Flight Review: American Airlines Flagship First – International New York-London

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The author's Flagship First - International Suite on a previous flight

The author’s Flagship First – International Suite on a previous flight

Our cross-Atlantic route first took us in a northeasterly bearing over Queens County in New York, Long Island Sound, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Continuing into Canadian airspace we overflew Nova Scotia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence, southeastern Newfoundland and Labrador, before heading out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Our flight took us over Ireland’s County Clare, after which we entered U.K. airspace and continued in a southeasterly direction to London, with wheels down at 6:04 a.m. Our time aloft was six hours and four minutes, 15 minutes less than planned, and we arrived at the gate 12 minutes early, at 6:08 a.m.

SEAT COMFORT

Last year, American rechristened its international first class cabin as Flagship First. Available exclusively on the 777-300ER, the cabin features eight Flagship Suites. Configured in a 1-2-1 layout, each suite has an extra-long bed, a separate desk (the seat swivels to face the desk), and abundant personal space. Having only eight seats makes the cabin intimate and there are two flight attendants dedicated to the eight passengers.

Pre-departure beverage in Flagship First

Pre-departure beverage in Flagship First

My Flagship Suite seat, on this flight 2D, was 29” wide including the armrests, which can be lowered (it’s 21” with the armrests up), while the fully-extended bed was 80”. The suites are 45” wide and each has a large and well-padded ottoman (which becomes part of the bed). The ottoman is large enough for a visitor to comfortably join in for a drink or dining, and an associate did join me for part of the service.

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. My center seat had a large, retractable privacy partition, which may be lowered when traveling with a companion, although I kept it up throughout the fight. Each seat has a coach lamp with two brightness settings in addition to overhead lighting.

Flagship First passengers have several controllers at their disposal. There’s a small LCD tablet for controlling the seat (there are preset positions such as bed as well as general controls allowing for infinite adjustments) and turning on and off the “Privacy” light. A separate video controller is provided for the in-flight entertainment system, which offers 180 movies, 250 television programs, and 350 music tracks and also has a small display that can be used for the moving map while watching a movie on the larger 17” screen. American has greatly improved the moving map in terms of resolution and graphics and I kept the map on most of the flight.

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