American Airlines TransContinental Flight Review

American Airlines TransContinental Flight Review

Arriving at JFK three hours early, I got to my assigned gate, 31, just in time to see a Boeing 767-200, N339AA, arrive at the gate. Assuming this was my aircraft, I spent the time exploring the south side of Terminal 8. I was able to spot the newest members of oneworld, US Airways and TAM, parked alongside American at T8.

At around 5:30, a gate change announcement for AA21 was made, relocating the boarding process to gate 16 on the north side of T8. I made my way over to the new gate. It was my first time visiting this side of the terminal and I was treated to American Airlines' pop art by Charles Fazzino.

Arriving at gate 16, I came to watch AA100, a 777-300ER, push back on it's way to London Heathrow. Another 767 was already parked at gate 16, and being loaded for LAX.

I was able to valet check my bag again prior to departure and boarding began soon thereafter around 6:40. The boarding process was surprisingly swift for a transcontinental flight, perhaps du to the new boarding procedures introduced over the weekend. We boarded the aircraft, proceeding to the rear of it for our seats. We were welcomed with blankets provided in all seats, a feature unique to American Airlines transcontinental service.

The interior was reminiscent of an era long gone, with single screens in the middle aisles and older seats. The premium product had no lie-flat seats of the modern American Airline product; rather, they retained the recline of the 1980's premium product. Main cabin, too, harkened back older days, with blue inlayed seats and an unfolding tray table. Although legroom was tight, the older seats were still comfortable to sit in, retaining the width of older products.

Pushback was at 7:06, and we began moving towards the runway 8 minutes later. The announcements and safety video were brief, while the plane took the "scenic route" around JFK. We joined the continuous queue of JFK in line for 31L. The pilots eventually called for takeoff preparation at 7:24. After holding for departing traffic, we took our spot on 31L at 7:27.

With a loud, boisterous takeoff lasting just short of a minute, we waved goodbye to JFK as we passed Terminal 4. We made a turn to the south, to our left, four our climb up to 32,000 feet. Beverage service began shortly after takeoff, and the feature film, "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," began a short time thereafter. With no PTVs, the movie was shown on the main cabin screens located throughout the cabin.

On American Airlines flights, first class is offered Samsung Galaxy Tablets with the new American inflight entertainment system preloaded. First and business classes are also offered Bose noise cancelling headphones, while generic headphones are available for $5 in the main cabin.

While offering beverage service, flight attendants come down the aisles equipped with the new Samsung Galaxy Notes, allowing them to access personalized details for each passenger.

After the conclusion of the movie, NBC Universal on American was streamed, shown with limited commercials.

We began our descent into the LA area at around 12:45 EDT (9:45PDT.) Just after 12:00 EDT (9:00 PDT), cabin crew began a final beverage service, with a choice of orange juice or water. We touched down at 1:10 EDT (10:10 PDT). and arrived at gate 49 at 1:15 EDT, 15 minutes early.

AAL118

Arriving at LAX early, around 5:30 in the morning, I first check-in at American Airlines' completely redone counters of Terminal 4. The old check-in counters have been replaced with self-service check-in terminals, manned by two attendants to weigh and tag luggage. As I had not previously done so online, I checked in and paid for baggage at these kiosks.

After check-in, it was a refreshingly smooth transition to security and into the main terminal area. The aircraft met us at Gate 40, the closest gate both to the security area and the American Airlines Admirals Club.

Boarding began early, at around 6:25 A.M. Boarding was swift and easy, and we filed into the brand new airplane. With only one aisle, I was surprised how quickly boarding progressed. Premium passengers were already seated, and I found the premium areas to be relatively wide and easy to get through. Flight attendants had little trouble traversing the aisles as passengers boarded. 

Main Cabin

The in-flight entertainment was already powered on and active when I reached my seat. I was very pleased with the new system, having heard about it prior to the flight, as I explored the different features available. The greatest feature, in my opinion at least, was the lack of any movement or disturbance from the screens behind me; it was nearly impossible to detect any movement in my seat as the passengers to my rear utilized their screens. The screens were also very responsive to touch, and were very clean.

The new seats, although noticeably thinner than the seats available on the 767-200, provided much more back support and leg room than the older seats. The opportunity to stretch my legs in the Main Cabin was very much welcomed.

The flight was underway almost immediately and departed just 11 minutes behind schedule, at 7:11 A.M. As we passed out of California, the flight attendants began their first beverage service, with meals available for purchase. The food selection was unfortunately under-stocked, with only a few of the many listed options available. Nonetheless, as it was a morning flight, many Main Cabin passengers opted to purchase some of the food available.

the new entertainment system proved to be an endless source of excitement, featuring many free movies, videos, and games. The system also provided airport maps and arrival information, and listed baggage claim and connecting flight information as we got closer to New York.

About three hours into the flight, I decided to sample the GoGo inflight wireless network. AA.com and usairways.com were already free to access, and for $11, I was afforded one hour's internet access. The connectivity was surprisingly fast and responsive, allowing me to do all of my desired web searches and even upload photos at a near-equal rate as on the ground. I thoroughly enjoyed the access available, and the internet speed was very reasonable for in-flight.

We began our descent to JFK at around 2:44 P.M. EDT, as we turned south over Pennsylvania. Very few announcements were made as we descended, and I was surprised to notice the arrival announcement came as we were turning final to land. With little time to prepare, the flight attendants could not complete a pre-landing check, instead resigning to the back as we passed through some turbulence on approach.

