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

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Flight attendants were in the aisles welcoming and directing passengers as well as hanging up heavy winter coats and I quickly made my way to my seat, 7L. I had forgotten that 7L was rear-facing but fortunately, 7H, a forward-facing seat, was empty and I was able to switch.

FLIGHT PLAN

American Airlines Flight 104, scheduled to depart at 10:05 p.m. from JFK and arrive at Heathrow the next day at 10 a.m., pushed back from the gate three minutes early, which was followed by a 20-minute taxi.

Our cross-Atlantic route first took us in a northeasterly bearing over Queens County in New York, crossing the Long Island Sound and the states of 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.

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As is typical, 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 9:41 a.m. Our time aloft was six hours and 45 minutes, and we arrived at the gate 13 minutes early, at 9:47 a.m.

SEAT COMFORT

American currently has 47 Boeing 777-200ER aircraft and all have been reconfigured with fully lie-flat seats in business, while at the same time the Flagship First International cabin was completely removed. Things, however, didn’t go exactly to plan and American ran into problems with its seat provider, Zodiac, who couldn’t meet production targets. As a result, only 13 of the 777-200ER aircraft have 45 of the “Concept D” seats that were custom-designed for American. The seats are arranged in an interesting configuration, namely forwards-backwards staggered herringbone pattern. Five additional 777-300ERs have a denser configuration with 37 Concept D seats but more seats in coach. American also has 26 777-200ERs with seats from the replacement supplier, B/E Aerospace.

Storage in the Concept D seat abounds, which is good since American didn’t install larger bins in these aircraft when redoing the cabins. There’s a lighted storage compartment, ostensibly for smartphones or tablets, with two USB charging ports and another lighted area next to the seat cushion on the inboard side of the seat. There’s a small area underneath the ottoman (the ottoman becomes part of the lie-flat bed when the seat when fully extended), and there’s a laptop pocket that turned out to be very useful.

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