Flight-Report

Review of American Airlines flight Dublin Philadelphia in Business

Flight AA723
Class Business
Seat --
Flight time 08:05
Take-off 15 Feb 16, 10:40
Arrival at 15 Feb 16, 13:45
AA   #74 out of 126 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 375 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 6577
Published on 26th August 2016
Hello and welcome to the next installment in this series of Flight-Reports. These flights were taken back in February–it was a quick trip to Ireland to see a good friend over the long Presidents Day holiday weekend. This report will cover the 4th leg of this trip on board a Legacy US Airways Internationally configured B757-200. After having just experienced new products on a retrofitted AA B777-200ER and a new BA A320, the outdated product on this former US Airways 757 was even more noticeable. Time for a retro passenger experience!

Here is the full routing:

Washington DCA ✈ New York JFK | American Airlines, B737-800, First Class
New York JFK ✈ London LHR | American Airlines, B777-200ER, Business Class
London LHR ✈ Dublin DUB | British Airways, A320-200, Economy Class
Dublin DUB ✈ Philadelphia PHL | American Airlines, B757-200, Business Class
Philadelphia PHL ✈ Washington DCA | American Airlines, E175, First Class

We dropped off the rental car around 2 and a half hours before departure. By the time we got to the check in counter, it was about 2 hours prior to departure–the grumpy check-in agent acted like we were running late and was rushing us, even though we had no bags to check. For someone who was in such a rush to get us on our way, she took her sweet time checking us in and asked some unusual security questions such as "where do you work" and "who is the CEO of your company?" Wow…really? After playing 20 questions, the agent asked to see my carry-on and promptly told me it was too big and must be checked. Ugh…my carry-on is well within the allowed proportions and was not even close to overstuffed. Not to mention that I'm in Business Class! But I didn't feel like arguing with her since I just wanted to be on my way at this point, so I let out a sigh, swapped my laptop to another bag, and handed it over. I asked if we needed invitations to the lounge, to which she curtly replied that we don't have time to go to the lounge. Again…ugh. I know we still had to go through U.S. CBP pre-clearance, but saying there's no time to go to the lounge 2 hours before departure is really pushing it!

Naturally, I decided to ignore her warnings and headed straight to the lounge right after going through security. Upon entering the lounge, I handed over my boarding pass to the lounge agent. Upon seeing my boarding passes, she rolled her eyes and barked "I've already called your flight. you need to go to US customs!" At this point it was still over an hour and a half before departure; I just couldn't believe I was denied entry into the lounge that early. For goodness sake, I'm a big boy and I'll head to the gate when I'm ready! Yeesh. Despite my annoyance I complied, thinking maybe something had changed since the last time I was at DUB and maybe not getting through pre-clearance takes longer.

Nope! I was through in like 20 minutes. All US CBP agents were friendly, professional, and efficient. So now here I am standing around at the crowded gate over an hour before departure when I could have been relaxing in the lounge for at least 15-20 minutes.

Here is our Pre-Merger US Airways 757-200 viewed from the gate. N203UW is a 16 year old aircraft originally delivered to ATA in 2000. US Airways bought the aircraft in 2006.

photo IMG_3895

To my surprise boarding began almost an hour before departure. Bad weather was expected in Philly, and agents announced that we would try to leave early. Maybe this is why the check-in agent was rushing me. Or maybe she was just naturally anxious and cranky :-P

These PMUS International 757s have a weird configuration. I was hoping that maybe our plane would be swapped out for a PMAA International 752, which at least has angled lie-flat seats. But it was obvious from the seatmap that this was going to be a PMUS 752 as there were only 3 rows of Business class instead of 4 on the PMAA birds.

photo aa lus 757 intl seat map

And here is the PMUS 757 Business class cabin, formerly known as "Envoy" class.

photo IMG_3896

No, this is not a retro-report from the late 90's–this is indeed the year 2016! ^^
As mentioned above, US Airways received this aircraft in 2006–so basically the product was already outdated for about a decade when it was installed!

