Review of American Airlines flight Miami Rio De Janeiro in Business

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA905
Class Business
Seat 7D
Aircraft Boeing 777-200ER
Flight time 08:25
Take-off 17 Nov 18, 22:50
Arrival at 18 Nov 18, 10:15
AA   #75 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 353 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 1321
Published on 27th November 2018

Introduction



An overseas trip over the Thanksgiving holiday week has become a yearly tradition for me. For US-based flyers, one of the nice things about flying internationally around Thanksgiving, is an abundance of good airfare deals. This may seem counter-intuitive as Thanksgiving week is known to be the busiest travel period of the year. However, because the vast majority of flying is domestic–as Americans fly within the US to be with their families–this leaves seats open on international flights originating from US hubs, which often leads to good fares to fill those seats.

When looking to find the best flight deals, I don't usually have a destination in mind. Being flexible about destinations opens up more possibilities. I'd done Asia several times for Thanksgiving week, but flying 20+ hours each way for just a week-long trip can be very tiring and cuts down on the time at destination. When I found some good Premium Economy deals to South America, I thought this would be ideal at around 12 hours of travel time each way, with red-eyes both ways, which maximises time and saves money on hotels. The best prices were to Santiago de Chile and Rio de Janeiro. I'd been wanting to go to Chile for a long time, and each of Nechus' beautiful reports makes me want to go even more; however, by the time I went to book flights, the dates I needed to SCL were no longer available. Therefore, I ended up booking flights to Rio de Janeiro, which had also been a long-time bucket list destination. Brazil is also one of those destinations where my dual French-US citizenship comes in handy. Brazil offers EU citizens a visa waiver, whereas US citizens must have a visa–using my French passport would save me $100 and time.

I won't be reporting the domestic legs between DCA and MIA as they were very ordinary domestic flights.


Reports in this series:

Miami International Airport MIA ✈ Rio de Janeiro - Galeão Intl GIG | American Airlines, B777-200ER, Business class
Rio de Janeiro - Galeão Intl GIG ✈ Miami International Airport MIA | American Airlines, B777-200ER, Premium Economy

DCA Check-in & Lounge



The day started out at Washington Reagan National airport where we had a 3:30 PM flight to Miami. We made sure to arrive early as lane closures due to the construction of a new regional terminal at DCA has been creating some major back-ups on the airport access road from the GW Parkway. Just the day before, traffic was so bad that people were getting out of their taxis and Ubers and running across the highway to avoid missing flights. Luckily, it wasn't too bad for us and we were stuck in back-ups for only about 10 minutes.

Although we'd checked in on the AA app 24 hours prior to the departure time, we had one bag to drop off at the Priority counter. It was a quick process with an efficient agent.

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Despite the Thanksgiving travel crowds, the Pre-check lane at Concourse B/C moved quickly and we were airside in minutes.

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This left us some time to spend at the Admirals Club prior to departure of our flight to MIA. There are two Admirals clubs at AA's DCA hub–one, the pre-merger AA Admirals club in Terminal B/C and the other, the pre-merger US Airways Club in Terminal C.

The Terminal B/C Club was pleasantly uncrowded.

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I won't cover the lounge in any detail as I've reported it many times in the past.

Views from the lounge including our PMUS A321 at gate 32.

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Our DCA-MIA flight departed and landed on time.

MIA Flagship Lounge



After an on-time arrival into MIA, we took the train towards the D30 lounges.

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On the flight from DCA, we had run into a friend who was also connecting in Miami and invited her to join us in the Flagship lounge as a guest.

The Admirals Club and Flagship lounge share a check-in lobby on the main level. Those with access to the Flagship lounge receive a red "Flagship" stamp on their boarding passes.

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Once checked-in, the Flagship lounge is to the right and the Admirals club is to the left. The stamped boarding pass is shown to agents at the entrance of the Flagship lounge for access.

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A good first impression of the new Flagship lounge. It is very large with a lot of different quiet seating areas.

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View of the concourse below

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TV room

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Parts of the lounge overlook the tarmac

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Bar area

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Decent selection of adult beverages at the self-serve bar

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Dining area

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The Flagship First Dining room, reserved for long-haul First class passengers, is located near the dining section

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The food selection is really good for a US lounge–a vast improvement over normal Admirals Clubs and other standard US carrier lounges. It's nice to finally see US carriers bringing at least some lounges to a level on par, if not better, than those of premium international carriers.



And there's plenty of champagne available!

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Yes, actual champagne.

