American Airlines Sydney-LAX business class: what to expect

By Chris Chamberlin, June 11 2015

Qantas partner and Oneworld member American Airlines kicks off Sydney-Los Angeles flights from December 17, taking the place of four weekly Qantas Boeing 747 services on the same route.

In many ways, AA's flagship Boeing 777-300ER jets represent an upgrade for business class travellers over even those refurbished Qantas jumbos.

Here's what to expect if you're flying at the pointy end with American.

Fully-flat beds with direct aisle access

Fast becoming the expectation in international business class, travellers on AA will enjoy fully-flat beds for a good night's sleep and direct aisle access from every seat: avoiding an awkward midnight hop over your seatmate.

Look familiar? They're a customised version of the same 'Zodiac Cirrus' seats also used by Oneworld member and AA partner Cathay Pacific on its Australian flights.

With an adjustable seat back, head rest, and leg rest, AA's seats stretch to between 190 and 198cm when fully-flat...

... and are 66cm wide to provide ample shoulder room.

AA supplies pillows, blankets and amenity kits in business class, although doesn't offer a turndown service as you'd find on Qantas, nor pyjamas – so savvy travellers will want to BYO PJs (preferably Qantas ones?) for the overnight flight.

Inflight Internet, plenty of space to work

Remain connected to the office or your family back home in Australia with inflight Internet access across the Pacific available at US$19 for the entire flight. You can also pay US$17 for a four-hour stint or US$12 for a quick two hour session.

A universal AC power socket in every seat accepts Aussie plugs, plus there's a USB outlet for an easy recharge of your smartphone or tablet.

There's also space aside the seat to perch your iPad or Surface while you're eating...

... which doubles as a storage shelf for your headphones, glasses and other goodies while you rest.

On-demand inflight entertainment

Getting bored will be tough with around 250 movies, 180 TV shows and 350 audio tracks on tap, served up via a personal 15.4-inch widescreen monitor:

Much like Qantas' A380 and Boeing 747 Skybed 2 seats in business class, your screen needs to be folded away for take-off and landing...

... but when it's deployed, you'll receive a pair of Bose QuietComfort acoustic noise-cancelling headphones to enjoy the show, while the screen can be controlled via touch or remote control.

An inflight bar... kind of

After enjoying your pre-departure glass of Champagne, wander back to the walk-up bar – claimed by AA to be the first of any US airline.

Self-serve beverages are available here throughout the flight, along with a range of snacks such as sandwiches, wraps and sweets to tide you over in between meals.

And of course, don't be afraid to ding your call bell to order a drink straight to your seat.

Also read: American Airlines to fly Sydney-Los Angeles from December

Follow Australian Business Traveller on Twitter: we're @AusBT

Chris Chamberlin

Chris Chamberlin is the Associate Editor of Executive Traveller and lives by the motto that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, a great latte, a theatre ticket and a glass of wine!

Qantas - QFF Platinum

20 Mar 2012

Total posts 213

I've heard one of the biggest draw cards on AA biz class is their ice cream sundaes.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 287

They also do the best Bloody Mary I've ever had on a plane... Even in economy (I think it's the Mr & Mrs T Bloody Mary Mix that does the trick)

Yes they're very good sundaes.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

The sundaes are indeed good, but the rest of food and beverage offering is pretty ho-hum and the cabin service is not on a par with QF, VA or the premium Asian and Middle East carriers.

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 287

I don't know.. Their fillet of beef was pretty good in my experience. Also the exclusive Louis by Roederer champaign is my favourite tipple

All I can say is that if more people have that opinion and act according to their opinion, the higher the chances of Exec Plats clearing their system wide upgrades ;)

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Finally an American airline is getting praised for their product lol

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 287

Ex boyfriend is cabin crew for American Airlines and I can say I've always had good service from them. Glad to see the new biz class seats as they are a major improvement over the old ones.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

You must be one of the "special ones". I've flown AA first and business class 8-10 times internationally and 12-15 times domestically in the past 18 months and can honestly say I only received service commensurate with the class of travel on four of all those flights. Credit where it's due, at least AA is consistently bad and you set your expectations suitably low!