I make fun, but I love flying on 757s and trying different products. Yes, this cabin is desperately in need of a refresh, but there's a certain charm to flying in such an old seat. For one thing, they are very comfortable for day flights. The seats are wide and cushy. Newer business class seats tend to be more firm and thinner.

A pillow and blanket were pre-placed on my bulkhead seat.

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Legroom was decent, though a bit tight for international Business class IMO.

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The US Airways logo on the bulkhead is covered by a new American Airlines logo. The bulkhead design is still obviously US Airways.

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Pre-departure champagne

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The old-school seat electronic controls.

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The local dominant home carrier–Aer Lingus A320 parked next door.

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Boarding was completed over 20 minutes early. Passenger and cargo door were closed.

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As we pushed back the safety video, a mix of new the AA and the old US video, played on the overhead screens.

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The other Irish carrier: Low-cost giant Ryanair.

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Lining up for takeoff on Runway 28

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It was a gorgeous day for flying with clear blue sky.



The green Irish countryside

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Lakes in the flat interior

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Soon we were flying over the beautiful West Coast and the Connemara area where we had spent most of out time in Ireland.

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Beautiful snow-capped mountains on the coast.

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Last view of land before we head out over the open ocean.

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These old US Airways 757s are not equipped with in-seat In-flight entertainment. In Business class, Samsung Galaxy tablets are distributed along with Bose noise cancelling headsets.

photo IMG_3927

The content of the tablet is essentially the same as the IFE on other aircraft with built in PTVs. The main difference is that there is no moving map. The only airline that I'm aware of that has tablets with an airshow is the French all-Business class airline, La Compagnie. Some recent FRs of mine on La Compagnie: EWR-CDG, CDG-EWR

photo IMG_3928

The lunch service started with an apéritif served with warm nuts. I had some more champagne. At this time menus were handed out, but after orders were taken, the purser took the menus back. which I found odd. As a result, I don't have any pictures of the menu.

photo IMG_3929

Appetizer: Rosemary chicken and a salad

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There were four choices of mains as usual. I went for the Thai Chili Beef, which I found creative and delicious. The beef was overcooked, but that is almost always the case on airplanes.

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Ice cream sundae for dessert.

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All in all a very good meal, and once again I give credit to AA for creativity with the Thai Chili Beef.

After lunch I got up to stretch my legs and took a walk back to Economy where is it also the 90's :-)

photo IMG_3936

Having recently come back from my whirlwind tour of Australia and New Zealand via Asia, I'd pretty much seen every recent movie on the iFE so I went for an older movie. South Africa being one of my favorite countries, I decided on Invictus.

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There's even a fun part for AvGeeks



After the movie I took a short 2 hour nap and started another movie after waking up.

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The pre-arrival meal was served halfway through the movie. The lack on built-in IFE makes it difficult to watch a movie as you eat. I had to delicately balance the tablet on the armrest.

The purser went to each passenger announcing the choice of snacks. One of the choices was a "Croak Mooshoo"—a what? "It's like a French grilled-cheese sandwich" –Oh a Croque Monsieur! Yum! Once again very creative catering from AA

Unfortunately, it was burnt beyond recognition. Oh well…it was a nice thought :-)

photo IMG_3973

Soon enough we were descending to PHL. The bad weather that they had told us about on departure was bearing down on Philly. The snow was really coming down.



Despite the weather, there was no holding and we landed about 45 minutes early.



We parked next to an A321 at Terminal A

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Last view of the cabin on deplaning.

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It was nice coming off an international flight and not having to deal with immigration and customs! Love pre-cleared airports!

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We couldn't find our flight to DCA on the FIDS, so we headed straight to the Admirals Club to see if it was cancelled.

Lego Liberty Bell by the escalator leading to the Admirals Club in Terminal A.

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The Admirals club was almost completely empty.

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Not looking good out there!

