American Airlines aircraft taking off

Flight Review: The American Airlines Experience

21 November 2016

American Airlines has come a long way over the past 10 years and the high-level of product, service and meals found onboard is now a testament to just how far the airline has come. The airline returned to Sydney in late 2015 and has already become one of the best ways to get to Los Angeles thanks to fantastic service from polite and friendly flight attendants that offer some of the best hospitality in the sky. 

Lie flat First Class seat on American Airlines American Airlines First Class offers a full lie-flat bed

Quick Overview:

  • Route: Sydney to Los Angeles
  • Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Class: First, Business and Main Cabin
  • Seat Number: 1A (First Class), 3A (Business Class), 17A (Main Cabin Extra, window)
  • Duration: 12 hours, 45 minutes
  • Baggage Allowance: 3 bags at 32kg per bag (First Class), 2 bags (Business Class) and 1 bag (Economy) at 23kg.

Check-in

American Airlines has dedicated check-in desks at Sydney Airport for customers in First Class, Business Class and main cabin. In Los Angeles, there is a separate area for premium customers in Terminal 4.

American Airlines Business Class seating All Business Class seats feature direct aisle access

Lounge

In Sydney, passengers in American Airlines’ First Class cabin will have access to the Qantas International First Lounge, which is nothing short of exceptional. There’s a restaurant operated by Neil Perry’s Rockpool Group – expect several signature dishes including favourites like steak frites and salt and pepper squid alongside a great wine list – as well as a Sofitel day spa (several treatments are available, including facials and massages), private suites, meeting rooms and comfortable furniture created by renowned international designer Marc Newson.

In Los Angeles, passengers can also use the Qantas First Class Lounge inside the new $2 billion Tom Bradley International Terminal. It is now available after security thanks to the new Terminal 4 connector. It's just a short walk from the American Airlines gates.

American Airlines is currently in the process of upgrading its Flagship Lounge in Terminal 4 at Los Angeles International Airport. When it opens, one of the key highlights will be pre-flight restaurant style dining before boarding, the first of its kind for any United States airline.

American Airlines Main Cabin seating Even the Main Cabin offers spacious seating

Seat

First: Comfortable and spacious seats that swivel around and can directly face the windows so you have a mini office. Or you can turn it into a lounge chair to watch a film or a full lie-flat 82in (208cm) bed. There is plenty of space to eat and work, and there is a turn down service with a seat topper, large pillows, duvet and pyjamas. Passengers are treated to Cole Haan amenity kits filled with rejuvenating skincare products. There is also a 17.1-inch touchscreen TVs loaded up with in-flight entertainment.

Business: Suite-style full lie-flat seats with an adjustable seat back, headrest and leg rest with convenient direct aisle access at every seat (thanks to the 1-2-1 layout). Entertainment is available via the 15.4-inch touchscreen TVs, while there’s also a sleeper service like First Class that includes a duvet, pyjamas, pillows and amenity kits filled with rejuvenating skincare products. There are also AC power outlets and USB ports at every seat.

Main Cabin: Modern seats with a width of 17-inches and a pitch of 31 inches that come in a 3-4-3 layout. In the Main Cabin there is a complimentary beer, wine and meal service as well as AC power outlets and USB ports at every seat. If given the option to pay extra to sit in the Main Cabin Extra section of the aircraft, you will find wider seats (18-inches) with up to six more inches of legroom.

Seat back entertainment screens in Main Cabin All cabins feature seat back screens with extensive entertainment options

Entertainment

American Airlines offers a fantastic in-flight entertainment system that can be found in each of the three cabins on the Boeing 777-300ER, with varying screen sizes depending on the cabin that you are flying in. The on-demand entertainment system features up to 250 movies, 160 TV shows, 13 radio channels, 375 albums and 20 games.

In First and Business class, the experienced is enhanced thanks to Bose QuietComfort Acoustic Noise Cancelling headphones for use throughout the flight.

American’s 777s that fly between Sydney and Los Angeles also have WiFi on board. On the four flights I took between Australia and the United States in the last three months, the signal was strong for the entire flight. 

Service

In all three cabins, the service was exceptional from polite and friendly flight attendants. They were engaging, punctual and friendly on each of the sectors and provided drinks, pillows and extra blankets each time a request was made. On one of the flights in Business Class, I was even able to have my meal just 45 minutes before landing and wasn’t woken up at any point during the flight.

The ‘new’ American is exceptional when it comes to service and on all four flights across the Pacific, it was absolutely world class.

Food prep area on an American Airlines aircraft Complimentary meal service is part of the American Airlines flight experience

Food and Beverage

First: American has an impressive selections of wines onboard in First Class, offering drops from California, France and Australia. This includes some leading Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs, Cabernets and Shiraz alongside Lanson Champagne.

For the dinner menu, expect canapés (American White Sturgeon Caviar Tartlets), soups and salads, small plates (gravlax salmon, wagyu beef sliders, mezze plates) and mains including lamb chops, pork belly, sea bass and a vegetarian option. Save room for dessert, because out comes the sundae offering and it is the works – vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, butterscotch, berry toppings, whipped cream and pecans.

Snacks are also available during the flight, and for breakfast it was the traditional favourites of scrambled eggs, applewood bacon, potatoes and herbed tomatoes.

Business: Along with a selection of Australian and American wines there is a large food menu similar to First Class, with the option to pre-order meals before you fly. Dishes onboard at present include roasted rack of lamb with truffled mac and cheese, mushroom stuffed chicken breast and red snapper. Once more there is a sundae for dessert and that is served alongside a choice of fortified wines.

Main Cabin: For passengers in the main cabin, there is a choice of mains for lunch or dinner (think pesto pasta or chicken and rice) and a breakfast service prior to arrival. A range of beverages are also served complimentary.

American Airlines aircraft taking off American Airlines offers a great option for USA bound travellers

Last Word

The service and product on American are so different to what was previously on offer. The flying experience with the airline is now absolutely superb, and the Business Class is one of the best offerings from Sydney to Los Angeles. With flights priced regularly reasonably priced one way in the Main Cabin, it is also hard to beat American for value. Overall, this airline is a winner.