mhkansan From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 733 posts, RR: 1 Posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 17598 times:
A very much overdue trip report from earlier (much earlier) this month - I flew with Tom Horton and AA's new 777-300ER to Sao Paulo!
I didn't really plan too much on taking this trip. About a month out, I was very amused to find lots of empty seats, some in business and a few in the back. "I should go to Brazil," I thought, "and fly on this inaugural flight."
About two weeks before I flew down to Houston I flew down to Houston to take care of my visa. Besides the whole flying down to Houston part, it was a pretty easy process. My mother came with me, wanting to get out of the Kansas winter - don't blame her at all. We stayed two nights downtown and I had to take a bus an hour to get to the suburban office park where the consulate was. The whole process probably took an hour but they tell you on the website to schedule basically a whole day for the experience.
The visa is good for 10 years and cost me $160 plus the trip to Houston.
Houston was nice. We flew into the very nice Houston Hobby airport, which is very well appointed, and out of IAH. The only eventful thing to report was the (seriously) hour long ride by public transit out to IAH. I take it the public bus isn't how folks generally get to IAH, is it?
A week or two later and it was time to go to Dallas for the flight.
AA gives it's non-revenue employees, registered companions, and spouses four higher-than other priority slots a year for standby passengers. These put you over the standard non-rev passengers on the priority list, and I used one of my four passes for this trip. I also opted for an earlier flight from Manhattan so I could meet a friend in DFW. The flights I finally picked were AA2831 from MHK-DFW and, of course, AA963 from DFW-GRU, at the time of checking-in with at least enough space for me to squeeze on in the back. Plus, the earlier check-in time and my earlier MHK-DFW flight made me the number one non-revenue traveller on the priorty list.
I arrived in DFW right on time from the MHK flight. I would have written a report on it, but I've covered the ops at MHK before in my recent Canada TR. Flying to DFW has become so normal to me that I hardly anticipate these trips like I would have a few years ago, when I would have drooled for months over the fact that I was actually flying somewhere!.
I still get a kick out of flying, and it honestly never gets old, but it just isn't the same.
I met my friend immiediately as I exited the jetbridge at B-14 just below the Skylink station, and our number one stop was B-23 where the first painted 77W was, my aircraft to take me to GRU tonight, 7LB. We had to be quick though, because my firend was going to his FA medical exam at HDQ. We got some excellent shots of the aircraft out of a window near B-23.
Like many others before me have already said, this livery looks absolutely fantastic in person, and in the DFW sunshine the micah-covered paintjob really gleams similar to the existing livery, which I also love and will be very much missed.
My friend had to run off to medical and there was a private event going on at the gate, but an AA representitive said a tour for employees was planned at 3:00 pm on another aircraft over at B-25! Excellent!! I had a few hours to kill before then, so I did a lap on the Skylink to get some aerial shots. The only thing not to like about DFW Concourse D is the lack of the ramp view from Skylink
I also noted the NK operation at the E-sattelite and the smart-looking VX A319.
Wow... What an airplane!
The 77W tour
I sat down and enjoyed reading the a.net forums on DFW's new free wifi service provided by AT&T. I guess it's ad supported but in the hour or two I used it I certainly didn't see any ads.
I got engrossed into managing my Airline Empires airline and didn't realize the huge, snaking line forming behind me full of American employees waiting to tour the 77W. By the time I realized it was time to go, the line was stretching form D-25 all the way past D-23 in what other passengers must have thought was the longest boarding queue for the most oversold flight of all time!
I stood up and waitied in line also, conversing with some HQ staff, and the line started moving fairly quickly. I waited probably 30 minutes before we finally got to the D-25 doorway for the real show!
Me in the new business class seat.
The huge GE-90s hanging off the massive wing.
Main Cabin Extra bulkhead, where the cabin is comfortably configured with a 3-3-3 arrangement.
Rear economy cabin from the back. At this point I am very impressed with AA's future.
7LB is chilling out next door, waiting to take me to Sao Paulo.
I also toured the small, 8-seat first class cabin and took a picture up of the forward crew rest. I took a very poor video of my walk through that cabin and now I'm finding out videos aren't very good ways to review airplanes when you're taking a tour, because it's basically "Look at this, this is cool! Oh look at this too, isn't this cool?!"
I'm less excited about it now, and I can say for sure that the new F product is more or less just an updated version of what we've already got. Business is just fine for me! And honestly, in this plane, so is coach.
