American Airlines First Class on the Boeing 777-300ER is the best and only true First Class product left of any carrier from the United States, let alone the Americas. As other carriers in the United States have gutted First Class in exchange for Business Class, American Airlines First Class is still available to select markets. This flight was my first experience flying American Airlines international First Class on a long haul international flight..
The Boeing 777-300ER flies daily between Hong Kong and Los Angeles. Although American Airlines First Class is not as luxurious as Cathay Pacific, which flies the same route. American Airlines First Class is a nice step up from business class and does try to compete.
My flight on American Airlines First Class between Hong Kong and Los Angeles started with a three hour delay due to a late incoming aircraft. Once the plane was ready to board, all passengers were sent to secondary screening and despite being a double jet bridge, all passengers were forced to board through the economy class jet bridge.
One on the plane, the cabin crews were busy prepping the plane and I found my way to my own seat. No personal escort to my seat like one would expect from Cathay Pacific. I was the second passenger on the plane, and I quickly settled into my American Airlines First Class suite. Within minutes of sitting down, the fabulous purser greeted myself and every passenger by first name and welcomed us with a beverage of our choice. She personally recommended the Taittinger Brut . I obliged and was provided with a very large glass of bubbly. It was not in a champagne flute, but the large glass provided an extra large dose of pre-flight bubbly! Next pajamas, amenity kits, and menus were brought by, the plane was secured and we were on our way to Los Angeles.
American Airlines First Class Meal Service
American Airlines has enhanced their service for First Class flights in recent months and the Hong Kong to Los Angeles route is no exception. The dining experience was elevated and more personalized than business class.
Once in the air, welcome drinks and light snack were provided while dinner was prepared. Drinks were constantly flowing, and the purser was from Napa and a wine connoisseur herself. She had actually tasted each wine previously and was quick to recommend several wines. In addition to recommendations, she insisted I tasted each wine! Somebody pinch me, I must be dreaming, customized and personal service on American?
The wine tasting was only the start of a fantastic flight! Throughout meal service, my wine and water glass was constantly full! Flight attendants were in the aisles in regular intervals, but never annoying. It was a good mixture of both service and privacy. In addition, both flight attendants working the First Class cabin appeared happy to be there and were willing to fulfill all requests with a smile!
At time of writing, American is was serving wine that costs between $30-$60 in first class. Here is the red wine and dessert line list.
Meal service is a grand experience lasting approximately 2 hours. Each dish is served separately with drinks refilled each time. I was full from eating in the lounge so I just had a small bite of everything. The food wasn’t amazing, but it wasn’t terrible. Sadly, American Airlines First Class meal service does not include caviar, which is part of most top tier carriers meals. I forgot to take pictures of the menu, but once I recover it I will post another post on meal options and all wine options.
After dinner, I reclined my seat, continued to watch a movie, and then settled in for the night.
Throughout the flight, snacks and small plates are available to order. Sleeping nearly 9 of 15 hours, I did not order anything outside of meal time. Breakfast was served an hour before landing in Los Angeles. I opted for the healthier fruit and granola option, as I was still full from dinner. It seems odd that the second meal was breakfast instead of lunch, as the landing time in LA was 4:30pm. I would expect lunch, not breakfast to help adjust to the time; but then again I’m not the caterer, so what do I know!
American Airlines First Class Amenities
American Airlines First Class Amenities include the standard amenities found on most Airlines. Each passenger in both First Class and business class receives an amenity kit, pajamas, a mattress pad for the seat, and noise canceling Bose® QuietComfort® headphones.
The American Airlines First Class Cole Haan amenity kit includes 3 Lab beauty products. The amenity kit has socks and an eye mask, lip balm, hand cream, face cream, mouthwash, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a pen. The amenity kit is quite large actually and I am now using it as my own toiletry bag for travel! I could be incorrect, but I am quite certain First Class and business class passengers receive the same amenity kits now.
Another enhancement to American Airlines long haul flights to and from Hong Kong is turn down service. In First Class, flight attendants will make your seat into a sky-high bed. However on my flight, I did not see a single flight attendant make anyone’s bed, and instead pillows, blankets, and the mattress pad was at each person’s seat. This was a subtle clue that if I wanted my bed made, I should make it myself. Each person took the same hint in First Class and the flight attendants did not make a single bed.
American Airlines First Class Seat
The Boeing 777-300ER features American Airlines First Class suite. It is the only plane with First Class, except for some older 777-200s. The Suite is an upgrade from the previous generation plane and the new First Class features just 8 suites. There are four seats across two rows, in a 1x2x1 forward facing configuration. Each seat offers a unique feature which allows the seat to turn 90 degrees towards the fuselage. This provides a personal work space, more privacy and a perfect view out the window.
Business class on American Airlines 777-300er is seats are configured similarly, but First Class seats are wider and longer. First class seats provide a roomier, more elite experience. In addition, in First Class, the foot rest is large enough be a second seat. This allows two passengers the ability to dine together. Seats in American Airlines First Class are 82in long when made into a bed and 30 inches wide and feature a extra-large 17 inch tv with over 300 movie, tv, music, and game options.
Storage option in first class include limited space around the seat. There’s the standard under the foot rest storage and a small cubby where power ports are. Otherwise, the 777-300er has plenty of overhead storage. American Airlines has opted to keep all overhead bins in the forward cabin. Most airlines remove the middle and sometimes all overhead binds to make the cabin feel roomier, but American has opted to retain the storage space.
Final Thoughts of First Class
American Airlines First Class is pales in comparison to Qantas, Cathay, Etihad, or other world renowned airlines. The hard product is nice, but lacks privacy and the soft product is barely an upgrade from business class. I will say it’s fantastic to see that American Airlines has at least upgraded their wine cellar for first class, but otherwise the meal isn’t anything special or different from business class. It’s the same meal with the addition of soup.
Upon arrival there is no arrivals lounge. Only admiral club lounges and flagship lounges for those with connections. flagship first passengers do not have any priority or extras provided when landing. Another miss on American Airlines.
Overall, a big seat, but that’s where first class really ends with American Airlines
If you’re thinking about flying First Class to Hong Kong, I would highly suggest Cathay Pacific. American Airlines First Class is good, but more of a secondary option. I was able to upgrade to first class using a SWU from business class. This was a good use of a SWU, but I would never pay for first class on American Airlines. AA needs to make their suites more private, upgrade their meals, and offer a better hard alcohol selection before they can be a top-tier First Class. Not to mention, there isn’t a large enough distinction between first class and business. Currently First Class offers upgrade wine and a slightly larger seat, but nothing earth shattering. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed my experience, but if I was paying, I would choose business class and save the miles or cash for another trip!