Flight-Report

Review of American Airlines flight Paris Philadelphia in Premium Eco

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA755
Class Premium Eco
Seat 6A
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 08:35
Take-off 03 Sep 18, 10:30
Arrival at 03 Sep 18, 13:05
AA   #75 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 382 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 2076
Published on 19th September 2018

Introduction



Hello and welcome to the return segment of this short series of Flight-Reports,

It was time for my annual pilgrimage home to the motherland, but this year the choice of airline and routing was a bit more difficult than past years. OpenSkies would have been my first choice, unfortunately, this lovely boutique airline was due to cease operations at the beginning of September 2018 so I would have only been able to take OpenSkies on my outbound flight. I'd flown OpenSkies several times in the past and I was saddened to learn that one of my favourite carriers would cease to exist. As a French expat and oneworld flyer in the U.S., I liked OpenSkies for its perfect mix of what I like about British Airways but with French flair and elegance. *sigh* Au revoir OpenSkies ! ?

Living in Washington, DC, there are no non-stop oneworld options to France and I generally prefer to avoid connecting at Northeast U.S. airports in the summer unless I have time to build in a long layover to minimize risk of missing connections. With AA's Philadelphia hub being about 2 hours up I-95, I looked at non-stop flights out of PHL and found a good deal in Premium Economy. I'd been wanting to try AA's new Premium Economy and often find this class of service, positioned between Business and Economy, to be the perfect for short transatlantic flights.

I was impressed with the experience on the outbound flight–let's see if AA provides a consistent passenger experience in the new Premium Economy cabin.

Routing:

Philadelphia PHL ✈ Paris Roissy CDG | American Airlines, A330-200, Premium Economy
Paris Roissy CDG ✈ Philadelphia PHL | American Airlines, A330-200, Premium Economy

Check-in & Lounge



Being that it was the first Monday in September, a time of the year known in France as "la rentrée" (back-to-work/school), we left Paris to head out to the airport around 6:30 AM for our 10:30 AM flight to avoid morning rush hour traffic. We made it to the airport in just over a half hour and dropped off the rental car.

We were at Terminal 2A by 7:15

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Check-in was very fast as there was no one in the Priority queue…or any other queue for that matter as you can see below.

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We then headed through immigration and security, which was also very quick at this time of the morning.

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Past security is a shopping area beyond which is found the elevator to the mezzanine level where the lounges of carriers serving Terminals 2A and 2C are located.

This lovely art piece hangs from the mezzanine level above the shopping area

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The lounges are clearly labeled

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Once upstairs, there are four airline lounges, of which two are oneworld carrier lounges located right next to each other: the American Airlines Admirals Club and the Cathay Pacific Lounge. When given a choice between an Admirals Club and any other oneworld carrier's lounge, I would usually chose the latter.

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The Admirals club in Paris is actually quite nice compared to Admirals Clubs inside the US. It seems that US carriers often have nicer lounges outside of the US than within the US–though that is changing with the introduction of new upgraded lounges like the United Polaris and American Flagship lounges.

Either way, as I don't often have the opportunity to visit Cathay Pacific lounges, it was an easy choice.

The Cathay lounge is quite spacious with nice tarmac views and a good amount of seating.

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At this early hour, we mostly had the lounge to ourselves and were able to get good seats facing the tarmac and south runways.

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Quite a nice view for #AvGeeks

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The food selection was decent, with hot options as well as traditional continental breakfast fare. Breakfast isn't the most exciting time of the day as far as food options go in most lounges, but there was a good amount of choice and a noodle bar. I was hoping there would be some dim sum like in the Honk Kong lounges.

Hot options

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Meats and cheeses

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Breads and pastries

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Some drink options

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My selection–I started with the hot options

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And later got some pastries

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I enjoyed the activity on the runways and tarmac during breakfast.

Air Algérie A330 with an Air France A380 landing

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Our A330-200 arriving at the gate

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The gate was just below the lounge…

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Which was convenient for access and also for close-ups of the bird ^^

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Hi-Fly A380 (formerly Singapore Airlines) flying on wet-lease for Air Austral

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Delta Air Lines B767-300ER

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American Airlines B777-200ER

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Air Canada B777-300ER in the new livery

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Boarding



After an enjoyable stay in the Cathay lounge, we headed to the gate and arrived as boarding began.

We were the first to arrive in the Premium Economy cabin. The cabin is comprised of 3 rows of seats in a 2-3-2 configuration.

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My window seat in the bulkhead row.

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As mentioned in the first report, I selected the first row as there is a bit more room and the seats in that row have full leg-rests, while seats in other rows have pull-down footrests.

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Video screens in the first rows are in the armrests, while they are integrated to the seat-backs in other rows.

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Very good legroom in the bulkhead row

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Pre-placed on the seats were a pillow, blanket, noise-cancelling headphones, and amenity kit by Cole Haan.

