We spent about an hour in Cathay Pacific’s “The Bridge” Lounge at Hong Kong’s Chep Lap Kok International Airport after arriving from Singapore earlier that morning. After a few drinks and a quick bite, it was time to head to the gate to board our flight on American Airlines’ new B777-300ER in business class.
But let’s back up for a second.
Unlike my outbound trip from Dallas to Hong Kong, I did not clear the eVIP Systemwide upgrade for this flight several days ahead of time. In fact, we did not actually clear this upgrade until 25 hours prior to the flight. This flight was extremely elite heavy, so there were quite a few (dozens, actually) of Executive Platinum customers on this flight who didn’t clear the upgrade. We had the advantage since we were on a connecting flight from Singapore (up until late April, connecting passengers had priority on the AA upgrade standby list — that is not longer the case). Luckily, the three of us appeared to receive three of the last six seats in business class.
We arrived at the gate to see one of the longest lines for the Executive Platinum boarding group that I’ve ever seen. That group was seriously rolling 75 people deep. The boarding line was delayed even more by security checking everyone’s carry on bags before boarding. All water bottles were taken away – that’s always an annoyance when flying back to the States from Hong Kong.
A Weekend in Southeast Asia
- American Business Class New York-JFK to Los Angeles
- American Business Class Dallas / Ft. Worth to Hong Kong
- A Layover in Hong Kong and a Quick Flight to Singapore
- Two Nights in Singapore at the Grand Hyatt Singapore
- Cathay Pacific Premium Economy Singapore to Hong Kong
- American Business Class Hong Kong to Dallas / Ft. Worth
- American Business and First Class Dallas to Los Angeles to New York-JFK
American Airlines (AA) 138
Hong Kong (HKG) – Dallas / Ft. Worth (DFW)
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
Seat: 13D (Business)
Monday, February 9
1:40PM – 2:55PM
I boarded this new, Boeing 777-300ER once again from door 2L and took a right turn. I was seated in the third to last row of the larger business class cabin — in seat 13D. This is an aisle seat in the middle pair of the 1-2-1 seating configuration. I’d prefer a window seat, but at the time my upgrade cleared the day before, only middle seats were left. Whatever — I’ll take it!
The American B777-300ER has two business class cabins — a smaller, mini cabin of only two rows and eight seats, and a much, much larger main business cabin that contains 11 rows and 44 seats. The 1-2-1 reverse herringbone configuration of the B777-300ER cabin provides direct aisle access to every seat in business class. This is one of the best features of this business class since one does not have to climb over or be climbed over by another passenger.
These seats are also quite private. The shell dividers for each seat features “wings” sticking out from the headrest that create a greater sense of privacy. The seats have privacy and a great deal of personal space.
The seat has ample storage space, intuitive seat controls, connectivity to charge all your devices, a remote control for the large in-flight entertainment (IFE) system. American provided an amenity kit and Bose QuietComfort headphones for business passengers as well.
Simply put, these are some of my favorite business class seats in the sky.
My favorite part about leaving Hong Kong is the view of the airport and the city as you climb out of HKG, but since I didn’t have a window seat, that wasn’t happening. It also didn’t help that the window seat passenger next to me had his window shade closed during takeoff.
Now, I don’t want to go on a rant here, BUT… I find it highly annoying when a window passenger keeps their window shades closed during takeoff or landing. I have no problem with closing the shade during the flight — that’s the prerogative of the passenger — but for the sake of situational awareness of fellow passengers, windows should be kept open during take off and landing!
Anyway, not long after takeoff, I had some nice conversation with the cheerful and friendly flight attendants working my section of business class before they poured me a Sierra Mist (Sprite) and a very heavy-handed pour of scotch to go along with some warm nuts. I enjoyed a movie with my afternoon drink before dinner.
Menus were distributed before we took off, but the flight attendants took our orders as they delivered drinks. I requested the Sea Bass, but unfortunately, they’d run out — this is the bad part about sitting in the back of business class. It was a little annoying since the passenger next to me ordered the last sea bass, and then requested it be brought later in the flight since he wasn’t hungry. Well, he ended up not eating it at all.
