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Thursday, October 31, 2019

Review of American Airlines 777-200 07/16 revision Flagship Business Class New York JFK to CDG Paris

Not all American Airlines premium cabins experiences are created equally.  If you’re looking for a top-notch seat, you’ll want to stick to business and first class on American Airlines Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft.  

Here we review the 777-200 Flagship Business Seat from JFK to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG), also known as Roissy Airport.  Always remember that American Airlines is known for their expensive Europe business class product.  However, booking a separate ticket out of JFK is frequently your best option for a reasonable price.  To accomplish booking an international trip with separate tickets smoothly, we recommend taking a carry on only. Your Flagship Business experience starts at the airport...

1. Flagship Lounge

The 6 hour layover (because of limited number of flights from hub in Charlotte? Really?) went by quickly. Look at our review of the Flagship lounge here. You are only eligible to enter the Flagship lounge if you are flying international business or first class. The only restricted part of the flagship lounge is the dining area where only first class passengers on a three class service plane.

2. Boarding

Efficient and plane was actually fully boarded long before doors closing. Flight attendant greeted me immediately by name and offered sparkling wine or other refreshment. I asked for an additional pillow which I was assured several times was being looked for but never provided.

3. Amenities

The usual amenities in business class are present at the seat upon boarding:
  • Toiletry amenities kit
  • Casper quilt and pillow
  • Bang Olufsen headphones
  • Bottle of water

Even in business class the increased likelihood of ankle swelling as you travel is real!  We love to wear compression socks when we travel and whimsical patterns make us smile!  We love these patterns by Go2Socks for quality and price!  Please click the photo below to learn more at Amazon and support our blog!  Thank you so much!

4. Toiletry kit

APL is the current kit for transcontinental flights so we were surprised to receive this on a flight to France. This kit has four renditions and is a fabric kit and not the coveted leather kits advertised by American Airlines but see below as we received it for the return. The bag itself is by Athletic Propulsion Labs, and the skincare products are from Zenology. Contents include:
  • APL lip balm
  • APL Hand lotion
  • APL moist towelette
  • Large eye mask (it was pretty comfortable)
  • Ear plugs
  • Toothbrush and large whitening toothpaste
  • Discount card
  • Hydration powder to add to your water

The return flight included a different amenities kit which is the 2019 kit for flagship business class. This is Ground is a Los Angeles based company making leather goods for tech and travel. Allies of Skin is a Singapore based skincare company. This kit comes with hand lotion, lip balm, and mouthwash. Travel toothbrush, and a 0.85 oz (i.e. not tiny) tube of Crest toothpaste. 3M 1100 earplugs are included as well, along with a small packet of tissues. There is a eye mask, socks, pen, although it is Aviator branded for the co-brand credit card.

5. Seat

The seat was very comfortable with plenty of charging options, a large screen entertainment center with movies and live TV options among many others.

The screen can be controlled via a handheld unit or screen (which is more sanitary?? Our guess is the screen as it is more easily wiped by staff but we are not aware of testing for this comparison)

Seat controls and adjustable arm rest (love this feature for sleeping) are on the sides. We found the seat to be easily adjustable for sitting and sleeping. Lie flat seats that are either fully upright or some rendition of lying flat are uncomfortable to us. What if you want to sit upright with your feet elevated? You could do so with this seat. Storage space was excellent and present in multiple spaces. However I felt storage was hidden in some locations such as by legs or in aisle armrest and it became worrisome to forget something landing in the dark.

The seat and temperature was excellent we did sleep well for four hours after an express meal. The foot well is a bit confining when turning over mostly because of the large table. It would be helpful if it recessed fully under the television.

But there are a couple of downsides to these seats: The position of the recessed tray table makes it tight for side-sleepers and the monitor doesn’t swivel, making it difficult to watch a movie while you are fully reclined.

6. Bathrooms

The lavatories mimic those on board the 787 in near size and amenities such as changing table and full length mirror. Why can't American Airlines have hand lotion and wipes available in their laboratories? It would be a nice touch.

7. Meal Service

As usual we ask for the express meal to get some sleep rather than dine for 3 hours for our overnight flights. Many of the passengers around us did the same. With the express as you can see on the menu you select your main course and dessert. You can still have wine or cocktails. This was the most efficient delivery of our express meal, served immediately after take off, including ice cream which usually needs time to soften anyway. Snacks and drinks were available in the galley throughout the flight. Breakfast was typical offerings of eggs or yogurt/fruit and was nothing special.

Here are the menus and some photos of our meals.

The return meal was better than our departure. The tomato tart appetizer was tasty and the chicken was actually charred with crispy edges. The usual Haagen-Dazs ice cream Sundae is always welcome!

8. Disembarkation

We were provided our first class access cards for immigration but no customs forms which aren't necessary in France. Many may not know this and we attempted to ask flight attendants if forms were necessary with our call lights but no response or overhead announcements.

Bottom line

Flagship business is a solid product for comfort and entertainment. Service was above average but not outstanding. However at a price of $5000 - 8000 for a 6 to 7 hour flight, you may be able to find equal benefits at a much lower price or look for separate tickets out of large hubs like JFK with AA competitors. The flagship lounge is comfortable but if you have American Express Platinum and have a Centurion lounge at your place of departure, you will find similar benefits.

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