Feb082016

Review: AA LHR-LAX 777-300ER Business Class using my first SWU upgrade

Last week I flew from Amsterdam to Las Vegas on the outbound segment of my first American Airlines $422 round trip ticket. I purchased three round trip tickets AMS-LAS for January, February and April travel to front load my AAdvantage redeemable miles and EQM earned, prior to the frequent flyer program going revenue based later in 2016.

American Airlines Flight 135 from London LHR to Los Angeles LAX on a Boeing 777-300ER (77W) aircraft

American Airlines Flight 135 from London LHR to Los Angeles LAX on a Boeing 777-300ER (77W) aircraft is my first international flight I successfully upgraded using one of my 2016 systemwide upgrades.

AA 77W LHR-LAX-1

I thought it was odd to see the middle section seat arrangement where my seat view was aimed at the monitor for the other middle section seat. That was before I learned the monitor moves and I could redirect my own monitor to face me.

AA 77W LHR-LAX-2

Seat step for when lie-flat bed fully horizontal. My bag fit into a side cabinet with a sliding door on the outside section of the seat next to aisle. Water and book fit neatly in cubby visible at bottom right.

AA 77W LHR-LAX-3

Bose headphones offered great soundproofing and made the movies far easier to hear compared to my normal earbuds.

Control panel for seat adjusts seat back recline and foot rest with bottom level controls for seat light button, full recline, and seat take-off/land upright position.

AA LHR-LAX 77W IFE

AA 77W IFE remote control.

One thing I quickly learned are the three pronged Bose headphones do not connect to the tri-color red, white and yellow RCA connectors seen in a triangle shape on the controls panel. The flight attendant showed me where to find the headphone jack inside the cabinet. I wonder how many passengers have broken the Bose headphones cord trying to shove the three pronged headphones plug into the three RCA connectors?

AA Biz amenity kit

American Airlines Business Class Amenity Kit had a toothbrush, mouthwash, eyeshades and earplugs. I still regularly use many of the business and first class amenity bags I received 10 to 15 years ago. The American Airlines bag is not one that looks too useful for repurposing since it has no drawstring or zipper and is kind of a narrow, odd shape. I already had the items inside the kit with me from other old amenity kits.

In Flight Meals

Fortunately I had loaded up on a full lunch before my flight while in the American Airlines First Class Flagship Lounge LHR terminal 3.

AA lounge LHR T3

There was not much for me to eat with my low-carb diet and I had not ordered a special meal.

Starter: hummus and pita with tabbouleh and olives. (some hummus)

Salad: Seasonal greens with feta cheese and grape tomatoes. (my meal)

Gourmet bread. (none for me)

Entrees:

  • Tomato and Olive crusted tilapia, couscous and broccoli
  • beef fillet, mashed potatoes and oven roasted vegetables
  • Jalapeno chicken with cream sauce, potato wedges and green beans
  • vegetable korma with basmati rice

I ordered the fish, ate a bite, thought I make much better tasting fish meals at home, and ate the three broccoli florets with hummus. I was not impressed with the meal.

Dessert: ice cream sundae, pecan tart or gourmet cheese plate. (no dessert for me).

When I went to the galley midway through the flight, the counter was loaded with chocolates and desserts. I did not see any fruit or vegetables. There was not much to eat for a person counting carbohydrates. I’ll try special ordering a low-carb meal in advance on my next AA flight.

In Flight Entertainment

Many of the movies were movies I had already seen on American Airlines and British Airways flights in September, October and November. There were a couple of films that entertained me.

I still have a bone to pick with American Airlines music selections. Besides being a slim selection of musical genres to choose from, the major complaint I have about AA music is there is no song or artist listings. I get seriously annoyed listening to music when I am not able to learn the artist name or song title for songs I like. This is a big issue with American Airlines various artist mixes. Often I can’t even figure out what kind of musical genre is compiled with these audio selections.

Been a long time since I flew international business class

The LHR-LAX flight AA135 is the first time I have flown international business class since 2007. After several years with United Airlines Premier 1K status, I dropped flying on Business Class and First Class awards to conserve my airline frequent flyer miles. High airfares meant I also stopped frequent flying for high elite status to earn complimentary upgrades.

Last July, I decided to accept the American Airlines AAdvantage fast-track challenge for Executive Platinum by flying 30,000 EQM in 90 days. I flew 40,000 EQM in 35 days by ticketing three trips to Europe with one $700 ticket for American Airlines Los Angeles to Copenhagen and two nested tickets flying Bergen, Norway to San Francisco for under $400 round trip each.

That $1,500 in airfare to fly 40,000 EQM earned eight systemwide upgrades with AAdvantage. All three AMS-LAS tickets I purchased have already been upgraded using six of the eight SWU certificates in my AAdvantage account for domestic USA First Class seats and confirmed Business Class seats for the transatlantic legs.

Flying Business Class certainly diminishes the endurance test aspect of long haul economy flights. Laying down to rest, watching movies on a large screen monitor with high quality headphones and the ability to sit without someone touching me or encroaching on my seat space is a pleasant way to fly long-haul flights.

Related Posts: Earning American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum

  1. My fantastic American AAdvantage elite fast-track offer (June 22, 2015)
  2. Cost of flying 30,000 AAdvantage flight miles
  3. Thoughts on my AAdvantage Executive Platinum challenge
  4. Nested tickets for more AAdvantage EQM California to Scandinavia
  5. Staying in the Alps with Best Western, Choice, IHG and Wyndham points.
  6. AAdvantage Executive Platinum Challenge 39,294 EQM booked for $1,583
  7. American Airlines Executive Platinum Challenge routing ticketed and six intra-Europe flight choices
  8. Oneworld American-British Airways Scandinavia to California under $400 round trip fares
  9. Loyalty Traveler strategy for low cost flights to European airports
  10. What $385 in Choice Privileges points bought me in Europe
  11. How much did I spend for ten IHG reward nights in Europe?
  12. Go for EQM or EQP? American AAdvantage ExPlat Fast-Track
  13. AAdvantage Executive Platinum 30K Challenge – Day 1 California to Dusseldorf 5,956 EQM
  14. My account has been upgraded to AAdvantage Gold after 6,000 EQM this week
  15. AAdvantage Elite Challenge – Day 9 – Platinum after 13,205 EQM
  16. American AAdvantage Executive Platinum challenge–Day 17–19,221 EQM
  17. American AAdvantage Executive Platinum challenge–Day 20–25,668 EQM
  18. AAdvantage ExPlat fast-track diary Day 22
  19. AAdvantage ExPlat fast-track Diary Day 26 – Ready, Set, Go to London and Paris
  20. Bags and stuff I traveled with to Europe
  21. First Confirmed Upgrade as AAdvantage Executive Platinum
  22. AAdvantage Executive Platinum Diary Day 35 – the nightmare ends or is just beginning?

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. Those RCA jacks are so obsolete, it’s strange they have them on these (quite new) seats. Some home A/V devices still have them (becoming rarer even there) but the devices people typically travel with – laptops, tablets, smart phones – almost never have RCA outputs.

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