Review: American Airlines Business Class 777-200 Dallas to Tokyo-NRT

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The day finally came to travel to Japan. I love travel days. And this one was silky smooth.

We arrived to the airport in 20 minutes flat, cleared PreCheck in I swear to gods 90 seconds, and headed to the Centurion Lounge. There was time for breakfast, a cocktail, and a free manicure. And, our departure gate was right across from the lounge.

(Perfect!)

I was relaxed and happy when boarding began. And used 54,000 American miles for this flight.

The actual cost is 60,000 American miles. But I got a 10% mileage rebate upon booking – so 6,000 miles were instantly redeposited into my account. This perk comes with most American co-branded cards (with both Citi and Barclays). It’s worth the annual fee for this alone.

american-airlines-business-class-777-200-review

Ready to fly over the Pacific (and nearly halfway around the world!) in Business Class for 54,000 American miles

Last time I flew this route in this plane was in First Class.  So I was curious to see how the new retro-fitted Business Class seats would look and feel. And off we go!

American Airlines Business Class 777-200 review

To start, the Dallas Centurion Lounge is by far by favorite in the whole network. It’s moving to a bigger space next month. And Amex is adding new lounges at DEN, JFK, and LAX this year.

I’m impressed they keep adding lounges at such a nice clip. If you can make use of them, access to the lounges could be the sole reason to hang on to an Amex Platinum Card (any version, including small biz).

Free food and drinks get a big hell yeah

I am constantly in that lounge. And this time, I got a friend in for free. When traveling domestically, I go to the lounge before and after my flights – I’ll even take the AirTrain over there if need be.

This also chilled me out and put me in the mood to fly. So when boarding rolled around, I strolled onto the plane and right to my Business Class seat.

The seat

I’d read about the inconsistent cabins on the 777-200s. The retro-fitting. The back and forth between seat manufacturers. Etc.

So I was prepared for nearly anything on this aircraft.

Business Class seats on the 777-200

I had #3L, a forward-facing seat on the right-hand side. In Version 3 of this aircraft.

My seat, #3L

In each seat, you get your own little pod.

Seat configuration of the 777-200

The Business Class cabin is split up into 2 parts and separated by a curtain. I was in the front. Every seat has direct aisle access.

And they alternate between forward- and backward-facing. They’re set up in a way to minimize having to see other passengers. Even the seats next to the other require you to lean forward to talk around the partition.

When I got to my seat, I found:

  • Pillow and blanket
  • Slippers
  • Bose headphones
  • Amenity kit
  • Food menu

Cute little slippers

I put on the slippers and settled into the seat.

Tons of leg room

There’s a small footrest that angles into the corner at the end of the seat. Even with legs fully stretched, I couldn’t reach it.

Remote control and reading light

The control for IFE and reading lamp are next to your shoulder.

Decent sized TV screen

The TV screen wasn’t huge (~15 inches), but holy crap did they load up the movies! I watched 3 films on the way over. Excellent selections.

4 charging ports

And I loved the little tray next to the (four!) power ports. I plugged in my phone and left it to charge while we flew. It’s also in a great place if you want to sit up and work on your computer while having a power source connected.

Seat as a bed

As soon as I saw that angled foot rest I thought, “Oh dear.” I can’t stand those things. Inevitably, my feet get squished up into these weird angles and can’t fall naturally. Thankfully, it wasn’t that bad here. The length of the seat made it so I could scoot up and give my feet more room.

This won’t be an issue at all if you’re short or a side sleeper. But something to note if you’re tall or like to splay out.

Press and hold

To transform the seat into a flat bed, just hold down the button until it stops moving. Very simple.

Casper bedding

The pillow and blanket are from Casper. Indeed, the duvet cover was soft and the perfect thickness. And the pillow had excellent support and a soft cover on it, too. Good job with the bedding.

There wasn’t a mattress pad, so I made myself into a lil taco with the duvet cover.

This flight left Dallas at 1:10pm and got to Tokyo at 5:21pm. So even after a few hours of flying, I just wasn’t sleepy. But I did manage to drift off and get some rest.

I did the side sleep thing with my arm under the pillow. The cabin temp was nice and cool, which I appreciated. And the flight attendants seemed to be off sleeping or resting somewhere, too. So there was a long period of quiet where most of the cabin fell asleep for a couple of hours.

Between the soft bedding, cool temp, and quietthis was an extremely comfortable ride over the ocean.

Amenities

The amenity kit contained:

  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Tissues
  • Lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Eye mask
  • Socks
  • Ear plugs
  • Pen

Amenity kit contents

Excellent! I used pretty much everything in there.

The skin products and mouthwash were from CO Bigelow:

CO Bigelow toiletries

And the container was Cole Haan. But it was really just a cheap, flimsy little sack. Seemed disposable. I like a sturdy container that either stands on its own, or can be reused in some way.

So, great contents, poor packaging.

Food

Holy cow, they kept the food coming! There was a steady stream of food. I basically snacked throughout the entire flight.

Red wines and dessert wine

White wines and bubbly

Meal options

Desserts, snacks, and, and light meals

Beverage choices

I got the Japanese meal with a green tea.

Japanese meal “bento box”

I noticed they partnered with JAL for the Japanese meal contents. So I was looking forward to what was inside.

Japanese meal presentation

American Airlines Japenese meal

It contained:

  • Shrimp
  • Eel roll
  • Egg cake
  • Bamboo shoots, broccoli, beans
  • Chicken teriyaki
  • Cabbage roll

There was a nice variety of meat and veggies. And I liked the little touches like sesame seeds, the glaze on the yam jelly, and the flavors added to certain items.

