Transport : Airlines

In this trip report, we review our flight on an American Airlines B777-300ER in Premium Economy from London Heathrow to New York. You can also read my other Premium Economy flight reviews on American Airlines.

The first plane with AA’s new Premium Economy was their Boeing 787-9 which was launched in October 2016. Each of these new aircraft has been delivered with Premium Economy seats.

Premium Economy was officially launched as a separate class on May 4. American is now retrofitting its current aircraft with premium economy seats, with the aggressive goal of having all 777s, A330s and 787s finished in 2018.

You can book an American Airlines Premium Economy seat on most of the American Airlines flights from London Heathrow. American Airlines also flies from Manchester and you can book these seats on the Manchester route too.

American Airline flies out of London Heathrow Terminal 3. You do not get lounge access by flying in Premium Economy. This is true for most legacy carriers. Booking Premium Economy gets you a larger seat and better food, but at the airport, the only way to secure lounge access is to pay (or take our a credit card which gives you free lounge access).

Of note, if you are flying out of London Heathrow Terminal 3 in Business Class you get access to the American Airlines First Class lounge which isn’t great. A MUCH better alternative is the Cathay Pacific First Class lounge at Terminal 3.

What you do get is priority boarding after First and Business Class on American Airlines which is a marginal benefit but nice none-the-less.

Flight Review

There are a variety of American Airlines Business Class cabins on American Airlines aircraft but the carrier has been pretty consistent with its premium economy seating. With the main differentiator being a 2-3-2 vs. 2-4-2 cabin.

Premium Economy on American airlines is located behind the Business Class Section on the B777. The B77 layout is 2-4-2 compared to 3-4-3 in the Economy cabin. Unusually there are 3 window rows and 4 middle rows with 4 seats. This makes the best seats for couples undoubtedly the window duos of two seats.

The 4 in the middle are less ideal because you have 2 centre seats and passengers in these centre seats need to climb over their neighbour to stretch their legs or use the bathroom.

This is a major disadvantage for ALL passengers seated in the middle as you will either need to climb over someone to get our or you will be climbed over or will have to move to allow the middle people to exit their seats.

The very worst seats in the cabin are the back middle seats as more often than not, the meal choice runs out half way up the cabin and you are stuck with the less popular choice, so it is wise to sit further forward where possible.

I would, therefore, class all the middle seats as the worst in the cabin and of course, they don’t have a view either!

The seat cover is a grey leather with 38 inches of pitch a disappointing recline and usefully each seat has an in-seat power supply which can take a US, EU and UK plug. There is also a USB socket. Width is 19 inches between armrests, which isn’t great but beats the 17-inch width you’ll get in economy.

Each seat has a tray table stored in an armrest. When you pull the lever, the table releases upward. the tray Table measures 16 inches wide by 10.5 inches deep, which gives you plenty of space for a laptop, but not much else.

Each seat also comes with a 11.5-inch IFE touchscreen.

Food Review

The first transatlantic Premium Economy meal in October 2018 was a salad of seasonal greens starter and coconut curry chicken, steamed rice and vegetables or tomato and mozzarella Fiorelli pasta with leek sauce, pickled peppers, Grana Padano cheese.

I went for the chicken curry which was pleasant. The Fiorelli pasta looked overly cheesy to me. Dessert was apple crumble, cream and blueberries.

You could also have soft drinks, beer, wine (red & white).

90 minutes before landing there was a second meal; a Mediterranean salad, with sautéed asparagus, roasted aubergine, roasted bell peppers, fusilli pasta. Pudding was chocolate and salted caramel.

Final Thoughts

Economy on American Airlines is cramped. 17-inch width and 31-inch pitch is small. 19-inches by 38-inches is not perfect but it is more bearable on a long flight.

Remember, if you are planning to book a First or Business Class flight or a luxury hotel, contact our luxury travel concierge to get a quote before booking. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, deals and special benefits.

Want A Bargain?

Take a look at our luxury travel auctions, one of the best places to pick up a travel bargain for a fraction of its actual price. You can also join our auction club mailing list at the bottom of our auction pages to be kept up to date with the latest auction bargains… Don’t miss out.