797 From Venezuela, joined Aug 2005, 1895 posts, RR: 27 Posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
One of the world's most symbolic airlines has been flying through rough weather for quite some time, causing unease among its frequent travelers, workers and stakeholders. Yes, American, worldwide known and seen as 'AA' has been battling against quite a strong headwind that might as well begin to vanish as the airline brings in a fresh current of youth into its system.
On January 31, 2012, the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport was host to the launchIng ceremony of American's first Boeing 777-300ER into service. An exquisite airliner, wearing an all-new livery and introducing a modernized corporate image, marked the rebirth of one of the most emblematic entities in the world, bearing the responsibility of calling itself American Airlines.
The Boeing 777-300ER is, without a doubt, one of the most successful aircraft the Seattle-based company has ever produced. With the introduction of N717AN, American became the first US carrier operating such type of metal, not only increasing the capacity already offered with its smaller long-haul fleet, but also introducing an all-new hard product that would set the bar for the competition in the US market.
This report will cover the round trip of the inaugural flights between Dallas Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW) and São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (GRU), portraying the Business Class service on the way to Brazil, and the First Class service on the flight back to Dallas.
INAUGURAL DAY: JANUARY 31, 2013
The star of the show, a Boeing 777-323(ER) wearing the construction number 31543, and the line number 1053, was delivered to American Airlines on December 11, 2012. The much anticipated aircraft departed Paine Field (WA) on its delivery flight to the airline's headquarters in DFW, creating perhaps the biggest speculative discussion in several aviation-related forums, as it was painted in a gray fuselage confirming a new livery was being developed.
As a matter of fact, on January 17th 2013, American released through a massive campaign its 'new look', showing off a revolutionary livery that completely changed the previous 1968 image. A #newAmerican was born.
The appointment for the official launch of the new Boeing 777-300(ER) [from now on 77W], was placed at the airport's Gate D23, where all the pre-flight events were going to take place. There, we had the chance to take a first glimpse to the new livery and meet with the airline's representatives. The Gate was decorated with brochures, posters and promotional items for the event.
A look at the D Concourse at DFW: The 777-300ER with its new livery.
Gate D23 was decorated with flowers and brochures promoting the new aircraft and image.
Special cookies were also available for the special day.
Finally, time to meet the star of the day.
THE AIRCRAFT RAMP TOUR
At 15.00, we were all gathered with AA's Ground Staff for the private Press/Media tour of the aircraft's interior and exterior. After a quick briefing, we were escorted down the jet bridge and onto the ramp, where we had the chance to meet the new livery 'eye-to-eye.'
A chance to stand next to the most impressive turbofan, the GE-90-115B
Detailed views of the 'triple' landing gear
Different perspectives of the wonderful new livery.
A particular view of the 77W's tail.
The best looking wing in the market.
Climbing up the jet-bridge stairs, an excellent side view of the aircraft.
THE ADMIRALS CLUB
Finished with official duties, I took some free time and headed over to one of the best Admirals Clubs I have ever visited. Located next to Gate D23, this club offers everything a Frequent Traveler needs.
A look at the bar.
Available computers with free internet.
The lobby and a poster featuring the new logo.
A fantastic view from the club.
A toast to American's new aircraft.
Plenty of space for a large number of passengers.
THE TIME TO SHINE
With the clock ticking, I went down to the gate as it was time for the ceremony. The Gate was prepared with a small pre-boarding snack buffet, with a variety of breads, fruits, sandwiches and drinks.
The ceremony begins with a few words from a Public Speaker.
At 20.30, American's Chief Commercial Officer (CCO), Virasb Vahidi, delivered a short speech crediting his colleague Alice Lieu, who was responsible for the aircraft's cabin design. He also mentioned about AA being the first US airline with International Wi-Fi and highlighted how they chose Sao Paulo as their first route given the importance of Brazil on the airline's destinations.
Vahidi then left the floor for the airline's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Tom Horton, who thanked all his staff for the continuous effort and patience, and with a noticeable emotion in his face, he invited all the passengers and crew to not only step into a brand new aircraft, but into a new era that indeed promises a lot.
After a round of applause from all the present, boarding officially commenced.
AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 963
DALLAS FT. WORTH (DFW) - SAO PAULO GUARULHOS (GRU)
SCHEDULED DEPARTURE: 20.35
ACTUAL DEPARTURE: 20.48
FLIGHT TIME: 09H18M
SCHEDULED ARRIVAL: 10.07
ACTUAL ARRIVAL: 10.06
I followed a short line of those passengers seated in First and Business. The special touch of the event calmed down the boarding, making it go nice and smooth.
I handed over my boarding pass and began walking down the jet bridge next to a colleague of mine, Jon Spira, from Frequent Business Traveler. We were both excited and anxious. We have both been Elite passengers in the American AAdvantage program, so stepping into a futuristic airplane with unseen features under the American brand was definitely a special moment for the both of us.
As we approached the plane, the smell of 'new' could be felt down the jet bridge. It was overwhelming. With every step we took, the scent grew proportionally. The last 10 steps into the plane were greeted by LSG SkyChef and AA Ground Staff, welcoming us into the airline's new metal.
As we finally entered the plane, three flight attendants welcomed us, all smiling and noticeably excited.
They directed me across the hall to my seat 3J. That is the moment when my heart rate began to rise with every breath I took.
I always say on my reports how 'turning left' when entering an aircraft makes the real deal. This time was no exception. I turned left, smiling, dreaming, wishing my life ran in slow motion, and I entered a small cabin where only two rows of Business Class are present, just before entering the First Class Cabin. This made it personal. This made it a true Business Class experience. Privacy, tranquility, peace.
When I got to my seat, I was surprised with the presence of a gift bag full of goodies welcoming us to the flight.
Then Kimberly showed up.
Kimberly is one of the wonderful Flight Attendants who made my trip an unforgettable one. She not only showed up with a tray full of Champagne glasses, but also with a beautiful smile that made everything so much better. Remember the smile.
I just had to take a picture with her!
After a quick toast with my friend Jon, we stepped into the First Class cabin and headed straight to the front office, where Captain John Hale, Vice President, Flight and Chief Pilot, greeted and invited us into his 'controls room'.
