OneWorld Welcome: American Airlines Business Class New York to London

Filed Under: American, Travel

American 100
New York (JFK) – London (LHR)

Thursday, February 14
Depart: 6:15PM
Arrive: 6:20AM (+1 day)
Duration: 7hr5min
Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
Seat: 15H (Business Class)

Upon boarding we took our seats in row 15, the last row in business class.

Business class cabin

Our seats, 15H & 15J

The seats were American’s standard old business class angled flat seats, with built in personal televisions.

Seats 15H & 15J

Cabin view from 15H

View of coach from 15H

Already at the seats were pillows and blankets.

Pillow and blanket

In the foot cubby between seats were the amenity kit and slippers.

Amenity kit and slippers

American’s amenity kits are actually pretty good for business class, and include a toothbrush, toothpaste, eye shades, socks, ear plugs, tissues, and a few types of lotion.

Amenity kit contents

Within a few minutes of settling in I was offered a pre-departure beverage, and selected water.

This is what water looks like

During boarding I headed to the lavatory and changed into my American pajamas.

As boarding finished up dinner menus were distributed, along with Fast Track immigration forms.

Menu for the flight

Bose Quiet Comfort headphones were also distributed. This is one thing that really impresses me about American. It amazes me the poor quality of headphones the world’s top airlines offer even in first class (Cathay Pacific, Singapore, etc.), yet American manages to offer Bose headphones even in business class.

Bose headphones

As the door closed the captain came on the PA to advise us of our flight time of 6hr25min, which he anticipated would put us into London a few minutes early.

The safety video played as we began our push back. We taxied to runway 22R, and it was eerily quiet at JFK for a Thursday evening, given that there weren’t more than five planes ahead of us in the queue for takeoff.

As we waited for takeoff the flight attendants took meal orders. Despite being seated in the last row (and it being an even numbered flight, meaning meal orders were taken starting in the front) we both got our meal choices.

After a powerful takeoff we began a very gradual climb to our cruising altitude, during which the purser shared some information about the flight. She had a tone that nearly drove me bonkers, as if she were talking to a group of kindergarteners. And while this part isn’t her fault since it’s in the script, I can’t help but shriek every time I hear them announce that they’ll be “serving [their] flagship dinner service in the main cabin once we level off.” Flagship dinner service, really?

Due to chop on the climb out it was about 40 minutes before the seatbelt sign was turned off, at which point the crew began their service.

The dinner menu read as follows:

And the wine list read as follows:

As usual service began with drinks and hot nuts. I ordered a Diet Coke with lime.

Diet Coke with lime and hot nuts

Next the cart was rolled around with the salad and appetizer. The cured salmon appetizer was pretty good, though I was most impressed by how American spruced up their salads recently. I was also offered bread from the bread basket.

Cured salmon with poached pear and avocado creme and salad

For the main course I ordered the grilled beef fillet. It was about as good as it looks.

Grilled beef tenderloin

One of the ways American recently spruced up their business class meal service is by offering ice cream sundaes on all longhaul business class flights, and not just on the 757/767s. Previously American offered made to order sundaes on the 757/767 and not the 777, where they just offered ice cream sludge.

Ice cream sundae

The service throughout the meal was efficient though not especially friendly. I was never addressed by name and the flight attendant never smiled at me, though she wasn’t actively rude either (which, for a JFK based crew, might actually be a compliment). 😉

Once the meal service was complete each passenger was offered a bottle of water. I was also asked whether I wanted to be woken for breakfast. I said no.

Bottled water

After dinner I tried to sleep a bit, though didn’t have any luck. I can only sleep in American’s old business class seats if I’m really tired given that I find angled seats very uncomfortable for sleeping, so I instead decided to watch a few TV shows. I started with a documentary about BMW.

Entertainment selection

And followed that up with a documentary about the construction of the Marina Bay Sands.

Entertainment selection

Eventually we were about two hours out of London.

Airshow approaching London

About 60 minutes out the meal service began. The breakfast menu read as follows:

While it’s hardly an elaborate breakfast, can you really ask for anything else when it’s served only three hours after dinner?

I put down my tray table though the flight attendant ignored me. Eventually I asked if I could have breakfast, and she responded with “but you said you didn’t want breakfast earlier.” No, I said I didn’t want to be woken for breakfast. I guess next time I’ll clarify with “no, I wouldn’t like to be woken for breakfast, but I would like to reserve the right to have breakfast if I’m awake.”


As we began our descent I changed out of my pajamas. At about 12,000 feet the captain came on the PA to inform us that we were early and waiting for the curfew to be lifted, so we made a couple of holding patterns.

Holding pattern

After holding briefly we landed at Heathrow right on time, and within about five minutes were at the gate. I was excited for what was to come!

On the whole American’s business class is a great value if you’re upgrading from coach, given how easily it can be done. That being said, their hard product is simply uncompetitive compared to virtually every other airline with multiple frequencies between New York and London. British Airways, Delta, United, and Virgin Atlantic all offer fully flat beds in their business class products, so American’s new business class product is long overdue. This is why I’m so excited about their new business class product, as I’m convinced they’re going from having the worst hard product in the market to the best hard product.