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 76

AWA2602 You shoudl try AA again soon becuase they have improved. I'm a business traveller within different airlines from North America to Europe and Asia..and I have to say that AA has improved a lot... International Economy Class is the best of all North American airlines.. used ot be DL but not sure what is taking down their attitude. UA is consistenly horrible and not even try to improve it. Business Class AA is the best of all North American airliners.. UA has a very bad attitude.. AC is passable DL is OK..WHat are you comparing AA to? SQ?? QF?? CX?? Of course is not top airline in the world but at least is withint the top 100 that UA is not even there.. and I have to said that AA has been consistenly improving.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

I've been primarily flying AA between USA and Europe with a few flights operated by BA (as an AA codeshare) and also on AF, USA to UAE with EK and USA to Asia with QF and CX.  So I'm comparing AA to BA, AF, QF and CX and to a much lesser extent my experiences with SQ on flights between Australia and Europe (admittedly these flights were in A380 First Class Suites so there's no compariosn with anything offered by AA).  I've flown DL and UA once each in the past two years and both of those experiences were deplorabe!! UA was so bad, I cancelled my return flight with them and re-booked with LH!

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

Interesting.  I have a good friend who commutes between JFK and LHR, and who takes the AA 77W service over BA because the hard-product in AA F is so vastly superior to the dreadful BA cabin.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

The hard product is very much a personal preference, I love BA's J seat 62A on the B747 upper deck. BA's cabin service is streets ahead of AA's in both First and Business.

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

Well, I know one former BA customer who was happy to give up his Concorde Room card and earn a Concierge Key card instead, but naturally YMMV.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

06 Nov 2014

Total posts 340

Hopefully this will stimulate VA to refurbish their business class faster. when VA revealed their new business seat, it was the best trans-pacific business class product. Now they no longer have that advantage! 

However, I think service and food should still be better with VA. 

Will people who would have flown on the QF 747 service now switch and fly on the AA service? Or will they defer and fly on the QF A380 service?

12 Jun 2013

Total posts 744

Probably.

The harder sell will be economy. To fill AA's ten-abreast 777 in preference to the QF A380 or the nine-abreast 777s of VA, DL and (even) UA they'll have to either offer substantially lower fares or just rely on the ignorance of customers. Probably the latter.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

19 Aug 2011

Total posts 155

Given most economy passengers are occasional travellers, who are driven by price online or booked by travel agents who are often ignorant of these things, I'd say the latter.  

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jul 2013

Total posts 209

Why do airlines give you a bed but no pyjamas? It's just so cheap!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

21 Aug 2014

Total posts 513

Bring your own then.

I've been on one of their 777-300ER from Sao Paulo to Montreal earlier this year in March and this J product is fantastic - I had probably one of the best sleeps ever. I've flown quite a bit with AA domestically in their 'first class' and more ofthen than not, I find the service to be quite good.

However, I can't say the same for their international service (or lack thereof) - the FAs on that particular GRU-YUL flight made it very clear that we were there to inconvenience them, bemoaning on more than one occassion that we were a hassle to them. From the time you board, they were more intent on slouching at the other door (far-end), arms crossed, not making eye contact, not bothering to check for boarding passes and showing you to your seat, to abruptly asking "what do you want" before take off and during meal times....

I'm not precious when it comes to service, but I would suggest that AA revisits their training and service levels to complement an excellent seat :) 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 287

Sorry to point out, but American Airlines doesn't fly direct between São Paulo and Montreal.. Either you stopped and changed aircraft in the U.S., or you were flying Air Canada mate.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

05 Jun 2014

Total posts 165

There actually aren't any non-stops YUL to GRU even on AC

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Mar 2015

Total posts 81

looks like you were on a 777 gru to mia or jfk or lga, but it was a 737 after that!

