Business Traveller - - AMERICAN AIRLINES - By Tom Ot­ley

Amer­i­can Air­lines has been grad­u­ally rolling out its pre­mium econ­omy cabin across its long-haul fleet, and it is now on the ma­jor­ity of its 20 daily flights from Lon­don Heathrow as well as flights from Man­ches­ter.

The pre­mium econ­omy cabin on this B777-300ER is sep­a­rated from busi­ness class by wash­rooms (four in to­tal, two of which are for busi­ness class pas­sen­gers and two of which are for pre­mium econ­omy and econ­omy pas­sen­gers).

The con­fig­u­ra­tion is 2-4-2 with three rows at the sides and four rows in the cen­tre. The con­fig­u­ra­tion is AC – DEGH and JL. Each seat has in seat power both from a tra­di­tional plug (EU, US or UK) and a USB power socket. Seat pitch is 38 inches.

The seats are in dark-grey leather and are no­tice­ably more spa­cious than the seats be­hind. There is a lim­ited over­head locker space with the over wing doors ob­vi­ously stop­ping lock­ers in those ar­eas and the cen­tre lock­ers be­ing smaller in ca­pac­ity than the side ones, but on this flight it wasn’t a prob­lem, de­spite the cabin be­ing full.

Ob­vi­ously flight loads dif­fer through­out the year, but on this flight both pre­mium econ­omy and busi­ness were full or close to it, while econ­omy was prob­a­bly only half-full.

The seats to avoid are cen­tre seats E and G. Best seats are the front row seat, par­tic­u­larly those at the doors (16AC and 16LJ), though bear in mind peo­ple will end up stand­ing here ei­ther to stretch their legs or wait for the wash­rooms, so they aren’t per­haps the qui­etest choice.

These wash­rooms are also used by econ­omy pas­sen­gers from the front of the main cabin. You can get cold feet by the doors, so keep your shoes on or pack an ex­tra pair of socks.

I was in the back row, so I could re­cline my seat with­out wor­ry­ing about the peo­ple be­hind be­cause of the cabin di­vider. How­ever, the one prob­lem with this row is that there may be a bassinet in the row be­hind you.

When we boarded we were told that there had been a prob­lem with the IFE sys­tem try­ing to load new con­tent, and as a re­sult it was not work­ing. This would have been a bit­ter blow for many, I imag­ine, but since I was work­ing the main in­con­ve­nience was not hav­ing the flight maps and also the in­for­ma­tion about the progress of the flight.

The meal choice in­cluded main plates of co­conut curry chicken, steamed rice and veg­eta­bles or tomato and moz­zarella-filled fiorelli pasta, leek sauce, pick­led pep­pers and grana Padano cheese. I chose the lat­ter which was fine with­out be­ing ex­cit­ing. I asked if they had any Tabasco sauce but they did not. Dessert was ap­ple crum­ble, fresh cream with blue­ber­ries.

The drinks choice con­sisted of sev­eral dif­fer­ent beers, in­clud­ing Sam Adams, or a white wine of Re­serve de Sainte-He­lene Colom­bardChardon­nay, France and a red of Villa Chavin Re­serve Tem­pranillo Syrah, Spain.

Although this was quite a long flight, it passed fairly quickly. I worked, then read and slept a fair bit. The per­son on the in­side of me was also a heavy sleeper and so didn’t dis­turb me want­ing to get up and go to the wash­room, and when I got hun­gry half­way through the flight, I walked to the back of the air­craft through the main cabin and found some crisps and choco­late bars to eat.

Around 90 min­utes be­fore land­ing there was an­other meal, which was a Mediter­ranean salad, tzatziki sauce, sautéed as­para­gus, roasted aubergine, roasted bell pep­pers, fusilli pasta, and a dessert of choco­late and salted caramel pud­ding.

This is a com­fort­able pre­mium econ­omy seat with all the power you need to work and enough room to sleep for night flights. It’s a shame the IFE and wifi didn’t work, but I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have used the wifi be­cause gen­er­ally I find it very frus­trat­ing with slow speeds and fre­quent dropped con­nec­tions, but I would cer­tainly have en­joyed watch­ing a film or track­ing the progress of the flight.

Left: Touch­screen IFE sys­tem; Be­low: B777300ER pre­mium econ­omy seats

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