AA 777 Business DFW-Frankfurt: A Decent Flight, Unusually Good Service

So after our short layover at the temporary DFW premium lounge, we headed over to a nearby gate from where our flight to Frankfurt was departing. Now I have reviewed American Airlines Business Class a few times (here, here, and here) before so I won’t go into the gory details of the seat and its many functions.

This flight was operated on one of AA’s 777-200s (which in contrast to the 77W does not feature first class). Frankfurt seems to be one of the few long standing non-Oneworld hub routes in AA’s DFW European network that consistently does well. I can’t remember the last time DFW had another route last this along that wasn’t to a partner hub.

American Airlines 777 takes off at DFW

I chose row 3 for our seats on this flight because it is a little distanced from the forward and rear lavatories on this aircraft. My parents were seated in the two middle seats, while my sister and I took the window seats.

AA’s reverse herringbone seat continues to be one of my favorite business class seats in the sky. The cubby hole where your feet go has more than enough ample space, and the entire area is at least semi-private. The seat itself is soft enough to not require a mattress but isn’t soft to the degree that your back starts aching.

I also enjoy the bit of storage to the right of the seat where I can temporarily place my laptop or phone.

As soon as we sat down, we were offered a choice between champagne and orange juice, which I politely declined.The purser on this was an absolutely energetic individual, constantly checking if were comfortable or needed anything throughout the flight. I can’t say I’ve met an American FA that was this enthusiastic about his job in a long time. While we waited for everyone to board the aircraft, I took a look at the amenity kit which was by Cole Haan. I have to say I like the Tote bag, but everything else was just forgettable. AA has since then brought out new amenity kits.

Flight time on this route clocked in at 9 hours due to some summer thunderstorms rolling through parts of Canada, this put us into Frankfurt about 30 minutes late. I didn’t really mind it at all given that there is no arrivals lounge in Frankfurt for AA passengers. The JAL lounge is no longer available for arriving passengers into Frankfurt. You can ask, but they will most likely say you can’t use the lounge unless you are connecting onwards. 

Meal Service:

90 minutes into the flight the meal service began. I got sick of the vegetarian pasta option so I went for a preordered AVML on this flight. The service started off with the usual warmed nuts and a drink. One of the nice things that AA does on a consistent basis is offer more warmed nuts after the first service. In my experience neither United or Delta do this, but it could vary based on the crew. 

While it’s nice to see AA finally bring in special meals on its flights (AVML didn’t exist for a long while), the meal is pretty much identical every time you fly them. I’ve received the exact same meal on no less than 4 of my AA business class flights out of DFW:

First there was the cold appetizer which consisted basically of half a tomato, a cucumber slice, and two asparagus sticks along with some salad. One of the oddities about the tray here is that AA served dessert at the same time which consisted of an Indian dessert called Gulab Jamun with  strawberries. The Gulab Jamun wasn’t bad, but the appetizer wasn’t something to write home about.

The main course consisted of some fried rice, dal,  and some fried vegetable dumplings (I’m not sure what they were). Again the meal was completely acceptable, but I can’t say it was even one of the better meals I’ve had in business class on a US airline.  Everything seemed rather dry and their choice of dishes was a bit odd.

After the main course came the dessert which was the classic ice cream sundae. I got an extra helping without even having to ask. This simple offering is really where US Airlines shine: all three major carriers offer ice cream sundaes.

The meal service was very efficiently done within 90 minutes after it started and service throughout this flight was exceptional. The FAs were patient, personable, and kept drinks full. This was overall an excellent crew.

After dinner, I pulled out my laptop and finished some work. I got a little hungry mid flight so I headed over to the galley where there were an assortment of items for snacking. Noticing that I was hungry, the purser offered to get me a vegetarian entree from the meal service, which I politely declined. He noted my fondness for Diet Coke and kept my glass full for the entire flight.

I fell asleep about an hour out of Frankfurt so I didn’t eat breakfast on the plane. This pretty much caps another decent AA flight with unusually good service.

Bottom Line:

I don’t quite understand the bad rap American Airlines gets for its business class. On a consistent basis, I’ve found the hard product and service on American to be a bit better than its competitors on international flights. Let’s also mention the fact that connecting through DFW is perhaps the most pleasant airport experience among the big US hubs. Easy for me to say I suppose, given that I’m captive to AA as a DFW resident. The soft product however is absolutely being left in the dust by the other two major carriers. The sheer fact that the same AVML is served over and over tells me that they either don’t care or just want to cut costs. I’m not quite sure AA even knows what it’s doing at this point. They haven’t really refreshed any of their offerings to compete with United or Delta. Maybe they are doing so well that they don’t need to? We all know that’s not true. 

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