DFW13L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (6 years 12 months 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 32200 times:
Here's my delayed trip report on AA 79 LGW-DFW in First Class. Here's your warning. I didn't bring my big camera. Just my pocket camera, and I don't like how the pictures turned out. So, sorry for that--you have been warned!
This is the return portion from a quick trip I took in the last week of August, 2007. Here's the link to the first part of the trip report
AA 79 LGW-DFW August 29th N760AN (7BV) Seat 4J
Well I had the full English buffet breakfast at the Renaissance Heathrow hotel, and I took my time, watching all the activity on the very nearby runway 27R at Heathrow. To read more about the hotel, it's at the bottom of my trip report that I linked above. The last few times that I have transited from LHR to LGW I have gone the expensive way, via train to Paddington, then to Victoria, and then train to Gatwick. I had been in central London the previous day, so I decided I would just take the coach, which cost 19pounds. It took about an hour and traffic wasn't too bad. On the way from the central Heathrow coach station to terminal 4, we had a view of Terminal 5.
There's the view I got of Heathrow Terminal 5 from the bus. But enough with Heathrow, let's get to Gatwick!
I got there and immediately went to the AA counter to check in. AA does not have self service machines at LGW but does at LHR. I checked in after going through the security interview. The staff were all very pleasant and it was a slow period for them. The first DFW had gone and it was 30 minutes or so before they closed the RDU flight, so it had been processed. All that was left was AA 79 at 2:30 (time now was 11:15am) and it was only booked to about 140 people.
I told them that I just had a carryon bag and they let me through.
I had with me my carryon that I usually use. It's right at the 10'18'22' limit of most places, but is not excessively big. It fits wheels first into AA's S80, 757, but has to fit sideways in the 738 due to length. It's on the large side, but usually fits. It went through at Gatwick just fine in June.
Then I went to the security screening. When I was waiting for my bag on the belt, a screener pulled it. I assumed for extra screening or whatever. He took it to the bag sizer, and asked whose bag it was. I said it was mine. He placed it in the sizer, and it went in crooked, not perfectly. If he applied any pressure to it, it would have gone down, but he said it had to go down into the sizer on its own, so it was too fit and I had to go back to the airline to check. And he was rather rude about it. I didn't bring up the fact that they let me through with it 2 months previously, but at the South Terminal rather than the North! I held my tongue, but there was going to be lots of space on my 777 in first class, especially with 100 empty seats on the flight. Oh well.
So I got my bag and had to walk out security the wrong way. I went back to the AA check-in and waited patiently in line for them to check my bag. It wasn't a huge problem, but I planned to buy some duty free and it would have been so nice to just put it in the bag. Oh well, I know that BAA is ridiculous about carryon luggage ever since the liquid fiasco last year, so I shouldn't drone on about it. I should just check everything and get over it. I almost took a small duffel bag that would have fit perfectly, and it's my fault I didn't.
OK I got through and went upstairs to the area where I could see the North ramp.
I usually see just the Gatwick based BA 777s at DFW, so it was fun seeing all the DFW "regulars" at LGW. G-VIIA through G-VIIF are the most regular at DFW. On Mondays we get a Caribbean one without First Class. I don't usually get to see that one, but last time it was G-VIIP.
The AA on the end was about to push out for RDU. The closer one was my 777 to DFW.
Then I went downstairs and did my obligatory duty free shopping. The most notable was a 9-12 months outfit for my 6 month old niece to wear this winter...a Harrods Princess jacket!
When that was finished, I went to the Aviance Executive Suite, using my Priority Pass, to go hang out in a lounge and maybe get a snack or something to drink.
Not a bad lounge. I mean, it wasn't BA Terraces or anything, but it's the best a nonrev can hope for!
I eventually made my way to gate 61 and after doing the security questions once again. (Beginning to think the British like me so much they don't want me to leave!) After going through, I checked with the AA agent there and she had my first class boarding pass! Seat 4J! My favorite seat. It's the non-rev seat, I think. I've had that seat probably once for every two trips I've had on a 777.