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Sure enough our flight was cancelled. AA had rebooked us for the next morning as the next DCA flight was cancelled as well and all others were oversold. The agent tried to work on some creative reroute options, notably an interesting PHL-ORF-DCA, but it sounded too risky to connect somewhere and take the chance of getting stuck again. In the end we elected just to get a rental car and drive the 2 hours home to DC. It seemed a little crazy to spend the night in Philly when we were so close to home. I was glad I had chosen to route through PHL on the return in case of bad weather–it paid off! The only problem with cancelling the last leg of my trip was that they couldn't find my bag, so I had to file a lost bag claim in PHL. They delivered my bag directly to my house in DC once it was found, but it took 2 days to get there. Luckily I was home so I didn't mind. The only part that bothered me was that when I called to check on the status of my bag the next evening, the agents told me they didn't know if my bag was in PHL or had been sent to DCA–basically, they didn't know where it was. As I was on the phone, I looked on the AA mobile app and saw that my bag had been scanned on a flight from PHL to DCA that morning and gave them the flight number. So essentially I found my bag myself…sigh.

Thanks for reading!

Tourist Bonus



A few pictures from the beautiful Connemara area on the West coast of Ireland




See more

Verdict

American Airlines

6.8/10
Cabin5.5
Cabin crew8.5
In-flight Entertainment5.5
Meal/catering7.5

Dublin - DUB

7.2/10
Efficiency6.5
Access6.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.5

Philadelphia - PHL

8.0/10
Efficiency6.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

Well, what can I say? It was a fun flight back in time to 1996 :-)

It was a generally pleasant flight with a friendly crew. The fact that it was a day flight helped with the pleasantness factor. I would not want to do a redeye in this cabin. AA really needs to get on the ball and update their International 757s. It's been almost two years since AA announce full-flat beds for both the LUS and LAA 757s, but as of August 2016, none have been retrofitted. There are rumours that the first 757 may currently be in Tulsa getting the new cabins. I hope it's true, because it's about time!

The catering was good, except for the burnt pre-arrival Croque Monsieur. The IFE was fine--I don't usually mind tablets, but if you're going to substitute integrated PTVs for tablets, you really need to have a place to put them besides the tray table.

Information on the route Dublin (DUB) Philadelphia (PHL)

26 Comments

  • Comment 364473 by
    MrMax 144 Comments

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for a 20 year old flight report lol.

    I once flew an international 757 in J (award tkt) on DFW-SJO. I found the product to be the same as domestic J on AA (with international catering -- in J and Y actually). This however was before the merger so it wasn't the same as your plane. My one experience on a US Airways 757 (PHX-FLL) however, was terrible. Good thing they are out of business.

    • Comment 364476 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Hi Max, thanks for stopping by! Haha, yep, this is what planes looked like before you were born ^^
      AA already had a few 757 configurations before the merger, now it has even more, with at least 3 configurations from the US Airways side. AA's pre-merger long-haul configured 757s have angled lie-flats in J, so a bit better than there US birds. You got a domestic configured a/c on your DFW-SJO flight--most flights to Central America, the Caribbean, and northern South America are operated by domestic aircraft. Pre-merger US Airways 757s all have tired cabins, especially the fleet dedicated to Hawaii flights. Supposedly at some point soon AA will reconfigure all the different 757s to a more updated and consistent cabin. Looking forward to seeing that!

      • Comment 364606 by
        MrMax 144 Comments

        Hi Kevin,

        I dont think that you are right about the configuration of my DFW-SJO a/c. I've flown domestic 757s on AA more times than I can count (I travel SFO-MIA regularly on AA 208 which until recently was on the 757. Does anybody know why AA doen't fly 757s on SFO-MIA anymore?) and this definitley wasn't the same configuration. The was a mini galley at the front of Y, and J seemed bigger than on the domestic a/cs

        • Comment 364648 by
          KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

