Review: American Business Class Dallas / Ft Worth to Hong Kong

I arrived in Los Angeles from my very nice trans-continental flight from New York on the new American A321T and hurried a few gates down where my flight to Dallas was already boarding.  I was the last first class passenger to board, so I took my seat and had a glass of water.  At that point, I was pretty exhausted, as it was about 1am Pacific time — early in the morning on my eastern time zone body clock.

I fell asleep before we even left LAX and didn’t wake up until we were landing in DFW — a short, sub-three hour redeye flight.  Pretty much the most miserable timing ever.  But I was okay with it.  I made my way to the D terminal at DFW and met a friend who had just come in from San Francisco at the American Express Centurion Lounge.  We had four hours to kill before we boarded our flight to Hong Kong.  I was able to access the lounge as his guest, as he has an AMEX Platinum card (I do not have one — shocking, I know).

For those who haven’t been, the AMEX Centurion Lounges are hands down the best domestic lounges in the country.  And DFW’s version is no exception.  I was dragging pretty significantly at this point, so I put my name on the list to take a shower and freshen up.  The shower was ready in no time, so I took a long shower and changed clothes.

Bam!  I was a new man.

Lunch selection at AMEX Centurion Lounge - DFW

Lunch selection at AMEX Centurion Lounge – DFW (from a previous visit)

Lunch selection at AMEX Centurion Lounge - DFW

Lunch selection at AMEX Centurion Lounge – DFW  (from a previous visit)

AMEX Centurion Lounge - DFW

AMEX Centurion Lounge – DFW

For the next few hours, we had some breakfast, a few drinks and I had a free massage in the while awaiting our flight.  My third friend joined us later that morning, so we naturally had some bon voyage drinks before making the short walk to our gate to board the longest flight that American Airlines flies:  Dallas to Hong Kong.


A Weekend in Southeast Asia


 

American Airlines (AA) 137
Dallas / Ft. Worth (DFW) – Hong Kong (HKG)
Aircraft:  Boeing 777-300ER
Seat:  13J (Business)
Thursday, February 5
11:30AM – 6:35PM (+1 day)
Duration:  17:05

The three of us arrived at our gate just as business class started boarding.  Since there are 52 business class seats on the American B777-300ER (77W), the boarding queue for business class and elite passengers was quite long.  Nevertheless, we were on board within a few minutes.  We entered at door 2L and hung a right into the larger of the two business class cabins onboard after passing a nice sized bar where snacks and refreshments were laid out later on during the flight.

Business Class Bar / Catering Display on the American B777-300ER

Business Class Bar / Catering Display on the American B777-300ER

I made my way back to 13J — a window seat on the right side of the plane when facing forward.   My friends were seated in the row in front of me — in the window seat and the seat adjacent to it across the aisle in row 12.

Business Class on the American B777-300ER

Business Class on the American B777-300ER

Seat 13J on the American B777-300ER

Seat 13J on the American B777-300ER

The American Airlines B777-300ER features one of the best layouts for business class in the sky, with a very generous 1-2-1 configuration.  Every one of the 52 business class seats on this plane have direct aisle access.  This reverse herringbone configuration is clearly the premier business class cabin configuration in the industry today– certainly worlds better than the 2-4-2 business class configuration I flew a couple of weeks earlier on United Airlines from Washington to Dubai and then back to Washington.

The Business Class cabin on the American B777-300ER

The Business Class cabin on the American B777-300ER

This seat is basically a slightly souped up version of the current Cathay Pacific seat, which I got to experience last year from Hong Kong to Dubai and then from Dubai to Hong Kong to Tokyo.   It’s an evolution of the seat that US Airways introduced several years ago as its Envoy Suite on its A330 fleet.  In my opinion, this is one of the best business class seats out there.  Of course, it lays fully flat and has a good bit of privacy.  It has all the bells and whistles you could want including a TV controller, a mini vanity and your own set of Bose QuietComfort headphones.