I think it's considered undesirable, because, in the Flagship configuration, it sticks out kind of close to the galley and it can get a bit noisy there and the light from the galley can be somewhat invasive.
My seat. The rear part.
My seat. The front part. That's the ottoman where you can put your feet, which also can be a seat if you want to share a meal with someone on the absolutely huge table that folds out. It also becomes the foot of the 6'6" completely horizontal, flat bed.
The first class cabin, taken from seat 4J.
The purser came by and introduced himself. His name was Tim and he was very friendly and professional. Then a flight attendant came by with the normal pre-departure international offerings of champagne, mimosa, orange juice, or water. I decided on a mimosa.
The view out the window from my seat.
We pushed out about 5 minutes late, and I think it was due to the crew not boarding soon enough. They were in the gate having a good time chatting with passengers and such, until about 45 minutes to departure, and then we started boarding at about 25 minutes to departure. They seemed like a really fun crew, and the flight was half empty, so they were relaxed.
At 2:20pm we pushed out and started up, to begin the 9hour 30minute (scheduled) journey to DFW. We ended up spending 9hours and 54 minutes in the air, but I'll get to that later.
No, that 747 is not about to fall on its left side. That was my weird camera angle. But it's an airline I had never heard of before. Oasis Hong Kong. One of the several airlines that is rare in my part of the world, but common at Gatwick.
We taxied out the long way to runway 8R for takeoff, after passing a Ghana 767 leased from Icelandair, an Air Namibia MD11, Virgin Nigeria, and other interesting airlines and aircraft that I'd never see at DFW!
The takeoff video! I think it came out rather well. At the end I decided to show a bit of the first class cabin for a couple seconds. Sorry about the feet! LOL
It didn't take long and we were already being served.
The starter has changed a bit since the last time I was in F on a 777. Rather than a choice between the dipped celery and carrots in ranch, or the warm nuts, it's now a choice between the warm nuts and a marinated cheese antipasto. I did what I've always done, and just taken both. The cheese appetizer was nice. I admit it's a bit classier, but I still kind of miss the celery and carrots in ranch.
Now quoting from the menu and showing pictures where I took them:
Smoked Salmon and Tarragon Shrimp accompanied by Capers, Red Onions and Sour Cream, garnished with Lemon wedges and served with Toast Points.
The Salad Cart
Please select any combination from the following:
Fresh seasonal Greens with pickled Carrots, Plum Tomatoes, Broccoli and Scallions offered with Pepper Cream Dressing or Castello Monte Vibiano Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar.
For my main, I chose:
Seared Fillet of Salmon accented by an Herb-Butter sauce, offered with blanched Asparagus and Spring Onion Mashed Potatoes.
The fish was done pretty well. Maybe slightly dry, but no complaints really. I nearly chose:
Grilled Fillet of Beef accented by Cherry and Chocolate Balsamic Sauce, served with a Cheddar Polenta Cake and Asparagus and Celery Medley. I didn't choose that one because I thought it might be a bit rich for a flight.
Then I got an Ice Cream Sundae that they prepared in front of me (as they did the salad).
The meal was good quality. I felt like it had improved since last year. The real silverware and real towels were back, plus, with my bread selection, I got to choose if I wanted butter or olive oil. It's some marketing program they have with Monte Vibiano Olive Oil, but it's classy and a good change for them.
Later in the flight, there were some good touches to bring service back alive upfront. For example, it seems like the "snack attack" is back. When I woke up after a decent nap, the purser told me I had missed the mid-flight snack, but a selection of "munchies" was on the cart in the front galley, and I could help myself. It was mostly things like crackers, chips, cookies. They also passed around a box of Lindt chocolates. I had one when they passed it around, but it had a few left in it up front.
The second meal, served like 2 hours before landing, had some new touches to it. The selection hadn't changed much, and I wasn't hungry, but I did order the pizza. It is on the menu as:
Uno's Pizza. An individual Chicago-style Deep Dish Mushroom Pizza accompanied by a fresh Green Salad tossed with English Cucumbers and Cherry Tomatoes.