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It's refreshing to finally see U.S. carriers meaningfully investing in lounges. Just a few years ago, I reported AA's JFK Flagship Lounge which, prior to the opening of new Flagships and refreshing of existing Flagship lounges, was the best AA had to offer at that time. The previous generation of Flagship lounges were reserved for long-haul First class and oneworld Emeralds–the new generation of Flagship lounges, now open to international Business class passengers, is better than the previous First class version.

I hadn't eaten lunch so I tried a bit of everything

Some cold Spanish tapas style options of cheeses and cures meats

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Hot options included grilled chicken breast, ribs, croquettes, kale, Spanish rice, and tortellini

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As we got closer to departure time, I went to request a shower at the front reception desk. The very friendly agent advised that there were only 2 people in front of me on the list and told me she would page me or invited me to wait in the adjacent seating area.

I opted to hang out in the area as I suspected it would be a short wait.

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And sure enough, the agent kindly came to tell me a few minutes later that a shower was now open for me.

The shower rooms are large and each have a toilet.

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C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries products

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After a refreshing shower I quickly explored another side of the lounge I hadn't yet seen. This lounge is really large, which is nice as it keeps it feeling spacious even at peak times like this evening bank of departures to South America.

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Shortly after, it was time to leave for the gate.

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Boarding AA905 MIA-GIG



We headed to the gate about 10 minutes prior to the scheduled boarding time, passing under sections of the lounge.

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As we were waiting to board we were paged by the gate agent. When I got to the gate podium, I handed the agent my passport as I'd assumed it was a passport check. This wouldn't have surprised me considering that I had two different passports in my reservation.

But then I heard new boarding passes printing, and I knew what that meant!

"Is that a good sound I hear?" I asked the agent
"It sure is, we have some better seats for you tonight," she replied as she handed me new boarding passes for 7D/H.

Woo Hoo! Operational upgrades on long-haul flights are always exciting! I've found over the years that flying in Premium Economy with frequent flyer status heightens chances for op-ups during busy travel periods. When Economy is oversold, oneworld Elites in Premium Economy are upgraded to Business to make room for upgrades from Economy.

Boarding group 1 was called as soon as we were handed our new boarding passes so we joined the queue to board.

Our B777-200ER to Rio de Janeiro

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This particular B777-200ER is outfitted with American's Zodiac "Concept D" Business class seats laid out in a unique 1-2-1 forwards-backwards configuration. About half of AA's 77E fleet was outfitted with these these but delays with the seat manufacturer Zodiac prompted AA to cancel the contract and instead install Rockwell-Collins (Previously B/E Aerospace) Super Diamond seats on the rest of the 77E fleet.

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My seat for the next 8.5 hours

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These seats are only about 3-4 years old at most and still look and feel new. AA did a nice job with updating the cabins on these older 777s.

Aside from the new Casper pillow and bedding, were the Cole Haan amenity kits and menus pre-placed on the seats.

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Lets have a look at the menu.

The dinner menu has 4 choices of main dishes, which is above average as many carriers only offer 3 options.

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Wine list - the champagne is the same that was served in the Flagship lounge.

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I've previously reviewed these seats on several occasions, on the Dreamliner here, and on the 77E here (where we had the same seats).

These Zodiac Concept D seats aren't quite as spacious as the more traditional reverse-herringbone Zodiac Cirrus on the 77W fleet or Super Diamond on the rest of the 77E, but are still quite nice and modern with lots of bells and whistles.

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Touchscreen seat controls offering a large variety of adjustments.

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Additional storage

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The legroom is great.

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It's obvious that AA and Zodiac co-created this forwards-backwards re-design of the Cirrus seat with for higher density, but the difference isn't very noticeable. The seats are a bit narrower, but it's most noticeable with the ottoman, which is much smaller on these seats compared to the 77W or even A330 Cirrus models. There are also less storage compartments under the center console.

The IFE screens are large and about the same as on the 77W

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The content of films, series, documentaries, and music is extensive.

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Ah, I remember this moment fondly–Allez les bleus :-)

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For AvGeeks, the airshow is nice and modern

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Today's flight time will be 7:42

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The planned route for the flight.

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The Flight




Boarding was completed early and we pushed back 5 minutes ahead of schedule.

As usual, the safety video played as we left the gate.

First in English…

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…then in Portuguese

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We took off early with an estimated early arrival into Rio.

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About 20 minutes into the flight, the cabin crew began the apéritif service.

I had another champagne, which was served with warm nuts.

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The tray tables are so large that the linen laid for dinner service looks tiny.

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The service was very efficient to allow for maximum sleep time, which was appreciated.

