Today we were lucky enough to fly on American Airlines 777-300 in their flagship business class seats. What made this even better was the fact that we were able to book it as economy. American is known for routinely flying their large wide body aircraft between their major hubs (i.e. DFW, JFK, LAX, MIA). When this happens they market their 3 class aircraft as two, with only first class and economy class. The business class seats then fall under economy and are available for booking as a regular economy ticket. Initially they would let anybody book these seats but they have since started labeling them as Main Cabin Extra (MCE). But on these flights, rather than simply paying for 6 inches of extra leg room (free with American status) you get a lie flat seat. We were able to find some of these seats on a recent flight from DFW-LAX and booked them to see what they were all about.
Since the aircraft is typically used on transcontinental flights it flew in from London, causing us to leave out of Terminal D. This was an added benefit of booking on this aircraft as Terminal D is by far the nicest terminal at DFW.
The flight arrived from London on time, allowing for us to have an on time boarding as well. As you can see above, American’s Flagship aircraft is very spacious upon entering, lined with all of the business class seats (which were economy on this flight) and very inviting. First class was to the left, as well as the first two rows of business class, so nobody walked past these seats. Each seat had plenty of room and I was very excited for what suddenly seemed like a short 3 hr flight to Los Angeles.
Every seat in this business class cabin had a nice built in side table for any small items you would want to have easy access to during the flight. I pulled out my headphones and a bottle of water before placing my bag in the overhead bin, which I had entirely to myself even though the flight was completely full. I then sat down in my seat, 13D. The seat also has a small cubby area, pictured above, with a mirror and room to place anything so it doesn’t slide around.
My biggest complaint with this seat, and it is a small one at that, is the difficulty in viewing the screen during taxi, take-off, and landing. They don’t let you pull out the screen until the plane is in the air, but once it is this is extremely convenient and easy to view. And since the majority of the time on the plane is spent in the air this is not a big deal because it allows for a better overall set up of the seat.
While on the ground you can always hope the person next to you is trying to watch a good show. When the tv is tucked back it is easy to see your neighbors, but the actual seats feel very private and I couldn’t see my neighbor. At the same time, if I really needed to talk to the person next to me it would not at all be an issue.
The majority of the seat features are controlled electronically. The entire recline feature works with the arrows shown above and is very simple to use. Then the screen is a touch screen but can also be controlled with the remote that pulls out from the side. I found myself using a combination of the two for controlling what I was watching.
Since this was still technically an economy seat the in-flight service was nothing special. It was the typical economy in-flight service but at least American has returned to serving small snacks on their domestic flights. So I was able to enjoy a ginger ale and pack of Biscoff cookies. The other option was a bag of pretzels.
After my snack I decided to get another picture of the seat and check out more of the cabin. The picture above shows how the screen pulls out for viewing during the flight. I think this set up works very well while the plane is in the air and makes for a comfortable viewing experience. I also fully extended the seat to see how in the lie flat position. I have to say, if I would’ve had a pillow with me I could have taken a great nap. But without this, the seat was slightly more comfortable in the recline position.
Near the front of the business class cabin on this aircraft they have a snack bar with a tv screen and lighting to provide ambience and easy viewing on flights when it is dark in the cabin. On this flight the bar area didn’t contain anything but on international flights in this cabin the bar area is generally stocked with a variety of snacks. It’s a convenient walk-up bar for if you get hungry at all in between meals on a long flight.
Right near the walk-up bar there were two bathrooms, one on each side of the aircraft. These bathrooms were significantly nicer than those on board their older aircraft, but still not on par with those on board the fancier international airlines. Nonetheless it was great to see this improvement with nicer finishings and an automatic sink.
The bathroom felt spacious with plenty of headroom and a floor to ceiling mirror. There would have been plenty of room to change into pajamas or something more comfortable if this had been a longer flight. It was also nice that the door opened and closed, rather than folding.
Back in the seat I did a little more looking around with the entertainment system and noticed this aircraft offered live in seat sports while at 35,000 ft. So I was able to watch some of the Raiders vs. Texans game live. The game wasn’t very close but it was still cool to be watching it while I was flying between DFW and LAX. The picture was actually pretty clear and there was very little lag, it actually worked better than the watch EPSN app so I was impressed.
Then with about 30 minutes left in the flight we discovered the in flight messaging feature between seats. We didn’t really use it but it is still neat that you can send messages between seats with whoever you are flying with. You just need to pick the seat, name the conversation, and start sending messages. But ideally you will just be sitting next to each other so it wouldn’t matter too much.
Overall I have to say the actual seat is great and I would not hesitate to book it again. Whenever there is points availability I would highly suggest booking this type of business class seat rather than on their older aircraft. This can be determined by looking at the seat map and booking the flight with a 1x2x1 configuration in business class and not 2x3x2. This also applies to bookings on the 77W since as of right now the airbus planes have slightly different business class seats than this one since they are all from US Airways. Unfortunately American has a variety of different business class seats, so there isn’t conformity throughout the fleet. But if you know which plane to book then they do offer a great business class hard product.
If you are planning a trip and have the choice of booking into this cabin then I highly recommend it. The location of this seat, 13D, was fine but if any of the seats in row 3 and 4 are available at booking then I would highly recommend taking one of them. Those 2 rows are basically in their own mini cabin. This type of seat is much better than any other business class seat American currently offers, as well as the business class seats on other domestic airlines. The flight did leave a slight sour taste in my mouth as we were delayed due to cargo issues, and then had our gate given away at LAX since we were late, causing us to sit there for another hour. I found this to be very annoying but it still doesn’t take anything away from the seat. The only bright spot to this delay was that we had a nice comfortable seat to sit in for it. I’ll be on the lookout for any availability they might have for point redemptions when I start planning my next trip. Finally, I would love to hear from anyone who has sat in this seat and what they thought. Or if anyone has questions then feel free to leave a note below. Until next time!