The other offering was:
Slices of soy-seared Breast of Chicken served chilled on a bed of grilled Pineapple with Asian Slaw and a sweet and sour Sesame Dressing.
The new touches: "we invite you to enjoy a refreshing glass of Iced Tea garnished with fresh Mint or chilled Lemonade to compliment your selection"
Then there were freshly baked cookies and fruit.
Chilled Sparkling Water with a fresh Citrus Garnish
The choices were lemon, lime, or orange, obviously.
So there were some new touches added back that added a bit of class to the service.
The IFE was still the old IFE, with the different channels offered, and the VCR with tapes on request from a flight attendant. They give out a menu of movies to choose from. A friend from work flew in F to NRT last week and had the new 777 IFE with On-Demand, so there's at least one of them out there now. I kept my screen tuned to the flight tracker more than anything, and read a book for the most part.
My seat had an issue with the leg rest not working properly, but I finally figured it out. After the first meal I turned my seat into a bed and slept for a few hours, waking up near Newfoundland, where we hit North America for the first time. During the meal I took some of it facing the window, and the rest of it facing forward. I was having fun with my swivel seat, though I think it confused the flight attendant!
And now some views from the flight.
Yes, this is a view of the times. Can anyone guess where we are? Newfoundland obviously. They are 30 mins ahead of Atlantic time, so it's 3:55pm in NL, while it's 1:25pm in DFW and 7:25pm in LGW.
I didn't get a picture of them, or I'll just say it didn't come out, but we saw some great cliffs on the southern end of the Avalon peninsula of Newfoundland.
Here's the coast of the US just north of BOS.
At about this time the FA came by and told me to shut my window because nobody else had their window open. Since I was a nonrev there was no reason for me to be a nuisance to the paying passengers up front! LOL. She didn't put it quite like that. But that's how I interpreted it.
So we continued flying over the US and the captain came on and mentioned there was going to be weather to deal with as we got closer to Texas.
I noticed that our route kept going south of where I would have expected. We flew over JAN, MLU, south of SHV, which is my hometown. I opened my window there, but couldn't see the ground. Too many clouds.
We flew south of DFW and over Waco, Texas before we turned north.
Finally the clouds were breaking.
AA has this cool feature, and uses it even on domestic flights, where it scrolls through the gate information and connecting gates, etc. We added 30 minutes to our flight by flying out to ACT and then back north and finally to the east, approaching DFW from the west. The East gates were shut off due to a line of storms.
We're home! There's DFW, after 9hours and 54 minutes in the air.
Another shot with 13R next to the engine.
And the landing video. Runway 18R.
I had only gone through customs at Terminal D one time before, and was really looking forward to it here again. The walk from the plane to passport control is a delight. You are eye level with the second floor restaurants, and can look down into the terminal on one side, and look at the ramp and west side runways on the other side. It's really special if you get a chance to go through customs there.
We were the only airplane coming through, so there was no line at all. After I got through passport control and had to wait for my checked luggage, an MD80 from PVR came in. It was really nice to see it so quiet. It was 7pm, so not a busy time at all. That's one benefit to AA79. The other benefit is that, if you convert the departure and arrival time to local DFW time, it leaves LGW at 8:30am and arrives at 6:30pm. Flight 51 leaves at 4:30am and lands at 2:30pm DFW time, so AA79 is easier on the system, all other things being equal.
Well, thanks for taking the time to read my trip report. I wish I could have put more pictures in, but this time they kept the cabin so dark that I couldn't take pictures like I wanted.
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 743 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (6 years 12 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 31815 times:
Thank you for this report...the one I have been waiting for...because I love AA 777's. I have read your other trip reports and I appreciate the way you include a video of takeoff and landings as well.
