AA 107 LHR to JFK
Flight AA 107 departed from London Heathrow Terminal 3, Gate 32. I arrived at the gate area to find a crowded mess. Multiple flights were boarding from surrounding gates at the same time, and it wasn’t immediately clear which cluster of passengers were waiting for each flight.
This flight was operated by American’s 777-300ER, with first, business, premium economy (Main Cabin Extra), and economy class cabins.
As I boarded, I was directed to the forward business class cabin and found my seat, 3J, just behind first class. This smaller cabin consists of only 2 rows of seats and is quieter than the larger business class cabin behind it, which consists of 11 rows. Business class seats are reverse-herringbone style in a 1-2-1 configuration on this aircraft. Solo travelers will likely want a window seat for the most privacy, while traveling companions will likely prefer the center pair of seats.
Seats 3A and 3J only have a single window, but are better isolated from bathroom and galley light and noise behind row 4. There's very little foot traffic passing row 3, except for the occasional flight attendant going by. This makes row 3 feel quite private and great for working/sleeping.
Waiting at each seat were a bottle of water, menu, pillow, blanket, Bose noise-cancelling headphones, and a Cole Haan amenity kit.
As the cabin filled up, pre-departure beverages were offered from a tray: orange juice, champagne, and water. This was immediately followed by a cart with an assortment of newspapers. A flight attendant then distributed immigration forms before takeoff.
I found the business class seat quite comfortable, with supportive, but soft padding. The seat position controls were easy to understand and operate, and the seat angle and shell made it feel very private.
In addition to two overhead lights which can be cycled on/off in 4 combinations, there is a small directional reading light above the seat controls on the side console. There is also a nightlight in the lower storage compartment.
Universal power and a USB ports are located next to the seat controls.
The aisle armrests of these seats move up and down. Usually they must be lowered during takeoff and landing, though I don’t recall the flight attendants checking. The opposite armrest is fixed, which I found a bit awkward to rest my elbow on, since it's quite narrow and has a small sloped ledge a few inches above it.
A nice feature for those who get warm during flights: There are two air vents above each business class window seat, and a pair to share between the middle "couple" seats. I always appreciate having an air vent to help regulate temperature.
The cabin had nice LED mood lighting, which changed throughout the various stages of the flight.
There is ample storage at each seat: a small cabinet next to the seat controls, a bin beside the seat cushion, and the space under the ottoman.
The tray table slides out from the side console and can be kept folded at half-depth to hold a drink and iPad, or unfolded for dinner or a laptop. It's quite sturdy and can be pushed away easily when standing up. Just be sure your drink isn't on the back corner, or it can easily be knocked over as the table slides into the console.
The touch-screen entertainment system was of high quality, with sharp picture and a excellent selection of content. While the IFE is operable from gate to gate, the business class video monitor must be stowed during taxi, takeoff and landing. This can make watching shows difficult without craning your neck. My IFE touchscreen monitor required a very firm press to make selections, so I mostly used the old-school remote on the side console to navigate the UI.
Meal orders were taken from the back of the cabin to the front, so by the time the FAs reached the first row, there were only two entrée options remaining. A few passengers weren't pleased about this. It surprises me that more flyers don't preorder meals when available, then complain when they don't get their first choice. Luckily I had preordered a vegetarian meal, which the flight attendant confirmed whilst taking orders.
About 15 minutes after takeoff, hot towels were distributed and tablecloths placed. This was followed by assorted warm nuts and a beverage of choice offered from a cart. I asked for still water and the flight attendant made a comment about there already being a bottle of water at the seat. I prefer to keep the bottle of water for after the meal service, so I don’t have to bother anyone mid-flight for a drink. I was surprised she made such a big deal about it.
My vegan starter consisted of a small salad without dressing, and some shredded vegetables. The entree was made up of grilled vegetables with spinach and white rice. I found the sauce very spicy. Dessert was sliced fruit.
The lavatories were kept in decent shape throughout the flight. The one behind seat 4J is accessible and significantly larger than the others. The sink was a decent size and featured a touch-less faucet.
After dinner, I slept for a few hours, waking up about 1 hour 45 minutes before landing. The second meal service had already begun. When placing my meal order at the start of the flight, I had selected to be woken for the second meal, but the flight attendant didn't do so. The same attendant serving my aisle seemed flustered when she noticed me awake, mumbling something like “he (the other FA) already went by with the meals, I'll have to get one for you.” I opened my tray table and went to the restroom. As I was returning to my seat, she came down the aisle holding my food tray and held it out towards me with one hand for me to take in the middle of the aisle. Her attitude was less than pleasant and her behavior seemed unprofessional; I felt as though I was inconveniencing her just by getting breakfast.
The second vegetarian meal consisted of packaged bread sticks, berries, and a tofu dish. The tofu was bland and the sauce that was included on the side tasted horrible to my palette. No fresh bread was offered to me, probably because the trolley had already passed and the flight attendant couldn't be bothered.
Before landing, this same flight attendant came by to collect the Bose headsets. As I retrieved mine from the storage cabinet, my bottle of water slid out of the cabinet. The flight attendant said in a condescending tone something like: “see, you guys never know to open the cabinets for your water.”
What was otherwise a very pleasant flight was soured by the attitude of this flight attendant. I’m not usually one to complain about FAs; I know they work very hard and have to deal with unpleasant passengers day after day, but this one really stood out in a negative way.
American has a fantastic and comfortable business class hard product on their 777-300ER, offering well-designed reverse-herringbone seats, all-aisle access, and top-quality Bose headsets. Their soft product, however, could use significant refinement: the food was not very good and the flight attendant serving my aisle was actively unpleasant. I’ve since flown the same route a few times and had incredible flight attendants who went above and beyond, so hopefully this was an anomaly.