Salmon and beef main, miso soup, and rice

Next up, they brought out braised beef, tofu, and grilled salmon as the main dish, with a side of rice and miso soup. The salmon was very good. But the beef was a little tough and dry. Even still, I was impressed to get such a nice variety on a plane.

I was so full, I skipped dessert. But had a snack later on.

“Midnight” snack of cold udon noodles, seaweed, and fruit

I really liked the noodles! And the seaweed was a nice touch – I love seaweed. Would definitely recommend this dish.

Pre-landing meal of broccoli strata, chicken sausage, and potatoes

The final meal was a quick snack with a few breakfast-y items, even though it was 5pm in Japan.

The side salad was bland, even with the dressing. But the eggs, potatoes, and sausage were all really good. I also ate all the cheesecake. 😳

If all that wasn’t enough, they also kept the galley fully stocked with water, chips, cheese plates, and all sorts of other snacks.

The galley had plenty to choose from between meals

I really liked being able to grab as much water as I wanted. And did end up having a cheese plate, which came with 3 cheeses, crackers, and a little fruit. They did a great job at keeping this area full and clean.

Again, the constant access to water was great. I got up and chugged a water every couple of hours. Going to the galley was also great to stretch my legs and use the restroom. So I enjoyed this little setup!

Service

On American, the long-haul routes tend to get staffed with career flight attendants. I remarked at one point, “How cool you get to go to Tokyo!”

The FA waved her hand and said, “This is the only flight I do any more. Been doing it for years.” So there ya go – long-timers!

I could tell the meal service and checks were perfectly synchronized and old hat: routine. Which is fine. They certainly knew what to expect from the flight.

The looong way 😱

We were over land for most of the flight – and took the long way across all of Alaska.

By the time we got there, I was so ready to get off that plane. I knew I had immigration and customs, a 2-hour train ride, and a hotel check-in still left to do.

So while not the warmest or most personalized service, they were definitely professional and knew what they were doing. And I appreciated having the galley setup so you could serve yourself while the lights were off and everyone was sleeping – it allowed the opportunity to doze off without interruption.

Bottom line

I liked the amenity kit, non-stop food, and generally pleasant flight attendants on this flight. The cabin was refreshed with new Business Class seats. And being able to sleep fully flat with soft bedding was a nice touch.

By the time we touched down, exactly 2 years had passed since I’d been in Japan. And if felt so wonderful to be back. I hoped for good weather, to see cherry blossoms, and have new experiences in Tokyo – a city I love deeply.

I’m happy to report all of those things happened. I’m still glowing from an amazing trip. Japan is one of those special places I always want to return to (Iceland too!). It’s incredibly dense and there’s so much to do – but simply being there is enough.

When I saw “unicorn” award space non-stop to Tokyo from Dallas during early April, I was happy to burn 54,000 American miles to visit again. And the flight was great.

Small things like a mattress pad and peppier service would’ve gone a long way to make it even better. But I must say – no complaints with this flight at all. It was a clean, comfortable, and relaxing way to arrive refreshed and hit the ground running – which is exactly what I did.

If you’ve flown this plane on this route or others, how does your experience compare? And if I missed any of the finer points, feel free to ask questions! 

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. The opinions of the commenters are not necessarily the opinions of this site.

Comments

    • Oh man, tough choice! I vote… AA!

      For the better IFE, cooler cabin, softer bedding, and fully stocked galley. It somehow feels wrong not to pick the international carrier…

  1. Enjoyed the article. Can you reach out to me by email regarding the AAdvantage miles rebate, as I cannot find any info about that and even spoke to the folks at AA AAdvantage desk, and they were clueless.

    • Here’s the info from my Citi card: https://outandout.boardingarea.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018-04-19_12-18-52.png

      Here are the T&Cs:

      10% MILES BACK: For benefit to apply, your Citi® / AAdvantage® account must be open and active at the time of redemption. The American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles the primary cardmember earns through this benefit will be based on 10% of the total AAdvantage® miles the primary cardmember redeems during the calendar year. The maximum number of AAdvantage® bonus miles that can be earned annually from this benefit is 10,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles per calendar year and per AAdvantage® account, regardless of how many AAdvantage® miles you redeem in that calendar year, and regardless of how many AAdvantage® co-branded credit cards you have. This benefit only applies to AAdvantage® miles redeemed from the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage® account. Discover all the ways to redeem AAdvantage® miles at aa.com/redeem. American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles typically post 6-8 weeks after your redemption to the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage® account.

  2. I flew AA DFW to LHR in F, and almost swore I would never try their premium product again. It was such a bad experience. But I may try this route, seems like the crew cares.

    • I think a lot of the experience depends on the crew. If I found space on this route again, I’d book it TBH. Although next time, I’m really hoping to fly into Haneda instead. The slog from Narita is no joke!

  3. Took this new service NRT-LAX in Nov. Last time I flew AA in this market they still had the 3 class plane and 1st was amazing. Definitely not the same standard of service they used to have. 36 seats, no pajamas, forward & backward facing seats in tight, claustrophobic compartments. I’ll definitely fly JL which still has 3 class equipment next time my travel takes me to Japan.

    • FWIW, some peeps have said JL Business is actually better than First on the 3-cabin planes, because the Sky Suites are more private. I flew it in Biz recently, and didn’t get PJs either. But it’s definitely a treat if you have the option!

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts – def feel you on the tighter compartments!

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