AA BUSINESS CLASS B737 SAN FRANSISCO-LOS ANGELES: REVIEW

Flight: AA2312, SFO-LAX

Loyalty Scheme: AA Advantage (member of the Oneworld alliance)

Frequency: Multiple daily

Duration:  1 hour and 37 minutes

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AA is an airline Americans love to hate. Between their hit and miss staff, onboard product and planes, the experience can leave one feeling exceptionally happily or disappointed. TAT was prepared to take a gamble on the AA First Class (equivalent to domestic business in other countries) to see if AA could deliver the goods in terms of a premium product.

The Seat

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The business cabin comprises of a 2-2 layout across four rows. For this flight I was seated in 6F. Having the window seat provided me with some great glimpses across the Bay area, San Fran, along the California coastline and landing into Los Angeles. Each seat had 38 inches of pitch and were 20 inches wide. The seat does not lie flat but for the purposes of a short haul flight, this did not matter and the seat was more than comfortable.

Entertain me

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For me AA has one of the best IFE systems out there in terms of selection. Whenever I have flown with the airline I’ve never struggled to find something to listen or watch but more found it difficult to decide what to choose. My flight was no exception. The entertainment was provided on a 12.1 inch seatback touch screen which I found quite responsive and the clarity crisp.

Wifi was also offered on board but did not care to look at it with prices (even for 30 minutes use) quite pricey.

The Bread and Butter (food and drink)

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Prior to take off business passengers were offered a choice of beverage however when it came to the final row of business the flight attendant (FA) became distracted and did not follow through with an order for drinks. Once we were in the air the FA apologised due to some last minute operational issues he had to attend to and offered our row drinks first as a result prior to the meal service. Onboard this flight no meal were offered but more a snack basket comprising of chips, cookies and energy bars as well as a good choice of beverages.

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Being an early flight I didn’t order my go to (anything alcoholic like wine) and instead had an cranberry apple drink and a green tea. The FA during the flight came over and topped up my cran-apple drink. Whilst the food and drink options were light, the FAs onboard were very attentive and polite.

Verdict

For a short haul flight AA has a fairly decent J product. The seat and IFE seatback entertainment were more than satisfactory. It was disappointing that AA didn’t offer more in terms of the food options with the snacks not being much different in terms of quality over what was offered in coach. A more generous food offering would have made all the difference in terms of the onboard service experience.

Whilst the overall product isn’t as flashy at Jetblue’s Mint or Delta’s business product, after this flight, I would without hesitation fly the AA First Class product domestically again.

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Comments

Have you experienced flying business on AA domestically? Did you love or dislike the flight? Hit up the comments section as I’m keen to hear your thoughts…

QANTAS SYD- SAN FRAN LEG TO GET B787

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Like many of you I’m a fan of the B747 but unfortunately her days are numbered with several of airlines. The Queen of the skies is heading for retirement with Qantas by the end of 2020. Some routes will see her depart sooner in the interim with Qantas announcing that she will be replaced by their Dreamliner B787 on its Sydney – San Francisco route. The B787 will move take off daily from 4 December 2019.

Whilst it’s sad to see the Queen disappear from this route there’s no denying the level of technological (as well as comfort) improvements that’ll be given to passengers flying on the B787. Gone will be the 2-2-2 business class seating arrangement, replaced instead by Qantas superb business suite in a 1-2-1 configuration.

Like anything there’s a downside and it’s Qantas’ new premium economy cabin. The leg room and space feels worse than its economy section yet you’re paying more for the pleasure of feeling squashed. Personally I would rather fly economy over that seat or upgrade to business (yes the design flaw is really that bad).

Mixed feelings of sorts on the new Qantas dreamliner route but at the end of the day, it is an upgrade!

 

 

UNITED TO OPEN HOUSTON POLARIS LOUNGE JUNE 29

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United has had a checkered and messy start with the Polaris concept. The concept is brilliant and rather beautiful for a brand like United but it is flawed in terms of its roll out. They opened the first Polaris Lounge in Chicago and for almost 16 months did not open up another. Suddenly it’s as if United has awoken and is rolling them out of the production line in a quick manner with the San Fran and Newark lounges opening within the last three months. Now United is set to open two more with Houston the next cab off the rank on June 29.

The Polaris Lounge Houston will be open to all  United long haul business class passengers, as well as other Star Alliance first and business class passengers travelling out of Houston to a long haul destination.

Located in Terminal E the new lounge will be smaller than the Polaris Lounges recently opened at SFO and EWR. It will be interesting to see how it turns out in the end but whatever the case, the lounge will be head and shoulders quality wise compared to the United Club Lounge.

Anyone flying first or business long haul on United out of Houston soon? Are you excited about the new Polaris lounge and will you make time for a visit?

Qantas Melbourne – San Francisco B787 flights officially on sale

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Launching: September 1 2018

Aircraft type: Boeing 787

Frequency:  Four times daily

Late last year Qantas revealed as an early Christmas gift for Melbournian and San Fran flyers that it would launch its Melbourne – San Fran Francisco flights from September 1 2018. When the 14 hour flight is launched it will be the only non-stop flight to San Francisco from Melbourne; a huge incentive for tech head silicon valley business types.

From Melbourne QF49 will depart 9:40pm on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, arriving into San Francisco at 7pm.

QF50 from San Francisco will depart 10pm on those same days and arrive in Melbourne at 6:30am two days later. Whilst at this stage it isn’t flying daily the fact that it has a tight turn around time means Qantas is fully utilising its aircraft without it sitting on the ground all day.

Under the Qantas Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner configuration there are 42 business class suites, in a 1-2-1 layout and a premium economy cabin of 28 seats in a 2-3-2 layout. In addition there are 166 economy seats.

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As a result of this new Qantas offering for Melbourne flyers, flights between Melbourne and Los Angeles will be reduced from 13 weekly to 9 weekly. Qantas will maintain the daily A380 flight but cull the 787 flight from 6 weekly to 2 weekly.

Reward me (reward flights)

Right now award availability across all classes for these flights is quite strong with a number of options across numerous flights in business, premium and economy classes. Usually Qantas is quite difficult in obtaining/ linking reward flights as I have found in the past with many of my trips so to find this is quite a nice surprise.

A reward flight one way on business class will set you back 96,000 Qantas Points, 72,000 Qantas Points for premium economy and 45,000 Qantas Points on economy. In addition you will need to pay the obligatory airport taxes on top of this.

Considering the quality of the product and destination being made available there has never been a better time to book a reward flight to the USA.