American Airlines New First Class Flagship Suite Boeing 777-300ER Dallas London New York São Paulo – Review
At the end of January American became the first U.S. airline to fly the Boeing 777-300ER. I have flown in it four times, three of them in American’s brand new first-class cabin. My first time on the aircraft was in American’s new business-class cabin on the new plane’s launch flight from Dallas/Fort Worth to São Paulo, Brazil.
Now I was returning to New York via Dallas and was equally as excited as on the first trip. (My subsequent flights on American’s 777-300ER were on the New York-London route.)
Boarding for the flight from São Paulo to Dallas started shortly after midnight with a planned departure time of 12:55 a.m. As is customary, first-class passengers were invited to board before any others.
Boarding was accomplished through door 2L where passengers enter through the dramatic archway (made even more so by mood lighting). Just beyond that is the new walk-up bar with a unique star-like ceiling design.
As I entered, flight attendants were in the aisle welcoming passengers, offering pre-departure beverages, and hanging up coats. They were also orienting themselves to the new aircraft as, for many of them, it was their first flight on the 777-300ER.
American’s new amenity kit was waiting on the table along the window. The bag itself is designed to serve as a tablet (think iPad) holder and is based on an Eames Office design. It is the first of a series of amenity kit bags that will serve a useful purpose once off the aircraft.
It included some great Dermalogica products including a multivitamin hand and nail treatment and Active Moist moisturizer, generic lip balm, a sealed moist towelette, socks, ear plugs, eye mask, a pen, tissues, toothbrush and toothpaste, and a microfiber cloth for cleaning. Slippers were in a compartment in my suite.
American clearly was thinking, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The new Flagship Suites are clearly based on the original, introduced on the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft approximately a decade ago. I’ve flown in the original Flagship Suite many dozens of times and the new iteratation comes with many improvements.
Configured in a 1-2-1 layout, the 200ER suite had many industry-leading features such as an extra-long bed, a separate desk, and a swivel feature.
The 300ER suites are also configured 1-2-1 but are entirely new and far plusher. A key difference is that there are only eight Flagship Suites on the newer planes, versus 16 on the older aircraft, making the first-class cabin far more intimate. Most noticeable is that the seat is very comfortable in the take-off and landing position, something that wasn’t really the case with the original Flagship Suite.
Each Flagship Suite seat is 29” wide (including the armrests, which can be lowered, 21” with the armrests up), and the fully-extended bed is 80”. The suite itself is 45” wide. Each suite has a large and well-padded ottoman (which becomes part of the bed). As was the case on the previous generation Flagship Suite, the ottoman is large enough for a visitor to comfortably join in for a drink or dining.
The seats are upholstered in a comfortable combination of cloth and leather, both with a very soft and luxurious feel. Wood grain is evident throughout. Center seats have a large, retractable privacy partition, which may be lowered when traveling with a companion.
First-class passengers get a small LCD tablet for controlling the seat (there are preset positions such as bed as well as general controls allowing for infinite adjustment). The do-not-disturb light may be operated from the controller.
Storage has been greatly enhanced. In addition to the large overhead bins (each passenger gets a minimum of one bin), the new Flagship Suite has multiple compartments for storage, including a shoe compartment and a tray for a laptop or tablet under the desk. There is also room under the ottoman for a bag.