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Before I continue, let me preface that I’m still in shock that we were able to find American Airlines award flights that:
1. Included a domestic connecting flight (DC to Miami)
2. Allowed us to fly out after work, maximizing our vacation time (first flight departed at 7:00 pm)
3. Flew over a holiday weekend (Labor Day)
If you haven’t read how we made it happen or the review from the first leg on our AA business class flight itinerary, be sure to check out both blog posts.
After a surprisingly awesome business class flight from DC to Miami, we hustled across the airport to our next flight to Santiago, Chile. We only had about an hour between flights and the big Boeing 777 starts boarding 45 minutes before takeoff, so we knew we wouldn’t have any time to spare at the Miami airport. That, unfortunately, meant we wouldn’t be able to explore the business class lounge, but I’ll take a perfectly timed connection over four hours in an airline lounge any day.
We showed up at our departure gate literally two minutes before they started boarding. Talk about perfect timing. 👌
Business-class passengers were the first to board, so we shuffled by the gate agent and found our seats/beds for the next 8+ hours. It was obvious that our plane featured some of the new, sleek business class seats that American Airlines recently rolled out.
The seats were in a 1-2-1 configuration (one window seat, two aisle seats, one window seat), providing direct aisle access to all business class passengers. So no need to wake anyone when you have to use the bathroom mid-flight.
Taryn likes window seats, so rather than the two side-by-side aisle seats, we opted for back-to-back window seats.
Underneath the armrest next to the window was plenty of storage for small items as well as a remote control for the in-flight entertainment system. There were also plenty of USB ports and electrical outlets to charge any phones, iPads, etc.
The seats were super comfortable and brand new. I loved the charcoal gray. There was a handy reading lamp just above the seat so you wouldn’t have to turn on all the overhead lights.
Here’s a look at the digital seat controls. It was a bit touchy, but I thought the lumbar support was a nice feature. I don’t recall that on my Emirates flight.
At this point, the flight attendant came around with glasses of champagne. Twist my arm.
Each seat came with a Cole Haan amenity kit in a handy bag.
The bag was probably 3x the size it needed to be, but better too much room than not enough, right?
The amenity kit came with a pretty basic assortment of toiletries, including lotion, chapstick, mouthwash, tissues, earplugs, toothbrush/toothpaste, an eye mask, a pen, and coupons for Casper and Cole Haan. The bedding in American Airlines business class is a Casper branded, hence the Casper coupon. The toiletries were all very small, but the perfect size for use on a flight. I have more half-used toiletry bottles than I know what to do with, so the extra small chapstick/lotion/mouthwash was perfect.
The seats are all at an angle, with the footwell underneath the seat in front of each passenger’s armrest. Sometimes these angled seats mean that bigger dudes have a tiny cubby hole for their feet, especially when the seat is completely horizontal. Definitely not the case with these seats.
Taryn can only take me nerding out and taking pictures for so long. But this is a great look at the sleek, gray motif that was consistent across the AA business class product. Even the placements matched this charcoal gray. (Insert “50 Shades of Gray” joke here.)
We were excited about the flight, but since it was almost 11:00 pm on a Thursday after work and we already flew on one leg, we were also exhausted.
The obligatory champagne picture. Cheers!
Next I decided to try the in-flight entertainment system. Each seat had a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones, which is an upgrade from any other business class flight we’ve flown.
I explored my movie options, then turned my attention to the dinner menu.
As you can see, there were a decent number of options. I was already satisfied with dinner served the previous flight, but had already preordered the filet mignon online in the days leading up to the flight. Preordering is completely optional, but it ensures AA won’t run out of your preferred option while onboard.
I also ordered a bourbon, and the flight attendant came back in a few minutes with a glass of Woodford Reserve and a dish of warmed nuts.
Maybe 15 minutes later, the flight attendant brought over my dinner. I like anything and everything with mango, so I was a big fan of the mango and manchego “small plate.” The spinach and arugula salad was a step up from the average airplane salad, and the plates were also much nicer than the lame plastic dinnerware we’re used to in the economy.
As far as the steak… it was ok. The grille marks make it look nice, but the meat tasted like it was cooked on a plane (duh). Another good example that the food in business class IS better, but don’t expect Ruth’s Chris Steak House-level beef. While the steak was “meh,” the mushroom corn pudding was da bomb and though I fancy myself as an asparagus snob, the asparagus passed my test.
Taryn also preordered the steak, but five minutes after takeoff, she was down for the count and slept right through dinner. We had already eaten one meal, so probably a wiser choice.
After the flight attendant cleared my dinner tray, he came back around with dessert. I opted for the mint chocolate chip ice cream, which came in its own glass with a pirouette and chocolate on the side. Much better than throwing a single-serve carton of ice cream in economy class.
At this point, I was stuffed and exhausted. After I finished Super Troopers 2, I set my seat to bed mode and passed out with my Casper mattress pad, blanket, and pillow.
I was apparently too tired to take pictures, but it was easily the best sleep I’ve ever had on an airplane. Maybe it was because it was a Thursday after work and I was super tired. Maybe it was because it was actually late at night (around midnight). Or maybe it was how comfortable the seat and blankets were. But I had a solid six hours of sleep before waking up for breakfast service.
The cabin lights started coming on, and I saw a glass of orange juice already poured on my tray table. I thought that was a nice touch, and it was exactly what I wanted when I woke up.
While I thought the preemptive OJ was awesome, Taryn was less impressed. That’s because she accidentally kicked the OJ off the shelf while she was waking up since she didn’t know the flight attendant set it there while she was sleeping. So while I was enjoying my glass of orange juice, Taryn was cleaning up spilled OJ off of her blanket and pillow. At least it happened AFTER her her night of sleeping?
Taryn also agreed that the seats were incredibly comfortable, and she slept the most of any flight in our travels. Kudos for American Airlines for acing the “bed in the sky” experience.
Shortly after Taryn cleaned up the orange juice, the flight attendant served us breakfast. While dinner can be hit or miss, I feel like plane breakfast is always easier. The fruit was fresh, the biscuit had adequate flakiness, and the omelet, sausage, and potatoes were just fine. I really hate arriving hungry after a long flight, and this breakfast easily held me over until lunch.
About 45 minutes after the flight attendant cleared our trays, we landed in Chile. There’s only a one hour difference between DC and Santiago, so we were spared from jet lag and well-rested after managing real sleep on our overnight flight.
Overall, I was most impressed with the lie-flat seats. Again, maybe part of it was because we were so tired, but both Taryn and I slept like rocks through the night. I had relatively low expectations for AA business class seats, but they were easily the best part of the experience.
However, the service left a lot to be desired. The AA flight attendant on our connecting flight to Miami was super personable, and she gave everything that little extra touch. So I would have expected something comparable on our long flight to Santiago. But that sadly wasn’t the case. It seemed like our flight attendant for the long flight was assigned more seats than he could handle, causing him to be rushed throughout the meal services. He wasn’t rude, but he wasn’t exactly friendly either.
But that’s splitting hairs. In the end, the American Airlines business class flight blew away our expectations, and we had the best sleep we’ve ever had in the sky!