It was a privilege for us to have American's 3 top-tier Captains on today's flight. Along with Capt. Hale, we had Captain Bill Elder, Fleet Training and Familiarization, and Captain and 777 Examiner David Schelener.
Capt. John, a much cooler guy than anyone could think - just for the sakes of being a Chief Pilot - showed off his new toy and explained how "this is what the 777 program was meant to become."
I always love to hear pilots describe planes as if they had a soul. I'm a pilot, I know the feeling. The Captain described how the plane over performs any other machine he has ever flown before, and how much power those GE-90s are capable of delivering. He then narrated to us the flight plan to São Paulo, the estimated time en route (8h55m), and complained how the ATC routed our flight plan from Dallas to Miami and then on to Brazil... Just some details.
Here are some pictures of the 777 Cockpit during the media tour earlier in the day.
All pilots now carry an iPad as an EFB
This says it all
After a couple pictures with 'the man', I already knew this was going to be a great flight. I just wished time didn't fly as quick as the 777 does.
Back to the seat I went to set up for this long-haul inaugural hop over the Caribbean and the South American continent.
Settled on my beautiful Business Class seat. Comfortable like no other.
FLIGHT ATTENDANTS, PREPARE FOR DEPARTURE AND CROSS CHECK.
At 21.25, the flight attendants began setting the cabin for departure. The door was closed and I was ordered to sit down and quit taking pictures. By then, my camera's memory was getting low, so I had no choice but to obey! [not really!]
As soon as I sat down, the AA Media Relations person came to my seat just to tell me there was going to be a water cannon salute (which I already expected, of course!), but I appreciated her coming over to deliver the news. I thought it was very cute.
In a matter of seconds, I spotted about 20 people outside the plane setting their cameras and film equipment up. That meant the obvious, push-back.
At 21.32, one of my most awaited moments arrived. The #2 Engine was turned on and the vibrations and roar of the mighty GE-90-115B was sensed around the cabin, yes! The fuel being injected into that turbofan, cranking it up to give life to that mean-looking triple-seven... That's what it's all about!
The same happened on the opposite side of the aircraft, with #1 coming into action. What a fantastic moment!
No-time later, flaps, slats, and before taxi checklist complete. We began rolling down the taxiway with the firefighters spraying our way with a beautiful water cannon salute, and that was it, bye bye Dallas, hello #newAmerican !
A breathtaking image taken by Joe Tower as we begin taxiing to the main runway.
After a couple minutes of taxi, and the much expected announcement from Captain Hale, we reached the holding point of our assigned runway. The Captain said it was a privilege for him to be in command of this beautiful triple-seven and that he hoped we enjoy the flight. Sure thing!
LET'S FLY THE NEW AMERICAN WAY
Finally, show time. At 21.45, our mighty Boeing lined up with the runway and the concert began. Those GE-90s pushed the massive airliner with 115,000 pounds of thrust on each side. The sound... There are things that one can't explain in words. Here's the video for you to enjoy.
After another round of applause, we leveled at 5,000 feet and made our way Southeast bound. With our flaps retracted and our plane in full clean configuration, the Captain pushed the thrusts again and began our climb to the assigned 33,000ft. The power of the engines pushed me against my seat - again. I love this aircraft. I really do.
As soon as we reached cruising altitude, the team of Flight Attendants in the Business cabin began distributing the new Bose® QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling® headsets, which have a nice decal with American Airlines' titles.
On our way across Texas, I began exploring the seat functions and the in-flight entertainment system.
THE INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT SYSTEM (IFE)
Another major improvement in AA's hard product is the new IFE available on board its 77W.
The Panasonic eX2 system presents itself to the passengers with an image of different faces from American Airlines crew placed in a random manner throughout the screens in all three cabins. It gives a very nice welcoming feeling once inside the aircraft.
One of the many faces displayed around the three cabins.
It carries over 150 TV shows, more than 350 audio selections, and more than 120 movies in diverse languages and genres.
According to Mr. Vahidi, the system is currently operating on a Linux operating system, which by the end of 2014 should be migrating to a much more advanced Android interface.
In addition to these choices, the 77W comes equipped with a Ku-Band Satellite Wi-Fi system, powered by Panasonic. Currently at no charge for the flying passenger, the cost of the service will cost up to US$19 for the duration of the flight. Not bad at all.
Unfortunately, the Wi-Fi did not fully work during this flight due to some technical difficulties, and some apologies from the crew were not missed upon our arrival into Sao Paulo.
Power and USB ports available on each seat.
Very intuitive seat controls.
BUSINESS CLASS DINNER SERVICE
About 40 minutes into the flight, the flight attendants began preparing the cabin for the main service by setting the mood lightning along the three sections of the aircraft. What a fantastic feature!
The view from my seat. Gorgeous.
I explored the contents of the gift bag that was placed on my seat. Inside, a sweater, a bag, a magnificent passport case with American Airlines titles engraved on it, a box full of cosmetics, a pair of headphones, and a 5,000 mile bonus as a gift from the airline were for me to take home. I was a happy guy. Or maybe an ultra happy one.
Immediately later, the Mr. Vahidi grabbed a tray full of Champagne glasses and offered each one of us a glass for a toast above the clouds. What a nice touch of him!
The same thing happened in the back with Mr. Horton offering Champagne. What a privilege!
Following him, one of the flight attendants came with the usual hot towels, seconds before another one came with AA's signature warm nuts.
Kimberly, and her smile, came with the drinks cart offering me a wide selection of beverages.
I chose to have a 2010 Côtes du Rhône from La Ferme Du Mont red wine.
My selection was perhaps the best among the choice of wines in the list. It had a very nice taste, a rather subtle sparkling feeling and a very fruity flavor in the end. I liked it a lot.
I didn't appreciate, however, the size of the wine glass. I found it rather small and not as classy as on some European carriers.
Following the wine tasting, we were handed La Carte for today's inaugural flight, which had a welcoming letter in the first page signed by CCO Vahidi.
Welcoming letter by the Chief Commercial Officer.
