I Flew American’s Longhaul Business Class, And It Was… Industry Leading?!

Filed Under: American, Travel

Nope, this blog hasn’t been hacked. As long time readers will know, I’ve become increasingly disenchanted with American, as they’ve made negative change after negative change, including to their frequent flyer program, onboard catering, general service philosophy, etc.

Late Monday night I took my first longhaul flight on American for all of 2017. Yep, even though I have top tier status with them, I haven’t taken a longhaul flight with them all year. This flight was operated by a Boeing 777-300ER, which I’ve flown many times, and I’m a bit surprised by how I felt walking away from the experience.

Sure, I knew American’s reverse herringbone seat on the 777 is comfortable, but what surprised me was everything else. I walked away not thinking to myself “well that was a decent flight,” but rather “damn, if only every international American flight were that good.”

Let me start with the bigger issue here — US airlines have an image problem. When I ask someone how their international flight on American was, I typically get “meh, okay,” even if it sounds like it was really good when they describe it.

Compare that to Emirates, which many people are obsessed with (myself included, in some ways). A majority of Emirates’ longhaul fleet features angled seats with seven seats per row. They don’t have dine on demand. They don’t offer pajamas in business class. They don’t have individual air nozzles at most seats. Their wifi is excruciatingly slow. What they have going for them is fantastic marketing.

Meanwhile at American and Delta, virtually all of the longhaul fleets operated by the two airlines feature fully flat business class seats with direct aisle access, but they’re still generally considered inferior.

So let me get back to my American flight, and why I was left oddly impressed.

There was a really comfortable reverse herringbone business class seat.

There was wifi that was reasonably priced, at $19 for the entire flight.

There were Bose headphones, which many top airlines don’t even have in first class.

There were individual air nozzles and the cabin was kept at a reasonable temperature (I can’t stress enough how important this is — on foreign airlines I consistently wake up sweating, and if you can’t get a good night of sleep, how good can a premium product really be?).

There were pajamas.

There was Lanson champagne, which is very nice for business class.

There was food that was surprisingly tasty, and especially appropriate given the 1AM departure (meaning it was served on one tray).

For once I even had a dessert on American with nice presentation that wasn’t an ice cream sundae. Specifically, it as a chocolate hazelnut mousse bar.

But what really set this flight apart was the crew. All four of the business class flight attendants were outstanding. I can’t emphasize enough how kind, attentive, and sincere they were. It’s not just that they were friendly, but they were damn good at their jobs.

I loved what an eclectic bunch they were as well. Working my aisle was Colleen, a more senior flight attendant, and then Joyce, who was a new hire and a language speaker (which is probably how she managed to bid on the trip despite her lack of seniority). They worked beautifully together, despite their very different service styles.

That’s the problem with US airlines. When service is good, it can be really good. But there’s so much variability. This was a nighttime flight where most people were sleeping, and despite that, at least every 10 minutes a flight attendant passed through the cabin to see if anyone needed anything. They were even ninjas with water refills — without me noticing, my bottle was sometimes fuller than I remembered leaving it.

What’s my point? It’s popular to give US airlines a hard time. I give US airlines a hard time all the time, and I think it’s well deserved.

But it would be irresponsible to overlook the fact that US airlines are leading the way when it comes to having flat beds with direct aisle access, reasonably priced and fast wifi, and cool cabins with individual air nozzles. Maybe you don’t care about wifi. That’s fine. Maybe you like sleeping in saunas. That’s fine. But if you’re anything like me, the combination of those things (or even just two of those three things) has a huge impact on the overall experience on a flight.

But then there were so many great touches on top of that — Bose headphones, a mattress sheet, pajamas, good champagne, etc.

Then the icing on the cake was having a perfect crew.

So it might surprise some, but I’d fly American 777 business class over Cathay Pacific 777 business class any day, even with a bad crew, for the wifi and air nozzles (I’ve always been impressed by Cathay Pacific first class, but not their business class). I’d fly American 777 business class over Emirates 777 business class for the far superior seat.

If American could consistently offer this excellent of an experience, I might even rank them as having one of the best business class products out there. It’s the inconsistency that’s the problem, though.