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View of aircraft parked at Terminal 2A from my seat

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In the first row, video screens are located in the armrests.

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There is one video screen on the bulkhead, which shows the moving map for most of the flight.

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An El Al B737-900ER replaced the Air Algérie 737

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Cabin crew handed out menus towards the end of boarding.

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Drink menu on the reverse side.

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A nice feature of Premium Economy is the ability to pre-order meals on AA.com. This feature was previously only available for First and Business class.

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Boarding was completed early and the doors were closed as the safety video played.

First in English…

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…and then in French.

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The Flight



We pushed back a few minutes ahead of schedule.

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There's always good planespotting during taxi in Paris.

Jet Airways A330-300

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Gulf Air A330-200

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Air Canada B777-300ER

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American Airlines B777-200ER

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Austrian A321

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Air France A380 landing

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Air France A330-200

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Air China B787-9 and WestJet B737 MAX 8 at Terminal 1

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Air China A330-200

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Singapore Airlines A380

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It's always cool to taxi over highways at CDG

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Though it was a typically long taxi to the north runways, there was no wait for takeoff.

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The clouds had cleared up and it turned out to be a sunny day.

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We took off towards the East and make a U-turn.

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Nice views of CDG as we swung back around to the west.

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After takeoff, I put on a movie and relaxed. The IFE has good content with movies, TV series, documentaries, and music.

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The leg-rests help make the flight more comfortable.

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We headed out over the ocean off the coast of Normandy and Brittany.

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About a half hour into the flight, cabin crew began the drink service followed by meal service.

There is only one drink service as the meal is served right after, so I asked for a Disaronno as my pre-meal drink and red wine (a Spanish Rioja) to go with lunch.

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As on the way over, the drinks were served in plastic cups, so now I know it wasn't a fluke…it's just odd.

Shortly after came the meal tray. I had pre-ordered the chicken option on AA.com.

Seasonal salad
Basalmic vinaigrette

Grilled chicken breast
Grana Padano sauce, orzo pasta, grilled vegetables

Cheese and crackers

Cherry crumble cake


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Main

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A look at the other main dish option.

Emmental cheese risotto cakes
bulgur wheat, broccoli


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The lunch was tasty and the presentation was good. Aside from the plastic cups, the catering had a generally premium feel.

After lunch I had a double Baileys and fell asleep watching a movie.

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I slept most of the flight and woke up about an hour and a half out from Philadelphia.

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The pre-arrival meal service began shortly after. A Thai noodle salad was an exotic and interesting choice, as well as a tasty one.

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We began our descent as we reached the coast of New Jersey.

Atlantic City

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The New Jersey side of the Delaware River a few seconds before landing.

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Arrival



We landed at 12:24 PM, well ahead of schedule.

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American B767-300ER

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We parked on the far end of Terminal A-West

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Being in the first row of Premium Economy, we were right by the door and were among the first to deplane.

With Global Entry, immigration took less than 2 minutes. Of course, getting through faster when you have bags just means you have to wait longer for the bags.

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The first sentence of the preamble of the Declaration of Independence, signed in Philadelphia in 1776, adorns the walls of the International Arrivals hall.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

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See more

Verdict

American Airlines

8.5/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering8.5

Cathay Pacific Lounge

8.5/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Services8.0

Paris - CDG

8.3/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Philadelphia - PHL

7.9/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

This second flight in Premium Economy convinced me that American Airlines offer a consistently good Premium Economy experience. The seats, also used as domestic First class on some narrowbody aircraft, are comfortable with good legroom, width,and decent recline. The IFE is top notch with plenty of content and a sharp image with good resolution. The catering is a very noticeable upgrade from Economy class, with meals resembling a slightly better version of US domestic First class catering. Meals are well presented on china with metal cutlery; however, drinks are served in plastic cups, which is one point that could be improved.

Cabin crew were pleasant and attentive, though again, as the Premium Economy cabin is rather new to pre-merger US Airways metal and crews, it felt like crews were not used to the service as it seemed very clumsy at times. On two separate occasions, different flight attendants dropped meal trays while tripping over each other--one of which ended up all over a passenger in the row behind me. The FA was very apologetic, but having a hot meal spilled all over you cannot be a pleasant experience. The other meal was dropped on the floor--thankfully with no victims this time. I have never seen one meal tray dropped in my many years of flying, much less 2 within 15 minutes. I'm not an in-flight service protocol expert, but I believe AA may need to re-think their service flow in Premium Economy, at least on the PMUS A330s as the meal services were consistently awkward on both flights and I believe using a drink cart, and then a cart for meal trays, when you only have 3 rows of seats, crowds the aisles and FAs end up tripping all over each other.