Lots of space in American Business Class

Lots of space in American Business Class

Nice sized IFE on the AA B77W

Nice sized IFE on the AA B77W

Vanity and Seat Controls

Vanity, Remote, connectivity and Seat Controls

Bose QuietComfort headphones

Bose QuietComfort headphones

All in all — if you’re going to fly over 17 hours, this is the way to do it.

I enjoyed a glass of champagne as we taxied out to be de-iced, as it was a somewhat chilly late morning in Dallas.  De-icing took a bit longer than expected, and we eventually made a take-off roll about 45-minutes behind schedule.  At that point, I’d started the first of four movies I’d watch on this flight — the longest flight I’ve flown to date.

Getting De-Iced at DFW before we left for HKG

Getting De-Iced at DFW before we left for HKG

About fifteen minutes after takeoff, the flight attendants came through with an initial drink service.  I had a scotch, which was served with warm nuts.  Unfortunately, the only scotch they had onboard was Dewars White Label — it’s okay, but I really do wish American (and United) would step up its game in that department.

Scotch

Scotch, warm nuts and a water

As I enjoyed a drink, the flight attendants also took our lunch entrée orders.  I settled on the beef, though none of the entrees really sounded overly delicious to me.  The menus are below (sorry for the pink / purplish tinge — I took pictures of the menu while the cabin was dark and the red / blue mood lighting was turned on).

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Lunch / Dinner Menu

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Lunch / Dinner Entrees

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Dessert and Mid-Flight snack options

A few minutes after the flight attendant took our orders, our appetizer and salads were brought out on the same tray.  The appetizer was a simply delicious spring roll that was accompanied by a very sweet and tasty hoisin sauce.  It tasted much better than it looked, that’s for sure.

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Fresh Spring Rolls with Hoisin Glaze

The salad was equally as delicious, served fresh with a fantastic sour cream and herb (ranch-like) dressing.  The freshly shaved parmesan cheese was a nice touch.

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Mixed greens with Sun-dried tomatoes, Toasted Pine Nuts and Parmesan Cheese

The filet I had with dinner was decent.  Nothing special, but not bad either.  It was cooked a little too much for my liking, but was still decent for a steak on an airplane.  I was pretty full at this point from my meal in the AMEX Centurion Lounge and the first courses of this meal, but I finished it nevertheless.

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Coffee Crusted Beef Filet with red wine sauce, roasted potatoes and sautéed spinach

The meal ended with a delicious ice cream sundae, which I ordered fully-loaded with all the toppings!  At this point, I was completely stuffed and ready to settle in to watch a few movies.

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Traditional Ice Cream Sundae with hot fudge, butter scotch, strawberry toppings, whipped cream and pecans

By the time dinner was over, I was through the first movie and well into the second film.  On this flight, I watched FuryGone Girl, Whiplash, and The Judge.  I also had several scotches.

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Relaxing on DFW-HKG with a scotch and some movies.  Forgive the awful facial hair.

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Flying to Hong Kong in comfort in American Business Class

After Whiplash, about six hours into the flight, I reclined my seat into a flat-bed and fell asleep.

I woke up about eight hours later, as we were passing Japan.  My sleep was extremely comfortable and was uninterrupted.  The flat-bed had plenty of room for my tall, 6’4″ frame, and was plenty wide around the shoulders as well.  During “sleepy time”, the cabin is lit up with red and blue backlighting, creating a unique lighting effect for most of the flight.

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Bed time on the American B777-300ER from DFW-HKG

I freshened up in the good-sized business class lavatory and had a Diet Coke and a water delivered to my seat.  I missed the mid-flight snack since I was sound asleep.   I turned on another movie, as we still had over three hours remaining on our journey at that point.

As the movie finished up, the flight attendants came through the cabin once again for a “Brunch” service. The timing was pretty weird.  Most of the plane had just woken up from a night’s sleep, so it felt like a natural time for breakfast, but in Hong Kong it was late afternoon.  So I guess brunch is a natural fit.

