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July 19, 2024
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TRIP REPORT: Polishing Silver: AA104 New York JFK to London Heathrow (Flagship Business Class)


AA104 New York JFK Terminal 8  to London Heathrow Terminal 3 (Flagship Business Class)
Polishing Silver

It’s time to go transatlantic aboard an American Airlines Boeing 777-200ER for the hop over to Heathrow Airport. Will the seat do the one thing it needs to do… give me the basis for a good night’s rest?

San Francisco Trip Report "Polishing Silver" Trip Report

In this Tier Point-laden adventure

AA104 New York JFK Terminal 8 – London Heathrow Terminal 3

AA104 New York JFK Terminal 8 – London Heathrow Terminal 3
American Airlines,  Boeing 777-200ER
Seat 7A, Flagship Business Class
3,451 Miles flow, 3,507 Avios Earned against a $438.30 revenue fare,
140 Tier Points earned

a man walking down a walkway with luggage

a person with luggage in a hallway
JFK has wood. And I have angle issues. 

Heading aboard the Boeing 777-200ER, I was welcomed aboard and turned right.

That feels a lot more at home. What was less normal, was that my seat was the next seat along at seat 7A.

a seat in an airplane with a tv and a chair

I slid in, as boarding was in full flow and had a look around. The good news for me (and whatever sleep I would get) was that the seat was a Collins Aerospace SuperDiamond seat. We’ve seen this seat implemented across many airlines, with even some airlines customising it to make suites out of the design.

a seat in an airplane  a seat in a plane a tv on a table a screen on a car seat
Would physical buttons not be a possibility, please? 

The seat is one that I knew I could get a decent sleep on – and considering how much the day ahead would be running around, this would be important – even if we’re delayed – even if the seat controls implemented were a touchscreen display, rather than physical buttons.

Controls were a little all over the place on this implementation – with an IFE controller in a cubby hole, An amenity kit was placed at the seat for me too.

a camera and passport on a seat

Headphones were provided for use onboard – again, these were the Bang & Olufsen headphones.

a black bag and two water bottles in a seat

Power at the seat was in this cubby, with a single main outlet, along with two USB-A sockets.

a passport and usb plugged into a charging station

Pre-departure beverages were also offered to ease into the evening – with me going for an orange juice

a drink and a phone on a table

With everyone on, it was time for my 3rd viewing of the American Airlines current safety video.

At least not as memorable as one of the classic United 767 videos, which I could repeat word for word at one point.

With the video done, our plane was pushed back and then held. Given the conditions outside of snow and ice, our aircraft was de-iced on the taxiway.

a window with rain drops on it

Well. providing the drainage and separation is there – it’s as good a place as any.

a camera and a window on an airplane
Spray me with the good de-icing stuff. 

This took time, but I had long accepted we would be late into Heathrow – thankfully, there was a large buffer in the connection time, so I wasn’t worrying. In addition, with the winds we had earlier, I suspected the aircraft would make up a lot of time en route.

Once the aircraft was deemed safe to go, it was time for our Boeing 777-200ER to taxi around the JFK complex, taking in views of the terminal area in the snow.

a view of a building from a window at night a view of a building from a window of an airport
Leaving Terminal 8 

an airplane on the snow
Snowy American Airlines aircraft  an airplane on a runway at night
Cathay Pacific Airbus A350

a road with lights on it
Even nearing midnight, it’s busy on the roads

an airplane on the runway at night
Korean Air Boeing 747-8i

an airplane at an airport
Turkish Airlines Boeing 777-300ER

a group of airplanes at an airport
A Turkish Airlines 777 and Volaris Airbus A320 family.

airplanes parked at an airport
Pick a snowy tail

airplanes on a runway at night
Jetblue Embraer E190

airplanes on a runway at night
All the different tails 

a large building at night
Bright lights in the dark night,

a plane on the runway at night  airplanes at an airport at night
Cold tails 

an airplane on the runway at night
airplanes on a runway at night
Lots of Delta widgets 

airplanes at an airport
Heading to the Delta flok

a snowy area with lights at night
Nighttime skylines 

The aircraft taxied around until it found its allotted runway. The perfect place for those Pratt and Whitney engines to power up and push us upward.

a room with a door and a light on the wall
The entranceway. 

So we should all be familiar with what I did next – that’s right, IFE system time. Given that this would be a night flight and I wanted to zone out, rather than concentrate on the internet.

a tv on a table   a screen on a table a passport and a water bottle in a car a television and case on a table

a tv screen with a drink and a can
… my favourite.

