Transpac787
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AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Fri Mar 27, 2009 10:36 pm

Hey all,

This spring break I was originally planning to just go somewhere like SAN with a buddy of mine but as the time grew closer to the actual week of spring break, we realized the international loads were really wide-open... fringe benefit of a global economic downturn I guess, haha. Anyhow, we eventually decided to go to FRA to see the Technik Museum at Sinsheim. I'll preface in saying "thank you" to a ton of a.net members who helped me with countless items. Flight loads, nonrev lists, and especially those who helped me figure out the Bahn!!

As usual, I nonrevved the whole trip. Given the heavy domestic loads but light international loads, I had to take a bit of the 'long way' around to get to ORD:

DEN-HDN: UA CR2, weather below minimums - returned to DEN
DEN-HDN: UA CR7
HDN-ORD: AA 757
ORD-FRA: AA 763
FRA-ORD: AA 763
ORD-DEN: UA 763




23 Mach 2009
AA84, ORD-FRA
Block Time: 08 hours, 30 minutes
767-323/ER, N355AA
Seat: 4H, NextGen Business Class

Load Factor-
Business: 80%
Coach: 65%

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tom Mousel






Well, as I said a bit before, just getting to ORD was going to be the hardest part of the trip. Once I got to HDN, the weather started getting worse, and fast. All sorts of flights were diverting and canceling left and right, most of them going to DEN. DL from SLC, DL from ATL, NW from MSP, CO from IAH, and AA from DFW all diverted, unable to make it into HDN. By some Godly miracle, my AA 757 from ORD was able to make it in and turn back out to ORD [almost] on time.



What a great sight for me - AA 757 arriving from ORD, the only plane to get into HDN during the snowstorm.


Once I got to ORD, I had to walk quickly to make my connection to FRA, but made it quickly with no problems - they hadn't even started boarding. I looked to the gate and saw my name was already on the "cleared list" so went up to get my seat - 4H, aisle in Business Class.



Initial boarding of AA84 to FRA


Boarding went fairly fast given the fairly low load factor for the flight. Just after takeoff, the FA's handed out the personal media players, Bose noise-canceling headsets, menus, and took our orders.



Media player and headset



Media player main menu


I tried to take a picture of the menu but couldn't really get it to come out so I'll just type the menu descriptions for each item below the picture.



Warm mixed nuts or Marinated cheese antipasto (I got both Big grin)
Also, my favorite Cran-apple juice



Smoked salmon and herb marinated shrimp



Assorted gourmet breads offered with butter or Sapori d'Arte olive oil.

Fresh seasonal greens and an assortment of fresh vegetables offered with classic Caesar dressing or balsamic vinegar



Breast of chicken simmered in a creamy Thai curry and coconut milk broth accompanied by shitake mushrooms, edamame, and jasmine rice



Ice cream sundae

Vanilla ice cream with a choice of hot fudge, butterscotch, or seasonal berry toppings, whipped cream and pecans. (I got *everything* on mine, haha)

~ As an aside, for those of you that say AA is being "cheap" with offering ice cream, I suggest you know this before you level your complaints: AA got rid of the ice cream desserts back in either 2004 or 2005 for the very same reason of appearing as a "cheap" offering for a Business class and First class dessert. The outcry against this from their frequent fliers and most important business clients was, in fact, so strong and unanimous in opinion that AA should continue to serve ice cream, forced AA to bring it back very quickly.

Also know, AA always serves other desserts besides the ice cream sundae. However, given how popular the ice cream is, that's typically what everyone chooses anyway.


After the dinner service, I reclined my seat and fell asleep for as long as possible, given the typical bad jetlag on eastbound TATL flights. I did, however, make sure to wake up for the breakfast service prior to arrival.



Chilled juice, fresh seasonal fruit, cream cheese and chive omelette served with filet mignon and O'Brien potatoes.


Descent and approach were rather sporty, fairly turbulent the entire time in addition to quite a few turns - I'm not sure if that's just part of a STAR into FRA or if ATC was vectoring us around quite a bit.



Globe-view of our route



Business cabin just prior to landing



Steep turn just prior to arrival


Unfortunately I was only able to get a single picture out of the window as the person sitting at the window next to me seemingly insisted to keep the shades shut, even for landing. *grumbles*


I won't go into a long description of the trip or anything, but the main highlight for me was being able to see the Tupolev Tu-144 at the Technik museum at Sinsheim. The day we went, however, was absolutely miserable. Snow, freezing rain, wind, and just ridiculously cold. But hey, it was still worth it!!