On late departing and shorter red-eye flights, appetisers, salad, and main dish are served on one tray.

I found the dishes to be well-presented.

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Appetiser:

Smoked Salmon Roll
quail egg, cream cheese, sunburst squash, capers


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Main dish:

Crab and shrimp cannelloni
roasted asparagus, shallot butter sauce, saffron shrimp


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Everything was delicious!

I put on a movie towards the end of dinner. Knowing I would fall asleep to it, I put on a movie I knew I wouldn't care if I didn't see the end.

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Dessert:

Irish cream mousse cake
flaky butter crust


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Very tasty!

After dinner I put the seat in bed mode and managed a solid 6 hours or sleep. I woke up as we were flying over the Brazilian capital of Brasilia, about an hour and 20 minutes out from Rio.

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Stuffed from the Flagship lounge and dinner onboard, I opted for the lighter breakfast option, which consisted of a fruit plate.

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Arrival



We landed early after a 7 hour and 49 minute flight and arrived at the gate 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

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Last view of the cabin on deplaning.

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Being right by the door, we were among the first off the plane.

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Welcome to Brazil!

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Immigration was quick being that we didn't require visas.

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Bags came out quickly and we were in a taxi to Copacabana within a half hour of arriving, not bad!

What a lovely view for the next week ahead!

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Copacabana from the rooftop pool

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Thanks for reading!
See more

Verdict

American Airlines

8.5/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment8.0
Meal/catering8.5

American Airlines Flagship Lounge

8.5/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering9.0
Entertainment8.5
Services8.0

Miami - MIA

8.0/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Rio De Janeiro - GIG

6.8/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Conclusion

A very nice flight to Rio with American Airlines. The lovely Flagship lounge set the tone for a pleasant trip.

While this isn't the best long-haul Business class seat AA has to offer, it's a really modern and comfortable seat, which allowed me to get a full night's sleep on this 8 hour red-eye. AA has done a good job with the cabin refurbishment on the 77E fleet--the interior looks and feels new.

The cabin crew were attentive, friendly, and very efficient throughout the flight. The IFE is great with a lot of content, but I've docked the score a half point for a broken IFE remote.

The catering was very good. The dinner was one of the better meals I'd had in AA Business class. The salmon roll appetiser was delicious and I found the seafood cannelloni to be creative and tasty. It's nice to see some elevated dishes, rather than the boring old chicken and beef options I'd grown used to seeing on US carriers.

I'm a fan of all the improvements AA has made over the past few years, but there is still a lot of work ahead as international travel through pre-merger AA hubs like JFK, LAX, and MIA is still a much more premium experience, with the Flagship lounges, than flying through PMUS hubs like CLT, PHL, and PHX. AA still needs to work on consistency and getting those Flagship lounges open in PMUS hubs--I'm especially looking forward to the PHL Flagship as I often fly through Philly.

Informations on the route Miami (MIA) Rio De Janeiro (GIG)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 3 reviews of 1 airlines on the route Miami (MIA) → Rio De Janeiro (GIG).


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The airline with the best average grade is with /10.

The average flight time is 12.0 hours and 24.0 minutes.

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20 Comments

  • Comment 477971 by
    757Fan 461 Comments

    Great news about the upgrade! AA looks like they have improved their offering here, and the more I read about their lounges, the more they look really nice.

    Food looks quite good - what a great way to begin your trip! Looking forward to the return flight.

    • Comment 478201 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thanks a lot for your comments as always! Yes, an operational upgrade is always a wonderful surprise. Sometimes it pays to be loyal to one carrier/alliance...though not always, haha. I was really pleasantly surprised with the MIA Flagship lounge. I had seen reports on the JFK, ORD, and LAX lounges, but I think this is the first MIA Flagship review, so I wasn't sure what to expect.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 477987 by
    lagentsecret SILVER 9182 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    "An overseas trip over the Thanksgiving holiday week has become a yearly tradition for me"
    Oh you don't like turkey :(

    New AA flagship lounges are a real improvement.
    The food looks good and there is champagne !
    They are even better than European airlines companies lounges in the US.
    And much much better than the SFO Polaris lounge offer.

    "as she handed me new boarding passes for 7D/H."
    Very good surprise ! The flight will be better than expected :)

    A comfortable seat to have a good sleep

    The meal looks very good.
    The quantities are a bit light but after eating in the lounge it's ok ;)

    That was a perfect flight.
    I'm impressed by the AA catering, I couldn't imagine it could be so good and creative.

    I wish you both a good holiday.

    • Comment 478205 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

      Bonjour 007, thanks so much for your comments!