Overall, the menu was very well designed and was available both in English and Portuguese, although it contained the already outdated American Airlines logo.
Here are the dinner choices for the flight:
Dessert & Breakfast
Quite a bit hungry and eager to taste the food on this inaugural flight, my server for the night, named Flores, showed up with a pre-arranged tray with the appetizer already served.
Feeding my picky needs, I went straight to look at the cutlery, which can be a deal breaker if it's not of quality.
To my surprise, when I received my first dish - the appetizer - it didn't look anywhere near how a salmon should look [La Carte said the appetizer was Salmon]. Instead, it was a very nicely presented shrimp with a small salad underneath garnished with three slices of beet.
As a side, a very nice salad with pecans and a sweet-tangy pepper dressing was served, along with a vast selection of breads, of which I chose the cheese and wheat.
Still curious about the dish being different than what I read on the menu, I glimpsed around the cabin and saw my neighbors being served the same. That's when I called my server and queried. He replied, "The menu is a little bit off today!."
Later on, my server came back asking for my main course choice. Having already decided, I asked her for the Beef selection, to which she replied, "Sorry, we are out of beef." - I was heartbroken.
The other three choices were Chicken, Halibut or Pasta. Being an Italian who probably never eats pasta out of a legit Italian restaurant - and also a douche terribly allergic to fish - I asked for the chicken hoping it was a good replacement for the beef. Flores happily agreed and went back to the galley.
Whilst our 777 surfed the flight levels at 1005 Km/h over the city of Miami, our team of Senior Flight Attendants and the two in-flight Service Managers on-board, who closely supervised all the operations, tried to adapt quickly with the new layouts of this addition to AA's fleet. This caused small delays in the delivery of the meals of the 53 passengers seated in Business Class.
Despite the small delay, a sudden smell of a particular spice invaded the cabin. I feared. It was the indicator that something might have gone terribly wrong. And as a matter of fact, it did. It was the smell of curry! [suspense music]
I am ALSO [terribly] allergic to curry, and since I couldn't find any dish being described with curry on the menu and nobody puts curry on a halibut, I deducted it would be the chicken. My chicken.
By then I feared my meal was drastically over. The last choice on the menu was the pasta... Bring it on.
As expected, the dish 'looked' well presented, although they were randomly served on top of a lettuce leaf.
Unfortunately, the penne were overcooked, gaining a gooey texture that was quite unpleasant. Then again, I'm not to trust when judging a plate of pasta that's not made the Italian way. This was a clear example of a US-made pasta dish. So, please, don't pay attention to me.
Not too happy about the outcome of my main course, all I had to do was wait for the inevitable: AA's Signature Sundae Ice Cream.
And yes, there it comes, the cart of goodness.
I will let you judge by yourselves. Behold Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Ice Cream with Cocolate Hot Fudge and Crusted Nuts.
The sundae can't miss the mark. It's just perfect. It has no competitors.
Soon after the meal was finished, my table was cleared and I went to look around the aircraft.
The Business Class main cabin with the ambiance created by the Mood Lightning.
I went back to the 100% packed coach cabin to look for a friend who was sitting in row 29 on a middle seat.
Here are some Coach cabin images taken on the aircraft tour prior departure at Dallas.
This is the Main Cabin Extra section, also known as Premium Economy in other carriers.
People seemed pretty comfortable although for my friend, who happens to be quite tall, the seats were a bit cramped.
With only 5 hours more to go, I went back to my seat and took some pictures of my hometown, Caracas. We flew exactly over the CBC VOR and then went straight onto Brazil.
THE NEW AMERICAN AIRLINES WALK-UP BAR
Another break-through addition to the 77W product is the new walk-up bar, located in between the small front-end of the Business Class cabin, and the main rear-end.
The in-flight service manager supervised how the FAs set up the bar with a variety of snacks and drinks, ending up in a magnificent selection for those passengers who find themselves in need of a midnight munch.
American Airlines is the only US carrier who offers a stand-up bar on its long-haul flights.
A great selection of quality snacks is served after the main dining service is over.
Gorgeous china available on the 777.
[Edited 2013-02-04 09:01:02]
Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous!
797 From Venezuela, joined Aug 2005, 1895 posts, RR: 27
Reply 1, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
A GREAT AMENITY KIT
After setting myself up for some sleep and enjoy this magnificent new seat, I took a quick trip to the restroom, which is the nicest I've seen on board of a plane before.
A quick view of the restroom
For this, I opened my new Amenity Kit.
The content of the 'cool' looking Amenity Kit.
In terms of quality and practicality, this is also a great addition to the J package.
The one unexpected surprise, which I will carry with me until I run out of brain memory, came when Mr. Vahidi, the CCO, came to talk and gave me a First Class Amenity Kit, which is an amazing iPad cover with the same products than the Business Class one. What a great and thoughtful gift!
The First Class Amenity Kit
I must admit AA did one amazing job creating this new concept for their Long-haul Business Class. Great job guys!
TIME TO ENJOY THE BUSINESS CLASS SEAT
Photo by AA
Finally, time to charge some batteries. I pressed the magic button and refined my lie-flat bed to 180 degrees. From all the ones I have flown, this one was, by far, the best and most comfortable Business Class seat. Far better than Turkish Airlines, Alitalia, Air France, and Lufthansa.
Not only the seat is the new plus offered on this aircraft, the new cozy blanket and the large pillow are just a perfect compliment.
The new hard product American is offering on its new Business Class truly went that extra mile that it needed. I'm extremely satisfied, and I'm sure you all will too.
AWAKENED, UNMISTAKEABLE SMELL OF AMERICAN COFFEE
After a very bumpy sleep [going through the Intertropical Convergence Zone is never a walk in the park!], the breakfast service began at 06.00 Dallas time.
I was offered a choice of the traditional three-cheese Omelette, or a much lighter version with a Granola cereal, yogurt, fruit, a choice of croissant or white bread, and milk. I went for the latter and it was the perfect choice. Fantastic, I would say.
Beautiful Fruit Plate
Granola and Skim Milk
APPROACHING SAO PAULO
Roughly 50 minutes after breakfast was served, we began our descent towards one of South America's largest cities. Dallas time, 06.50. Local time, 09.50
From miles ahead, we began seeing a concrete forest that I suppose belong to Sao Paulo.
