American 777-300 Business Class Miami to Los Angeles

The 777-300 is the flagship of the American Airlines (AA) fleet.  The AA 777-300, or 77W as AA designates it, has 310 passenger seats– 8 first class, 52 business class, 30 main cabin extra, and 220 regular economy.  This plane serves mostly international destinations.  In spite of the large business-class section, its popularity among AA frequent flyers and the general public makes it hard to find space to use a System Wide Upgrade (SWU) to be upgraded to business class from economy on its international routes.

Identifying the 777-300

For anyone interested in plane spotting, you can identify the 777s by their large size, two engines and no wingtip winglets.  The 77W is the only AA version of the 777 with an exit door over the wing.

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View of a 777-300 from the D-23 Admirals Club at DFW. The small dome on the roof of the plane is an antenna for maintaining wifi reception over the ocean.

Booking the flight

The easiest way for me to experience business class on an AA 77W is to fly it on one of the few routes on which AA operates it domestically.  It is easy to find space to use a SWU on a domestic route.  It is even possible to get a complimentary elite upgrade from economy.  I actually booked this flight by buying an inexpensive purchased business-class ticket.

The price for business class for the Los Angeles – Charlotte – Miami – Panama – Miami – Los Angeles flights was $770, which is a good deal considering that a refundable, one-way, business-class ticket for MIA to LAX alone normally sells for about $900.    I took the unusual step (for me) of purchasing the ticket to ensure sitting in business class on the 77W and to get double Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) plus a few thousand extra AAdvantage miles for all of the miles flown on this trip.  The added EQMs aids in reaching my goal of earning eight SWUs by accumulating 200,000 EQMs on AA this year.

American Flight 275 Miami to Los Angeles

The flight was scheduled to depart MIA at 5:00pm.  After spending a few hours at the Plaza Premium lounge in Terminal E following my flight from Panama, I arrived at my gate in Terminal D at 4:30 just as boarding began.  The boarding process was orderly in spite of  the crowd of people at the gate.  Soon I was at my seat, 4A.

Flight 275 was scheduled to cover the 2,342 miles between MIA and LAX in five hours and 34 minutes.  On this day the projected flight time was 23 minutes less.

The seat and amenities

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Seat 4A AA 77W

There was a large pillow and quilt in each seat.  Even though this was a domestic flight American provided a mini amenity kit with eye mask, socks, lip balm, hand lotion, and a sanitizing wipe.

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Pillow and quilt
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AA domestic amenity kit

American provides Bose noise-cancelling headsets for business class.  They are stored in the console next to the seat.

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Compartment with Bose headsets and vanity mirror.

The seat is roomy and comfortable.  The seat pitch is 43 inches.  The bed length is 75 – 78 inches according to American.  When the seat is in an upright position, my feet could not reach the ottoman without stretching.

Controls for the seat are located within easy reach on a panel at eye level.  They are simple to understand and operate.

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Seat and video controls.

This panel also contains the individual reading light, power outlet and audio/visual connections.

Storage space is more than adequate.  There is a storage area under the side table for putting water bottles, newspapers and other items.

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The headset compartment can also be used to securely stow gear during takeoff and

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A unique and practical feature of this seat is the storage compartment for shoes.  It is located at floor level on the aisle side of the seat.  It is easy to reach without getting up from the seat.

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Shoe compartment

 

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Shoe compartment with door closed

Seat 4A is in the forward business-class section between first class and the business class galley and lavatories.  There are only two rows and eight seats in this section.  It is an ideal location for privacy and quiet.

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The forward business-class section 

Unlike the rear business-class section with 11 rows and 44 seats, the only people  walking through the aisles in this part of business class are the eight passengers sitting there and a few flight attendants.  Even in row 4, which is closest to the galley, it was still quiet and peaceful.  With noise-cancelling headphones on, I could not tell the galley and lavs were there.

The service

After boarding, the service began with an introduction and greeting from the flight attendant who was responsible for the forward area.  That was followed by a tray of pre-poured water or juice.

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Flight 275 pre-departure beverage

Under the circumstances, it was disappointing that the flight attendants did not take individual orders for the pre-departure beverages (PDBs).  On Delta Airlines, individual orders for PDBs or at least champagne/sparkling wine would be offered in domestic business class.

The plane departed on runway 8R.  Runways are numbered based on the magnetic direction of the runway divided by ten and rounded to the nearest whole number. Runway 8R has a magnetic heading of approximately 080 degrees.  The R designates this runway as being the runway on the right with a 080 heading.  Departing on runway 8R, the initial climb was in an easterly direction towards Miami Beach followed by a climbing left turn to get on course for Los Angeles.

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Flight 275 initial departure over Biscayne Bay towards Miami Beach

After leveling at cruising altitude heading west, the flight attendants took orders for drinks and served them with the traditional warm nuts that accompany the first beverage service on American flights.

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I ordered a Woodford Reserve small-batch bourbon.  American only began serving Woodford on April 1.  It is by far the best liquor American serves, and it is a huge improvement over Dewar’s scotch, which had been my regular choice of adult beverage.

Dinner service began shortly after the beverages were delivered.  I had pre-ordered my dinner entrée.  On American, meals can be selected on-line between 30 days and 24 hours prior to departure.  The dinner menu, which had been distributed prior to departure and orders taken or confirmed, was:

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Flight 275 menu (click to enlarge photos)

Although the creamy truffled mac & cheese was tempting, I stuck with my original order – grilled halibut.

After beverages came the starter, char siu duck with vegetables.  It was served with a tossed salad and vinaigrette dressing and warm bread and butter.  I added a glass of white wine to go with the meal.  American does a nice job with the presentation by covering the tray table with white linen and serving the dishes on white china.

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The entrée followed.

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Glazed halibut with Mediterranean quinoa, succotash, and tomato fennel sauce.

The entire meal was delicious.  The halibut was moist and the fennel sauce was flavorful and accompanied the fish well.

For desert I chose the familiar American ice cream sundae with strawberry topping, whipped cream and nuts over the plate of assorted cheeses.

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After dinner I watched the Revenant again and followed the flight progress on the video flight following system.

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AA installed an excellent flight following system on its 777-300s.  There are a multitude of views and information that can be selected.

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Some of the options of the flight-following system.

I liked the HUD (heads up display) that shows the view from the cockpit with airspeed, attitude, and altimeter displays superimposed on the screen.

With a flight time of over five hours, following dinner and the movie there was still time to stretch out in flat-bed mode for a short nap before landing in Los Angeles.

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The food, service and amenities on an international flight on this aircraft would be even more luxurious.  Nevertheless, I really liked this experience in business class on the AA 777-300.  It was well worth the price of my business-class ticket.

 

 

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