      "Oh you don't like turkey :("
      - I much prefer warmth and beaches (we had snow a few days before on 15 Nov). I can still have Turkey at Christmas, haha.

      "New AA flagship lounges are a real improvement.
      The food looks good and there is champagne !
      They are even better than European airlines companies lounges in the US.
      And much much better than the SFO Polaris lounge offer."

      - I'm so glad U.S. carriers are finally catching up and offering a good lounge product (at least in some cities). Yes, the Flagship lounge is definitely better than most AF and BA lounges I've been to in the US. I'm surprised to hear it's better than Polaris lounges, I thought Polaris had a la carte dining with table service--maybe not.

      "The quantities are a bit light but after eating in the lounge it's ok ;)"
      - Haha yes, I was already stuffed from the lounge. I just ate onboard to fulfill my duty as a Flight-Reporter haha. The light-ish quantity was totally fine with me being that it was close to midnight.

      Thank you again for your comments!

  • Comment 477993 by
    KL651 TEAM 4182 Comments

    Thanks for this FR gurrl.
    An upgrade is the best way to start a vacation.
    I agree on the major improvements in AA lounges in a short period of time, it now looks better than DL SkyClub.
    The catering is also a pleasant surprise, I wonder if this only on flights to South America on if Europe and Asia will also see these more original dishes.
    Looking forward to your bonus on Rio.

    • Comment 478208 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

      "An upgrade is the best way to start a vacation."
      - It sure is! And I was considering using miles to upgrade so I'm really glad I didn't! I didn't do it because upgrading from W to J is the same price as upgrading from Y to J, which I think is stupid since W tickets are more expensive.

      "I agree on the major improvements in AA lounges in a short period of time, it now looks better than DL SkyClub."
      - Yes, it's funny that you mention Sky Clubs, because they used to be the best of the U.S. lounges, but now AA and UA have surpasses DL in the lounge game. Still DL is pretty much better at everything else.

      "The catering is also a pleasant surprise, I wonder if this only on flights to South America on if Europe and Asia will also see these more original dishes."
      - I think it's on most routes. To be honest, I think AA makes less effort on South American routes because they pretty much own the market from the U.S. AA really dominates that north-south flow via the MIA hub.

      Have fun in NYC!

  • Comment 478053 by
    socalnow GOLD 734 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this flight report Kevin and so quickly after the trip.

    An op-up to a flat bed on a long red eye is good fortune. Hopefully it foreshadowed good things to come for your adventure in Rio.

    As we've discussed ad-nausea AA has all of the tools now, the lounges, the flat beds with direct aisle access, and great hubs / network. So the big question remains: will you get a good crew or a terrible one? You won that lottery this time.

    Thanks again for sharing and happy flying.

    • Comment 478213 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

      Thanks so much for your comments Socalnow!

      Haha, yeah I'm trying to get better about posting closer to my trips.

      "An op-up to a flat bed on a long red eye is good fortune. Hopefully it foreshadowed good things to come for your adventure in Rio."
      - It did! It was a wonderful trip. I honestly had very low expectations, especially because of all the hype in the US about how dangerous Rio is, and it turned out to be nothing like that. A beautiful city in a gorgeous setting with very friendly people (as long as you try to speak a little Portuguese, haha).

      "As we've discussed ad-nausea AA has all of the tools now, the lounges, the flat beds with direct aisle access, and great hubs / network. So the big question remains: will you get a good crew or a terrible one? You won that lottery this time."
      - It's so true. AA really has everything going for it, but still so often manages to screw it up and it's mostly because there's no much discontent in the workforce. It's a shame to see AA wasting potential, but things are slowly but surely moving in the right direction--at least on Intl flights--domestic flying has turned into a raging dumpster fire. Yes, I did win the lottery with this flight, especially as I've had some memorably bad experiences with MIA crews in the past due to rude attitudes...with me who always gets along with FAs having worked in the industry in the past.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Comment 478379 by
        nechus SILVER 530 Comments

        > all the hype in the US about how dangerous Rio is,
        Know what? I'm almost convinced that dark, evil forces are committed to twisting our perception of the world to their convenience, and make us believe that the world outside some few, privileged countries is a wild jungle. I had the same experience as Kevin in Rio. In fact, nowhere have I seen people more polite, more helpful and willing to assist you. I saw nannies walking with little children on Copacabana beach... completely alone! I used the public transport (Metro and bus) and everyone, from the people at the bus stop to the bus driver, kindly gave me instructions on how to get the tickets and move around. Not for nothing I met this lady some years ago who moved to Chile because her daughter was a victim of bullying in every single school she attended in the US, and now she finally found the peace and safety she was looking for. Those stereotypes drive me nuts!!! >:(