For those who are interested, the aircraft was fitted with Panasonic Wireless Connectivity. The pricing for it was about right for an American Airlines transatlantic flight – but for this short of a flight and considering I intended to be mostly out cold after dinner, I passed.

a screenshot of a phone a screenshot of a flight ticket

As for the IFE system, again, it’s a Panasonic ex3 front end. That’s good enough, as I headed to The Fifth Element straight away. I noted in the outbound segment it’s a good film to fall asleep to – and that was the plan.

a hand holding a piece of tissue in front of a television

But not before dinner. To start with, a hot towel service made its way around.

Again, I pre-ordered this in advance (although I doubt they’d let an international flight leave the airport without meals, however, what’s the term after the earlier segment – once bitten, twice shy)?

a plate of food and a soda

This time, the main and salad were presented together. Whilst still was a business class flight, the service was optimised for speed and rest.

Which considering it a six-hour flight across the pond, is a good thing.

a tray of food on a table

I selected the beef for this flight – again something comforting – and American Airlines menu does scream of that – offer a comforting product where it’s possible, using the local ingredients.

a plate of food on a table

For dessert – I decided to break a habit of the trip – and went for a salted caramel tart, rather than ice cream – I was in the mood for something quick.

a small pie on a plate with a spoon

With the meal cleared down it was time for bed, or sleep more precisely.

This is where the Collins Aerospace SuperDiamond just works for me – it’s easy enough to find a comfortable position for the body to go to sleep in

And that’s what I did after dinner. Lights down and snored my way over the Atlantic.

I awoke as the lights came up for breakfast… but I honestly was still cream-crackered. I therefore declined it and chose to sleep until around 30 minutes before landing. Sometimes, you’ve got to have breakfast… other times, you remember that there’s breakfast on the ground when you land in the lounge.

Even though it might be lunchtime at that point.

Waking up, I put the bed back into a seated position and did what I had to do to shake the murk out and wake back up. Jetlag was not going to be a thing this trip – as I was due back in the office the next day.

a view of clouds from an airplane

a view of a city from above

Just enough time to go to the small room and make the world a better place before we were asked to head to our seats for landing.

a person sitting in an airplane a group of people sitting in an airplane
The cabin preparing for landing 

Looking out the window, the British countryside was a patchwork of brown and green as things loomed larger, as the aircraft began its descent over the Midlands and south towards London.

The aircraft made its way towards London, without having to be stacked for arrival, meaning that whilst we would be delayed landing at Heathrow – it wasn’t going to be extended.

a view of a city from an airplane window a view of a river from an airplane window
Father Thames, the Docklands, the Millennium Dome and London City Airport – we’ll see that a bit closer later on on this trip report.

With the Boeing 777 lining up for the north runway, south London came into view

 

an airplane wing and the sky an aerial view of a city

an aerial view of a city a view of a city from above
South of the river. 

a window of an airplane

Depending on how far the aircraft had to taxi when it landed.

The aircraft lined up over London for a North runway approach, as the transatlantic part of this adventure came to an end.

With speed, the Boeing 777 taxied off the runway and onto one of the taxiways, with its intent heading to Terminal 3.

a runway with buildings in the background
They still need to knock down this part of the old Terminal 1. 

an airplane on the tarmac
A resting Virgin Atlantic Boeing 787-9

a plane at an airport
It’s another American mini-hub under the Tower.

a truck and plane on a runway
Air Canada Boeing 787-9 taxing back to Terminal 2

The aircraft slowed as it headed towards one of the satellites – one of the ones furthest away from the main terminal.

an airplane wing on a runway

It looks like I get a free airport cardio workout that morning

an airplane wing and engine on a runway
Parking next to a sister ship as some might call it. 

With the engines powering down and the seatbelt signs switched off I gathered my baggage together and waited for the jetbridge driver to do their thing.

Thankfully, there wasn’t much of a wait as the jetbridge pulled in.

a back pack on the seat of an airplane
Time to gather all the crap up.

With it connected, it was time to head off to connect to another flight.

a blue and white ceiling with lights a woman standing in a blue room

Yes, not get off the aircraft and go home. We’ve got to go back to Dublin, before going home.

I thanked the crew, and headed off into the maze that is Heathrow Terminal 3.

Overall:

Another strong performance by American Airlines here, with a solid seat product that helps me sleep, along with a speedy catered option. Combined with a friendly and understanding crew, again the best description for the service would be “solid”.

Most importantly, I got solid sleep over the Atlantic – for me, that’s a rare thing to do in a flat bed, and it shows that having the right seat can make a big difference when trying to get rest – even if it’s a short overnight flight.

Next:

Open bets on how long I would take to get off the aeroplane, transit across Heathrow Airport, clear immigration and reach the lounge are now open.

It’s a lot less than you think…

… and I didn’t run a centimetre.


Welcome to Economy Class and Beyond. Your no-nonsense guide to network news, honest reviews, in-depth coverage, unique research, as well as the humour and madness I only know how to deliver.

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