Me, standing in front of the Tu-144



Inside the Tu-144. Hard to tell, but my jacket was dripping wet - as was my hair, jeans, etc.





26 March 2009
AA83, FRA-ORD
Block Time: 09 hours, 50 minutes
767-323/ER, N382AN
Seat: 6A, NextGen Business Class

Load Factor-
Business: 45%
Coach: 75%

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Kyle Donagher






After a short, but great trip to Germany it was time to head home again. Unfortunately, we didn't make it out to the Technik museum at Speyer... but hey, it gives me an excuse to go back, and soon Big grin

I arrived at the FRA airport 3 hours before the AA flight to ORD, so the line for check-in was quite short and took only a minute or two. While the departures hall of FRA is quite nice, I don't really care for their bizarre system of gates. That is, with outbound passport control kiosks for clusters of 4 or 5 gates, not allowing you to roam around to any other section of the airport once you've cleared the outbound passport control.

Anyhow, at the gate I got my seat assignment in J-class again, seat 6A and was told that there would be nobody in 6B next to me - I love that!! As boarding began, we were loaded onto a bus and taken out to a remote gate location. I've never seen this done before in the US, but did it in CDG as well - maybe it's a European thing??



Boarding at door 1L of N382AN for AA83 back to ORD



I was pretty excited to be taking AA 763's again - my last ride on them was in June '08, in the closing days of AA's ill-fated ORD-EZE route.


Boarding took a bit longer than I expected, given how they had to make multiple bus runs to our plane at the remote gate. Despite this, we were still able to get out 10 minutes early, which was lucky given how the pilots were expecting a longer en route time than normal, with headwinds higher than 100 knots during some portions of cruise.



Biz class cabin in final boarding, prior to closing the doors



Taking on last-minute fuel for the stronger-than-anticipated headwinds


Once the doors were shut, we were off pretty quickly. Very quick taxi to the runway, taking only 2 or 3 minutes.



Wide open row. Seats 6DG and 6HJ.



Takeoff out of a cloudy and snowing FRA



Initial level-off, above the clouds


Right after takeoff, the FA's quickly began the meal service. Given the light J-class load, I think they wanted to finish as quickly as possible so they could get longer crew rest breaks (I don't blame them one bit!)



Menu for our return flight. All of AA's 2009 menus will feature cover artwork and photography by AA employees.


Again, I tried to take a picture of the inside of the menu but it doesn't really work so I'll just type the menu descriptions below the pictures.



Warm mixed nuts or Marinated cheese antipasto (again, I got both, along with my Cranapple juice)



Marinated grilled shrimp, smoked trout and grilled salmon enhanced by a mustard caper sauce, served with fresh thyme and a lemon wedge

Assorted gourmet breads offered with butter or Sapori d'Arte olive oil



Fresh seasonal greens and an assortment of fresh vegetables offered with honey dijon dressing or olive oil and balsamic vinegar.



A blend of tomatoes, basil, black olives, and mozzarella cheese served over penne pasta with a parmesan and creamy goat cheese tomato sauce



Ice cream sundae

Vanilla ice cream with a choice of hot fudge, butterscotch, or seasonal berry toppings, whipped cream and pecans. (I got 'the works', again)


After the meal service, I fell asleep for a few hours but wasn't really that tired so got up and watched a few episodes of "The Office" on the personal media player, followed by the movie "Juno" which I found to be a lot better than I was expecting it to be.



At cruise, somewhere over the Atlantic. I love ETOPS!!


About 2.5 hours out from Chicago, the FA's asked if I'd like the pre-arrival meal service earlier than the rest, as it seemed I was only one of two or three people in the J-cabin who were awake. The pre-arrival choices were a beef fillet sandwich that sounded *really* good, but the other option was pizza, and I just can't pass up the novelty of having pizza on an airplane, haha.



Deep-dish spinach pizza seasoned with garlic, offered with a fresh green salad topped with broccoli, plum tomatoes, and italian herb vinaigrette



Fresh fruit and oatmeal raisin cookies, freshly baked on board.


