American Airlines, First Class Flight New York to London, March 2022
- Flight Duration: 7 hours each way
- Seat: 2A, 1J - First Class Pod
- Number of seats on plane: 8
- Type of plane: Boeing 777-300ER
- Cost: 150,000 American Airlines miles and $384 in extra taxes and fees.
Flying to the jumping off pointSo, I don't live in a major hub for American and I have had some experience with the international first class extras you get before takeoff at certain airports, which is why I purposefully booked my trip to spend a lot of time in the clubs that had these additional treats, like the Flagship Dining, basically only available when you really fly actual first class out of the USA.
Since I used miles for this trip, every stage was in first class; one shouldn't have to suffer too much while getting to their pampered schedule.
Pre Departure LoungeFlying First Class, not only do you get access to the American Airlines Flagship Lounge, a quality experience in itself, but you are invited to Flagship First dining, which is an exceptional and exclusive hideaway from the main lounge. You can spend your entire time in here waiting for your flight.
The SeatThe seat is a first-class pod in a very private setting, aisle or windows. 6 1/2 feet long, 21.5" wide seat. It encompasses 3 windows on the side of the plane, and converts into a full-length lie-flat bed that is wider and seems longer than in business class.
The CabinThe first class cabin is at the absolute front of the aircraft, and completely cut off from the rest of the plane.
It's not a really large cabin, but there are two dedicated bathrooms, the one on the port side is much larger, but both are decent, and you're not sharing with many other passengers.
AmenitiesThe amenity kit comes in a bag from Shinola, an American "rugged" fashion house based in Detroit, DS&D body lotion, lip balm, mouthwash, a pen, socks, sleep mask, ear plugs, toothbrush and toothpaste. The bag opens up to a sit flat container with walls and seems to me this is going to be ideal as my carryon kit case going forward.
PreflightChampagne, water or juice were readily available. Water was already at my seat.
DiningThe dining in first, well, it's outstanding. I had read recently that it was the same as business class, but it is not, it is really it's own product and of a higher caliber of food.
ArrivalArrival into LHR was almost a blur and I was still groggy from sleeping, landing into Heathrow. I collected my bags from the turnstile after immigration (they were well down the queue to arrive and when you fly first they are supposed to be first off the plane, but American has a huge issue with this "service" being consistent).
After clearing customs, I went to the British Airways arrival lounge. This time, since I flew first, I was able to have breakfast in the Concorde room. Astoundingly higher level of service than the regular area.
The CabinSame cabin as the way out, but this time I took a picture!
The SeatWell, same type of seat (I know - shocking), but on the return trip during the day, no PJs.
PreflightChampagne, water or juice as on the flight out, were readily available. Water was again already at my seat.
DiningA different menu on the way back, Asian in style, and just amazingly good.
Arrival and continued flightsI landed at JFK, and since I had a connection, I was back into the Flagship lounge and again Flagship Dining while waiting to fly to Miami (yes, there is a method to my madness and I did this on purpose).
Miami Flagship DiningI have been trying for 5 years to get into this club, as it was the last Flagship lounge in the world I had not visited. Strangely, over these years I've been challenged by cancellations and closures, but today, that changed. As an extra treat, I was still eligible for Flagship First Dining.
SummaryThis is a top of the line first class experience. Bang and Olufsen headphones are complimentary to use on the flight and are the best I have experienced. The bed is excellent, and sleep was quite good. The ability of the seat to achieve many positions also makes it a nice recliner when you are awake.
Tip: Since I find first class ticket prices for international flights a bit insane in price, I used miles. I suggest you do the same. JFK is usually the cheapest US departure point to Europe in case you're buying it. Also, try to fly through Miami, Dallas or JFK to London, as they all have first class and flagship first dining, but currently only back to JFK is flying out of Terminal 5 right now for the Concorde Room.