Map view of our approach into Sao Paulo.
A nice view of the city from above.
Our graceful triple-seven began setting up for its landing in Guarulhos, showing off an incredible wing flex over the clouds of the Brazilian city.
Finally, after 9 hours and 18 minutes of air surfing across America, our beautiful aircraft kissed the runway with incredible delicacy, and landed on Brazil's most important airport at 10.06 local time accompanied by another loud and cheerful round of applause. Our arrival was merely one hour ahead of schedule.
On our way to the gate, two trucks of the airport's fire brigade expected our pass to spray, once again, a water cannon salute welcoming the new aircraft to Brazilian soil.
Welcoming our way into the terminal.
Unfortunately, out of the two trucks, only the one on the left side of the plane sprayed us, not making it as spectacular as the GRU photographers would have liked.
Here's one picture taken by the local spotters:
A fellow spotter capturing our arrival.
10 HOURS OF PURE ENJOYMENT
After almost 10 hours inside the most spectacular 777 out there, all one can say is: wow!
American Airlines outdid itself. It came out with a product that exceeded the expectations, even those of seasoned travelers who have flown on many five-star carriers. Without a doubt, the internal features AA has to offer on their new triple-sevens are state-of-the-art and above the competition, by a large gap.
Before stepping out of the aircraft, we headed up front to thank the crew and say goodbye to the pilots.
797 From Venezuela, joined Aug 2005, 1895 posts, RR: 27
Reply 2, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
RETURNING TO DALLAS, UP FRONT: FEBRUARY 2, 2013
After our 10am arrival into Sao Paulo, I spent the day resting at the Guarulhos Marriott Hotel, where casually AA's crew also stays.
About twelve hours later, at 22.30, I got on the hotel's shuttle back to the airport. The 15-minute ride to Terminal 2 at GRU was uneventful, arriving at the check-in desks with any hassle.
The check-in area was all decorated with balloons and posters from the astonishing 77W. The agents were checking-in passengers for the past-midnight Miami and Dallas flights, and even an additional Dallas flight that departed at 2am.
I got checked in by a lovely agent, who could probably be a model. I really liked Brazilian girls although I never left the hotel during the day!
I got my boarding pass, this time with a different seat selection, 5A - the first seat after the main galley.
All set, I went straight to the Admirals Club, located in the mezzanine level of Terminal 2. For my surprise, Mr. Horton and Mr. Vahidi were hosting an event inside the club. When I entered the salon, Mr. Vahidi welcomed me saying out loud: "Hey! There is Enrique! Welcome back!"
I got to admit, this guy made me feel special!
The Admirals Club at GRU is in great shape. It's perhaps one of the biggest I have seen, and at the time, it was completely full. There were many choices for drinks and snacks, all of great quality and quantity.
A great selection of snacks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
INAUGURAL EVENT AT GUARULHOS
At 23.30, both AA executives left the salon to go and host the inaugural event at the gate. A few minutes later, I followed.
Nicely decorated gate for the event
Five minutes before midnight, Mr. Horton 'cut the ribbon' at gate 24, inviting all the passengers to board. The announcement was translated to Portuguese by a lady behind the gate's desk.
The boarding process initiated by diligent order. The agent stated clearly that only passengers seated in First Class could board, followed by Business Class, Executive Platinum, Platinum, Gold, and then Economy. People obeyed, and that made a big impression on me.
Walking down the jet bridge.
Welcome on board, again!
AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 962
SAO PAULO GUARULHOS (GRU) - DALLAS FT. WORTH (DFW)
SCHEDULED DEPARTURE: 00.55
ACTUAL DEPARTURE: 01.20
FLIGHT TIME: 09H26M
SCHEDULED ARRIVAL: 06.58
ACTUAL ARRIVAL: 06.47
The flight was completely full. It surprised me when I got to my seat and, next to me, I had Mr. Horton and Mr. Vahidi. They were sitting in Business Class this time, not in First!
The best seat in the Business Class main cabin, 5A.
The infamous a.net leg shot.
After saying hello again, and being quite happy with my traveling neighbors, I sat and settled on my awesome Business Class seat. Mr. Horton stood up and offered Champagne again - just as he did on the first flight.
He went all the way to the last seat of the Business Cabin, and when he came back, he still had two more cups to give. He said to me: "Enrique, I'm going for seconds. How about you?"
Not every day the CEO of one of the biggest airlines of the world offers you a glass of Champagne. Jesus!
I prepared myself for yet another relaxing redeye flight to Dallas until something completely unexpected happened. The Purser, Lynne, came to my seat all mysterious and quiet. Whispering, she said: "Enrique, listen to me. Grab all your stuff, NOW, and follow me."
In my mind, I was completely oblivious. I hesitated.
Then, when she stopped whispering and said it again with quite a drop of character, "Grab all your stuff, NOW, and follow me!!!" all I did was what I was told!
She took me through the galley, turned LEFT, walked ahead, through the curtain, and said to me out loud: Welcome to First Class!
[blank] [no comment]
Well. After the [blank] [no comment], yes. I was now a First Class passenger, gloriously placed in Seat 1J.
As I write this, I still cannot believe it. Please bare with me.
Welcoming letter from Mr. Vahidi
Sitting in heaven.
A rather different leg shot
Less than a minute after I settled, trying to digest what had just come to me, Lynne came with some homework for me to do.
She handed me La Carte for the dinner service, and the Breakfast Menu, which I had to fill before takeoff.
My obligation was to choose what I preferred for breakfast, at what time I wanted to be awaken, and therefore, served.
I gladly filled up the questionnaire and in no-time, our mighty 777 was being pushed back from the gate. Here's a video filmed from the outside as we pushed back and turned our engines on. I strongly recommend it!
After only 9 minutes of taxiing, we reached Guarulho's runway and the engine's roar were again showing off their potential. At exactly 01.00, we were off the ground.
Good-bye São Paulo!
FIRST CLASS DINNER SERVICE
Exactly thirty minutes after leaving Sao Paulo, Lynne and Kay began setting up for our First Class dining experience.