Comments
  1. American is like that ex-girlfriend or boyfriend that you always find yourself going back to. Because every now and then you find yourself blown away by their ah… performance. But like that ex their biggest problem is consistently making you happy. Spot on analysis Lucky.

  2. Completely agree that consistency is the key. I think it’s absolutely fundamental.

    And I’d pair consistency with minimum standards – is it only this month that American will, finally, get rid of the angled seat from all its long-haul fleet?

    But the other problem for me is that flying any US3 airline at the moment might be perceived as supporting their misguided campaign against the ME3. So they’re still not getting my dollars.

  3. Always made me wonder when you say foreign airlines are like saunas. But I recently flew American for the first time and thought it was like a freezer on there! I finally understand why you say that; cos you’re used to freezing planes on US carriers!

  4. Agreed- flew AA business on the A330 earlier this year PHL-DUB and was very impressed by the overall experience, especially the crew, who were excellent and dealt with a few potentially tough situations with aplomb. A year earlier, flew Air France business on the 777-300ER, which is a slightly better seat, and food a bit better, but I wouldn’t say the overall experience was significantly better.

    The consistency of hard product and crew goes most of the way towards a good flight. I think there’s little doubt the long haul US business products right now probably rank:

    1A: Delta
    1B: American
    1,000: United

  5. AA’S 77W is simply the best hardproduct business class seat in the sky.

    And that’s what matters – I could care less about the FAs – the less interaction I have with them the better, regardless of if they are in love with their job or hate it.

  6. @DCJose Completely agree, United has Polaris, but it is taking them way too long. Delta and American already have all of their widebodys (Side note: Can’t remember if some 767s are still recliners or not) equipped with fully flat seats with direct aisle access, heck, Delta has had it for years now!

  7. The thing is, I think cool cabins are a preference of USA travelers. So of course a USA airline is going to get that part right. It’s just like, if you want Tabasco sauce at breakfast in South America, stay at a Marriott…

  8. I had a terrible crew last December LAX -> LHR. Almost made me miss BA business class. Guess it just goes to show how much of the experience is the people.

  9. @Santastico – I generally disagree, but it depends on the plane/seat. At 6’2″, I just can’t get a good night’s rest on DL’s 767s. Those seats are awful. I started throwing business at AA when I had to fly from JFK to GRU a ton last year for work, and traveled in business on the 77W, which is a tremendously better seat.

    Same with premium transcons, which I’ve also flown a lot in the last year for work. I avoid the DL 767s if I want to get sleep, but I know I’ll be able to sleep in either business or first on the AA A321Ts.

    So while I like the branding around Delta One, and a lot of the soft product, for many of the routes I take, the seats just suck.

  10. After flying AA193 in J a couple of times in the summer and the same flight in Flagship First a couple of weeks ago, I actually think J is better F.

    Though, while appreciate the WiFi and Air nozzles , I’d still take CX J over AA for the service.

  11. I’ve had several mixed experiences on AA longhaul. Most disappointing was probably to HKG as the crew was not good at all. I would have thought for a flagship route they would put out some of their best, but that wasn’t the case. It was a pleasant enough flight otherwise, but I agree that the variability of the crew can really make or break the experience.

  12. AA has really stepped up their game. I flew Business Class to/from SYD and PEK, and First Class HKG. Service is awesome. Some people haven’t flown them but th honk that foreign must be better. Every time the crew was excellent.

    Adam H. AA has pajamas in Business Class: SYD, AKL, and HKG.

  13. I flew United Polaris business on the 777-300ER last week and had a similar experience. The temperature was good – not too hot, there were individual air nozzles, the Wifi was fast, and the food was delicious. The seats were very comfortable, there were good headphones (I don’t remember if they were Bose) and pajamas. The only problem was that the crew seemed to be more attentive to the other passengers than me, although that might have been due to my overactive flatulence that trip.

  14. @flightwonk: Fair point. But on the A330 and 777 Delta One is much better. I fly MSP-AMS once a month and the overall experience on Delta leaves AA far behind.

