American Airlines 78
Dallas-Fort Worth Intl (DFW) to London Heathrow (LHR)
Wednesday, August 30
Arrive: 10:25AM (+1 day)
Total Flight Time: 8hr 30m
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
I was among the last to board this evening, as my connecting flight from Las Vegas had been delayed over an hour, resulting in a very tight 20-minute connection. Still, I made it just as the door was closing.
I settled into seat 26J ten minutes before our scheduled departure. I have flown on American’s 777-300ER before, and must say I quite like the cabin. Although it is a rather tight 10-abreast configuration with 31-inch seat pitch, the Recaro slimline seats look smart and the cabin feels modern, spacious and airy. A blanket and pillow were waiting at my seat, while earphones were offered to those who needed them. What's useful is the earphone socket is the standard fit, so most people probably elect to use their own earphones. To me this makes perfect sense.
The purser welcomed everyone aboard this evening's service to London and announced an estimated flight time of eight hours and 36 minutes.
We pushed back a few minutes after our scheduled departure time and I was treated to the wonderful GE90 engine startup sound. The winds were out of the north, so we made our way over to runway 35L for a northerly departure.
As we were in the queue for takeoff, the captain delivered a short welcome PA, advising us we were number five for takeoff, but that "we have the runway all to ourselves" for departures at DFW. He added that he was expecting some turbulent weather en route and that he would get back to us shortly after takeoff with more information.
We were airborne at around 7:45PM and climbed into the slightly bumpy evening sky. Several minutes after takeoff, a somewhat promotional video played celebrating American being voted 2017 ATW Airline of the Year and inviting passengers to join the AAdvantage program, although it did include some important safety messages as well.
Once we'd levelled out at our initial cruising altitude of 31,000 feet, the pilot delivered his second PA as promised. He outlined brief details of our routing and told us to expect "a little bit of chop". He also provided current weather information for London, advising us of light winds out of the west and clear skies with a temperature of 10 degrees centigrade. He anticipated a slightly early arrival, though said he'd be able to provide more definite arrival information once we were into our transatlantic crossing. Food & Drink Service
The pre-dinner drinks service started around 30 minutes into the flight. I asked for a beer and was delighted to be served Voodoo Ranger IPA, which certainly made a change from the standard fare usually offered in economy on most airlines. Kudos to American for being imaginative with its beer selection! It was served with a packet of pretzels, and I also asked for some iced water.
The choice for dinner was rather less imaginative - vegetarian pasta or chicken and mash. I opted for the latter, but must say it was actually one of the better meals I've had in economy recently. The meal included a salad starter with olive oil and vinegar dressing, cream crackers, bread roll and caramel brownie. Also, a bottle of water was provided.
A second drinks service followed immediately behind the meal cart, and I went for a Sam Adams lager this time. American's beer and lager selection sure gets my vote!
The flight attendants were very efficient in clearing away trash, which I appreciated, as it meant my meal tray was gone once I'd finished eating.
A third drinks service was then offered, and I went for an iced water. Within two hours of takeoff, the meal service was finished and everyone had been offered at least four drinks, including the bottle of water that came with dinner. I was pretty impressed by this, as it meant nobody went thirsty and passengers could maximise their rest on this redeye flight.
The crew had good presence in the cabin throughout the first few hours of the flight. They worked hard and were efficient and proactive, though not particularly engaging with passengers besides the necessary formalities. It also appeared to be a full flight.
Passengers could help themselves to drinks and snacks in the galley throughout the remainder of the flight.
Shortly before landing a continental breakfast box was served. This consisted of a yogurt, muffin and a dried fruit selection pack. All in all a perfectly adequate breakfast.Hard Product
The 777-300ER is still one of the newest members of American's fleet and the cabin feels very modern. It boasts large widescreen TVs with good resolution, USB connectivity, power ports and wifi. The inflight entertainment content offers a decent choice of movies, TV shows, music and games, as well as live TV channels such as CNN International and BBC World News.
The inflight entertainment also includes a dedicated Disney section, which features movies, TV shows and soundtracks. Forgive me if I sound like an eight-year-old, but this instantly elevated American in my eyes!Arrival
The captain made his final PA shortly into our descent. He advised the weather in London was overcast skies with some morning fog, which he anticipated would burn off as we got closer.
We approached Heathrow from the north west and completed one orbit of the Bovingdon hold. We then flew roughly downwind of the westerly runways before our final approach and landing on runway 27L. We arrived at our gate several minutes later slightly ahead of schedule.Conclusion
Overall I was very impressed with the service on this flight. The flight attendants were attentive and efficient, and the food and drinks supply was plentiful. The meal was one of the better ones I’ve had in economy recently (though still nothing spectacular) and I appreciated the varied selection of complimentary beers. Quite a few passengers were drinking wine and the flight attendants were more than happy to give them a second or third glass. It’s worth noting that American charges for spirits, while competing airlines such as British Airways don’t.
The aircraft itself was clean, modern and well-equipped. I would definitely recommend American’s 777-300ER service between Dallas and London.