Airline: American Airlines
The Seat:Compared with seats offered aboard legacy competitors like those in Delta’s new Business Elite and United’s P.S. business class products, Flagship transcon service aboard this American Airlines 767 in business class falls short by a few inches in regards to legroom and seat width, but unless you’re nearing 7 foot tall my guess is that you’ll hardly notice. Seat review websites like seatguru mention that this is one of very few rows in business that is correctly aligned with the window, so cloud-gazers will have to lean forward if seated in a different row. Seat controls are, shall we say: “old school”, using manual levers and lacking the multiple and sometimes confusing seat controls of more modern seats. Winged headrests make it easy to nap and recline is sufficient for short term snoozing. Duvets and full pillows are provided as well.
Service:Service from the flight attendants and gate agents was standard. Everyone was attentive and helpful but nothing extraordinary when considering this is business class.
Summary:While I would have preferred an updated seat with a few more recline and lumbar options, I was pleased overall. Decent food selection, inflight wi-fi and abundant entertainment options helped to make the flight very pleasant. With as little as I had to do to get the upgrade, I was impressed.
Rating:3 hops (of 5).
Strategy: American Airlines offers 1 class upgrades (where available) to all members of their “AAdvantage” program in exchange for miles. In this case, I used just 15,000 miles and a $50 co-pay for a confirmed one-way upgrade from discount economy fare to business class. (*Update: As of December 2009, American has raised the co-pay to $75).
How I got it:AA Advantage mileage upgrade requested online.