Lynne decided to take care of me and demanded that I try all the food she'd serve. I couldn't say no to her. She had a very persuasive personality!
It all began with, "What would you like to drink tonight, Enrique."
The choice was obvious. Red wine. But, which one?
"Enrique, I'll bring you our two best wines so you can taste them both."
They served me a beautiful glass of iced water to cleanse the palate. I have never seen such type of glasses on board an aircraft. Nice touch!
As far as my choice goes, I ended up going for the Valpolicella Zenato Ripassa against the Fabre Montmayou Malbec Reserva. Excellent choice.
For my pleasure, the wine glass was of a proper size - unlike the one from Business Class, which was alarmingly small.
Keeping up with the tradition, warm nuts can't stay out of the picture.
From then on, Lynne and Kay refilled my glass without asking. That kept me happy. Very happy.
At 02.10, my table was set with a sophisticated cloth and china. Superb details.
Here are the options for dinner:
Three minutes after the table was set, my appetizer arrived. It consisted on a bite-size portion of rolled salmon. It was delicious and delicate.
To make things better, Kay brought the bread basket. Thanks to the wonderful chefs in Sao Paulo, they boarded the magnificent Pão de Queijo - little bread balls which dough is made with large quantities of cheese, making it incredibly moist and cheesy. It's one of Brazil's signature foods. I probably ended up eating around four units!
Warm Pão de Queijo
Following the bread's arrival, I received another well decorated dish containing a Shrimp Ceviche with Avocado and Onions. Bravo!
The Shrimp was perfectly cooked and the flavors were live and strong. Lovely dish.
Lynne convinced me to try the soup with these words: "Our soups are great. Everybody loves them. You must try it!."
Persuasive or not, I agreed. And she was right.
Cream of Mandioquinha
Amazing soup. Its depth of flavor, texture and spice were on the spot. I loved it.
So far, so good.
Right after the soup, I got another round of the amazing Pão de Queijo.
After a 10-minute break, the third round came with the salad. A mix of seasonal greens and fresh vegetables with a pepper vinaigrette.
Excellent salad and dressing. All I have to say about it.
THE MAIN COURSE
As soon as Kay cleared my table, Lynne came back with my main course.
It was 02.45 Brazil time when I received a gorgeous plate with Chateaubriand with Earl Grey Sauce, rice and broccoli.
I wasn't expecting for it to be excellent as beef is often dry and overcooked on any flight… Well, I was wrong. The rice was perhaps the star of the dish. It contained small pieces of carrots and raisins; its texture was perfect, without the 're-heated' feeling rice often gets when served on flights.
The broccoli was simply superb, al-dente and all I needed to do was put a hint of salt for them to be perfect.
Finally, the beef - perfectly cooked, nice and moist. The chateaubriand sauce had its spice as a prevalent flavor, but for me it was one perfect dish of meat.
Fifteen minutes after I received my main course, the time to decide between desserts arrived.
The choices were the fantastic Ice Cream Sundae or a nice cup of Fruit with a Lemon Sorbet.
Given the fact that I had an amazing sundae on the previous flight, I decided to taste the fruit this time.
Lynne topped my fruit with a nice Lemon Sorbet and it paired to become an excellent dessert - refreshing and full of taste. A nice plus was the mango that the Brazilian catering included.
In addition to the fruit, Lynne brought me a nice mug of hot tea with milk and sugar. A perfect way to end one unforgettable meal.
Time to relax enjoying the wonders of the new American Airlines First Class.
THE FIRST CLASS MINI SUITE ON THE 77W
The cabin was extraordinary. The seat, from another dimension. It was too incredible, too fantastic, to much of an illusion for it to be true.
In a layout configuration of 1-1-1-1, the cabin is perfect for pure comfort and privacy. The Zodiak Uk seats have 80" of pitch and a 36" of width. With the touch of a button, the seat become 6' 8" flat beds - enough space for one to sleep in any imaginable position.
Each mini suite allows the passenger to dine with a companion who can sit at an an ottoman that becomes a seat for invited guests, enabling a table perfectly fit for two.
The passenger can also rotate the seat in a 90-degree angle facing the aircraft's windows, where another table can be pulled out so that it can become a working desk with two universal AC power outlets, one USB outlet, and several massage functions in the seat.
A great working space with an astonishing view!
A perfect example of a passenger utilizing his working station feature
All the functions in the seat are manipulated through a small digital tablet that's located in front of the windows, on the right side of the seat. What a fantastic feature.
Each passenger is fitted with a soft seat cushion, a blanket, two pillows, a pajama, two slippers, the superb amenity kit which becomes an iPad cover, and the Bose® QuietComfort® 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling® headsets.
The IFE is the same as in Business Class with a few technical differences. The most noticeable ones are its 17-inch touch screen and its controller that looks like a PlayStation PSP on the right side of the seat. It controls the menu so that the passenger doesn't need to extend the arm to reach the touch screen. The interface is indeed great, but it had a few glitches during the flight.
Finally, there is a a “do not disturb” electronic sign located in the outer part of the mini suite. Very nice indeed.
AMERICAN AIRLINES NEW TURN DOWN SERVICE
After one incredible meal that I will never forger, it was finally time to relax. I grabbed my pajamas bag and amenity kit and went to the First Class toilet to set up for bed.
The incredibly comfortable pajamas:
When I came back to my seat, Kay had prepared me the most beautiful surprise. She transformed my seat into a cozy full flat bed.
I thought this was such a nice surprise. She was smiling and waiting for me to take pictures of the bed.
Eye-view of the spectacular bed
This is for you to draw your own conclusions
I have to say, what an incredibly comfortable setup. Here's a look at the blanket and the cover with the Amenity Kit.
Still in Brazilian soil, flying next to Peruvian territory and with over 7 hours of flight to go, I decided to try and sleep on my very first, First Class experience. What a moment!
Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous!
797 From Venezuela, joined Aug 2005, 1895 posts, RR: 27
Reply 3, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 5 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
SIX HOURS LATER
Sleeping, deep sleeping. That's what I was doing when I feel a gentle and comfortable touch on my left shoulder. It was Lynne, trying to wake me up from the heavy sleep I managed to get myself into on that amazingly comfortable bed.