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Brunch Menu on AA137 from DFW-HKG

I ordered the scrambled eggs served over a buttermilk biscuit with all the goodies on it.  And it was excellent.  It was one of  the better– if not the best breakfast dish that I’ve had on a flight.  I absolutely loved it, though it probably wasn’t the healthiest option in the world.  To top off an amazing brunch, the triple chocolate cheesecake was fantastic!

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Brunch – Scrambled Eggs served over a buttermilk biscuit with pablano cream sauce, potatoes au gratin and New Mexico chicken sausage.  Also served with fresh seasonal greens with Italian herb vinaigrette and Triple Chocolate Cheesecake with raspberries

After brunch, I slammed a few more waters and had another Diet Coke to fully wake myself up, as we had a full night out in Hong Kong ahead of us.  We landed in Hong Kong about an hour late, meaning I’d been in that seat for well over 18 hours!  But I’ll tell you what — if you’re going to be stuck in a seat for 18 hours, this is not the worst seat in which to be stuck!

The Verdict…

This flight was a pleasure to take.  The business class product on American’s B777-300ER is really fantastic, and is certainly competitive with the best business class hard products anywhere in the world.  Catering was above average and actually pretty good.  Service was fantastic, as every request I made was answered quickly and with a smile.  The inflight entertainment system kept me more than occupied for the eight or so hours that I was awake.  I also used wifi ($19.99 for the flight), and it worked really well.

I’m certainly thankful that my eVIP Systemwide upgrade cleared for this flight, because it was flat-out long.  I’ve taken my fair share of very long flights, and this was the longest — and boy, did it feel like it.  This particular route would be an ultra-brutal haul in economy, so again — I’m quite thankful that my upgrade cleared.

With that said, I was extremely happy with this flight — it was very impressive for a US carrier.  If this is what the “New American” is all about, then count me in!

How I booked It…

This was the fourth leg of a convoluted routing to Singapore:

(DCA)- YYZ-JFK-LAX-DFW-HKG-SIN-HKG-DFW-LAX-JFK(-DCA)

I booked it on American’s website using the multi-city flight search feature.  My eVIP Systemwide Upgrades (that I received for achieving Executive Platinum status via a status challenge) cleared about four or five days before the flight.

 

3 Thoughts on “Review: American Business Class Dallas / Ft Worth to Hong Kong

  1. Troy on May 14, 2015 at 1:21 am said:

    Question, if the SWU/eVIP didn’t clear, would you have taken this same flight in coach? Ouch! We are looking to do a long haul mile inducer flights but we are too scared to fly coach. We will need the mile haul to achieve Exec Chairmans again and we love this info. Please provide any more info to help us achieve this same trip right after Thanksgiving. What was the cost of the coach flight you went on?

    • Sean on May 14, 2015 at 1:32 am said:

      Yes – i was prepared to fly in coach. And it would have been rough. Luckily, my SWU cleared a few days out. I sweated the return even more, as i didnt clear that upgrade until 24 hours prior. Your best bet to clearing the DFW-HKG flight is to boom early, as time of booking helps where you end up on the upgrade list. There were apparently over 50 executive platinum passengees on our return and less than half cleared their upgrades. You may consider flying on a less elite heavy route via NRT or PEK or PVG. Do check AA’s website to see if theres a flight with upgrade space available at booking – this is the best outcome, though rare these days. My ridiculous routing put the price of my trip around $1000. But if i just flew a simple yyz-dfw-hkg-sin, it was going as low as $550rt. Monitor http://www.theflightdeal.com for some great airfares. Best of luck!

  2. Elyse on July 27, 2015 at 1:05 am said:

    Excellent review. We are flying DFW-HKG in two days and it was very helpful. My only point of contention is that Dewar’s White Label is not Okay and is never acceptable in business class. If they offer it on SWA it should not be a choice in international business. Let’s hope that AA steps up their game.

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