Having flown both AA and UA a number of times now, I have to say that AA's food service is leagues ahead of UA. Much larger portions, greater selections, and a much better 2nd meal service. I know some on a.net love to rag on AA's new Biz class, and while it may not be lie-flat, the food service easily compensates for that shortcoming, as UA's food service I find to be highly lacking compared to other US legacies.


Anyhow, I barely finished watching "Juno" before the personal media players and Bose headsets were collected before landing. Great approach though, always plenty of cool stuff to see going into O'Hare.



Final approach into Chicago O'Hare. Speed brakes deployed, Sears Tower and Chicago skyline visible in distance.


Despite the short duration, I had a fantastic time in Germany and can't wait to go back, especially to see the Space Shuttle Buran at the Technik Museum in Speyer. Thanks again to all the a.net members who helped me in the days/weeks before the trip!!
 
Comeflywithme
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:15 pm

Great report.

AA's Business Class looks better than I thought.  thumbsup 
 
N104UA
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:18 pm

Great TR as always, looks like you figured out the Bahn and I do agree with you that UA does need better food.
"Learn the rules, so you know how to break them properly." -H.H. The Dalai Lama
 
kimberlyRJ
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:29 pm

Looks like had a nice flight on that bird - I still have a soft spot for the Boeing 767 - love the power on takeoff, you can't beat it (RR still the best sounding engine by far though).

One question, the entertainment system and the surrounding area looks like it was added on as an afterthought, it just looks a little untidy – is that the case? How is the ease of using it?

Kimberly RJ
 
DFW13L
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:38 pm

What a good trip report! Sorry the weather was so bad the whole way from start to finish. I can't believe they served a portion of a grilled filet mignon with your omelet for breakfast! I flew DFW LHR on the 767 in J at the end of Jan, and the food was exactly the same except for that item! A short trip, but a good read. Sounds like you had fun, and had great flights.

As a side note, there will be some improvements to the first class offerings on long-haul on April 1st, although the changes I heard about (such as nice tulip shaped stemware for first class wine) will only be for first, not J class.

Thanks for the TR, enjoyable as always!
Matt
See, I knew American Eagle was first class all along!
 
RICARIZA
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Fri Mar 27, 2009 11:55 pm

Hey, great TR, thanks. I recently flew AA business MIA - MAD - MIA and the service on the 777 is not as good as this... is there a reason that the service is better on this route?


Yours:


vs mine:
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brittrvl
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:20 am

Ricariza

Yes this is a problem with 777 business class on AA. AA on 767 is 2 class and the food is WAY better than business class on the 777. Its like glorified coach every time I have flown whereas the 767 means bigger portions, better crockery and overall a nicer experience. I think the 767 is more of a hybrid between 1st and busienss rather than straight business.

Good TR report thanks and thanks for showing the food!
Airlines flown: AA,AF,AS,AZ,BA,BD,CX,DL,MH,NW,SQ,TG,UA&VS
 
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CrimsonNL
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:34 am

Hi Matt, great report! I probably should make my way over to FRA anytime soon, it's not that far away, and the TU looks great! Maybe AMS for you next time?  Wink

Gr Martijn
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ual757
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:36 am



Quoting RICARIZA (Reply 5):

Your drink was a pre departure drink...his was in-flight.
 
semsem
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 2:46 am

What other deserts do AA offer apart from ice cream?
 
797
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:50 am

Awesome report!

I have been debating myself on how to spend the miles I've got with AA... unsure if with other OneWorld carrier, or if with AA. This service sure looked worthy!

Quoting UAL757 (Reply 8):
Your drink was a pre departure drink...his was in-flight.

Pre departure drinks on the 763 are also in a glass cup like the one he has after departure. I was quite impressed when I saw the cheap plastic cup on the 777 biz.
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B747forever
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 3:59 am

Great TR

Like the pics

AA seems to be a good carrier, based on your TR


Thank you for sharing

B747forever
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RICARIZA
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:07 am



Quoting Brittrvl (Reply 6):
Yes this is a problem with 777 business class on AA. AA on 767 is 2 class and the food is WAY better than business class on the 777. Its like glorified coach every time I have flown whereas the 767 means bigger portions, better crockery and overall a nicer experience. I think the 767 is more of a hybrid between 1st and busienss rather than straight business.

That might be the reason.. thanks.