Lynne said, "Good morning Enrique! Would you like to have breakfast now?"
I was lost. I had slept so good and deep that couldn't understand what was going on. When I opened my eyes and saw the terrible news that our 777 was 45-minutes away from landing in Dallas, all I had to say to her was "Yes, please." I couldn't help to put a sad face as my flight was coming to an end.
I have to confirm, sleeping in those pajamas really made a big difference. The level of comfort is exponential.
Quickly enough, Kay brought a nice tray with my breakfast. It consisted on a cheddar cheese omelette, grilled ham, potatoes and small pieces of bacon.
It also had a beautiful plate of fruit (mango again!), and the world-class croissant served warm with butter and blueberry jam. Finally, some yogurt, a glass of cold skim milk and a mug of black coffee. Definitely a very complete set.
GOOD MORNING DALLAS
Thirty minutes after I finished my wonderful breakfast, mother nature gave us an excellent welcoming reception into Dallas.
It was sadly the time to wrap up, and conclude on what has been the best flying experience of my life.
During these two flights, I had the opportunity to meet some exceptional people, starting from the CEO and CCO of American Airlines, followed by a wonderful crew who proudly carries the name of the airline around the globe. Moreover, I had the chance to meet two great gentlemen, Mr. Chris Sloan and Mr. Jonathan Spira, who share the passion I have for aviation. They, much more seasoned in travel than me, concluded that this was the best B777-300(ER) they had ever flown in, the one with the most quality and appeal. The interiors of the plane are indeed off the charts. The livery, one amazing job by American - arguably or not.
I couldn't be more satisfied. I had talked to so many people during these two flights. I learned so many things, from passengers, from the airline executives, and from the crew.
Speed brakes deployed for a smooth approach into DFW
I finally went to lower latitudes than Venezuela in South America. I reached the wonderful country of Brazil, where all the people I talked to were extremely friendly, and the ladies incredibly pretty.
The Brazilian catering saved the day, loading our plane with exquisite meals.
Our flight attendants worked their hearts off on these two flights, looking to offer us the very best American has in its repertoire. We learned that they hadn't been introduced to the new plane but hours before departure, so my congratulations go to them for such an impeccable service they delivered.
I could not leave without taking a photo with the artists on these two flights. I gave them a big hug and thanked them for making another dream of mine come true. Lynne, Kay, and Kimberly, you made me a very happy man. Thank you!
Lynne and Kay. I will never forget you. Thank you so very much for an unforgettable experience.
Kimberly and Ted, thank you for my Business Class flight. Thank you!
Our approach into Dallas was another work of art. Captain Young and First Officer Tony brought our triple-seven with elegance and grace into one of DFW's several runways. Landing was soft and smooth, although a tad rougher than our inaugural into GRU.
It was officially over.
The old livery greets us after a next-generation experience
What's there to conclude after such an incredible trip?
American is back.
The new Business Class seats are the most comfortable I have flown on. I managed to sleep very comfortably and the IFE is up the standards of a 5-star carrier. The food service, however, still needs improvement, as my dishes unfortunately weren't what I was expecting. This, however, is one easy detail to fix and I'm sure Mr. Vahidi and his team will put some dedication and effort into making it better.
The new First Class, on the other hand, was a box full of perfection. The seat, the IFE, the service and the meals. All flawless. There's rare chances for improvement there. Congratulations!
I would like to congratulate Mr. Tom Horton, Mr. Virasb Vahidi, and all American's executives for working so hard in developing and bringing to life such an incredible product. My heart goes out to them for the effort and dedication and hope that the remaining 20 B777-300(ER) come out as beautiful as N717AN.
I would also like to congratulate the Flight Attendants, who despite a few glitches, made the service a memorable one.
I can't leave out of the picture Gate Gourmet Sao Paulo, for preparing one incredible set of dishes for the First Class Cabin.
Finally, from pilot to pilot, I would like to extend my hand to Captain John Hale, for 'making the difference' every day from his office at the Vice Presidency of Flight department. He is a remarkable man who I really hope stays flying for many years to come. I will never forget that grease landing into Sao Paulo, Captain. Thank you!
Thanks to Captain and 777 examiner David Schlener, for coming back to the cabin and openly talking to us.
To end with a personal note, I'd like to entice the readers of this report to support American Airlines in the immediate future. I can confirm that the amount of work they've put into developing this new concept is beyond our imagination.
From the bottom of my heart, I wish American the best of lucks with their future, expecting the very best outcome, hoping they come out stronger than ever.
I also hope they don't merge with US Airways, and remain a sole strong airline capable of delivering, at all times, what they delivered me on these two flights.
I hope you have all enjoyed reading this Trip Report. As usual, it was a pleasure writing for Airliners.net. Questions, comments, and remarks are very much appreciated.
Thank you American!
Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous!
817Dreamliiner From Montserrat, joined Jul 2008, 2397 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Well after reading this all I can say is wow. Seriously. While ive never had a bad experience with AA, ive never had an experience like this. Thanks for sharing this, was really waiting for this. I really want to try the service on this aircraft myself, hopefully soon.
Reality be Rent. Synapse, break! Vanishment, This World!
YYZbound From Canada, joined Nov 2007, 63 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
I am REALLY happy you enjoyed the new product so much, Enrique!
The one thing I can say as an AA employee..regardless of how I may feel about some of the past...is that I am VERY much looking forward to being proud of working for the airline again as I once was. I personally like change and evolution a great deal, and unlike some...I still enjoy what I do very much.
And offering this new product is something I find very exciting to be a part of Great job!
globalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 929 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Hi Enrique! Wow what a well written and utterly fascinating trip report and experience! I know that you were just in heaven after this experience! This just does not look like what I see on AA today and that is a great thing! I also agree that a merger with US may not be the best idea? You looked fantastic after enduring all of that travel! Again really great TR and pictures and thank you for sharing with us!
Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
IrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2191 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
First of all, all I can say is WOW.
Talk about an incredible, unbelievable, rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to celebrate a HUGE milestone with American.
