American Airlines Flagship Business
THE FLIGHT: Flight AA57 from London Heathrow Terminal 3 to Miami, departing at 09.45 and arriving at 14.20 (local times), and operated by a B777-200. I was flying in American Airlines' Flagship Business Class.
PRE-BOARDING: The airline’s check-in area at T3 was reasonably busy but staff were on hand to help people proceed through the area. After a short wait I was checked-in and then heading for fast-track security which was swift. American’s lounge was large and had numerous areas to it – including a good breakfast buffet – but it is due an upgrade this year as part of the airline’s programme of lounge refurbishments. Boarding was at Gate 42 at the far end of the terminal from a surprisingly large and calm boarding area.
THE SERVICE: Drinks were offered pre-take-off while hot towels were distributed and lunch orders taken shortly after reaching cruising altitude. Thirty minutes later I was served a chicken starter, my main course choice of beef, followed by a choice of cheese, cake or ice cream sundae to follow. Drinks were served several times and a range of snacks was available in the galley throughout the flight. A beef and cheese toastie and salted caramel dessert were served 90 minutes before landing.
THE SEAT: I travelled in seat 9D, a central aisle seat in a 1-2-1 configuration of angled forward-facing seats. Bedding, a Cole Haan amenity kit and Bose head-phones were laid out on my seat when I boarded, although I only made use of the latter which were excellent. Controls for the lie-flat seat were simple and the bed was comfortable when I tested it out briefly. It being a daytime flight I instead took advantage of the wifi offering ($19 for the duration of the flight – other options were available) and completed several hours work before turning to the comprehensive IFE system, which was well stocked with recent film releases. There were several useful storage compartments, a sturdy tray table and plenty of space to spread out in.
THE VERDICT: The seat and service were both excellent, with a well thought out design and friendly staff, although I was a little underwhelmed by the dining. The wifi, although temperamental, enabled me to get plenty of work done. .
THE DETAILS: American Airlines flies twice a day from Heathrow to Miami, with return business class fares starting from £2,159 including taxes. For more information see aa.co.uk.
Reviewed by Andy Hoskins (2018)