  15. I was reading a trip report where the writer was praising the crew for a flawless service in F. Then the main course dish looked like a piece of leather on a plate, beef cooked beyond recognition. All the smiles and pleasantries cannot explain the decision to plate trash. Consistency in service comes with training, experience guided by supervisors that lead by example and management promoting leaders with proven track records.

  16. Flying AA72 SYD-LAX was at the opposite end of the spectrum to yours in terms of experience Lucky.

    I was flying in J for a meeting scheduled the following day, and a call for any medical personnel on board was made. The crew announced, very tersely, that passengers should stop asking about what was going on and that a statement would be made when details were known.

    15 minutes after the flight show had started to show we were heading back to BNE, a statement was made that we were turning back to Australia. Once we landed at SYD (as a another change was made), the cabin crew very rudely collected the AA-distributed Bose headphones from Business and promptly disappeared. At that point, QF staff took over and announced that the flight would be terminating at SYD and further information would be available.

    Not a single AA staffer was present to address passengers upon disembarkation and no efforts were made to actually get passengers to LAX that day. As I had to reschedule the meeting, I needed to have AA reschedule the flight as well and that only occurred after cutting through their rhetoric of the ticket being partially used (there was a MEL-SYD leg prior) and change fees being required. Threats of chargebacks and legal action were required to get anything other than braindead script reading in response.

    As for the actual rescheduled flight, seeing a trolley in J is terrible and that was a prominent feature. The soft service was quite ordinary overall, with bedding simply left for passengers to unpack and place on their seats.

    Compared to VA, NZ and SQ, AA desperately need to improve their consistency. DL’s transcon service has generally been superior with respect to soft product.

  17. Given the MUCH worse odds of getting an indifferent/angry cabin crew on the US3, if all choices have reasonable flat seats, there is no way I would personally choose any of them over CX or basically any international carrier. With the strong exception of BA’s coffin class and some Chinese (MU) and African (MS) carriers.

  18. $19 for long haul wifi ???? It’s usually an extortionist $35 for ORD-LGA. Wonder if they are waking up.

  19. @Jig – the lack of wifi on the CX flights I’d otherwise choose is the dealbreaker for me. I often need it.

  20. Came here to see complaints about the nuts not being warm enough or the champagne not being pretentious enough.

    Surprise-surprise, it was more than adequate for Lucky!

  21. Which airlines have the best saunas? I hate freezing the whole trip. One of the first things I do when getting on a plane is shut the nozzles.

  22. @ Bob

    “AA’S 77W is simply the best hardproduct business class seat in the sky.”

    Nonsense. You obviously haven’t flown Qsuites yet.

  23. @AdamH, LAX-HKG and DFW-HKG have pyjamas in business class.
    @Jason, given the departure time and pyjamas in J, I will say LAX-HKG.

  24. I have flown JFK-GRU B77W 4 times this year and the experience has been consistently great. Unfortunately is not one of the routes with the pajamas 🙁

  25. “If American could consistently offer this excellent of an experience, I might even rank them as having one of the best business class products out there. It’s the inconsistency that’s the problem, though.”

    Bingo. I’ve had crews ranging from exceptional to meh to downright nasty on AA in J and domestic F. But it doesn’t stop at the soft product – the inconsistency in the hard product is equally maddening. Sure, the 77W is awesome. But just take a look at how many 772s are still flying around in their old configurations with angled 2-3-2 seats in J. Ironically, the last time I flew in AA long-haul J, the “Envoy Suite”, a very decent seat, was marred by poor cabin crew in one direction, but then I had a phenomenal cabin crew in an awful 772 on the return. You just honestly never know what you’re going to get with AA. (I have to say I probably enjoyed the experience more on the 772, despite the poor hard product, because the crew was so wonderful.)

  26. I sleep well on all of AAs widebody fleet offerings on the seven to eight TATL trips I take each year and I really like the cooler cabin temperatures on their night flights. I haven’t flown the 777-200 this year and was wondering if they corrected the motion problem on their Zodiac reconfigured planes? Other than the motion problem on a few planes, the hard product never disappoints. Food and crews can be good or bad and I agree that consistency is elusive in this area.