How and where you finagled this, all the way down to the tarmac tour, is just beyond me.
Admirals Club in DFW looks nice - never been. Do they serve snacks and liquor in there, or is it just beer and wine?
Thank you for putting together a beautifully-written TR in such a timely manner. Very, very much appreciate the work and effort you put in.
Quoting 797 (Thread starter): On January 31, 2012, the Dallas-Ft. Worth International Airport was host to the launchIng ceremony of American's first Boeing 777-300ER into service.
Let's start with the C class component:
The seat looks amazing. What a treat you got to party with the celebs like Horton and all. I personally hate the new livery and think its a huge mistake, but that obviously couldn't take away from the beauty of the event.
I was disappointed to read about the meal service fiasco on the outbound. Unacceptable. The dishes also look very low-caliber, especially given how the snacks in the bar area appear to be much more high-standard. Also, somewhat unnerving to hear that AA wasn't prepared to handle the meal distribution well.
The amenity kit also looks kind of blah. Nice that Horton presented you with a new one!
Now to the F:
First of all, how did THAT happen? Talk about bonus on top of bonuses!
The meal service looks perfect. Far superior to what happened in C class. The seat transforms into a legit office! American will be KILLING It when it unveils this product on the F-heavy routes. Two thumbs way up.
Thanks for the pushback video from DFW. I still can't bring myself to like the tail design but, if the interior product is up to speed, then maybe AA's rebranding effort won't sting as much (IMO).
Thanks again for everything. Truly and enjoyable read.
next flights: jfk-icn, icn-hkg-bkk-cdg, cdg-phl-msp
planiac787 From India, joined May 2012, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Can American come back from the all the problems?
Well if they keep performing like this , I am sure they ll be back and that too with a Bang!
Love the photos!!
Everything about the 777 looks right.. First business and economy look rather good and service seems outstanding..
Though that is probably the only thing I am worried with American.. there inconsistent on board service!
Hopefully they ll be mending there ways soon!!
One of the best trip reports I have ever read!!
Very Very well done!!
Kudos & Cheers
Be the change you want to see in the world- M.K.Gandhi
NZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6432 posts, RR: 39
Reply 14, posted (1 year 7 months 3 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 32767 times:
Superb report! Thanks a lot for sharing! Wow, getting to try both First and Business on the inaugural must feel amazing. I'm truly impressed by both the hard and soft products provided on your flight - I guess we're all hoping that AA can deliver this same product across the board.
I hope to get my first taste of CX's J seat this year - the same as what AA put in their J cabin. The seat looks great. But the F seat surely seems to trump it in many ways! I think it's great how they retained the seat from the 772 which can swivel to face the window. Unfortunately I don't see myself flying up there anytime soon!
Getting served champagne by the CEO must be a great feeling. I can only imagine a handful of CEOs actually doing that.. And unfortunately the Air NZ CEO was not on the first commercial NZ 77W flight to do so
A bit of a shame with your J meal.. I guess they might have to carry more beef next time! But it sure looks like they made up for it in the F meal. I'm not actually sure if I could eat all of that for dinner!
Quoting 797 (Thread starter): It was a privilege for us to have American's 3 top-tier Captains on today's flight.
With all that experience, I'm sure you could be dead certain about reaching your destination without a hitch!
Quoting 797 (Thread starter): This is the Main Cabin Extra section, also known as Premium Economy in other carriers.
Any idea if that back row fully reclines like it should? I think I'll be trying to get a window seat on that row when I get to try the AA 77W. Gotta love Oneworld benefits.
All I can say to AA is well done; and I wish them all the best.
MD13 From Venezuela, joined Dec 2006, 24 posts, RR: 0
Reply 17, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Excellent trip report! Thanks for sharing!
I fully agree with you on your comments on American and its future. I would only hope changes were faster and we wouldn't have to wait 'til 2016-8 to see the new product across the fleet, but better late than never.
By the way, I have to say I wasn't a fan of the tail when the new livery came out, but this 77W looks stunning!
idlewildchild From United States of America, joined Nov 2011, 166 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Saludos y gracias for a great report, Enrique, and for your good wishes toward AA. I was particularly impressed with the new F seat and its ability to become what looks like an office. You can almost get the sense of a truly corporate aircraft vibe.
I don't know why AA can't get their J class meal act together. The hardware looks really good here, they really need to concentrate on getting the meal right, beyond the good ice cream sundaes.
A trip of a life time to remember! You have the envy of the entire airliner world... and it made me wonder where abrelosojos was!
Quoting YYZbound (Reply 7): I am REALLY happy you enjoyed the new product so much, Enrique!
Me too. These kind of trips are very rare. I'm happy everything went perfectly well.
Quoting YYZbound (Reply 7): I am VERY much looking forward to being proud of working for the airline again as I once was.
You're not alone. Out of the 6 Flight Attendants I got close to during the trip, they were all excited about the new product. They seemed proud!
Quoting globalflyer (Reply 8): I know that you were just in heaven after this experience! This just does not look like what I see on AA today and that is a great thing! I also agree that a merger with US may not be the best idea? You looked fantastic after enduring all of that travel! Again really great TR and pictures and thank you for sharing with us!
Being in heaven is an understatement. Staying in the hotel throughout my layover helped me stay in shape for the remainder of the trip. Although flying in First made it all much better!
Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 10): How and where you finagled this, all the way down to the tarmac tour, is just beyond me.
To be honest, when they invited me down to the Tarmac, I shivered. I still can't believe I walked freely on DFW's ramp. Truly a huge surprise.
Quoting IrishAyes (Reply 10): I was disappointed to read about the meal service fiasco on the outbound. Unacceptable. The dishes also look very low-caliber, especially given how the snacks in the bar area appear to be much more high-standard.
I agree. It was quite poor to me, although the other passengers had the dish of their preference so they came out quite happy.
With regards to the service, this could be the only thing American could be held liable for when it comes to criticism. I'd expect the responsible department to tighten the knot on training and supervision if they want to achieve 5-star levels anytime soon.
