The horror of it all, to have to sit in coach on an international flight. Am I sick? Ha just kidding. In my almost three years of flying American Airlines or one of its partners in the One World Alliance, this was my first international flight in coach on American. I think I’ve logged in close to 200k miles in that time mostly domestic but have had an opportunity to fly them to London roundtrip 2x and one time each to Santiago, Japan, Nicaragua, and China.
I was flying to Dublin for a very short weekend trip via JFK and London, and I played the upgrade lottery and lost. At the beginning of the day I started at number 10 on the list and by boarding had dropped to 15, they had three open business class seats and sadly I was not in one of those. But hey that’s ok, I had a chance to try out coach class on their newish Boeing 77W, their long range aircraft that they started delivery on early last year.
When I came to the realization that I was in the back, I asked the gate agent to move me to a seat that had open seats around it. The flight was pretty empty in coach with many rows totally empty. This plane features two economy sections Main Cabin Extra or Economy. For some reason on this airframe, they’ve decided that a very small MCE is needed it only has 30 seats in a 3-3-3 configuration whereas Economy is 3-4-3. As an Executive Platinum I can assign these at booking, where others have an opportunity to pay for them during purchase or check in. Because this cabin is so small, it’s pretty hard to get an open seat next to you, so when I got to JFK I asked to be moved further back, and was given row 40 in the middle, four rows from the back. It was a section of four, and was unoccupied besides lucky old me. I was able to keep checking seat allocation thanks to expertflyer (a travel geeks best friend), and noted that there were many rows empty and was doing my happy dance when the door shut and I was the only one in the section.
Sure I gave up my exit row aisle seat with unlimited legroom, but it had a fixed armrest, whereas my new seat I could lay all the way flat across the seats. Take that First Class!
The seat itself was fine there was not much in the way of knee room, between the back of the seat and me, but I could stretch out left to right, so I was fine. I had a personal touch screen video player with audio on demand, plus current TV shows and music. There were tons of current movies to pick from too, so I was duly entertained. It also has a USB and standard power at every seat, their older 777-200’s and 300’s don’t have this form of AVOD, just a loop and if the seat has power it’s a cigarette lighter style. So this is a huge improvement, plus they offer international Wi-Fi, at a max of $19 for the whole flight, with no data limits. Since it’s only a seven hour flight and I would sleep some of it, I passed, that being said on the way home I’m flying London to LA and I might partake.
The staff serving my section were also very very nice. In general I find the AA flight attendants to me really great, there aren’t too many that are rude and surly like another carrier I’ll chose to UnAnnounce. If they didn’t like their jobs, it was impossible to tell. They were quick with drinks and quick with the food service, plus they made many rounds of trash pickup, and were just nice to talk to. Both of the FA’s on my side chatted me up, and made me feel welcome. I had joked with one when I got on board about charging a toll each time she walked by my seat, and for the rest of the flight, she always made a funny comment when she walked by.
The food was fine. Nothing to write home about but it was passable. The flight attended even made them sound good, usual they say chicken or pasta. In this case, she actually described what the sauces were and their accompaniments too. You’d think they were getting a commission for each dish served. Besides the chicken and rice, I also had a roll, snicker doodle, cheese and crackers and a salad. And the best part free drinks for ALL. I refrained after my third rum and coke, I had to sleep and work you know.
About 1 hour prior to landing we were served breakfast, it was a carb fiesta. Blueberry yogurt, orange cinnamon roll, crunchy granola (which was great on the yogurt), OJ and dried berry mix fracturing cranberries, pomegranate and something else. It did the trick. Sure a hot meal would have been great, but I’m not complaining. Airplane food is airplane food.
Overall a decent flight. Sure who wouldn’t want to sit up front, but for a short seven hour flight this was not bad. I’m sure my opinion would be different if I had a seat mate. But then again I would have kept my exit row seat.