  27. On the subject of cool cabins… I was genuinely freezing on a Southwest flight from Houston to Vegas last week. We ended up stuck getting to the gate (passenger problems on another plane), and I very nearly had to forget that I was British and ignore the seatbelt sign so I could get our jackets.

    Seemed to be a consistent problem with hotels during the trip too. How do you Americans handle cold like that when you’re so used to being boiling outdoors? It was awful!

  28. It took over a decade since fully flat beds first appeared on aircraft for US airlines to begin adopting them! The fact that Emirates is still lagging behind on that, does not make US Airlines pioneers or leaders! They were entirely uncompetitive on hard product across the Atlantic for far too long!

  29. I flew this product 4x this year between LAX and SYD. That route had PJs. Had decent to excellent service throughout-except for maybe one where the FA was more interested in checking her phone than her actual job.

    I also asked for a 2nd set of PJs for my bf (at the time) and was given a 2nd set without a blink–3 of the 4 times.

    The sliders for snacks were excellent.

    I believe AA is swapping into 787s for this route in Jan.

  30. I find AA to be great on Asia routes. I fly the DFW-HKG or LAX-HKG pretty often, and like Lucky, really do think that when the crew is above average it’s a hands down winner TPAC. Their PEK and PVG service on the 787 is also above average.

    However, to Europe… it seems they have a lot of issues. The service tends to be way below average, as seniority seems to be prioritized over ability. If possible I tend to choose Iberia if I’m staying OneWorld, thanks to better food and a nice A330/340 layout.

  31. Im an AA loyalist EP with over 215,000 miles flown this year alone with them but still fly many other airlines worldwide. I have to agree with your opinion that if only they could be consistent, they’d be one of the top airlines worldwide.
    Overall they have improved with updated aircraft, new crews and modernization throughout.

  32. Competent with a similar seat to other airlines at the same price point? – yes. Certainly better in some areas than others. Industry leading? – no. Where is the flair, the style or the innovation? Sorry Lucky none of that is there. I’m glad you had a good crew – but lets face it that’s just down to sheer luck.

  33. Now that most of the longhaul fleet has lie-flat, all-aisle access they have an industry-leading hard product. Fair pricing on wifi, and good temperature in the cabin round things out. The catering can be hit-or-miss, but in general, longhaul catering has gotten better since the dark days post-merger. The real problem is consistency of service and consistency of their operation. You’re right that if every crew could be as consistently smiling and dedicated to service as their best FAs, I’d absolutely prefer them over asian carriers that heat up the plane like a sauna. However, I’d still want to make sure my connections were at least 2 hours long, whereas I wouldn’t blink an eye buying a delta ticket with a 45-minute connection.

  34. I just took AA from IAH-LAX-HKG and back HKG-DFW-IAH and I agree with all of the above. The seat is the best. I’ve now taken this route about 10 times in the past 3 years and while the service is variable, the seat is perfect (especially window seats with the 3 air vents) and the food has improved. For a 15 hour flight, the most important thing to me is being able to sleep and I can always do that on AA.

  35. Okay so this is my first comment on this blog so pls go easy on me. I have read A LOT of you posts and I really enjoy it. There is always so much new stuff coming out all the time, it’s great to read. While I do see myself as a rather frequent flyer for an 18 year old, I do not usually have status on Airlines. That is largely due to the fact that I’m based in Europe and am flying lots of LCCs there (also because legacy carriers often don’t offer the routes I fly). Additionally, it’s simply cheaper most of the time and while I can understand people who do I honestly do not really think it’s worth the extra money to upgrade to business etc all the time. So, I usually fly Economyand try to get the most out of it!
    But due to the „Topbonus Starthilfe“ like half a year ago, I had ruby status on oneworld for 3 months. Let me tell you: if it’s the first time you have status, it’s just great. Especially the shorter wait times at the airport and the additional baggage are great.