  1. What a nice review. I wonder why…also, and completely unrelated, no mention of who paid for your flight.

  2. They also need top spruce up their menu, and offer something beyond salmon or shrimp for an appetizer. Or at least an alternative. If I was a FF, I’d get rather sick of it…

    Love how yogurt and cereal are entrees. Must be a Flagship thing…

  3. @ George the Travel Monkey — I paid for my flight, as described in the introduction. And did you actually read what I wrote? Sheesh…

  4. @ George the Travel Monkey

    Nice? If anything, this review shows how mediocre AA is overall. Boring menu, lackluster service, and a outdated worse-than-everyone-else seat. Were we reading the same report?

  5. @1K I too was not straight about this being the leg that AA invited Lucky as a guest, or not. I personally lost track that Lucky had done two JFK – LHR segments in recent time. I would have scanned the intro again at a later date to make sure.

  6. How was Fastrack immigration? When I went through (term 4) a few weeks ago, I waited 30 minutes — then gave up and went through the regular line – and was finished five minutes later. The people who stayed in Fastrack had barely moved.

  7. @ wxguy — It was just as long as the regular line, as usual. They really don’t allocate enough counters to Fast Track.

  8. @johnbom – It’s clear enough when you consider that the American Airlines comped flight is specifically to show off the new Business class and plane, and that this is very clearly the old business class. Honestly, how do people complain about clarity when they don’t bother to read any of the clear information given to you.

  9. What’s wrong with NYC base AA F/A? I always have good experiences with them. The last time on MXP flight, they came to me first to ask for the choice of meals (as EXP) and addressed me by last name almost all the time (very difficult to pronounce) and more attentive than some SQ F or LH F flights I had. The service was up and down flight by flight… but I never feel that JFK base is any better/worse than other bases.

  10. Did you really say this?

    ventually I asked if I could have breakfast, and she responded with “but you said you didn’t want breakfast earlier.” No, I said I didn’t want to be woken for breakfast. I guess next time I’ll clarify with “no, I wouldn’t like to be woken for breakfast, but I would like to reserve the right to have breakfast if I’m awake.”

    Geesh- wonder what you’ll be like in 5 or 10 years.

  11. Lucky, really…are you telling me you are absolutely clear with every disclosure. Last time you wrote you were “invited”. Not exactly informative. This time no mention. Tell me how am I meant to know this was a PAID trip and the other one was INVITED. Also, according to you there’s no difference.

  12. George – if you read his reports closely (as most of us do), you know Lucky is ABSOLUTELY clear when he is comped (like his Mendoza trip). On basic trips like this TR, it’s pretty clear it’s on his own dime.

    Enough of the witch-hunting.

  13. It’s not witch hunting. I like the trip reports but I think it’s important to know whether a review is sponsored or not. It’s affects his judgement (in my judgement). And frankly I don’t want to read all 13 parts (again 13!) to understand whether he’s been paid to read nice stuff or if its his actual opinion. I’ve made my point now so I won’t post any more comments as clearly his readers are of a different opinion. I just wish in the future there is a clear disclosure on ALL posts whether the trip was sponsored or not.

  14. Lucky details every “spend” of his trip in every introduction…too bad thats not good enough for you….but in all honesty i haven’t found his reviews and its tones to be any different between the paid and comped(very few at that) trips anyways. Just my opinion.

  15. @ Brian — No, I didn’t say that, but I feel like it’s the only thing I could’ve said to make her understand that there’s a difference between not wanting to be woken for breakfast and still wanting breakfast if I’m awake.

  16. @ George the travel monkey — If I’m reviewing a trip that was comped I will disclose it at the very top of the review. I’m not sure why I’d disclose when I wasn’t comped a trip, since that’s 99%+ of my travels, and what I paid is clearly disclosed in the introduction.

  17. Even better would be to put in the price paid for the trip each time as a reference point……..

  18. I think it would be better to say in a situation like the one Lucky experienced with the breakfast would be “No thanks, I’ll wake myself up for breakfast”.

  19. Honestly Ben, I have never seen ANYONE paddling about in their pj’s…is it more common than I think? Since you often rate (and collect)the jammies, I think it’s only fair that you snap some runway pix? 🙂

  20. @ STARFLEET — LOL, just not in business class, or also not in first class? I’d say almost everyone in first class changes when they’re offered. Admittedly it’s a bit rarer in business class to bring your own PJs, but I do find a good number of passengers change into something more comfortable, usually sweats and a t-shirt.

  21. To be fair, my comment (and experience) refers mostly to business, so maybe it’s a 1% difference!

  22. Another nice review and thanks. The FA exchange over breakfast is +/- typical of AA crews (JFK-Based). While on the snippy side, at least she fed you. Must agree that their 752 hard is old and stale, especially for a Transatlantic service. The competition is hefty on this route and a given airline shoots for price or service. Clearly, AA in in the price game, at least for now. And yup, that’s the same B752 that had to stop for fuel on Westbound legs during some winter weather events. ETOPS-qual’d or not, that airplane does not belong on that route.

  23. Lucky, if you could post the credit card with which you made the payment for the trip, in addition to the cost, whether it was comped, and the other information people are asking for, then everyone might be satisfied.

    From everything I’ve seen, you are very trustworthy.

  24. @ lucky: Yes, I was being facetious, which I know does not come off clearly in comments. I feel you’ve done a great, very clear job of announcing potential biases. In fact, in other trips that have had portions paid by the company, your announcements are really a model for others. Thanks for that.

  25. @ Dave D — Whoops, I’m sorry! Responded after not sleeping for nearly two days, so I blame that. Well that and the fact that some people actually do think that way. :p

    Thanks for reading and sorry again!

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