Review: American Airlines Old Business Class, JFK-MXP

Review: JFK American Airlines Flagship Lounge
Review: American Airlines 767-300 Business Class, JFK-MXP
Review: Park Hyatt Milan
Review: Park Hyatt Milan Afternoon Tea
Review: American Airlines 767-300 Business Class, MXP-JFK

As I was sitting in the Flagship Lounge waiting to depart, I happen to glance at the AA app on my phone to discover my seat assignment for my flight to Milan had changed. In looking at the seat configuration, I was disappointed to see that the plane had been downgraded to an older version of the 767, with angled-flat seats. Having now been assigned a window seat, which I did not want, I asked the club agent to assign me an aisle seat, which she gladly did.

The flight was scheduled to board about 40 minutes prior to departure, by I headed to the gate 10 minutes early since it was a far walk from the Flagship Lounge. Upon arriving, it was nothing short of chaos as there was only one agent operating the flight and she was multi-tasking between phone calls, passenger requests and boarding passes due to the confusion with the downgraded plane. She handled it extraordinarily well, and we joked a bit to lighten the mood. I was disappointed to fly on an American Airlines old business class equipped plane, but excited at the same time since I hadn’t flown it international before (only domestic, funny enough).

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40 minutes prior to departure, the Business Class seating was called to board, and we did, only to be held up on the jet bridge for a few minutes due to the cabin not being ready. It seemed odd that someone would not have communicated this to the gate agent, but thankfully it wasn’t too long before the flight’s purser, who I would come to see a lot during the flight, frantically waived everyone aboard and apologized for the delay.

In stepping on the aircraft, you’ll find the Business Class cabin in a 2x2x2 configuration, all with angled flat seats. In the last row of Business Class, there is a pair of seats reserved for a crew rest area, which was used during the flight. I stowed my baggage, and found one of the new amenity kits at my seat, which I was excited about.

After a few minutes, the flight attendant serving my row came around offering menus, pre-departure beverages (champagne, orange juice or water), and newspapers. He also came around to take meal selections, and my first choice of the beef ran out by my row, so I selected the duck. I’m not sure why I didn’t select a meal during the online selection process, but in any event, was happy to try the duck.

Once airborne, hot towels and Bose headphones were distributed. Then, Samsung Galaxy tablets were passed out, which was the inflight entertainment for the next 8 hours. A beverage service trolley was wheeled down the aisle, and I asked for a mimosa, which was made for me. I’m not a fan of airlines using a beverage trolley, but can understand how it eases the service.

About 20 minutes prior to leveling off, the appetizers began to be served. The spring rolls were actually quite good, and the salad had a nice dill dressing. Following the appetizers, the flight attendant brought out the duck, which, unfortunately, I was not a fan of. It seemed very fatty and tough, but I ate it out of pure hunger. I was excited for the dessert course following dinner, to which I chose the Heath Bar ice cream, which was really good.

Then, the “fun” part of my flight began. As I attempted to recline my seat, I noticed the controls in the console were not allowing me to so. I pressed some other seat functions, and nothing was worked. Uh oh. I flagged my flight attendant and asked him for assistance, figuring I was doing something stupid to not make it work, or perhaps there was a reset button as a simple fix. Nope. He tried for minute, and couldn’t make it work either. He called over the purser and she poked and prodded, too. Nothing. Then, she peeled back the cushions to the seat and started pulling on some levers, hoping to make it jostle into place. Still nothing. I was concerned I’d have a non-working seat at this point, and she confirmed my worst fears. She attempted to pull the pulleys to make the seat into a somewhat comfortable position, and we settled on something halfway between reclined and lay-flat. It was uncomfortable to say the least, but I have to thank both flight attendants for assisting in the manner they did, as they were the utmost apologetic and offered to adjust the seat at any time. Further, the purser said she would report the seat to maintenance and have it documented in my reservation, should customer service wish to compensate me. I was thankful for her offer, and attempted to get some sleep, which I did for about an hour.

An hour and half before landing, we were woken for breakfast, to which I chose the egg over biscuit. While it tasted semi-okay, it was paired with an odd potato casserole looking thing, which tasted horrible.

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After breakfast was cleared, the flight attendant serving my row attempted to adjust the seat back into a full-upright position, and in doing so, knocked my seat-mate’s orange juice over. We cleaned it up with some blankets, but unfortunately, there were no more blankets left to give us replacements and we were “blanket-less” for the rest of the flight.

Prior to landing, the purser asked me to move to the seat in the crew rest area, just in case my original seat would become dis-lodged in it’s current setting. I obliged and moved back, where I was happy to finally be in a seat with functioning controls, if only for about 5 minutes of usable time.

We landed without incident, and I was off on the train to the Park Hyatt Milan.

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