Mar302016

Flight Review AA47 LHR-ORD 777 Business Class older style seat

Not all American Airlines 777 aircraft flying transatlantic are the same configuration. According to SeatGuru.com, there are three versions of the Boeing 777 used by American Airlines with 777-200 version 1, 777-200 version 2 and 777-300ER.

You know when the aircraft is the 777-300ER due to the designation 77W on the American Airlines booking page. You do not know if your 777-200 is a newer Business Class seat version or older Business Class seat version unless you look at a seat map for the different business class configurations. The older version has First Class and Business Class seating and the newer version only has Business Class seating.

Flight AA47 LHR-ORD

Flight AA47 LHR-ORD last month was the older 777-200 version with 37 older angle flat business class seats across five rows 9-13 and 2 seats in row 8. First Class has 16 lie-flat seats in a 1-2-1 configuration across four rows 1-4.

AA 777 v1

AA 777-200 older version has business class 2-3-2 seat configuration in rows 8-13.

AA 777 biz Seat

Seat recline functions on AA 777-200 v1.

Kelley and I were seated in row 12 H-J on the right side of the aircraft, one row from the back of the business class section.

The seat was okay, but not as good as my previous upgraded AA flight on a 777-300ER London to Los Angeles a few weeks earlier.

AA 777 monitor

Seat back monitor on AA 777-200 v.1.

AA 772 tray

AA 777-200 v.1 tray table.

I hardly snapped photos of the aircraft during this flight. I’ll get another chance in April when I return via the same routing and same aircraft type.

I assume the Chicago ORD – London LHR flight will be a better experience on the next trip to Europe.

Here were some of the issues from this flight.

  • No running water in the toilets, either side of the cabin.
  • During both meal services the flight ran out of one of the meal selections prior to reaching our seats.
  • On the second meal service the attendant took my drink order, but never brought it to me.
  • Flight attendants picked up Bose headphones one hour before the end of the flight, which meant I had to dig out my own ear buds during the middle of the movie.

AA Biz Amenity kit

American Airlines Business Class amenity bag.

American Airlines Business Class amenity kit includes:

  • earplugs
  • eye shade
  • mouthwash
  • socks
  • headphone covers
  • pen
  • tissue
  • toothbrush and paste
  • hand lotion, lip balm and towelette

I look around our house and find airline amenity bags all over the place being reused from previous business and first class flights. In our house they are recycled as storage bags holding items like my sunglasses (United Airlines business class bag 2002 era). British Airways First Class bags with zippers hold a variety of items like shaver, medicines, cameras and other stuff. Kelley and I picked up 12 of those bags in July 2003 flying a single First Class round trip between USA and Australia with six aircraft boardings in Denver, London, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney, and Singapore again.

I don’t see much practical use for recycling these AA Business Class kit bags. The usable space is narrow and only has a strap holding the flap cover down, so not too secure.

AA Biz amenity kit

 

AAdvantage SWU boarding pass hassles in London Heathrow for second time

For the second consecutive time on my AAdvantage SWU upgraded flights out of Amsterdam, I stood at the American Airlines LHR lounge waiting about 15 minutes for my boarding passes to be processed at the counter before I was allowed to enter the lounge.

There was no problem for the SWU upgraded flights departing from the USA, but it was a hassle starting in Amsterdam. British Airways check-in counter agents in Amsterdam only gave me a boarding pass to London LHR and instructed me to pick up my American Airlines boarding passes in London.

Three weeks before on my first Amsterdam to Las Vegas $422 round trip ticket, I went to the first American Airlines service center I came across after arriving at LHR from Amsterdam on British Airways. The staff looked up my flight and told me they could not process it there due to my SWU upgrade and instructed me to go to the next AA service center after I cleared rescreening security in LHR.

Upon reaching the second American Airlines ticketing facility, I waited there for around ten minutes, until I was instructed to go to the AA Admirals Lounge and get my upgraded business class boarding passes there.