------------

Quoting UAL757 (Reply 8):
Your drink was a pre departure drink...his was in-flight.



Quoting 797 (Reply 10):
Pre departure drinks on the 763 are also in a glass cup like the one he has after departure. I was quite impressed when I saw the cheap plastic cup on the 777 biz.

You just answered for me brother.. thanks!

-------------
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PlaneHunter
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 8:14 am

Very nice report, good to hear you enjoyed your time in Germany. AA's Business Class product looks quite good in general - especially the food. However, the design of the seats is anything but pretty.


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
ba319-131
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 10:20 am

Great report and pictures,

Enjoyed the read, thanks.

Thr food quality looks much better than other AA flights we have seen here recently, nice!

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
the design of the seats is anything but pretty.

- Totally agree, not the most welcoming cabin I've ever been in.

Regards

Mark
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atrude777
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:42 pm

Good Report

AA's Biz seats are truly amazing, and I think would still prefer it over United's F Seats (PS service) as well.

Good pics and all. Glad you got back.

So WN didn't save the day, the uncanny United 763 did instead  Wink

Alex
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Transpac787
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:28 pm



Quoting Kimberlyrj (Reply 3):
I still have a soft spot for the Boeing 767

Yea, myself as well. A bit of an unsung hero, the 767, in regard to longhaul fleets.

Quoting Kimberlyrj (Reply 3):
One question, the entertainment system and the surrounding area looks like it was added on as an afterthought, it just looks a little untidy – is that the case? How is the ease of using it?

Yes. The AA 777's IFE is installed at every seat. The AA 763's have independent units. Why they did this, I'm not sure. They are easy to use once 'installed' in the seat though.

Quoting DFW13L (Reply 4):
Thanks for the TR, enjoyable as always!

Thanks for reading and thanks a ton for your help before the trip!!

Quoting CrimsonNL (Reply 7):
Maybe AMS for you next time?

Yea definitely. I'll send you a timetable when I'm looking at going to see if you're available then.

Quoting Semsem (Reply 9):
What other deserts do AA offer apart from ice cream?

Always the fruit and cheese plates. In addition to this, they always have some sort of tart, cobbler, or something like that.

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 15):
So WN didn't save the day, the uncanny United 763 did instead

I know - the nonrev gods allowed me some luck that day  Silly
 
FL787
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sun Mar 29, 2009 4:46 am

Excellent TR as all of yours are! Just wondering, if you had to choose between UA and AA C on the 763 what would you pick? Which do you think is better overall?
 
vandenheuvel
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Sun Mar 29, 2009 7:56 pm

Thank you for writing this trip report. I have really enjoyed reading it. Letting the pictures tell your story, together with some explanations is a very nice way to make a trip report.

If I ever fly an interesting route I will try to do it just this way.

Tim,
 
Transpac787
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Mon Mar 30, 2009 1:18 pm



Quoting FL787 (Reply 17):
if you had to choose between UA and AA C on the 763 what would you pick? Which do you think is better overall?

While the new UA seats are very nice, I'd still choose AA every time just given their remarkably better in-flight meal services. Besides, those seats are anything from poor, they're quite comfortable.

Quoting Vandenheuvel (Reply 18):
If I ever fly an interesting route I will try to do it just this way.

Haha thanks  bigthumbsup 
 
caspritz78
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:47 pm

Nice report and yes you should come back to visit the museum in Speyer and of course the city itself. Wonderful place. I was stationed their during my time with the German Army.

Quoting Transpac787 (Thread starter):
I've never seen this done before in the US, but did it in CDG as well - maybe it's a European thing??

That's because of the limited space. A lot of the large European airports don't have much room to expand or just started with expanding after years of legal battles with environmentalists, residents etc. So there are not enough gates. Anyway Frankfurt will be expanded over the next years. A new Terminal A0 for Lufthansa is under construction, a new (landing only) runway is under construction and a brand new third terminal will build in the south of the airport.

Still I actually like the bus transfers. You get a much better view of the aircrafts. Of course it sucks when its raining or in the winter.
 
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Mon Mar 30, 2009 5:59 pm



Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 13):
Very nice report, good to hear you enjoyed your time in Germany. AA's Business Class product looks quite good in general - especially the food. However, the design of the seats is anything but pretty.