11 Mar 2012

Total posts 294

Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed my recent experience on CX J the seat is a little narrow when sleeping on my side, knees bent.  Could only do it facing one way as my knees hit the side of the seat when facing into the aisle.  At 6'2" I'm reasonably tall but not at an extreme.  

First world issue I know but just a comment to consider.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

13 Jul 2012

Total posts 116

They do provide pajamas - at least in Transpacific First (flew recently from NRT to LAX) and pretty good ones...

Indeed – you do get them in first class, although not in business class.

21 Dec 2015

Total posts 5

AA now offer PJs in business class (SYD/LAX is the only route they offer them on globally).

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer - Chairmans Lounge

01 Sep 2011

Total posts 363

As for that pre-take off champagne mentioned in the article above, lets not forget its served in a plastic container and every time i have asked, ive been told its california sparkling wine, not genuine champagne.

Qantas

13 Jun 2015

Total posts 143

That in-flight bar from AA B77W is similar to the Emirates A380!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

17 Jun 2015

Total posts 2

Certainly looks the part but not sure I would want to be in Y in the 10 abreast config. The J looks the part though. Might give it a try. Assume that on AA there will be matching QF status credits and points awarded

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jun 2015

Total posts 4

Worth giving it a try if their service has improved and newer aircraft sounds like a good alternative to  QF 747's.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

10 Jun 2015

Total posts 4

Worth giving it a try if their service has improved and newer aircraft sounds like a good alternative to  QF 747's.

United Airlines - Mileage Plus

13 Mar 2015

Total posts 76

I’m not an employee of AA or any personal relation with them, but they have responded in imaginable ways to help me in difficult moments of my personal life to get a flight where it was impossible to reach my final destinations on those urgencies I had in the past, and that is something that created a “bond” with AA.

I have criticized AA and many others especially after Sep 11 when all the airlines started to make all this charges and fees and offer a deplorable service on domestic and international routes. However, even with that I never stopped flying AA or CO because their attitude was much better than UA and DL. CO, UA and DL made changes when they merge with other airlines… and DL changed in a very positive way and it was nice… but the merge of UA and CO moved towards the bad attitude and service of UA and made a lot changes worrying so much for their Premium Cabin, taking away from Economy passengers… converting their economy class on a disgrace for a regular airline as they supposedly are.

AA changed on their domestic service as all the North American airliners but their International service was the same… not the best but it was OK. Now, AA has been improving their international service for the past 3 years and gradually implementing those changes on more international routes that put AA as the best service in Economy Class for all North American airliners.

DL used to be good for the past 3 years but has been declining their quality and attitude on board…  AC was good but now with the implementation of PE on their flights… I have to say that Regular economy is taking the same fate of Economy class on UA.

If I compare AA on international service with other airlines such BA, QF, SQ, QR, EY, LH, AF or CX… in Economy or Business Class, probably I will go for those other airlines, however, I will not feel “punished” if I have to take a flight on AA either in Business or economy class… and that says all. I will do everything to avoid flying UA, since I stopped using that airline with the horrible service on flights to Asia, Europe and domestic during last and this year.  

In few words, I will select AA at any time and my trip to SYD on Dec 26…I will try to make it happen in AA in the outbound or inbound flight. THNAK YOU so much to AA for all the efforts to create a much better product… and I believe soon you will reach a much higher place on the airline industry.

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

29 Jun 2013

Total posts 367

Good to see an americian airline doing something to improve there seating let's hope they improve their customer service as well.

10 Sep 2012

Total posts 151

Dear Qantas,

In case you haven't noticed, passengers now expect 4-abreast seating in business class on long-haul routes, particularly when they pay upwards of $6K each way for their tickets.  You've been skating along on your reputation for far too long, and now your OW partner AA is going to be offering 4-abreast J to Sydney, VA has solid plans, DL is already there; in fact, you're in-line with FJ on their 332 fleet, and only superior to UA with their absolutely horrible 8-abreast 77E J-cabin.

You need to fix the 388 fleet, and also have a serious rethink of the 744 fleet, which still (unbelievably) has middle seats in J. 

Get cracking ASAP.


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