About 18 months ago I was able to take the ‘new’ 777-300 from American Airlines from JFK to London. My most recent trip allowed me to visit this plane again, seated in Business Class.
TRANSFER – Terminal 5 to Terminal 3
For some reason, I suspect due to passport issues, BA in Dublin could not issue my boarding pass for the sector from Heathrow to New York. As I could not persuade the Heathrow Airport employee that I was in transit I had to exit down the corridor which bypasses UK Border Control to UK Customs.
I then had to exit Terminal 5, and catch the Heathrow Express to get to the Terminal 1/2/3 stop. This short journey is free in Standard Class. (If you have to do this board at the back of the train as it is closest to Terminal 3 on arrival).
The check-in at Terminal 3 was fairly fast and whilst the Fast Track was slow, I was moved to another queue by the Heathrow staff which then moved even more slowly. When I waited for my stuff to enter the x-ray I got a lecture from the Heathrow security screener as to whom I thought might steal my stuff whilst on the belt. Terminal 3’s security staff have a justifiable reputation for being the worst in the whole airport and they lived up to that billing on my visit.
AA operates a common entrance for its Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge in Terminal 3. I’ve had problems getting in to the Flagship before with a OneWorld Emerald card but it was without drama on this visit.
There are a large number of seating areas, most with close by electrical sockets. The WiFi is free.
A good number of magazines and newspapers were available in the lounge, although the good coffee machine was out of service when I was there. Food changed when I was in the lounge from breakfast to lunch. Hot items can be ordered from a short menu with the staff.
The food was perfectly reasonable for a short stay before eating on board.
It was a good 15-20 minute walk to the gate for the flight, right at the end of the main terminal at T3. Boarding had not started when I arrived, and indeed the crew had not boarded at the time that the passengers should have been on-board. The explanation of ‘Late inbound aircraft’ was simply untrue as the inbound from Miami had come in only 2 minutes late. Give the crew their due, they did their checks in double quick time and we boarded only about fifteen minutes late.
Boarding was through door 2L, which mean that I was close to my seat in the two row mini-Business Class cabin located between First Class and door 2.
The seating is snug but very private and comfortable in my view. Located right behind First, there are bins on the side and above the centre seats. Laid out in a 1-2-1 format, the window seats point towards the windows. There is lots of leg room and the pillow and duvet were in place when we boarded.
The seat is firm but very comfortable, and there are plenty of places to store shoes, amenity kit and the headphones in the control unit.
The control panel allows access to in-seat power, the entertainment system as well as seat adjustments. There is a small light here also, as well as control over the lights above the seat.
Menus were distributed after take off, and drinks were provided. The picture is a perfectly sized glass of champagne in my view.
I had pre-ordered the Beef and the flight attendant confirmed that they had one reserved for me. The starter and salad were served off a trolley with the selection of dressing being added. The bread was crispy, like French Bread and nicely warm.
The main courses came out hot and the beef was well cooked and tasty.
Dessert was a choice of cheese and fruit or customised ice-cream sundae.
At 10,000 feet the WiFi was turned on and easily accessed from my device. The charges are shown below also:
Above the entrance to First Class is a screen which they use for the moving map during the flight – I love this as you see where you are without changing channels on the video monitor.
The main screen flips out and provides an excellent clear screen.
I usually miss out the second meal but the main part was so lovely that I was delighted that I had it. The salad was dull.
We arrived at Gate 8 at JFK on time and after a 10 minute walk was in the Immigration Hall. The bank of Global Entry machines were working and I was out through Customs and at the taxi stand about 15 minutes after we landed.
All in all, the seat, meals, entertainment and crew has made this my favourite way to cross the Atlantic now.