    Then, I took the AA109 flight LHR-LAX (Economy) just over a month ago. And let me tell you, it was nice! It was exactly as you described: you left the plane with a great feeling rather than a standard one! While it is hard to describe what exactly went so well, I will try:

    1. the crew: this was probably most important. The crew was very nice and very helpful throughout the flight. They brought more water all the time (very important on planes) and was just always there when you needed something. They would also take your trash with them, even when they were just passing by. Some were a little bit stressed toward the end of the flight but that was ok since they were working very hard for the passengers.
    This was especially obvious after I took my flight back with Iberia from MIA-MAD where it took them a full 2.5 hrs after takeoff to serve drinks for the first time. It was an overnight flight and people wanted to use the time to sleep. Also, they made some special rules (I will not go I to detail here) on the flight, which simply made no sense at all.

    2. the product: I snagged a main cabin extra seat for free using my status, so I had additional legroom, that was great! Also the lavatories were still very clean, even after 11.5 hrs of flight. (In contrast to Iberia where the toilets weren’t even clean right after takeoff, but Iberia also had great legroom on their A330 but the chewing gum under my right armrest wasn’t so nice after all)

    3. the food: as we all know, economy class food isn’t especially known for its quality… What we had though, was very very good for economy standard! It was fried chicken in „American Chinese sweet“ sauce or something with I believe it was rice, if I recall correctly. So that was good too! The sides were fine, as was the breakfast. I was really impressed. (Dinner was also tasty on Iberia but the breakfast was just average I’d say)

    Apart from American I also flew Delta first (LAX-SFO) on their B707 which was also very nice: food, service, WiFi a little slow, IFE and views obviously due to the route.

    So Benjamin, while I do understand that on this blog are lots of people flying first and business a lot, please don’t forget that there a so many people only flying Economy all the time who are also interested in aviation and how they can get the most out of their flight and possibilities (vacation days, money, plans etc.). I know you don’t forget about those people but maybe a little more tricks and reviews for the economy crowd?

    I really do enjoy reading you blog and would like to thank you for your work you put into this!

    All the best!
    Fred

  36. @MeanMeosh – American no longer has the angle flat business seat installed on any of its 777-200s – the last plane to be reconfigured was completed months ago.

    So you’ll either get the early-777-200 zodiac seat or the later-777-200 B/E Aerospace seat.

  37. Have to agree with the comment on the European flights. My husband and I flew AA DFW-CDG last month in J for our anniversary. On the way over, I had great service in my aisle and my husband’s service was lackluster at best. On the way home, the reverse.

    The 787 was brand new and extremely comfortable (including very nice Bose headsets) but with terrible to below average service, the overall experience was tarnished.

    Lesson learned: Lower your expectations. (And 20K EQMs is still 20K EQMs)

  38. I flew the AA 777-300 from LAX-HKG in July and was also quite impressed overall. I did not love the champagne (I’d take the stuff Finnair are now serving in biz – Joseph Perrier – over the Lanson…), but the seat was great, the service was professional and a little quirky and fun, and the cabin/bathrooms were kept very clean. I was also impressed with the snack bar they set up in the galley. But it was the crew that really made the difference which, to be honest, surprised me: my trans-Atlantic biz experiences with AA crew haven’t been great, but the crew working this flight was awesome. I’m looking forward to my upcoming HKG-DFW and LAX-HKG flights in December now!

    My most recent experience with AA (787) NRT-ORD-NRT was…also surprisingly good! Nothing like the service on JAL (wow!) but still very good overall. Now living here in Asia (BKK), I’m doing my best to fly with oneworld partners and AA back to the States…haven’t loved flying KE up to Incheon and connecting with DL to the States as much.

  39. Hard product is all that matters in my opinion. You will always have crews that vary in service no matter what airline. There are tons of employees at each airline and so there is never going to be that perfect consistency with service. These are humans that are constantly traveling and there are a ton of things that will effect the service they provide. What matters is the hard product. You can alway ignore the soft product, by not eating or interacting with the crew. You cant ignore a bad seat. As long as the hard product is great you can sleep, get on the web, watch movies and be comfortable. If the hard product isn’t great then all the other stuff doesn’t matter. So at the end of the day the main thing that influences my decision is what kind of plane will fly that route so I know exactly what seat I am getting. If I get an awesome crew its icing on top.