Although U.S. carriers were late to the Premium Economy party, I believe that years of observing the successes and failures of other carriers' Premium Economy products has allowed them to implement a solid product from the start. In my personal experience, having flown in this cabin class on several carriers, American Airlines offers one of the more premium experiences.

Information on the route Paris (CDG) Philadelphia (PHL)

11 Comments

  • Comment 466166 by
    KL651 TEAM 4374 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Again the cabin is definitely one of the best out there, I just wish they would put a more colourful headrest as the cabin looks plain.
    The meal seem to be a little less premium than ex-PHL, the dessert looks like LH Y dessert and the salad is also not really original.
    Anyway, for the 250$ premium that AA usually asks, it seems to be good value for money.
    I do hope that passenger that got a tray dropped on him got a proper compensation.

    • Comment 466480 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      "Again the cabin is definitely one of the best out there"
      - With OpenSkies now gone and TK Premium class gone for years, I agree the cabin is among the best on TATL

      "I just wish they would put a more colourful headrest as the cabin looks plain."
      - Yeah, they could've integrated some red like they do in J and Y

      "The meal seem to be a little less premium than ex-PHL"
      - Maybe, though the 2nd meal, the Thai noodle salad, seems upscale for W

      "Anyway, for the 250$ premium that AA usually asks, it seems to be good value for money."
      - Agreed! It's a nice option for those who want to avoid the crunch of economy but don't want to sheel out $3K+ for business.

      "I do hope that passenger that got a tray dropped on him got a proper compensation."
      - It was a lady, and no I don't think so. I believe AA crews have comp vouchers they can give in flight, but I didn't see that happen.

  • Comment 466184 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 269 Comments

    I'm usually not a fan of flying an Airbus A330 for several reasons, however AA's premium looks quite neat I must admit.. Though baileys with a straw is a bit odd to me.. Will only increase the chance of having more drunk people on board.

    • Comment 466481 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      Hi ThomasDutch, thanks for your comments!

      "Though baileys with a straw is a bit odd to me"
      - It's actually a stir-stick, not a straw...though I guess one can technically use it as a straw the opening is very small.

  • Comment 466206 by
    Enivit 33 Comments

    In your report, I noticed in the picture in CDG that Air Canada B777-300ER plane was supplied with catering truck from the left, as I know that most of the aircrafts do take catering and fuel from the right side.

    • Comment 466487 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      Hi Enivit, thanks for your comments. It is rare to see a catering truck on that side...at least in the front. For the back galley it is quite common. I have seen it once or twice before back when I worked at the airport.

  • Comment 466292 by
    757Fan 501 Comments

    Interesting to read your comments here, Kevin. A meal was dropped twice in 15 minutes? Wow. I remember when flying back from MUC-JFK on LH a few years ago I heard a loud crash from the Business Class galley and a flight attendant had dropped a full tray of wine glasses! Sounds like with PE they need to work out a few things so stuff like this doesn't happen as much!

    I'll definitely consider PE when flying internationally in the future as it looks quite good with a better offering that Y, but still not yet at J class prices!

    • Comment 466489 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thanks for your comments as always! Yeah, it was definitely a rough service. I've heard trays fall and glasses break in the galley before as well, but never in the cabin, and never on a passenger, LOL.

      "I'll definitely consider PE when flying internationally in the future as it looks quite good with a better offering that Y, but still not yet at J class prices!"
      - Agree! I'm glad US carriers have finally joined the party with proper Intl Premium Economy. Being that I have some kind of phobia about Economy, lol, this really is a good option for me.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 466384 by
    marvin150892 40 Comments

    Thank You for this great FR!
    Those two reports really give a good impression of what you'll get in AA's Premium Eco product. Compared to my two recent flights with AC and LH in this class, it seems quite equal.
    Oh, and the chicken main dish looks pretty tasty ;)

    • Comment 466493 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      Hi Marvin150892, thanks so much for your comments!

      "Compared to my two recent flights with AC and LH in this class, it seems quite equal."
      - Indeed. Though AA may be a newcomer to this class, they have done it well in my opinion.

  • Comment 466419 by
    AbyssinTeam 89 Comments

    Merci pour cette superbe suite !

    No doubt this Premium eco is one of thye best on the market.
    The Thai salad was one of the must eat snack in J in the past on AA, great to see it served in Y+ :)

    • Comment 466500 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4726 Comments

      Merci AbyssinTeam pour le commentaire et compliment!

      "No doubt this Premium eco is one of thye best on the market."
      - I agree. As I mentioned to KL651 above, OpenSkies previously had the best Premium Economy in the TATL market, now that they're gone I think it's a toss-up between AA and VS

      "The Thai salad was one of the must eat snack in J in the past on AA, great to see it served in Y+ :)"
      - Me too! And I'm always happy to see something else besides the ordinary "chicken or beef"

      A bientot!

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