Product consistency? Who wants product consistency?
Certainly that’s not the goal at the new American…. at least not as far as Business Class seats are concerned! Due to its merger with US Airways, an aging international fleet and seat supplier issues, American now features no less than nine (9) different international business class products.
Of those, seven (7) are on wide body planes used for the vast majority of international routes to Europe, South America and Asia. Over the past year or so, I’ve been able to fly on each wide body business class cabin in the American fleet, so I figured it was time to decipher the differences and rank them — all in one post!
But first? The candidates (along with my past and future reviews of these flights) – many of these flights were in the last few weeks or months, so are in my queue to either write and/or edit and publish reviews:
- A330-200 and A330-300 “Envoy” Suite
- B767-300 “old” configuration
- B767-300 “new” configuration
- B777-200 “old” configuration
- MIA-EZE (upcoming)
- SCL-MIA (upcoming)
- B777-200 “new” configuration
- B787-8 Dreamliner
Let’s go ahead and profile each of these types of Business Class seats!
A330-200 and A330-300 “Envoy” Suite
Envoy Suites class on US Airways A330-200
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After leisurely three hours in the fantastic JAL First Class lounge at Narita Airport, my delayed departure time for my return trip back home had arrived. I made the pretty long haul from the JAL First lounge all the way to the AA departure gate for ORD. It was the very last gate in the main terminal. As I got to the gate, it was apparent that there would be an additional delay, so I took a seat.
Thirty minutes or so later, the crew boarded. Another thirty minutes later, it was time to board. The queue lined up pretty long for Business Class and Priority Access — and the gate agent didn’t really do a great job in organizing the boarding process, but what else is new? Anyway, after this somewhat lengthy delay, it was time to enjoy the brand new American 787 Business Class.
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It seems that Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) will become a haven for the new B787-9 Dreamliners! United has revealed that a number of its new, B787-9s will be deployed to Houston to takeover existing routes currently flown by other equipment.
The transition to the United B787-9 begins in the fall:
Airlineroute.net reports the following equipment updates:
eff 18AUG15 Houston – Rio de Janeiro 787-9 replaces CO 777-200ER
eff 24SEP15 Houston – Frankfurt 787-9 replaces 787-8 and other aircraft types
eff 25OCT15 Houston – Buenos Aires 787-9 replaces UA 767-300ER
eff 17DEC15 Houston – Amsterdam 787-9 replaces UA 777-200ER
eff 05JAN16 Houston – Santiago de Chile 787-9 replaces UA 767-300ER
eff 03MAR16 Houston – Tokyo Narita 787-9 replaces CO 777-200ER
This announcement comes on the heels of United announcing a change in its overall fleet strategy by replacing some future B787 orders with larger B777-300ER aircraft. Furthermore, the airline announced last month that it would be extending the life of its B767-300ER fleet, shifting some current B777-200s to domestic service, and substituting larger aircraft on many Transatlantic routes currently served by the B757-200. This announcement makes it more clear as to where those larger aircraft will come from.
So it seems by next Spring, IAH will be a mini Dreamliner hub — great news for Houston, as the Dreamliner is one of the more comfortable airplanes out there. I thoroughly enjoyed my United flights on the B787 Dreamliner though they were on the -8 variant instead of the larger 787-9.
My Dreamliner reviews can be found here:
I was scheduled to have about an hour and twenty minutes on the ground in Santiago between my incoming flight from New York-JFK and my connecting flight to Sao Paulo. After a quick trip to freshen up in the LAN Mistral VIP Salon, I made my way to the gate, passing Dreamliner after Dreamliner. Santiago is truly a B787 Dreamliner paradise, as LAN has taken delivery to quite a number of the new aircraft. During the mid-morning hours, the LAN B787 fleet all seems to be back in Santiago before dispersing to other locales around the globe.
My LAN B787-8 awaiting departure for Sao Paulo
I boarded my flight to Sao Paulo with the first group. My visa was then verified and I made my way to the sparkling new Dreamliner. Continue Reading →
I recently attempted a weekend trip to Iguazu Falls, Argentina and failed miserably. So many things went wrong that ultimately led me to ditching the itinerary in Sao Paulo and returning to New York. But what let up to that point?
A comedy of errors on this itinerary resulted in me getting pretty much no sleep, which led to exhaustion and my eventual decision to fly home before making it to my intended destination.
It all started Thursday morning as I attempted to check-in for my flight with LAN. The problem first arose when the LAN website indicated that my confirmation number was not valid. As such, I called LAN to see what was wrong. The agent with LAN told me that my SCL-GRU segment of my itinerary was showing a significant delay, and I would mis-connect in Sao Paulo for my flight to Foz do Iguazu.
He offered me two options — to overnight in Sao Paulo and get to Iguazu on Saturday afternoon. I declined this option, as it would only leave me a day in Iguazu. The second option was to take an earlier flight from JFK to Santiago and on to Sao Paulo on the LAN 787 Dreamliner, then have a ten-hour layover in Sao Paulo before continuing on to Iguazu on the same flight. In order to do this, I had to leave work three hours earlier and confirm standby space on an earlier flight from DCA-JFK. After speaking to American about changing my DCA-JFK flight, I decided on this option.
I figured that I could ultimately deal with this undesirable itinerary as long as I was able to sleep on my flight to Santiago. I didn’t think this would be much of a problem since I’d been assured a bulkhead seat by the phone agent (I had a bulkhead seat on my original flight booked for six months).
Again, when he changed my flights, the LAN agent assured me that I had confirmed a bulkhead, window seat on the 787, seat 12L. At 6’4″, an exit row or a bulkhead seat is a necessity for me traveling long-haul in economy — I just need the extra leg room, otherwise I’m miserable. Continue Reading →