  40. When I spend money to buy a business class ticket, I’m not playing the lottery, so I never book American. Yes, you can have the rare “win”, but it’s so rare and so much offset by the awful service you usually get — and the outright dreadful one you sometime have to endure.

    The hard product is now pretty good everywhere, so the big difference is in the soft service and especially in the people. I haven’t had a bad transcon on jetBlue mint, or transpacific on JAL or Singapore Airline, so excellence can be achieved (heck, even McDonald’s does it), but AA has never figured out how to manage its people and I would have an outright dreadful flight every 20 or so.

    Best decision ever was to dump being an Executive Platinum and simply buy quality.

  41. @ JJ — the seat is licensed from Cathay Pacific. If you’re flying LAX-HKG, you get the same excellent seat with the far superior Cathay service. But the seat on JAL (Apex) is far better (it’s Lucky’s — and my — favorite), but Asiana is outstanding too and so is Air Canada’s.

    Yeah, seats are fairly good just about everywhere.

  42. Really like the AA 77W. Hard product is great and temperature is usually cool enough to sleep. I don’t understand all the airlines that spend big dollars on fancy bedding and then keep the temperature so warm that you can’t use it. Flew Emirates last year in J and F and was too warm for sleeping on all flights. Galleys and Bar were comfortable temperature, but not passenger area. Hey Lucky, why not buy an accurate thermometer and report the temperature of the flight being reviewed. I would go out of my way to avoid a warm aircraft.

  43. As a longtime Delta flyer, I decided to mix it up on my latest European trip and flew the outbound with KLM (787) and the return with Air France (777) just to mix it up and see how it compared to the Delta experience I’ve gotten so used to. Physically, I thought both KLM and AF were a touch above the DL cabins. But I left both flights thinking to myself, “I think I’ll just go back to Delta next time.”

    Much like Ben mentions in this review, there are many things the US carriers just get right: meal timing, aisle access, flat beds, bedding, food, wifi. While they may not have the glitz of some of the foreign carriers (whose F cabins, not J, get most of the publicity) the American carriers are very competitive internationally.

  44. Last week I was on an AA flight from rio to Miami. The crew was AMAZING! makes all the difference. The hard product has been good. It’s nice to see the soft product catch up.

  45. @Jason Judging by the big fat LAX -> HKG on the top left of the Wifi screen in his pictures, I’d say that’s the route he’s flying.

    @Lucky Sounds like you just described EVA, except EVA has better food, champagne and most important of all, service consistency.

  46. Hey lucky,a small correction……Emirates 777s have fully flat seats….. I just flew them around like a week ago!!!

  47. Hard to believe isn’t it Lucky? I have to also chime in that my wife and I have also thoroughly enjoyed all of our flights on the AA 77W. Yes the crew is inconsistent – but when AA gets it right, they really hit it out of the park.

    Totally agree on the cabin temps! If CX wants to keep their J cabin at 85 degrees then fine, but why not install air vents for those of us who don’t want to sweat to death?

  48. I’m a big fan of your blog Lucky. But when I read “I’d fly American 777 business class over Cathay Pacific 777 business class any day” I had to puke.

    My experience flying AA J has been awful. Disgusting in fact. I flew AA J last year SFO_ORD_MAN and took photos to prove how bad it was. The Bose headsets were worn out, and the padded part was frayed and looked like a rat had chewed on it. ( I have a photo to prove it). They have no shame passing out headsets that look like they were picked out of a Salvation Army reject bin. The different ground staff at the lounges and gates were also rude to the passengers.

    I have flown CX to Asia many times, in all 4 classes. I would rate CX as an above average airline but definitely way better than AA. Yes, if you happen to get lucky and get an exceptional crew on AA then that particular flight could be better than CX. But CX is consistently better, even when it is sometimes a mediocre crew on a particular flight.

    You like AA J better because of wifi and nozzles? Please. I just read your report about the top 10 International F class and you did not make distinctions between them based on wifi and nozzles. I have to think that you had an ulterior motive to write an article that AA is better than CX just because of wifi and nozzles. Did someone at CX offend you somehow?