So far all I've shown you is a sub-par 77W tour, which is pretty neat, but this trip report is about the inaugural flight to Brazil on a completely different 77W, the one in the new paint parked over at B-23. There's a part in Monty Python's Holy Grail where Zut is very much enjoying this particular scene, and she's not really sure why it was originally included, and then the rest of the cast just shouts "Get on with it!" Gosh, okay... fine!
mhkansan From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 733 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 17600 times:
-- AA 963 DFW-GRU(!) - The Inaugural 77W 31JAN
The gate area started to get busy around 5 or 6 pm and the sun was starting too set. In the distance I could hear the final boarding announcements for the earlier departure to Sao Paulo. At this point I knew I wasn't getting business class on the 77W since all of the positive-space employees asked for upgrades, but I was content knowing I was getting a seat in coach.
Refreshments just for pax on the inaugural flight were provided at the gate entrance near the counter.
I went and checked with the agent about availible window seats, and sure enough, one in the back 2-4-2 section of the aircraft, the back row 43A. Fine with me! I'd get to appreciate the aircraft's size from back there for sure!
Tom got up and said a few words about the new airplane alongside some other dignitiaries.
And soon enough it was time to board!
From the jetbridge, you can see the other 77W I toured earlier, still in the gray scheme.
Its down the jetbridge to 7LB for my second-ever flight on the 777 and first flight on AA's first 777-300ER. I am very excited to board this airplane, and for my first trip internationally of 2013. Its a very long walk to the back of the aircraft.
There is a goody bag on every seat! I set it aside and start taking photos while the rest of the aircraft continues to board.
The contents of the goody bag were:
A nice, warm Paramount-branded shirt.
Nice looking yet low-quality red in-ear headphones.
This nice thing, whatever I'm suppoesed to do with it.
This folds out into an eight-section panorama of the 77W in-flight and explains the meaning behind the "New American."
A bag, within the goody bag.
And a 77W cookie.
Inside there was also a certificate for 5,000 non-elite qualifying AAdvantage miles. I had my backpack with me underneath the seat, so I had some problems finding a good place to put that goody bag. In row 43 where I was, the fuselage tapers back gently and there is a nice large gap between the window and the seat where it fit neatly along with my laptop when I wasn't using it, which is a bonus for those seats in the back for sure.
Other passengers were having problems finding a place for those goody bags, some of the early arrivals put them in the overhead bins much to the flight attendant's dismay, because as with every full flight, there was soon very limited space up there.
I felt the seat itself was a fine standard width and, and at least while the passenger's seat in front of me stayed in the upright position, the legroom wasn't bad either. The seats in row 43 recline some, but not fully, and as soon as the folks in row 42 arrived, the seats went straight back, somewhat inhibiting my work space (not necessarily legroom as the seats are cradleing) but the seatback came back to where my laptop screen would have been had I had it out.
My seatmate is a 17 year old Brazilian foreign exchange student coming back from a foreign exchange to Vancouver (transiting DFW? okay..). She is small and is pleasant to talk to and gives me a crash course in Portuguese as we ready for departure.
The ususal departure announcements are made, and it's neat to hear that the AA Chief Pilot is at the controls this evening. Push back soon commences, we're on our way and I'm really going to Brazil!
Easy to notice the curvature of the fueslage from back here!
This wingwalker wingwalks resolutely and with attention.
This is big guys. I love airplanes and I love American Airlines, but I don't get emotional around these sorts of things. I'm writing this report almost a month later, but as this big piece of metal turned out of the gate facing South, it gave me in the A seat a fantastic view of the most moving thing I've seen at the airline so far, and I honestly did shed a tear at the sight: Hundreds, and I mean hundreds, of my fellow employees staring back at me from my seat - on the ramp, things stopped completely to watch us leave - in the terminal, people lined the windows along the entire D-terminal. Even up in the Admiral's club, everybody was standing, almost at attention, as we pushed back. It was moving, and it made me remeber this was more than an inaugural flight of AA's newest, biggest, and baddest jet. This was the beginning, the start, the rebirth of the New American - something me, the little Eagle employee in the back got to play a small part in today.
This video from the ramp kind of captures that emotion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbRB3vb2b7M
Then, we got a water cannon salute. I think the whole plane was moved by the sight.
It was very touching and these pictures and words do not adequately convey that emotion onboard.
A sub-par photo of QF getting ready to go to BNE.
I have a video of the takeoff, but being dark and all it isn't all that impressive except for the amazing siren's song of the massive GE-90s, my first time on a plane with this power, I fell in love as soon as they revved up for takeoff. What an amazing sound, and a powerful takeoff for us that evening.
The main cabin clapped as we leaped into the Texas winter night, ascending North like an arrow to Kansas or Tulsa or the Cornerstone at ORD, but turning soon East-Southeast towards Florida and Miami.
I settled back into the comfortable seat, and managed to get my laptop out and squeezed between me and the person in front of me's reclined seat.