I hope so. Although if they go ahead with the US Airways merger, I doubt we'll see them performing well for quite some time. It hurts to see an airline come out of Chapter 11 in such good shape to go through the painful merger process with a questionable carrier. I just don't want to see it happen.
Quoting planiac787 (Reply 11): Though that is probably the only thing I am worried with American.. there inconsistent on board service!
Quoting Globetraveller (Reply 13): This report makes me seriously question my current, albeit fickle, loyalty to UA.
Well, UA is not cooler than AA, in my opinion!
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14): Getting served champagne by the CEO must be a great feeling.
That's money right there, my friend. That made it all surreal.
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14): With all that experience, I'm sure you could be dead certain about reaching your destination without a hitch!
With those masters in command of the 777... The Captain told me:
"I have the CEO of the airline back there. I don't care how many iPads the company gives us, I always bring my good old paper charts, because if we get hit by lightning and those babies go bye-bye, I'll have the only backup I need!"
Quoting NZ107 (Reply 14): Any idea if that back row fully reclines like it should?
It does recline, I precisely sat in one of them. It has the sliding feature.
Quoting TR763 (Reply 15): Great trip report Henrique, thank you for all the details, but specially for the enthusiasm. Congratulations!
Quoting TR763 (Reply 15): On a side note: I am SO proud to be from São Paulo and that my hometown deserved this inaugural flight from one of the most important airlines of the world.
You have a beautiful country to be proud of. Congrats!
Quoting MD13 (Reply 17): By the way, I have to say I wasn't a fan of the tail when the new livery came out, but this 77W looks stunning!
It took a while for me to love it. It's about appreciation!
celestar From Singapore, joined Jul 2001, 398 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
As a very frequent business traveller based in Asia, I like to make a very objective statement on American (I happen to be CX Gold on One World):
1. US pilots, without a doubt, are the best, professional and experience wise. I have absolute confidence on the standard of excellence on US pilots, maybe it is because of military experience but without a doubt, absolutely skillful and safety conscious.
2. US based airline FA and cabin service, with no reference to age, is absolutely a shame and disgrace. I don't know why FA are so obnoxious to their treatment of passenger. For American to spend so much money on rebranding, if and only if, they can be more attentive to how their FA training and service, would have won my hearts - yeah, I know, union again. But shouldn't management work harder with union to improve this service quality standard. I don't know how to do that but it should be addressed. I mean, common on, what else the FA are doing nowaday, just serving drinks and no meal at all, should that lighten up the work load and be more courteous, attentive and nicer to passengers!
NZ107 From New Zealand, joined Jul 2005, 6432 posts, RR: 39
Reply 24, posted (1 year 7 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 32767 times:
Quoting 797 (Reply 21): With those masters in command of the 777... The Captain told me:
"I have the CEO of the airline back there. I don't care how many iPads the company gives us, I always bring my good old paper charts, because if we get hit by lightning and those babies go bye-bye, I'll have the only backup I need!"
Good to know; although they could probably land it without any assistance too!
Quoting 797 (Reply 21): It does recline, I precisely sat in one of them. It has the sliding feature.
Great, a true reporter - checking out seats in other cabins So it confirms that the Y seats are the same as CX's too; the only difference coming from the IFE where AA decided to put a handset in whereas CX is touchscreen only.
It's all about the destination AND the journey.
: Really great report, Enrique! I've been waiting on this inaugural flight for a long time. What a great looking jet, and the livery is growing on me! H
: Wow! After touring a new United 787 (with the CO designed interior), United REALLY really needs to up their game, especially their hard product. That
: I love it already. I can't wait to see the wingletted 767s with this livery, they'll look awesome for sure! Voilà: Thanks for the notes guys!!! 797
: Are you sure you weren't flying on an Asian or Middle Eastern carrier? American really hit it out of the park on this one. I get so tired of airlines
: Couldn't have said it any better. My sentiments exactly.
: Thank you for an excellent trip report. There are always bugs when a new aircraft enters service, but in time they will be fixed. This is the next bes
: AA is back! Thanks for this report! I cannot believe how this could very well be the new norm at American. Aside from your first main portion, excelle
: Awesome! I have been saving up my miles for a first class asian trip in the next year or two and the plan was always take AA to LAX and hop on a CX fl
: I love the tremendous detail you put into this report. You did a phenomenal job. I'm very thankful to have an inside look of the new AA service. I fle
: Awesome report, incredible pictures. American does seem to be getting their groove back. I recently took them in coach on a domestic US trip and from
: Enrique, what can I say that hasnt been said? Great report. Great job at getting invited. Great job at the pics. I envy and admire your efforts and te
: Hey Enrique, fantastic report. Very detailed, great photos and great interaction with the crew. Do you work for AA or why were you allowed onto the ra
: Great TR! Thanks for sharing. To nitpick, it is now the Chicago-based Boeing.
: Wow - so it's desirable to fly an American carrier internationally once again, dare I say even cool. I'm new to this forum, but you'll be hard to beat
: I am stunned by the thoroughness of your report! You are an excellent writer and you took fantastic photographs. But, a wonderful product can be ruine
: I have no words. For anything on this thread. All I can think about saying is WOW! This surely is a million steps forward. I am glad you enjoyed your
: A pleasure reading your trip report - I hope the 77W comes to Miami soon! The "office configuration" of the F seat is something that AA introduced wit
: Reading this, I had to constantly remind myself that this is not some fantastic Asian or Middle Eastern carrier, like SQ or EY. This is American. My A
: So what did they serve in Y? The usual "lettuce?' With that awful chocolate brownie? And to top it off 31" legroom recently reduced down from 32?"
: Thanks Enrique for such a fabulous trip report! I am so happy that AA treats its top guests well. The opup on the return is definitely a great move by
: Another excellent report Enrique, with some fantastic photos! The seat (and goodies) looks great. It doesn't look very easy to look out the window tho
: Enrique, how is Horton by the way? The more i read about him, the more I like him.
: Funny, the lettuce leaf is placed on top of the pasta to help keep it moist while cooking. Flight attendants are supposed to remove it before serving
: Amazing new product. Fantastic trip report. Thanks! They aren't. But the good news is, it's because AA is working with the manufacturer to develop an