    Don’t tell me that you like the AA lounges better than the CX lounges. And please don’t tell me that you prefer rude AA ground staff barking and snapping at passengers over CX staff. AA is consistently disgusting (yes, sometimes they are really good) and I am shocked by this article.
    I could go on but I’ll stop here.
    I am not a CX fanboy – I have found them to be unimpressive lately.

  49. One would think that all cabin crew can speak a language. Whats so special about a language speaker?

  50. What about service recovery?
    Cathay Pacific had a 777 diverted to Eareckson Air Station in the middle of the Pacific ocean, and they flown in a replacement plane from Hong Kong and flown in a team of staff from Vancouver to tend to the passenger and got them out to their final destination within hours.

    United (I am aware this post is about AA, but you around mentioned US airlines in broad) on the other hand had TWO 777 diverted in a matter of days. One to Goosebay, Canada (much closer to UA’s super hub in EWR than CX from HKG) and the other one to Belfast, United Kingdom (a UA station!) and stranded the passengers on BOTH flights horribly for 20+ hours having them sleeping in (for some pax) unheated barracks and the airport terminal. There are also no UA staff on ground to assist in both cases!

    Which airline will you rather be on?

  51. Uhhh, dear Lucky trolls:

    You need a new line other than the “Lucky is spoiled because he commented on the quality of champagne” one.

    If you were self aware or understood the world, you would realize he is actually a normal, down to earth guy. His life is reviewing premium products, not Spam Dogs at the Circle-K.

    If you want to meet spoiled brats let me know. I can direct you to them very easily.

    At least be good at being a troll…

  52. Oh Lord, here we go again – speaking out of both sides of your mouth again Lucky.

    Lucky’s headline next week: “AA is the Industry Leader in Customer Disloyalty”

  53. Speaking of marketing, I hope Bose is giving you commission considering how much you flaunt their slightly above average headphones. Like you, I have many Bose products from the QCs to surround sound to bluetooth speakers, but their marketing is what makes them seem great, not the actual product… I can’t say I would pick an airline based on the brand of headphones, but I do not live on a plane like you do

  54. US planes are too cold, full stop. The service is wildly inconsistent, and the flight attendants don’t keep the bathrooms clean. The price difference isn’t great enough to warrant choosing AA over JL or CX, and the few times I did choose AA were a mistake.

  55. Here, here Blank. You officially nailed it.

    If you aren’t overweight (read Asia) then the temperature cabins in America do NOT feel good, unless you have a fever or are a hot head.

    I love me some reserve herringbone but give me EVA, China Airlines or JAL unless American is massively on sale … which they are not, compared to a superior Qatar.

    I feel bad for biz travelers mandated to fly US airlines. There are people in the US unsavvy enough to think Cathay Pacific is a random, cut rate airline and that American Airlines is better by a huge margin.

  56. Blank not their job to clean the lavs. Maybe not be so messy
    Let’s not forget, US carriers are privately owned, so all of the upgrades etc. come from the backs of the employees.

  57. Consistency is the most important differentiator in business travel. And CX nails that, in J and F. More so than any other airline in my experience.

    AA is unpredictable at best.

    Lack of wifi is definitely a negative, though.

  58. Lucky lucked out flying AA193 late Monday, vs. Weds night when the listeria outbreak hit catering at LAX.

    Can you update us to let us know you don’t have listeria, Lucky?

  59. Last Saturday I had my first AA longhaul for the year Miami to Paris and my experience was exactly opposit to what Lucky has described. Within 90 min of take off , they had served the meal cleared it and disappeared and didnt see any one of them till it was time to serve breakfast. Both meals were just barely good nothing to write home about. The middle aged FAs didnt even smile once and when I said Thank you or other polite words, no smile or words were returned. It was one of the worst crews in my experience. I am EXPLAT but any day I rather fly LATAM or QR than AA for long haul, but I fly them exclusively within the USA. Any day I will choose CX on HKG route than AA. I am flying back to Miami on Saturday and I have a single seat and i look forward to doing some work rather than towards the service. AT Qatar , I always look forward to my flights. Coming up in December QR Biz to Miami from Doha.