Quoting DFW13L (Thread starter): At about this time the FA came by and told me to shut my window because nobody else had their window open. Since I was a nonrev there was no reason for me to be a nuisance to the paying passengers up front! LOL. She didn't put it quite like that. But that's how I interpreted it.
I've had the same thing when I fly...I like to look out my window (if I'm non revving in first I'll take whatever seat they give me!) but they usually ask me to close it. They do it so passengers can sleep. Anyway I've made so many trans Pacific flights there's not a whole lot to see. Takeoff and landing is the best part.
Thank you again for your report. It was worth waiting for.
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 743 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 12 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 31783 times:
Quoting DFW13L (Thread starter): Oasis Hong Kong. One of the several airlines that is rare in my part of the world, but common at Gatwick.
Oasis Hong Kong is a new low cost airline that flies only 747-400's. They fly HKG-LGW-HKG and I think they are now starting HKG-YVR-HKG. They are also planning to fly HKG-OAK-HKG. Their fleet only consists of 747-400's, they got from Singapore Airlines and All Nippon Airways. Their planes are configured for business and economy classes. As mentioned they are low cost but I have heard their service is very good.
I have a DVD on one of their flights HKG-LGW-HKG. It was done by World Air Routes, which does cockpit videos on airlines all over the world. I will give you their website www.worldairroutes.com. I have several of their DVD's mostly on 777's. The DVD's give you mostly cockpit action but they also focus on other aspects of the flight. Check out their website.
EXAAUADL From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (6 years 12 months 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 31476 times:
Quoting DFW13L (Thread starter): Then I got an Ice Cream Sundae that they prepared in front of me (as they did the salad).
Sorry but I find it s disgrace that US carriers serve ice cream sundays in international F class. J maybe, but you never see European carriers serving what amounts to a $1 dessert to pax paying upwards of $5000+ for a F class ticket.
Semsem From Israel, joined Jul 2005, 1779 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (6 years 12 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 31254 times:
AA used to serve a very nice pizza in Y from London to the States as a snack but as they are cost cutting they downgraded it to a lousy "snack box" full of junk food. They also used to serve in Y that Asian chicken on the morning flights to Europe which was very good.
EXAAUADL I agree with you. In F one would think that they would offer a "choice" of ice cream which anyone can buy in the supermarket and at least some nice pastry. The new thing on AA in Y on my latest flight eastbound back to London was "cookies" for desert which is really to me at least a cost cutting measure that crosses the line. However the lunch westbound was excellent. Why can't they show some "consistency?" Otherwise they are an excellent airline.
Albird87 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (6 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 28903 times:
Quoting Semsem (Reply 9): AA used to serve a very nice pizza in Y from London to the States as a snack but as they are cost cutting they downgraded it to a lousy "snack box" full of junk food. They also used to serve in Y that Asian chicken on the morning flights to Europe which was very good.
They still have this.. I was on flight 57 a couple of weeks ago and its still around.
I have to say that the snack before landing in first class seems very poor and looks exactly like the stuff in Y!!!
least you had a choice tho for that asian chicken.
I have a question though about AA
Years ago when i flew first/biz class around the states (and across the atlantic) you use to get a nice service with AA as they would have your surname on list so when they came to you they would call you mr ...... rather then just plain sir. Do AA still do this?? I havent noticed it in a while but i think its a small touch that AA could still do to bring up the service a bit!!
I mean its not hard to remember some names i think and it would just add a touch more service to the flight. (and if you cant remember the names you can cheat by having it on a sheet on the carts or on the trays!!)
AA's flagship suite is very nice and i hope to use it beggining of next year and I just hope its not a let down.
DFW13L From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (6 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 28815 times:
Quoting Albird87 (Reply 20): rather then just plain sir. Do AA still do this?? I havent noticed it in a while but i think its a small touch that AA could still do to bring up the service a bit!!
I probably should have mentioned that. There was the purser and one FA who both took care of first class, and occasionally another FA too. All three had everybody's names memorized by takeoff. I know they were memorized, because they called me by name when I went to the lav. And when deplaning, they said to everyone in first..have a good day Mr. so-and-so. It is a nice touch. Now I flew AA LAX-DFW the other day in F and don't remember if they used names or not.
