A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the inexpensive flight where everyone could confirm an upgrade to business class for free.
Historically when American flies 3-cabin equipment domestically but sells the flights as 2-cabin (anything except for New York – Los Angeles/San Francisco and Miami – Los Angeles) elites and passengers on full fare tickets have been able to assign themselves seats in the business class cabin. That’s business class seating but economy service. Then upgrades are to international first class (with domestic first service).
On the Dallas – Miami route it was possible for anyone to assign themselves a seat in business class. I do have elite status, but saw the business class seat map for assigning seats even when logged in as a guest.
I flew Miami – Dallas this morning and assigned myself to a nice aisle seat in the old angled business class seats.
Upgrades weren’t looking good. A couple of weeks out one “A” (confirmable upgrade) seat appeared and I considered grabbing it with an upgrade instrument, just because. But since I already had a business seat for a flight that was just to Dallas, I didn’t bother. The flight at the time showed 5 unsold business seats.
The morning of my flight, four hours out, it showed only one first class seat for sale. I was number one on the upgrade list so I figured there was still a shot.
Then 90 minutes out my upgrade cleared. I didn’t even have to wait until the gate. The funny thing? So did upgrades for 9 other people!
To my surprise the aircraft was swapped for a refurbished 777-200, so that meant I’d finally get to try the 777-200 business class seat!
The seats in front and back of the cabin have extra storage up on the top by the wall.
Like on the 787, the rear-facing seats have more surface area for working but I prefer the more ‘open’ feel of the seats where you can push down the armrest. Otherwise the closed nature of the seat feels a bit claustrophobic to me.
That’s something of a nit to be sure, the cabin is even a bit more spacious than business class on the 787 (it’s a wider aircraft, after all). And I do find the rear facing seats to be a bit wider at the shoulders when sitting upright.
The seat rocked forward and back a bit, especially during takeoff. It just seemed a wee bit too loose of a connection to the floor of the aircraft. It didn’t make the flight uncomfortable in any way, but it was noticeable.
The tray tables were noticeably better than on the 787, there was more forward and back movement you could make adjustments with. But once the table is down you’re locked into your seat, there’s no ‘moving it out of the way’ to get up. I do love having enough workspace that I can eat and continue to use my laptop, though.
It’s a great new seat — other than mine in 5A which looks directly into the galley and would be undesirable on an overnight flight. It’s fully flat and every seat has aisle access. It’s got a good entertainment system and the plane is internet-equipped. So what’s not to like?