  60. Alex, Colleen is certainly one of the best ones out of ORD. Lucky flew out of LAX which would be a LAX crew trip strictly.

  61. @sandyverne
    US airline crews are the highest paid in the world (ie – unionized). AA is NOT living off the backs of their employees. However – the ME3 have such a bad reputation regarding employee abuse that you should actually wash your mouth out with soap and start placing blame where it belongs.
    @joel
    The sweat pours off when flying almost any Asian airline. Most of the people of these countries are acclimatized to very warm and humid climates. We have a Singaporean friend who has not removed a jacket since we have known him – even when the temperature is above 30 C. If only there were working air vents on CX etc then there would be some relief. I can’t remove all my clothing to cool off (trust me you wouldn’t want that) but if you are cool you can always turn off the air vent and put on a sweater.
    One explanation for the warmth that I have read is that the temperature is controlled by the crew members who are usually in a galley near a door. Often the areas near doors are much cooler than the rest of the airplane so that would explain why they turn the heat up.

  62. YES! So much YES! I LOVE flying internationally with AA and their business class seats are industry leading. Their food is a hit or miss. The crew is also a hit or miss. But the overall experience is great- you know what youll get. Also Ill take a freezing flight where I can layer up and wrap myself in blankets and sleep cozy ANYDAY over the asian saunas.

    Go AA!

  63. @Anderson:

    I suspect you don’t know what the [binding] FAA rules on glass for pre-departure beverages.

    If the airlines serve the beverages in plastic or paper, there are no issues.

    If the airlines serve the beverages in glass, however, ALL the glassware must be pick-up AND stored before the plane can push back.

    You sure you want glass?

  64. I recently flew AA business class transatlantic (A330) and I had a similar experience. Everything was excellent, including the service and food.

    I think this is a great point: “When I ask someone how their international flight on American was, I typically get “meh, okay,” even if it sounds like it was really good when they describe it.”
    Even with people who review flights, I’ll read a review of a foreign airline and point by point the reviewer won’t sound that impressed with a lot of the details and then they’ll sum it up with “fantastic flight” and vice versa with reviews of US based airlines.

  65. ThAAnk you for pointing out the far superior 77W for its cool cabin (thank you AA for not BOILING passengers on board like BloodyAwful (BA) and **every** asian and middle eastern carrier does. I can put up with the shoe leather food in exchange for a great J seat and a cool cabin with functioning air nozzles and good WiFi. Totally with you on this, Ben! PS: Don’t you just love the jealous haters who snidely poke at you? They just help drive more traffic to your site. YAAy! 🙂

  66. I’ve tried various airlines in the US (mostly for domestic short haul flights though) and I find AA and B6 the most consistent in terms of service (not that they are great but at least they didn’t treat me like cattle the way WN did to me)
    It’s probably about luck to some degree – the best crew I ever got was at F class in BA somehow…and managed to get one of the best airplane meal I ever had.(that was inbound to LHR so probably not made by BA)

  67. Ben,
    As a non-US lifetime on Skyteam, Star Alliance and current Cathay Diamond who flies US carriers regularly as well flight temperature is highly subjective. American Carriers are cold! Asian carriers are warm. Horses for courses.

    I agree consistency is the US carriers problem. They have none. No way I am picking AA over CX Long haul.

  68. Long time fan of this website and also AA. They get such a bad rep but every time I fly I have an amazing time. Seats good, food good, Attendants (mostly) good.

    Agree they have an image problem, but I am seeing their quality go up while others such as CX, Emirates etc decline.

  69. Indeed! And that’s the point Lucky, American planes are far too inconsistent, and the service can be “distressing.” Give me a European airline any day. At least, I know what I’m getting!

    As for air-conditioning on planes, please keep temperatures at low warm average, with individual air nozzles. I once flew Aeroflot (gulp!), and the AC was so strong that I caught a terrible cold. I was in Vietnam for a month and couldn’t shake it off, until I got back to Germany!

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