Flight Route: AA73 Los Angeles to Sydney | Aircraft: Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner / Class: Business Class / Seat: 3A / Flight time: 13.5 hours
American Airlines is undergoing a $200 million investment in the luxury travel experience and it shows. The redesigned Business Class cabin is spacious and decorated in soothing greys, with the feel of the interior of a luxury car. Seats are configured 1-2-1 so that each passenger is afforded direct aisle access. The seats by the window feel particularly private.
My window seat feels almost throne-like, very generous in size, with a large armrest and plenty of compartments for all the things I travel with; books, notebooks, beauty products, medicine, devices and shawls. There are four separate storage compartments, roomy enough for everything. On the 787-9 there are 30 fully lie-flat seats, enhanced by products such as a mattress at sleep time, from American sleep experts Casper. American is one of the airlines that thoughtfully provide pyjamas and slippers and their stylish, thick cotton pyjama top with side pockets are as comfortable as Qantas’s iconic ‘roo’ pyjamas. The amenities are by cult New York pharmacy C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries and the amenities bag, a nylon satchel from Cole Haan, is one of the most practical I’ve received. I loved the red and black striped cotton socks and still wear them.
The crew is cheery and efficient, handing out hot towels with drinks and snacks as soon as I’m seated. Dinner orders are taken before departure, which means the meal service is prompt. When a passenger’s phone alarm goes off mid-flight, an attendant is relentless in tracking it down and turning it off.
American has a partnership with celebrity chef Sean Connolly, who has designed the menus for the airline’s premium cabins on routes from Sydney and Auckland to the U.S. Canapés, including chilli-seared shrimp, are served before dinner, followed by a choice of grilled beef fillet, chicken tikka masala, lobster ravioli or asiago-stuffed gnocchi with pesto. Dessert is a choice of Häagen-Dazs ice cream, mixed berry pavlova or a selection of cheeses. Mid-flight snacks include an antipasto plate and Wagyu beef sliders as well as white cheddar popcorn and chocolates. Breakfast kicks off with a peaches-and-cream smoothie, fresh seasonal fruit and a pain au chocolat, from the continental breakfast menu, but there is also a traditional American breakfast for those with larger appetites. Champagne served throughout the flight is a Moutard Brut Grande Cuvee and wines included a chardonnay from Chile, a cabernet from Mendoza and port from Portugal.
Wi-Fi, seatback entertainment, power ports and USB ports are available at every seat in all classes on the 787-9. Each Business Class seat has a cinematic large-screen touch monitor offering an extensive collection of latest-release movies, live sport, games, TV shows and box sets. And, unlike some Business Class seats,
the controls are easy to use.
The almost 14-hour flight seems too short with all the entertainment at my fingertips and the roomy, comfortable seat. American recently opened its new Flagship Lounge at LAX Airport, which also offers Flagship First Dining. It’s a vast improvement on the old lounge, with some great food and drink options and an enhanced space for relaxing. With the opening of Flagship First Dining, American’s First Class and celebrity customers can now enjoy a sit-down meal before boarding their flights – the first product of its kind at LAX. Although my Business Class ticket didn’t qualify me for this experience, I managed to have a glimpse of the lounge and taste some of the food on offer. It’s a lovely space with delicious, healthy eating options.
5 stars / 5 stars
The Fine Print
Baggage: First Class and Business Class allows two complimentary checked 32-kilogram bags.
Loyalty program: AAdvantage, part of the oneworld alliance.
WiFi: Available to purchase on selected flights.
Amenities kit: Cole Haan and C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries skincare and lifestyle amenity kit, and a Casper sleep set.