          If you said you found the product on DFW-SJO to be the same as domestic first class, you either didn't fly a 75L with NGBC seats or you are likening lie-flat seats to domestic F. The international 757s have angled lie-flat seats with fixed shells and seatback IFE and 60" of pitch, while domestic F only has recliners with 40" pitch--which one did you ride? 75L do get subbed on domestic and central American/Caribbean flights every now and then, so it is possible you had a 75L, but it doesn't make any sense to compare a 75L to domestic F. Now, there's also the really old domestic F cabins on some 757s--instead of the current blue checkered recliner seats, they have what I can the "Buick" bench type seats. Really wide tan colored leather seats that have no gap between seats. Maybe this is what you are referring to as "International 757"? P.s. US Airways is not out of Business--the US Airways management is running AA. US helped AA out of bankruptcy and they are pretty much calling the shots at the new AA.

          "The was a mini galley at the front of Y, and J seemed bigger than on the domestic a/cs"
          - If by bigger you mean that there were more seats, that is a domestic F configuration. Domestic F has a "bigger" cabin with more seats (22-24) with 6 rows instead or only 4 rows and 16 seats on International 757. Technically the cabins are about the same size. They are put in the space between door 1 and door 2, but domestic F has more rows of seats because they have less legroom.

          seat map of domestic 757: https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/American_Airlines/American_Airlines_Boeing_757-200_MCE_new.php
          seat map of International 757: https://www.seatguru.com/airlines/American_Airlines/American_Airlines_Boeing_757-200_MCE_Intl_new.php

          • Comment 364649 by
            KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

            btw, domestically, premium cabins are called F, except on JFK-LAX/SFO and MIA-LAX where there are 3 class aircraft with separate F, J, and Y cabins (The AA A321T from JFK and the old 77E from MIA).

  • Comment 364477 by
    eminere™ 268 Comments

    Wow... the ground "service" (to use the word loosely) at DUB sounds atrocious. You must be a very mild-mannered person to take it all in stride; I think I would've lost it.

    • Comment 364479 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! Haha, right, more like "Ground scolding." Yes, I definitely didn't appreciate being treated like a naughty child, but I just sighed and shook it off. I'm usually pretty cool headed and try to be respectful even when I'm pissed off, because if I let it get to me it ruins the experience. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Comment 364484 by
    757Fan 481 Comments

    Thanks for sharing the latest report from your trip, Kevin. Sorry to hear about the poor experience on the ground, but looks like you had a good flight with AA in J. I also really love the 757, so any chance I can get a flight on that type of aircraft, I'm a happy camper.

    Best,

    Matthew

    • Comment 364848 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by Matthew! Yes, despite the crappy ground experience, it was a pretty good flight, 90's cabin and all. As an AvGeek, I can appreciate the opportunity to try a different product, even if it is sub par. I may have been less enthusiastic on a night flight, though. Haha.

  • Comment 364486 by
    HeathrowAviation 14 Comments

    Very nice report - thanks for posting!

  • Comment 364507 by
    jules67500 GOLD 3879 Comments

    Hello Kévin !

    Wow, back in the 90s with that plane...

    And the ground services in DUB are painful. Hopefully, I won't have this kind of behaviour in October

    Connemara is my favorite region in Ireland. I've been there ten times, and I've still a lot to discover :p. So, I'm looking forward to October :D

    Thanks for sharing !

    • Comment 364851 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Thanks for your comments Jules! I guess the lesson of the story is, if you have to go through US preclearance show up more than 3 hours before departure or everyone will act like you're late...even if you're not, lol. Connemara is so beautiful! I hope to have a chance to go back sometime soon!

  • Comment 364519 by
    JW19 100 Comments

    Nice to see the 90s again, but time for a change ain't it, perhaps a leased fleet of A330s wouldn't hurt while AA waits to get their 788 and 789s. Was planning a long haul trip straight into Dublin, but I guess with what you have gone through, a short hop through heathrow sounds like a better bet.

    Great review, yet again.

    • Comment 364852 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! Yes, it is definitely time for a change. AA already has a large fleet of A330s and 788s. The 789s are coming in a few months. Both of those aircraft types are just too large to do certain missions to thin markets like DUB in the winter. AA has just started retrofitting the international 757 fleet with fully lie-flat seats, but they haven't announced the type of seat. Either way, the new cabins will be a welcome update to these old birds, both pmUS and pmAA.