Quoting Aerofan (Reply 18): I'm impressed that you got the lounge while non-revving.. Is this the norm
No it's not the norm. And I was not in the AA lounge. I have a membership with Priority Pass, which gets you into lots of lounges, regardless of what airline you are flying. The only lounges that are part of the program that care what you are flying is DL. They always enter your flight into the computer. And I've only used them once when I was actually on DL. But with Priority Pass, there are 3-4 lounges in LGW and LHR scattered through the terminals. In the US and worldwide to some extent, you can use DL, NW, CO, US, and UA lounges plus worldwide most KE and LX lounges are open. Lots of independent ones are members too. It's over 500 of them worldwide so it's a good deal.
Albird87 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 22, posted (6 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 28747 times:
Quoting DFW13L (Reply 21): I probably should have mentioned that. There was the purser and one FA who both took care of first class, and occasionally another FA too. All three had everybody's names memorized by takeoff. I know they were memorized, because they called me by name when I went to the lav. And when deplaning, they said to everyone in first..have a good day Mr. so-and-so. It is a nice touch. Now I flew AA LAX-DFW the other day in F and don't remember if they used names or not.
Good to know that its sort of still around. I know that when i fly biz class it doesnt seem to happen which is a shame.
Triple7man From Thailand, joined May 2005, 743 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (6 years 11 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 28555 times:
Quoting DFW13L (Thread starter): does AA let their employees go into the lounges? if so that is awesome!
You need to be a member to use the Admirals Club lounges. AA employees are not eligible to become members, however retirees can become members. You pay the same member fees that revenue passengers do, and you have full access to the lounges, however the agents there are not there for placing you on the priority list or to check the priority list for you. You can put yourself on the list with the self service machines or Jetnet, and check the list on Jetnet.
Have you kissed a 777 today?
: Pizza is pizza... How can be so sure it's the same? Were you also in F that day along with DFW13L? People take any chance thay get to bash AA...
: Nice trip report DFW13L. First class in AA looks pretty darn good, but not as good as SQ, BA and QF...etc [Edited 2007-09-24 15:33:30]
: Yeah, I bet a Sundae costs at most $1 per PAX
: I'm not intending to bash... US serves the same sort of pizza for a 2nd meal on the Europe-US return flights in Envoy. My problem is, if you really w
: Americans and brits love ice cream. It is SOP for AA, CO and others to serve it. Since AA's flagship service began with London and is still served on
: That's not the point. Is there not at least a choice? Ice Cream in International F is pretty poor show, there's such a wonderful range of fantastic t
: Perhaps the AA people should check out EK or VS for ideas on desserts that work. To be serving the same ice cream for what... the last 20 years is app
: Seansan I don't want to bash AA but actually the Pizza they used to serve in Y westbound was bigger than the one they now serve in F.
: Who said there was no choice?! I flew AA DFW-ZRH in J and got the Ice cream sundae and a pastry (fruit tart) offered as my dessert choices.
: Many of our top-paying customers disagree with you. It takes much more effort to prepare an ice cream sundae cart and make the individual sundae's to
: nice trip report, i was on this same window taking pics in April....lol
: Quoting Kevi747 Quoting Aerofan (Reply 18): American carriers seem to go for this sundae thing as dessert. I personally think it is lazy It takes much
: The difference being...ice cream doesn't get less appealing when it gets older. It's a nice way to ensure a very good dessert product no matter how l
: Excellent TR. The pics are really great. The videos are superb. The take off was really power full. Thank you for sharing. B747forever.
: Non-revving in International F aye? Was it a crew party like it always is on UA? j/k On a more serious note is it only US carriers that have so many n
: Quite astute you are!! In December I'm hoping to go to HKG with a friend, so just for kicks I was checking the flight load on UA869, the SFO-HKG flig