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Business travelers going from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) have something to get excited about. American Airlines recently added the new Boeing 777-300ER to its LAX-LHR route and all indications are that it is raising the bar for business class service.
I had the chance to try the new 777-300ER from Los Angeles to London recently and my first impression was that American may have just redefined business class service.
Inspired by Cathay Pacific’s embrace of the 777-300ER for its own extensive network, American began using these planes in early 2013 for its London Heathrow routes from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport. This fall, American began using the 777-300ER aircraft for its LAX-LHR route as well.
The centerpiece of the new American Airlines Business Class is the fully lie-flat seat with all-aisle access. The seats are configured in a 1-2-1 arrangement so there is nothing between you and the aisle. In fact, using the word “seats” here may be a bit like calling a Maserati a “car.” These seats seem more like a compact cubicle for working and sleeping, and the 1-2-1 configuration offers an unusual, but very welcome, feeling of privacy. Complementing the experience is mood lighting, used when the cabin is dimmed to ease passengers into the appropriate time frame, be it the warm reds of early morning or the deep indigo blue of sleep time.
Business travelers of a certain age are going to appreciate the fine-tuning capabilities of the lie-flat seats on the 777-300ER. With these seats, lying totally flat almost seems frivolous. You can configure the right bend at the knees, proper elevation for the head and unparalleled comfort for the back. At about six feet tall, I had legroom to spare when the seat was fully extended.
Another essential for today’s business traveler is Wi-Fi access, and it is readily available on the 777-300ER’s entertainment system, though access is currently not free. With both a touch-screen and a remote control, passengers can access Wi-Fi on their own devices while also enjoying American’s wide selection of in-flight programming.
American has also enhanced its beverage and meal offerings for the new 777-300ER business class service. The inspired cuisine is well thought out for the constraints of in-flight preparation, and accompanying wines have been carefully selected by a sommelier.
Best of all, for those of us who have mid-flight cravings, the 777-300ER has a new self-service snack and beverage bar situated between first and business class cabins. The presentation is contemporary lounge style, with soft, under-cabinet lighting and a wide array of artfully displayed desserts, beverages and snacks. Its atmosphere makes for a great place to stretch and chat with your fellow travelers.
In addition to all these enhancements, the amenity kits included with every seat are well appointed with Dermalogica skin care products and essentials such as a washcloth, a toothbrush, an eye mask, slippers and socks. For a light sleeper like me, the Bose Quiet Comfort 15 Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones were the best part of the kit.
There is little doubt that American Airlines is on the move. With this new 777-300ER business class service and its recent merger with US Airways, American Airlines is well positioned to once again become a dominant player in international business travel.