My AAdvantage upgrades for our LHR-ORD-LAS flights had been confirmed weeks before in my online account.

This trip I walked right past the first two AA ticketing facilities and proceeded directly to the American Airlines lounge. The Admirals Club counter agent told me I should have picked up my boarding passes at the first AA ticketing facility I passed after arrival.

The London AA counter agent finally buzzed Kelley into the First Class Flagship Lounge after passengers entering the lounge kept staring at a woman slumped down on the floor beside her luggage like a bag lady camping out inside the AA LHR lounge entrance.

American Airlines SWU value

Over five weeks in September-October 2015 I flew California to Europe three times logging in 40,000 flight miles on American and British Airways planes. I went from no status with AAdvantage to Executive Platinum status after 30,000 flight miles. The primary benefit was receiving eight systemwide upgrades (SWU) valid for any paid fare on American Airlines operated flights.

This flight used up SWU numbers 3 and 4 . Two more SWU certificates will upgrade our return to London in April 2016 and use up SWU 5 and 6. I have two remaining SWU for another international round trip flight on American Airlines this year. I’ll be mindful of the aircraft type when I book my next international flight and try to maximize the potential benefit of an SWU upgrade.

Economy vs. Business Class

After about ten flights between California and London on American and British Airways in the past six months, mostly flying in economy class seating, the main interest for me on these long haul flights is a good entertainment selection for movies and music. My aircraft priorities change when I plan to be in Business Class.

British Airways A380-800 LHR-LAX flights were my favorite flights in economy class. An immense music and film catalog kept me occupied for the 12 hours on the plane. British Airways 747 was disappointing with its older entertainment system.

British Airways LAX-LHR A380-800 in World Traveller Class

My first $422 Amsterdam to Las Vegas round trip ticket from Amsterdam to Los Angeles flight in January gave me the LHR-LAX experience on an American Airlines 777-300ER, or simply 77W for short. I received a complimentary business class upgrade when my AAdvantage Executive Platinum systemwide upgrade cleared.

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

Last month I returned to Amsterdam from Las Vegas via Philadelphia and flew on the AA #798 PHL-AMS on a 757 aircraft. That trip review is found here:

PHL lounge reviews British Airways First and American Admirals Club

Review: AA 734 Las Vegas to Philadelphia First Class and AA798 PHL to Amsterdam

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.

More articles by Ric Garrido »

Comments

  1. Keep up the great work. I really like your blog and your creative approaches. Have you considered hiring a designer to improve the visual presentation? Your posts are text heavy and are great but I think you could call out key points better and maybe have a few summary bullet points. I think you also get a lot of double line spacing which may not be necessary if you had better overall formatting.

    Seriously though, please keep up the great work. I’m not at the stage in my career where I have this kind of flexibility but enjoy how you do the Europe – US r/ts and love your posts on getting great hotel deals.

  2. @AnonCHI – I have considered a blog redesign. One of these days I’ll get around to having the BoardingArea people add some color to the site.

  3. From a multi-year Ex Plat with AA, I can tell you the most important thing is that the SWU clears. I would take a 777-200 with the old seats and service where my SWU clears over a 777-300 in 10 abreast coach!

    I agree their new product is definitely much much better. But their old business class is still pretty darn nice compare to coach.

  4. @Greg – I agree that it is better to use an upgrade for transatlantic business class than save one hoping for a better aircraft opportunity and then find an SWU still in your account at the end of the year. I did that several times with United Airlines 15 years ago, but back then the issue was actually more to do with being given complimentary upgrades on my international flights without redeeming an SWU. That generally occurred at the ticket counter when I checked in and they saw I had used upgrades for my wife and not myself. I got a lot of free upgrades from economy class. That did not work with AA last month on the outbound to Amsterdam. I sat in economy and Kelley had my business class seat.

  5. Nice review. I just flew this route in First but got the Cole Haan amenity kit which is way….nicer. I think.

Comments are closed.