  • Comment 364546 by
    Numero_2 SILVER 8363 Comments

    Merci pour ce FR.

    Que d'agents aimables à DUB. ;)
    Quel était le salon proposé par AA ?

    PMUS et PMAA sont des abrévations pour pre-merger je suppose...

    Quelle cabine ! :P

    Les photos aériennes juste après le décollage me rappellent les vues que j'ai eues il y a 20 minutes. ^^

    La tablette peut aider à compenser l'absence d'IFE mais sans géovision ce n'est pas vraiment la même chose. Comment faisait US ??

    Shame on you for not having takeing pics of the menu ! ;)

    Belle originalité pour le plat principal. Il me semble que DL et AA offrent souvent des recettes d'inspiration thaï.

    lol pour le croak mooshoo, ça me rappelle la façon assez drôle du CC UA de me présenter une calzone entre HNL et LAX (prononcée cawlzhone ^^).

    A bientôt.

    • Comment 364856 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Merci pour tes commentaires Clément! A l'époque le salon proposé était le DAA Lounge, mais depuis quelques mois, c'est maintenant le salon Aer Lingus Golden Circle.

      Oui, PM est une abréviation pour Pre-Merger. LUS et LAA sont aussi utilisés pour "Legacy" US ou AA

      "Les photos aériennes juste après le décollage me rappellent les vues que j'ai eues il y a 20 minutes. ^^"
      - sauf que maintenant c'est l'été :-)

      "Comment faisait US ??"
      - US avait des tablettes aussi.

      "Shame on you for not having takeing pics of the menu ! ;)"
      - Haha, I know ^^ I really wanted too, but she took it away before I could

      "prononcée cawlzhone ^^"
      - LOL, c'est appétissant

  • Comment 364583 by
    Nick 172 Comments

    Yikes, those agents must've just been on a power trip. It's only fitting that they lose your bag after checking it unnecessarily! The last time American lost my bag, the agent who took my information said the bag would be coming in on the last flight of the day which would arrive at 9:30 PM and the bag would be delivered on their last run at 10:30 PM. The moment she said that I knew she over-promising just so I would leave. The chances of a turnaround time like that are next to nothing. They delivered it the next morning, which was actually fine. Why not just give me a reasonable prediction? I understand mistakes happen, but the most frustrating part for customers is a lack of honesty and timely information. Will airlines ever learn?

    Seems like you kept a positive attitude with the retro hard product, though I guess you can't complain if that was the aircraft scheduled when you bought the ticket. When I saw your burned croque monsieur I actually thought it was burned lasagna before I read the caption! Great tourism bonus.

    • Comment 364858 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by Nick! Yeah, those agents were definitely power tripping. As an frequent flyer, and grown-up, I really don't appreciate being treated like some idiot kid. Baggage service agents really need to stop over-promising just to get you out of their face or off the phone--it only makes it worse.

      For a day flight, I didn't mind the retro product. If anything the AvGeek part of me was glad I got to try something different. I knew this was the aircraft scheduled on the direct from DUB to PHL. It was the only direct to the US on AA during the winter--otherwise, I would have had to go through LHR again. That was fine on the outbound, but I didn't want to add all that extra time both ways. I purposely chose the JFK-LHR flight on the way over for the flatbad seats. This flight would've been a lot less peasant on a redeye.

      Haha, yes the burnt croque monsieur doesn't really look like anything...or edible. Thanks for your comments!

  • Comment 364899 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    What an awful experience from the beginning of the trip :(.

    A lot of nostalgia with this older cabin.

    Nice spotting shots at DUB!

    Wow, absolutely fantastic aerial shots!

    Catering looks good on this flight, I find AA's presentation to be nice and elegant.

    I'm happy the bag made it home at last, and that you made it of course!

    Have a good one, see you!