The internet didn't work for me now, or any other time I tried it on my Kindle, which was too bad since 1) It is free for the first two months, and 2) Its a big selling point of AA internatinal service with this airframe.
Before dinner, the mood lighting was set to this attractive shade of red, and the flight attendants came and distributed complimentary celebratory champagne about 40-50 minutes after departure.
I had to partake in this brilliant celebration!
Over Miami, Florida - about to start the dinner service.
The FA has a beef offering, or a tortilini pasta dish. I had an absoultely amazing meal with the tortilini on my FRA-DFW flight on the 763, so I decided to try that again. It wasn't quite as good, but very tasty nonetheless and I don't regret the choice at all!
Shortly after the meal was cleared away, I started "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which was pretty good but nothing really to write home about except for Emma Watson is doing something other than Harry Potter for once (and did pretty good). A while later, I got up to use the lav - I walked up to the mid-cabin lav just to move around a bit in the spacious Y cabin, and then ventured back to the back galley to chat with the flight attendants as every friendly nonrevver should. They seemed like they would have loved some company except that at that time they were in a meeting with what seemed to be an AA inflight coordinator discussing the service, and probably the inoperative wifi, and turned me back to my seat. Aw shucks! I really wanted to ask to see the rear crown crew rest
Oh well, I went back to my seat where my seatmate had a nice converation for some time before we both started another movie. I was somewhere over the carribean when I finally fell asleep, and I didn't wake up until about an hour prior to landing with a brilliant view of South America out my window!
Breakfast was sparse with a soft, warm bread and yogurt. Not bad, but not close at all to the breakfast they were getting up front.
The cabin shortly after breakfast was served.
Soon, we began the brilliantly beautiful descent into Sao Paulo, Brazil. One of the world's largest cities and one of AA's strongest preforming international outstations.
A look behind me as I am the last to leave the rear economy cabin.
MCE and the forward economy cabin:
A few AA'ers are checking out the new toy:
I step off the airplane into a beautiful, warm, sunny, South American midsummer day. Three AA 777s are basking in the sun near to 7LB, which is enjoying her first trip abroad I think. Oneworld partner LAN is here with an A320, which I rode an example of from SCL to EZE last May and had a great time on!
Its the customs/transit hall alongside the terminal that takes all of us into the country. The whole place is a zoo, full of people, but customs is super easy since I have no checked bags and the customs agent is friendly.
Bye 7LB! It was sure a lot of fun!
This place, with its use of heavy dark materiels and mult-storey atrium, reminds me of MCI somewhat.
I love the advertising for the DFW service!
I wander around for a bit. I'm hungry, and I consider McDonald's, but reconsider - I'm in Brazil, goddamnit, not Kansas! Everything else is expensive, so I decide I'll wait until I get to the city center. The tourist information woman gives me a map and directs me to the bus office and ATMs, where I colllect $R 400, about $200 US. This easily gets me through 3.5 days of Brazil including hostels, food, drinks(!), and a souvenier or two. Not bad at all!
I know there is a convienient semi-public bus that goes to centro, so I find the "Airport Bus Service" ticket office. The agent directs me to the Tiete bus, which departs from Terminal 2. I'm happy to walk over there!
The bus is cheap and comfortabale, and I meet up with someone in line who has an AA963 GRU bag tag. I asked him how his flight was and he replied he was very excited he had stumbled onto the inaugural - he always flies AA but he appreciated the new offerings very much but just wished the wifi would have worked.
Couldn't have said it better myself! I say goodbye to him, buy my ticket, and head to the bus stop where the bus is boarding to Centro!
Here are some highlights from my trip to Sao Paulo, I was here for three nights and then flew up to Rio on Azul Brazilian Airlines - Spent two nights there in Rio, and then flew home via MIA and ORD - that will be covered in part two, coming soon!!
Hostel accomodation at the HI-Sao Paulo. Not bad, met some cool people there for sure.
The Banespa tour has some great views, and the tour is free!
mhkansan From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 733 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 17544 times:
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 2): AA Y legroom has been reduced to 31" from 32" and I can really feel the difference.
The cradling slimline seats AA is installing in most new aircraft really do away with restricted legroom. As I mentioned, the only bad part was work space - when the person in front of me reclined it restricted the area I could put my laptop, but then again in the back row I couldn't compensate that with reclining my seat all the way.
I'm 6'0 and I fit fine into that seat and thought it was rather comfortable. Alongside the entertainment I was very content in Y on this flight.
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 2): The meal looks just as awful as usual. Lettuce with a tiny 99 cent desert you can find in a subway automat.
