Flight Review: American Airlines 777-200 Business Class, LAX to NRT
Before I begin this review, I just want to put on the record that although this was a dated American Airlines experience, it still beats coach. So, no #FirstWorldProblems here.
American Airlines (AA) Flight 169 (Los Angeles, CA to Narita, Japan)
- Monday, April 4, 2016
- Depart: Los Angeles – Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
- Arrive: Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan – Narita International Airport (NRT)
- Duration: 11 hours 47 minutes
- Scheduled Equipment: Boeing 777-200
- Actual Equipment: Boeing 777-200
After making the trip to Hong Kong a few months ago, I was very excited to visit Japan, and this trip did not disappoint. But before I could explore the streets of Tokyo, I needed a ride over the Pacific first. Not to fear, American Airlines was there…um, here. I took a flight from Nashville (BNA) to Los Angeles (LAX), spent about two hours in the Admiral’s Club Lounge. I didn’t take enough pictures to write a review, but it was moderately filled and most of us there were on the same flight. I did have a tweet a few pictures.
LAX Flagship Lounge
Like most of my Instagram feed, food and more food.
And more food.
Oh wait, a partial, accidental shot of the Flagship lounge. I think I would have taken more, but I wanted shots without the unaware in it.
My flight from Nashville (BNA) was short, and the Flagship Lounge was just a short 2-3 minute walk to the gate. The priority line was your typical corral of confused and impatience passengers. Some did not know how to read their ticket or understand the concept of boarding priority. Just like that one person who has 15 items in the 10 items or less line. It would be so annoying if they knew how to scan a barcode and use the machine.
Anyway. After a few minutes in line, we started to board. I knew right where to go. I had the same seat as the Santiago trip. Brilliant! What wasn’t brilliant, the plane.
Introducing the 777-200
I’m pretty sure a decade ago this configuration and model were the best of the best. Unfortunately, in 2015/16, it is old and dated. Let’s add insult to injury. My first two international flights were on an updated US Airways 777-300. The 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration is very nice. Going from that to something less is like taking a step back. Way back. But, a review is a review, so here we go.
Once inside, you immediately see that you were riding inside a workhorse. Everywhere you looked, from the fading interior decor to the old seats, you knew this was more like your uncle’s ’88 Pontiac Bonneville. It wasn’t that you didn’t want a newer car, but when your current car is paid off, the insurance is a cheap cabin, and the only thing you pay for is gas, oil, and tires…its a keeper.
What stands out is the 2-3-2 seating configuration. The benefit of a business class cabin is that every passenger has easy access to the aisle and still retains some form of privacy. In these seats, only four of the seven passengers do. The other three (center and the two window seats) must climb over someone to get to the aisle. Now imagine you paid $1,000 for a seat, and you have someone popping up every hour for an entirely legitimate reason: bathroom, stretch, the galley for snacks, etc. This doesn’t account for the fact that when the seats are reclined, you can’t step over without a few acrobatics.
The American Airlines 777-200 also retains the older in-flight entertainment (IFE). The screens are around 8″ wide with washed-out color. The controls are hard to use without the old, button-stuck remote. I’m not sure what IFE is in coach, but I am lucky enough to have some form of IFE even when I flew coach internationally. The only caveat is that the selection is very limited, or you have to pay.
In the picture above, you can see how small the screens are. They have a limited range of travel in either an up or down direction. As you can see below, it’s not much to write home about, but you do get a few of the latest movies, and I was able to catch two full movies.
The only bright side is the complimentary Bose QuietComfort 25 headsets (Amazon affiliate link). If you ride in coach, I suggest you invest in some or a pair of Westone UM Pro20 earphones (Amazon affiliate link). I have an older pair of Westone in-ear monitors used for DJing. I still take them on flights and workouts. They work well to cut the wind noise in planes and the treadmill almost disappears in the gym. I’ve only had the Bose headsets when on American Air and they are very comfortable.
Other In-Flight Amenities
I’m still a US Airways convert so having power is still new to me. Unfortunately in this configuration, all the power adapters use the male DC power plug. Since this isn’t my first rodeo on this bird, I came prepared with an adapter from the car.
One mew item that the American Airlines 777 did reveal was the new Cole Haan amenity kit. For some reason, I still prefer the older, legacy carrier kits. The pouches were handy as stylish carriers. The Cole Haan bags just seem cheap and quickly made. I’m not sure if other colors are available, but on both flights out and back, it came in one color.
It contains the usual fare for a long-distance trip: pen (for custom’s slips), socks, toothbrush, toothpaste, earphone covers, and more.
Before you ask, American Airlines 777-200 do not have wi-fi. That means you should preload your movies, songs or other forms of entertainment prior to boarding. I had the same experience on my flight to Santiago and my MIA to LAX flight. Same old product, same dated features.
Both boarding and seating went smoothly. The flight attendants and crew were not as friendly as other flights, but no complaints either. That’s in contrast to an MIA-LAX flight where the flight attendant was super friendly right up to the point where he mentioned how some even gave him a $50 tip for his helpfulness. Insane, right?
As I stated earlier, the plane is old but trustworthy. If I could complain about one thing, it would be the cleanliness. I’ve been on subways that were cleaner. In fact, my phone fell between the cushions and right into a pile of filth. The last time anything under the seat was removed was when they were installing it.
What is your experience with the American Airlines 777-200? What about the seats or IFE? How was the service?
Up next, my in-flight dining experience.
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