  • Comment 364900 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Absolutely fantastic bonus at the end, beautiful pictures!

  • Comment 367742 by
    NGO85 1624 Comments

    Thanks for sharing Kevin!

    “grumpy check-in agent”
    - Why was the check-in agent asking you all these questions, that sounds more like an immigration interview… Are the ground services handled by AA or a third party? This sounds like a pretty nasty check-in experience for a priority line… Also, the whole lounge thing reminds me of Canada and the pre-border clearance. You get royally screwed this way since you get shuffled into a quarantine area with maybe a Starbucks/McDonald’s (the national foods of America...) and a bathroom...

    I like how half the seats are marked yellow on seatguru, lol. You wisely chose the only green ones^^ Reminds me of the CM B737 J cabins with these recliners^^

    “The old-school seat electronic controls.”
    - How many of those 20+ buttons worked :-P

    “Appetizer: Rosemary chicken and a salad”
    - Very nice starter, with protein! It seems the protein starters are getting more and more common on AA after the string of meatless appetizers that ran rampant last year. The main wasn’t very good looking, the choice of rice instead of potatoes seems strange (I guess they were taking the pairing with Thai seasoning quite literal?).

    “Unfortunately, it was burnt beyond recognition.”
    - Yikes… That is one nasty main. But I do give AA credit, this seems more substantial than the “tea” service BA does on the short TATLs.

    Fantastic bonus, wasn’t expecting Ireland to be so nice looking in February. I’ve shied away from trips in the late Fall and early Spring thinking the weather would suck, but it looks quite nice.

    I don’t think there are many “good” options from DUB to the US, so you really can’t expect much on these short TATLs. This flight is just an hour or so longer than BOS-LAX; so in comparison the service is exceptional^^

    • Comment 367945 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4600 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by!

      "Why was the check-in agent asking you all these questions,"
      - No idea. It was really weird. I don't remember having such oddly specific questions from check-in agents, even in pre-cleared airports. Especially since I'm an American citizen--what was she going to do if I answered wrong??? Keep me from going home? Totally ridiculous and useless line of questioning.

      "Are the ground services handled by AA or a third party?"
      - It was a third party.

      "Also, the whole lounge thing reminds me of Canada and the pre-border clearance."
      - Yes, although some transborder gate areas do have lounges in Canadian airports--at least AC/*A lounges.

      "You wisely chose the only green ones^^"
      - Though I don't always trust seat guru, I didn't want to take any chances. lol

      "How many of those 20+ buttons worked :-P"
      - Surprisingly, all of them.

      "It seems the protein starters are getting more and more common on AA"
      - Yes, mostly on long-haul flights. Still seeing a lack of protein on domestic flights.

      "I guess they were taking the pairing with Thai seasoning quite literal?"
      - I think so. I actually cut up the beef into little pieces and turned it into a thai curry style dish. it was pretty good that way.

      "this seems more substantial than the “tea” service BA does"
      - Definitely. The U.S. carriers are more generous with portions on the pre-arrival meal on the daytime westbound flights.

      "wasn’t expecting Ireland to be so nice looking in February."
      - Neither was I, to be honest. I got really lucky with beautiful weather and sunshine. It was rainy most of the day we got there, but then cleared up for most of our sightseeing. It snowed in Dublin the night before we left actually. So we got a nice mix of seasons, haha.

      "I don’t think there are many “good” options from DUB to the US, so you really can’t expect much on these short TATLs. "
      - Exactly. During the winter this is actually the only AA flight between the US and DUB. In the summer, aside from the PHL, they have CLT, JFK, and ORD, some of which are on 767s.

      "so in comparison the service is exceptional^^"
      - For sure. Definitely international level service

      • Comment 368425 by
        NGO85 1624 Comments

        "Exactly. During the winter this is actually the only AA flight between the US and DUB"
        - I correct myself having seen the new J cabin that EI has installed on their longhaul fleet. But I guess with their "pending" return to OW, they'll compliment the AA offerings.

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