Having flown numerous times in business class on American 777-300s trans Pacific, I’ve always wanted to try the Flagship First seats and service on this aircraft.  For me, the only way to do that without purchasing a first-class ticket in dollars or miles ( I have better uses for both), is buying a cheap business-class ticket and using a American Airlines Systemwide Upgrade (SWU).  I get four of them each year I reach 100,000 Elite Qualifying Miles on American and up to 10 if I reach or exceed 250,000 EQMs.

I was tipped to a good business-class fare from Vancouver, Canada (YVR) to HKG.  It was about $2,500 round trip in Business class earning double Elite Qualifying Miles.  While $2,500 is a lot of money, that is relatively cheap for business class, especially considering that the trip to HKG would be in first-class thanks to the SWU that cleared at booking.

After the red eye from YVR I visited the American Express Centurion Lounge for a shower and breakfast.  The food here equals or exceeds the fare in the Centurion Lounges.

DFW Amex Centurion Lounge

Then it was a brief stop in the D Concourse Admirals Club.  It has a very nice private buffet dining area for those flying international business or first class and American Executive Platinums in any class of service on long-haul international flights.  The showers are also very nice here, and there are more of them than in the Centurion Lounge.

First Class Dining buffet D Concourse Admirals Club

After a repast, it was time for the much-anticipated experience in American’s Flagship First Class.

American Airlines Flagship First Class 777-300ER DFW-HKG

American Airlines flight 125 was scheduled to depart DFW at 10:35 and arrive HKG at 16:10 local.  That is 16 hours and 35 minutes to cover 8,123 great-circle miles between origin and destination.


Boarding was through the second door on the port side.  The first class cabin is at the very front of the aircraft.  It was a short walk through the small, forward business-class cabin.

First Class Cabin and Seat Features 

American 777-300s have eight Flagship First Class seats in two rows configured 1-2-1.   The seats are an amazing 30 inches wide.  Seat pitch varies from 64 to 78 inches.  Seat pitch is somewhat misleading here because all of the first-class seats have oodles of leg room.  The leather and cloth seats are ultra comfortable in any position.  There was little evidence of wear and tear.

Seat 2J American 777-300 Flagship First Class.  The video monitor is fixed.  The ottoman has a seat belt so another passenger could join for dinner or conversation.
The seat faces forward for takeoff and landing.  In flight, it swivels slightly to face the ottoman and video screen or 90 degrees to face the desk.
Seat 2J swiveled to the ottoman

Seat controls are infinitely variable and have multiple preset positions, a massage function, and lumbar support adjustment .



The tray table is huge – large enough to accommodate dining with another passenger.20170705_110739_resized

The desk folds out to create another large work space.  Having a desk is nice because you don’t have to put work away while eating.


Storage compartment with vanity mirror, dual a/c outlets, and audio/visual connections.
Shoe storage

Ventilation is controlled individually.  20170705_112552_resized

The seat was not an enclosed suite with a door.  It had a very roomy feel overall.  The large desk was an excellent spot for working on a laptop.  There was no problem with privacy as there was almost no traffic in the aisle in first class.


The amenities include a large pillow, quilt, mattress pad, pajamas, noise-cancelling headsets, bottled water, slippers and an amenity kit.

Cole Haan amenity kit
3Lab hand lotion and lip balm


After a few minutes in this seat, economy becomes a vague, mildly unpleasant memory!  The first-class seat on the American 777-300 was clearly superior to the first-class seat on the 777-200 I’d flown from Santiago,Chile (SCL) to Miami, FL (MIA) about a year previously.

American Airlines 777-200 first-class seat.  American has now removed first class from all 777-200s.

American Flight 125 Pre-departure Service

After settling in at the seat and greetings and introductions from the head flight attendant, service began with pre-departure beverages with a bowl of warm nuts.  The attendants then handed out menus and took or confirmed meal choices.  In addition to the head FA, it appeared that at least one other FA was assigned to look after the eight passengers up front. 20170930_164811_resized_1

These were the menus for the flight:20170705_104243_resized


First Meal Service

As usual, the first meal receives the most elaborate service.  I selected the fish filet for the entree.

Dinner began with a cocktail

I selected the caviar tartlet canapes.20170930_170635_resized

My choice for the appetizer was soy lime shrimp.20170930_170759_resized

Hot and sour soup was next followed by a plain garden salad.20170930_170934_resized20170930_171018_resized

The entree.

Miso-glazed sea bass with vegetable slaw and crab-fried rice

The appetizer, soup and salad were outstanding.  The sea bass was melt-in-your-mouth good.  The meal was clearly superior to what would be expected on a business class flight on most airlines (Qatar is an exception that comes to mind).

After dinner, the flight attendant brought a cheese board that I passed on and then concluded the first meal service with dessert, always one of my favorite courses.

Ice cream sundae with nuts and berry topping

From caviar to ice cream that’s seven courses by my count!

Mid-flight Snack

Six hours after departure I requested a mid-flight snack.

Char siu pork buns

After the snack I had the flight attendant prepare the bed.20170930_172054_resized

Sleeping was easy as the cabin was quiet, there was very little traffic, and the mattress and comforter made a snug bed.20171019_084857_resized

I slept for a few hours then watched movies.

The lavatories in first class were nice but not as well appointed as the first-class lavs on many foreign carriers.


Arrival Meal

About two hours out of HKG, the flight attendants began the arrival service.


Normally, I find breakfast on planes disappointing.  This American American breakfast, on the other hand, was one of the best that I’ve had on a plane.  I liked the consistency and temperature of the eggs.  The bacon was outstanding and the fruit was very fresh and flavorful. 20170930_172658_resized

Arrival at Hong Kong

The descent to HKG began as we approached the Formosa Strait.20170930_172906_resized

Before arrival, I had one last glass of Laurent-Perrier champagne.  20170930_173111_resized (1)

It was a cloudy, rainy day in Hong Kong.  There were a few glimpses of the ubiquitous Hong Kong high-rise apartments on the approach.20171019_090806

The 777-300ER touched down on HKG Runway 7L (Seven Left) at 16:17.  We had flown 8,512 miles in 16 hours and 38 minutes.20170930_174129

Final Thoughts

It is great that American Airlines has international first class and one can use American miles to book flights in first class on American and other partners like Ethiad (here), Cathay Pacific here, and Japan Airlines (here).  While American’s Flagship First Class falls a little short of matching those experiences, it is still clearly better than any airline’s business-class product/service when it comes to the seat, food and beverages.