HomeAirlinesAmerican AirlinesDo I give American Airlines long-haul Business Class another try? (opinions please)

Do I give American Airlines long-haul Business Class another try? (opinions please)

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It wasn’t just the American Airlines AAdvantage program that I turned my back on a few years ago, the airline itself started to see a lot less of my business, and in a couple of months’ time, it will be four years since I last flew internationally with American Airlines (5 years if you don’t count one flight taken during the pandemic).

I gave up on AAdvantage because the program didn’t work for me anymore, but viewed purely as mechanism to transport me from A to B, American Airlines has always worked fine.

It didn’t stop serving the routes that I regularly fly, it didn’t start charging more than I had paid in the past, and it didn’t stop letting me credit my flights to my preferred frequent flyer program (the Executive Club), so my reason for abandoning the airline’s long-haul flights had nothing to do with the practicalities of travel.

Instead, it had everything to do with what traveling with American Airlines had become like.

The fact is that while I’ve rarely had any major issues with American’s short haul services, the story was different on long-haul flights.

Back when I was still flying across the Atlantic with American Airlines 8 to 10 times a year and seat 3J on AA136/AA137 and on AA50/AA51 was a second home, I never knew what sort of cabin crew to expect and, frankly, the lottery got boring.

While with British Airways I always know exactly what I’m going to get in the Club World cabin (most of the time), with American Airlines the experiences could be as different as night and day.

Some of cabin crews were nothing short of fantastic, and they made some of those longer flights considerably more pleasant than they would otherwise have been. They were a joy to be around.

The others, however, were terrible.

Rudeness, obnoxiousness, and laziness were the three pillars on which everything these crews did was built, and I lost count of the number of times that I would sit in my seat wondering in what other customer facing profession would these guys still have jobs.

There was no happy medium between the two crew types (it was almost always one or the other), and towards the middle of 2019 when I seemed to be getting the crews with attitude a lot more than I was getting the great ones, I made a conscious decision to avoid the American Airlines operated transatlantic flights and just fly with British Airways every time … even when the American Airlines schedule would have worked much better.

In fairness, I’ve had a great run with BA and apart from having to deal with the airline’s terrible ying/yang Business Class seat whenever I get stuck with the A380, I’ve got no complaints.

Sure, the food took a while to get back to being ok after the pandemic cuts, but the crews I’ve had have all been either good or great, so I have no complaints on that front.

Now, I find myself planning yet another LAX-LHR-LAX trip for later in the year and I can’t help but wonder if I should give American Airlines a try one more time.

Apart from the fact that it would give me the chance to review a cabin I haven’t reviewed in years, taking the first American Airlines flight of the day would get me to the West Coast earlier than BA and give me a better chance of missing the traffic, and that’s something that I’d quite like to do.

a screenshot of a phone

Taking the later BA flight wouldn’t really be an issue, but with American’s flight times on other transatlantic flights also often suiting my needs better, it may be time for me to give the airline another try to see if it’s ‘safe to go back in the water’ 🙂

On the one hand, I’d quite like to see 3J again (a great seat even though it has a missing window) while on the other hand, I’m reluctant to leave the ‘comfort’ of British Airways and run the risk that I’m going the be stuck with a crew where at least half of them should have been moved on years ago.

There is, of course, the chance that in the past 4 years things have changed, that good has triumphed over evil, and that the great crews are now in the ascendancy on American’s transatlantic routes … and that’s where I need your help.

If anyone reading this has flown long haul with American Airlines in the past few years, please let me know what the experience was like and let me know if you think it’s worth giving the airline another go. Thanks!

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  1. I have a AA business flight coming from FRA-DFW on the 787-8, with reverse seats, etc. Not the best out there, but I’ve flown a couple times in the last year and for what I paid (57.5K miles), it was worth it. Again, much better than economy; I slept well; I ate well.

    You never know…..

    • I’m not sure what’s more surprising, the fact that you ate well or that you found Business Class saver award inventory 🙂

      Joking aside, sure, AA Business Class is streets ahead of Economy .. but what have the crews been like?

      • I’m probably a “low maintenance” passenger to the crew – I mostly enjoy being able to stretch out and sleep. No issues with crew; I tend to pick seats up front so I’m served first; they always provide whatever I’m asking for during their regular service. Usually pre-order my meal; usually beef related.

        I don’t drink wine nor champagne, so can’t comment on all that sort of thing (like I see bloggers often emphasize about – this cognac or that champagne, etc.)

        I’m retired so I check the saver award inventory as soon as it’s released; I can have an easier time finding those occasional 57.5 or 67K awards (not the BA ones – their service charges are way too high. I would love to fly them, though).

  2. Take BA, especially if its the new club suites. I have never had an “amazing flight” with AA. Maybe never even a “great” one

  3. The new BA Club Suites and most often BA’s food and beverage service is a step ahead however the Aadvantage program if superior to BA Avíos, so I still will often fly AA 777 business class from LAX to LHR. American’s food has improved and crews have been quite friendly, especially if you reach out to them. I have also often been successful in using AA miles to buy biz class transatlantic seats and to upgrade more easily than trying to find BA transatlantic available buz class with Avios.

    I still get to use the best lounges at LAX and LHR either way, so that’s a plus for either airline.

    I also have to be diligent to make sure I don’t get stuck on BA’s A 380 as they are so old and outdated. The Club Suites on the other hand are the best.

  4. I fly AA instead of BA metal trans-Atlantic because I really don’t like late flights. BA’s on-time record out of Heathrow to the US is embarrassingly bad, much worse than AA — and much worse than the other US airlines. The statistics are all there on ExpertFlyer. Based on experience (not statistics), I’d also say that I’m often noticeably early on AA, a rarity on BA. To me, all that’s worth more than crew variability. But others may of course have different priorities

  5. Last week flew AA J LAX-HND 787
    No IFE
    Auto window shade didn’t tint so being on the left side I had sun streaming into the cabin at my seat. And I was told to write to Boeing
    When I complained via the app, I was thanked for flying their “world class airline”
    When I complained about their “world class airline” a second time I was awarded 7,500 miles.

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