Flight Review: American Airlines Premium Economy London Heathrow-New York JFK

London from the air

By Paul Riegler on 10 October 2019
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“This is real luxury,” a precocious ten-year-old said to his brother and parents as he lovingly stroked the leather armrest of an adjacent seat in American Airlines’ new Premium Economy cabin and fiddled with the easy-to-open tray table, all this after he had already passed through, and apparently ignored, the jetliner’s business-class cabin, replete with fully lie-flat seats and privacy panels, on his way to the back.

BOARDING

After a quick Heathrow Express ride out to the airport, I made my way through Terminal 3 and made a stop at FBT Editorial Director Jonathan Spira’s beloved Galleries First lounge for a bit of refreshment before the flight.  The last flight of the day to New York for American – flight 141 – would leave out of Gate 25, a much shorter walk than usual.

The airline boarded business-class passengers first on this flight – there was no Flagship First first-class cabin on this aircraft, a Boeing 777-200ER, followed by those including myself in Premium Economy.  I was one of the first to board and found a virtually empty cabin to enjoy all to myself.

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SEAT COMFORT

My first impression of Premium Economy was positive.  It had a light airy modern feel.  The kid was right: this is luxury, albeit to a limited extent.

Seats in the Premium Economy cabin are arranged in a 2-4-2 configuration, and were quite reminiscent of business-class cabins in aircraft I flew in perhaps a decade or so ago. Since the cabin was more than half empty I had a row of four seats to myself.

There was ample storage – the overhead bins are reserved for the use of Premium Economy passengers – and seats feature a fold-out tray table from the armrest as well as a small pop-up table extender to hold one’s drink.

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