PH

= I think I must echo PH completely on this one. AA's food (especially on the outbound) looks better than many fancied J class products out there. Also, the seat isn't up to international (and increasingly U.S. benchmarks), but will do I guess.

Thanks for a great TR.

Saludos,
A.
Live, and let live.
 
Atlanta
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:16 pm



Quoting Transpac787 (Thread starter):

Nice TR!

Quoting Transpac787 (Thread starter):
Final approach into Chicago O'Hare. Speed brakes deployed, Sears Tower and Chicago skyline visible in distance.

Great picture!  Smile

Atlanta
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Aaron747
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Tue Mar 31, 2009 3:16 pm

Again, the outstation catering looks far and away better than the product that originated in the US. Catering stateside has really gone to the dogs...
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777STL
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Wed Apr 01, 2009 2:28 am

Fantastic trip report! I wish every one was as good as yours are. Two thumbs up.
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Transpac787
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:46 am



Quoting Caspritz78 (Reply 20):
a new (landing only) runway is under construction

Really?? Why landing-only?

Quoting 777STL (Reply 24):
I wish every one was as good as yours are.

Haha thanks Big grin
 
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fxramper
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Thu Apr 02, 2009 2:45 pm

Did my uncle drive you over there? I know he did back to back FRA and BRU the last week of March.





Scary!  rotfl 

Another good report.  bigthumbsup 
 
modesto2
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:06 am

Great report with awesome food pics! If you like AA's food, you should try CO's BusinessFirst food - impressive! For a U.S. carrier, CO's BF has great meals, and I love the 2 - 1 - 2 configuration on their 767s.

The 2 - 2 - 2 767 Business configurations still seem a little narrow. I can only speak on personal experience with United Business and Delta BusinessElite, but those 767 seats are rather narrow for a premium product.
 
Transpac787
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:56 pm



Quoting Fxramper (Reply 26):
Scary!   

Another good report.

What a flattering picture of me, haha.

Quoting Modesto2 (Reply 27):
The 2 - 2 - 2 767 Business configurations still seem a little narrow.

Yea... while the new UA Biz class is nice, I found the seats to be really narrow, even after I lowered the armrests. I couldn't lay flat on my back - both of my shoulders where jammed into both sides of that privacy canopy thing, so to get any decent sleep I had to turn and sleep on my side.
 
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fxramper
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Tue Apr 07, 2009 2:29 pm

Did you get a chance to meet the flight crew on your FRA seg?

Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 28):
What a flattering picture of me, haha.

I thought so.  rotfl 
 
Transpac787
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Tue Apr 07, 2009 3:33 pm



Quoting Fxramper (Reply 29):
Did you get a chance to meet the flight crew on your FRA seg?

No, they only told us their last names in the intro PA, I didn't go up to the cockpit on either flight.
 
Avianca
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Thu Apr 09, 2009 4:48 pm



Quoting Comeflywithme (Reply 1):
AA's Business Class looks better than I thought.

couldn't not agree more!


Great report about AA and my beloved home country Germany.
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CAP2008
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Mon Apr 13, 2009 5:29 pm



Quoting Transpac787 (Thread starter):
and especially those who helped me figure out the Bahn!!

Why thank you  praise  lol jk

Quoting Transpac787 (Thread starter):
or if ATC was vectoring us around quite a bit.

yeah, I usually listen in on the pilot's conversations on the crew bus in AMS every time I go, and they all agreed that that FRA's ATC was the worst of all TATL destinations in terms of wasting fuel in holding patterns

Glad you got to see that Ruskie Concord, but you really should learn to appreciate a good fun-in-the-sun trip every now and then  Wink
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N62NA
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RE: AA 767-300 Business Class, ORD-FRA (pics)

Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:27 am



Quoting Transpac787 (Reply 16):
Quoting Kimberlyrj (Reply 3):
One question, the entertainment system and the surrounding area looks like it was added on as an afterthought, it just looks a little untidy – is that the case? How is the ease of using it?

Yes. The AA 777's IFE is installed at every seat. The AA 763's have independent units. Why they did this, I'm not sure. They are easy to use once 'installed' in the seat though.

But the bad part is that you don't get the airshow/moving map with the portable units on the AA 763. That's why I will avoid AA's 763 TATL if at all possible and go with the 777.... or even their newly configured 757s for TATL which are supposed to also have the airshow at every seat in J.

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