Thanks, bro. Sweet move.
This was a blessing in disguise though, because I ended up ordering the Grilled Beef Filet. The flight attendant gave me a chuckle when she asked, “How would you like that cooked?” I found this humorous because steaks are almost always overcooked on airplanes, and are generally heated up en masse in the onboard ovens. The flight attendant noted my skepticism and claimed that she could cook a steak perfectly in the galley oven — “You’ll see!” she said with a smile.
I chuckled again, but eventually moved my attention back to the movie.
After a few minutes, the appetizer and salad were brought out together on the same tray. The Peking Duck appetizer was downright delicious. It was nice and juicy with a crispy skin and the sauce was sweet with a little heat. The salad was fresh, tasty and I loved the creamy sesame dressing. Overall this was a very encouraging start to the meal.
After finishing my appetizer, the flight attendant delivered my Grilled Beef Filet and proclaimed with a wink, “Here’s your filet… medium rare!”
And darned if the thing wasn’t medium rare!
The flight attendant was right! She sure did know how to cook a steak in the onboard ovens! The steak was very tasty, juicy and tender. This is definitely not the norm with airplane food — even in business class. I was extremely happy with this meat-and-potatoes entree and really forgot about my disappointment of missing out on the sea bass.
At that point, I was beyond stuffed. So full that I declined the ice cream and instead opted for the much smaller dessert choice — the fresh fruit tart. It was fresh and light – a perfect, slightly sweet end to a delicious meal.
It had been a tiresome weekend, so after dinner, I was pretty much ready to go to sleep. I put my seat down into the bed configuration and fell asleep off the coast of Southern Japan (I always leave my map on while I’m sleeping so when I wake up, I can see how much longer we have in the flight).
When I woke up, we were somewhere over Nevada! I’d slept about nine hours! Nine hours of uninterrupted, comfortable sleep — that’s just the best. Yes, the movies, the drinks and the food is nice, but the ability to sleep comfortably and uninterrupted is my favorite part about flying in business class with a flatbed.
It was late morning in Dallas when I woke up and the cabin was still dark. I went to freshen up in the lavatory and the flight attendant offered me a Diet Coke, which was brought to my seat a few minutes later.
About 90 minutes prior to arrival, the flight attendants distributed brunch menus and began the last meal service. There was also a third meal service that I missed while I was sleeping.
By the time the flight attendants got back to me, the quiche was all gone and the only entree left was the pork noodles. That was fine by me, since that is what I’d planned to order than anyway, but I found it somewhat annoying that the last three rows in business class essentially had no choice or a limited choice in entrees for both meals.
The brunch was delivered on one tray. Brunch in this case included some fresh fruit and a sad, pathetic and paltry salad — supposedly fresh seasonal greens.
Luckily, the entree — the pork noodles made up for the crappy salad. The dish was described as pork with “Capital sauce” with egg noodles and bok choy. Now, I don’t know what “Capital sauce” is, but I really, really liked it. It was a sweet sauce that really made the pork taste great and paired great with the noodles. All in all, I was very happy with this little brunch meal!
After brunch, I had another Diet Coke and relaxed a bit before the flight crew started preparing the cabin for arrival into Dallas.
Again, this new business class product on the American B777-300ER (77W) is a first-rate hard product (the seat). The seat provides a great amount of personal space and is an extremely comfortable way to spend 15 hours crossing the Pacific Ocean. It’s certainly among the best business class hard products currently in the skies. The service and catering on this flight were also very good.
Good food, a friendly crew, a wonderful seat, an early arrival and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep — I really can’t ask for more than that on a flight!
Again, I’m so grateful (and lucky) that my upgrade cleared for this flight. Again, Hong Kong to Dallas is a long time to spend in economy. I’ve don’t it before, and it’s brutal. While Hong Kong to Dallas is long, it’s still a good two hours shorter than the outbound flight from Dallas to Hong Kong due to favorable winds.
How I Booked It…
This was the Transpacific return segment of a convoluted routing to Singapore: