look near new on this aircraft.
The IFE screen was located above the ottoman and was controlled via either touchscreen, or with the controller located next to the seat. The selection of movies, television shows, music and games was quite impressive and there was certainly no lack of entertainment on this flight.
Waiting at my seat was a menu for the flight.
The menu read as follows:
The wine, spirits and drinks menu was as follows:
After reading through the menu, I settled in for the flight. Overall, the space was more than ample for my 6’5″ frame. Seats like this are why I am willing to spend the extra miles for business class as it makes a 10+ hour flight much more enjoyable.
After settling in, I was offered a pre-departure beverage. I had a selection of water, orange juice or champagne. Since I am not a champagne guy, I opted for the orange juice.
The boarding door closed on time, but we ended up sitting at the gate for another 20 minutes or so – gotta love Heathrow! During our delay the pilot came over the PA to welcome everyone aboard and advised us of our flying time of 9 hours and 25 minutes at an altitude of 38,000 feet.
Shortly after our push back from the gate, the safety video was screened. I had my eyes glued out the window though as we passed by a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER, a slew of British Airways 747s and an Emirates A380.
We finally were cleared for takeoff about 40 minutes after our push back from the gate. Since the weather was gorgeous, our climb out was smooth and offered some great views.
Service began about 15 minutes after takeoff with the cabin crew distributing towels. I think they were supposed to be warmed, though my towel was near frozen in some areas and lukewarm in others which I am still not entirely sure how they were able to accomplish that feat.
The meal service started with drinks and selection of warmed nuts. I opted for a vodka and cranapple juice, which is one of my staples on flights.
American offers an Express Meal service on their international flights where your meal will be served together on one tray. That is so you can eat quickly and either get some work done, or rest. While I did not opt for this option, the handful of passengers around me all seemed to opt for the Express Meal. This seemed to really confuse the flight attendants who spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out which meal was going where. Thankfully, that had no impact on my service, which was fantastic (I think in large part because I was the only person saying please and thank you and generally not treating the crew like trash).
My meal service started with a prosciutto and melon with mozzarella which although a bit boring, was still quite tasty.
I thought the presentation was quite colorful and I liked that it was something a bit different (well, as far as airline food is concerned anyways).
The starter was served with a small side salad that had strawberry and blue cheese in it. I opted for the lime yogurt dressing with it at the recommendation of the flight attendant working my aisle and it was an excellent recommendation.
The starter and salad was served with a selection from the bread basket, which I opted for a pretzel roll and some cheese ciabatta.
After the starter, I opted for the chicken tikka which was surprisingly one of the best dishes I have had on an airplane. It was flavorful, the perfect temperature and I wanted more at the end of the meal! Although the presentation was not spectacular (in fact, it was rather messy), it tasted excellent and that matters more to me than presentation.
Following the main course, I was pretty full but the flight attendant talked me into having a freshly made sundae. I asked her to surprise me with toppings and she came back this crazy sundae!
The meal service was prompt and refills were offered on my drinks throughout the meal. Overall, the meal service took around and hour and a half from start to finish, which on a 10 hour flight I find to be just about perfect. After the meal service, I ordered a Bailey’s and coffee and pulled out my laptop to get some work done.
Before getting started on some work, I headed for the lavatory to change into my JAL pajama top which I find to be much more comfortable on long haul flights. The lavatories were clean, though pretty standard.
The lavatories offered 3LAB soaps and lotions.
After getting some work done, I wandered up to the galley to stretch a little bit. Waiting in the galley was a very nice spread of whole fruit, sandwiches, snacks and desserts (sorry for the picture quality – the lighting really was not very ideal).
After stretching for a bit, I turned my seat into bed mode and turned on a movie. The bed was comfortable and offered ample space for my 6’5″ frame – which is one of the reasons why I love reverse herringbone seats.
Since I am pretty bad at sleeping on planes, I dozed for about 30 minutes and then decided it was a futile endeavor. So instead I wandered back up to the galley to see what kind of whiskey, scotch and bourbon they had on offer. To my surprise, they had Woodford Reserve, which I love. So I ordered a Woodford on the rocks (though they murdered it a bit with as much ice as she gave me).
Before I knew it the crew was turning up the lights in the cabin to begin the pre-arrival meal service. I opted for the Thai beef salad which was excellent.
It was served with chili lime & lemongrass dressing which had just a touch of heat to it. While I love anything spicy, I appreciated that American was at least offering something with a bit of spice rather than opting for bland.
The meal was also served with a chocolate pudding which was good, but a bit too rich for my liking.
The pre-arrival meal was completed within a half hour and we began our descent into Dallas. One thing that does annoy me about American is that they collect their noise canceling headphones around an hour prior to landing. While I understand that they want to make sure they get them back, I also find it a bit annoying to need to switch to ear buds for the last hour which tends to be when I actually watch the IFE.
In any case, we had a smooth descent into Dallas with some great late afternoon views.
We landed right on time and had a smooth touchdown. I would normally take more pictures during this part of the flight, but I had only an hour to clear customs and transfer terminals to catch my flight home to Fort Myers (RSW).
This was my first time on American’s flagship 777-300ER and I have to say, it was excellent. The hard product was superb as I absolutely love the reverse herringbone seats and the service with this crew was equally as good. Even more surprising was how flavorful the food was. I would highly recommend the tikka chicken! Overall I was extremely impressed by this flight and would actually go so far as to say it was worth paying the extra taxes and fees associated with flying through London for this flight!
What is your favorite lounge at London-Heathrow (LHR)?