As I said the meal was quite good. Its not what you'd expect in J but it wasn't bad. I had a better meal in Y on FRA-DFW, but it was comparable if not somewhat better than any other international Y meal on AA.
Quoting lychemsa (Reply 2): I was in Sao Paulo in 1978. At the time it was the ugliest city I had ever visited. I told my aunts to go there just to see what a mess the place was.
It has definitely cleaned up since the Olympics were announced to be there. From what the locals have said, street crimes have been all but eliminated and there is a very strong police presence in the cities. The area between Paulista Avenue and Centro is where the locals go to hang out, and its diverse and colorful and very busy. The parks are gorgeous and the city, while very gray, is brimming with small, vibrantly green gardens. The most colorful part of this city is it's people - I could spend hours sitting on the street and watching the Paulistanos. You're right, it's organized chaos, and its an amazing sight to see it all come together.
I think you ought to give Sao Paulo another chance as we get closer to the Olympics.
I had an excellent time on the 77W, it's a revolutionary new airplane for any US carrier and it's paving the way for a completely reinvigorated AA.
IrishAyes From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 2264 posts, RR: 15
Reply 6, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 16569 times:
What an incredible TR.
I love that somebody managed to capture the inaugural in the main cabin. Wonderfully written and well-documented. Thank you very much for taking the time to prepare this report! It must have been a huge treat to be a part of the, and I am glad they did not neglect the coach passengers and included them on the gift distribution, champagne, etc. I am disappointed by the catering, however. AA needs to really raise its standards on the food selections in YCL. Those trays look pathetic.
After looking at it from multiple perspectives, it does appear like it was a very emotional experience from all parties involved. I am sure I would have felt that way as well if were as lucky as you guys!!
I notice that one of the cabin attendants looks like Susan from this Cockpit Chronicles article haha.
planiac787 From India, joined May 2012, 240 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 11 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 15604 times:
Gr8 Report! AA has come a long way in improving there product and the hardwork does show
The catering in Y class though looks very stingy...Most carriers offer more than what you received on flights of
The Seats though look nice and there colors go very well with the other interiors...
Thanks for sharing
Be the change you want to see in the world- M.K.Gandhi
9w748capt From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 642 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 12678 times:
Nice report. What a cool opportunity to use your privileges to get on this inaugural - way to go! And then for going through the effort of doing a TR of Y class - awesome! Good to know there are other a.nutters who actually fly in Y - seems like everyone else on this site just flies in EK F every flight.
Quoting mhkansan (Thread starter): Flying to DFW has become so normal to me that I hardly anticipate these trips like I would have a few years ago, when I would have drooled for months over the fact that I was actually flying somewhere!.
I still get a kick out of flying, and it honestly never gets old, but it just isn't the same.
Sadly I kind of have to agree! My flying has also picked up a bit in the last year and although I still enjoy it, I totally get what you're saying. Will never forget the anticipation I had before my first tpac flight (AA DFW-NRT) a few years ago. A little more routine now for sure - too bad really!
Agreed - nothing quite like the 77W these days. And that livery looks might sharp in real life. Much better than on the computer screen for sure!
Quoting mhkansan (Thread starter): It wasn't quite as good, but very tasty nonetheless and I don't regret the choice at all!
Well I'm glad it tasted better than it looks, because it appears just dreadful. Seriously was there even any sauce? And the salad looks pretty b-team too. And why can't US carriers pony up for an actual dessert? AA's certainly not alone in this as I'm pretty sure UA/DL also go the cheap packaged cookie route.
And the breakfast, while not terrible, is certainly a lean offering on a 9.5 hour flight. What's odd is that it seems AA gives more substantive breakfasts on shorter runs like ORD-LHR, when breakfast is served 4-5 hours after dinner given the shorter flight duration. So on this longer flight, why such slim pickings?
Clearly AA is making strides and their hard product seems noticeably better, but they still seem like an airline that really only wants to keep their premium fare paying pax happy and just couldn't give two $hits about the poors flying in Y. I know that's just the economic reality of their business, but as someone who hit gold status with them last year with all out of pocket Y flying, just irritates me a little bit that their Y product is so mediocre. I guess I'll just continue to fly codeshares as much as possible when flying internationally.
airdfw From United States of America, joined Aug 2012, 202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 10 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 12131 times:
Quoting 9w748capt (Reply 12): Clearly AA is making strides and their hard product seems noticeably better, but they still seem like an airline that really only wants to keep their premium fare paying pax happy and just couldn't give two $hits about the poors flying in Y. I know that's just the economic reality of their business, but as someone who hit gold status with them last year with all out of pocket Y flying, just irritates me a little bit that their Y product is so mediocre. I guess I'll just continue to fly codeshares as much as possible when flying internationally.