The turbulence and landing was slight bumpier than what we had experienced on the 767-200, something which I attributed to the narrowbody versus widebody. We arrived in JFK nearly on time at 3:05 in the afternoon, just 15 minutes after the scheduled arrival time.

Conclusion

American Airlines' new transcontinental product is a significant improvement over the 767 service and a clear signal of the changes at American that have been taking place over the past two years. The new IFE is effective and very easy to use. The seats have much more legroom on the newer aircraft allowing for a smoother ride. Change is evident not only in the products themselves, but the crew and the service; both seem to have significantly improved on the new product. I look forward to all of the changes American planes to bring in the upcoming year with the integration of US Airways.

Business Expected to be Slow as Dubai Works on a Runway

Business Expected to be Slow as Dubai Works on a Runway

Between May 1 and July 20, 2014, airlines flying into Dubai International Airport (DXB) will be forced to deal with cancellations, schedule changes and diversions due to construction work on runways. In 2013, Dubai handled approximately 66.4 million passengers. Dubai is the second-busiest airport for international passenger traffic, closely following London’s Heathrow. The 80-day period is expected to cut around 26 percent of flights into and out of DXB.

Eight Airlines will be diverting their flights to the Al Maktoum Airport, which opened to passenger traffic in October of 2013. There will be an estimated 600 flights per week into Al Maktoum. There are currently 80 flights a week into Al Maktoum.

A number of flights into DXB are expected to be cancelled , rather than diverted to Al Maktoum, however; this could temporarily slow growth of Dubai's economy, which depends heavily on international tourism and travel.

Emirates, Dubai’s flagship carrier, president Tim Clark said in February that Emirates planned to ground 10 percent of its fleet because of the runway work, which would affect the carrier’s revenue. FlyDubai and Emirates will contribute 53 percent of the total traffic reduction required at DXB.

*Image Used With Permission From Erik Sellman*

New American Interior Upgrades Part II

Stay Tuned As We Update You on News Involving the New American

New American Interior Upgrades Part II

Welcome to part two of our articles on American Airlines Interior Upgrades. Today, we look into the recently announced upgrades to American Airlines' Boeing 777-200ER fleet. The 47 772 aircraft which are flown by American will be receiving a well deserved retrofit that mirrors the recent upgrades which the 767-300 fleet had received. You can find our article on the 763 at the bottom of this page.

Welcome Aboard the New American 777-200ER

The New American is here and another day brings new and exciting announcement's about the future plans of the this ambitious airline. American's plan to revolutionise their widebody product to be modern, affordable, comfortable, and consistent is forming as yet another major upgrade has been announced for the aircraft. This time, the Boeing 777-200ER will be getting the upgrade consisting of a new business class product, a new main cabin extra cabin, and a completely redesigned economy cabin featuring a state-of-the-art in-flight entertainment system at each seat.

A Final Chapter for the First Class Cabin?

Gone goes the three class setup which American has used since these birds were introduced over 15 years ago; in comes an expanded modern business class product which is sure to please. The loss of the current 16 lie-flat first class product and 37 angle-flat business class seats will hardly be noticed as the newly announced plans call for 45 lie-flat seats to be added.

A rendering of the entrance to the "new" American 777-200ER.

What Does this Mean for the Passenger?

The thought of losing a First Class product does not sound exactly appealing to the average passenger, but American's new business product offers a more luxurious experience than their previous cabin. One could argue that their First Class product grew larger while under a new name to appeal more to the middle class and everyday business class traveler. Overall, the new product widens the playing field for those wanting to fly in a higher class cabin than economy for cheaper than ever before.

What To Expect in the New Business Class Product

The new Business Class product offers 45 full lie-flat seats which will be the same as offered on American's Boeing 777-300ER fleet. These seats are adjustable forward and rear facing Business Class seats that transform into fully lie-flat 6' 4.5" beds with more sleeping space. The new seats will offer aisle access at every seat, offering easier access to the rest of the cabin. What does the upgraded Business Class product offer?

  • International WiFi capability keeping you connected anywhere on the globe.
  • Universal 110 volt AC power outlets and USB ports at every seat.
  • A 17-inch touchscreen monitor offering up to 250 movies, more than 180 TV programs and more than 350 audio selections.
  • Bose® QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling® headsets for use in flight.
  • Walk-up bar stocked with a selection of snacks and refreshments
  • Amenity kits filled with Akhassa® products

Main Cabin Extra

The newly introduced Main Cabin Extra cabin on board the Boeing 777-200ER will mirror the Main CAbin Extra cabin onboard American's 777-300ER's. With 45 seats, offering up to 6 inches of extra legroom, the cabin will truly upgrade the passenger experience aboard the 777. This affordable upgrade will not only add personal comfort, but also gives you more of a chance to get work done while traveling around the world to one of American's many 777 served destinations. All seats in Main Cabin offer the following:

  • Universal 110 volt AC outlets and USB ports at every seat.
  • An in-flight entertainment system that offers up to 250 movies, more than 180 TV programs and over 350 audio selections at the tap of a finger.

What to Expect in Economy

Possibly the second biggest change behind the Business Class cabin is in Economy. New stylish slim-line seats will bring more comfort to the passenger while offering much in-flight entertainment as well. The newly designed IFe found on every seatback adds all of the features mentioned above with Main Cabin Extra and Business Class. The seats will also include the 110 volt AC outlets with USB ports. Along with the INternational WiFi onboard, the new Economy Class product will make any international flight aboard this plane uniquely American.

*Cabin Pictures Provided by American Airlines | Exterior Aircraft Picture by our President, Ryan Ewing*