        • Comment 478459 by
          KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

          Being both French and American, I find this fear of travelling to non-first-world countries to be much more prominent in the US than in Europe. It's a shame really--by writing off so many countries, people are missing out. I also think that the strict visa requirements between the US and Brazil contribute somewhat to the ignorance about Brazil. I'd bet getting rid of visas for tourism between the two countries would make Brazil a more attractive destination for more Americans and hopefully change perceptions, and would also be good for the Brazilian economy. While I was in Rio, I saw mostly Europeans, Chileans, Argentinians, and Uruguayans--almost no Americans.

  • Comment 478157 by
    Fernando 19 Comments

    Hi Kevin, I visited Rio in March: I Wish a nice stay at Cidade Maravilhosa!

  • Comment 478304 by
    loukas SILVER 232 Comments

    Hi Kevin, I'm glad you've started a new series! I'm really surprised by the quality and presentation of meals, AA seems to go in a very good direction. Hope to see some bonus pics from Rio in the second report ;) Many thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 478371 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

      Hi Loukas, thanks so much for your comments as always! Yes, AA is getting better on long-haul J for sure (less so on domestic J). They just need to open Flagship lounges in all hubs now. They are lacking in the ex-US Airways hubs and are sorely needed to elevate the experience there. Yes, I will have a Rio bonus section in the return report.

      Thanks for stopping by, see ya!

  • Comment 478378 by
    nechus SILVER 530 Comments

    > by the time I went to book flights, the dates I needed to SCL were no longer available.
    Boo - hooo... :'(
    Anyways, you should be blind to choose Santiago above the Cidade Maravilhosa!! And the trip to Chile will take you longer than a week because you will definitely want to leave the city and visit the attractions in the north and the south!

    > The day started out at Washington Reagan National airport
    I'm always impressed by the photos of those beautiful arcades.

    > cured meats
    How nice! If your trip to Chile ever works out, you'll see that cured meats are hugely popular here, too. Wherever you go, you might want to take "un sanguchito de cecina pa'l camino" with you. XD Preferably "mortadela lisa". The cheapest and my favorite. I don't know what it's made of... and I prefer not to ask!

    > "Is that a good sound I hear?" I asked the agent
    You lucky guy!! Well, I was taken to the exit row once. I think that counts. XD

    > As usual, the safety video played as we left the gate
    Wow! AA aircraft can park on the water just like they do on the apron! It's miraculous!

    > Copacabana from the rooftop pool
    I'm drooling.
    Hint: If you visit Rio in August you will still have great weather and the beach will be for you alone!!

    I'm glad you had such a comfortable flight on your trip to Brazil. I loved AA's service from what I saw in this report.

    Obrigado por compartilhar!

    • Comment 478462 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

      Ola Nelson, obrigado por esses comentários!

      "Anyways, you should be blind to choose Santiago above the Cidade Maravilhosa!! And the trip to Chile will take you longer than a week because you will definitely want to leave the city and visit the attractions in the north and the south!"
      - For sure, I wouldn't stay in Santiago for a week. The plan was originally only to stay in Santiago for a day or 2 and then head down to Patagonia for 5-6 days. Hopefully in the next year or so!

      "I'm always impressed by the photos of those beautiful arcades."
      - It is a beautiful terminal! That's why I feel compelled to photograph it every time, as much as I fly out of DCA.

      "XD Preferably "mortadela lisa". The cheapest and my favorite. I don't know what it's made of... and I prefer not to ask!"
      - Thanks fro the tip! As a Frenchman very familiar with cured meats, I've always known its best to enjoy and not wonder what's inside, haha

      "Wow! AA aircraft can park on the water just like they do on the apron! It's miraculous!"
      - Yep! It's in their DNA as predecessor US Airways was the only carrier to successfully land a speeding commercial jet intact on water, "Miracle on the Hudson"

      "Hint: If you visit Rio in August you will still have great weather and the beach will be for you alone!!"
      - omg but I already thought the water was freezing being that it was almost summer, I can't imagine how cold the ocean would be in the middle of winter!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 478384 by
    jetsetpanda SILVER 2277 Comments

    Hey there Kevin!

    "An overseas trip over the Thanksgiving holiday week has become a yearly tradition for me."
    - You are not the only one. ;) It's so true what you have said - domestic US travel is a zoo while intl flights get the bargains although my SFO-TPE flights have been full to the max.

    "Brazil is also one of those destinations where my dual French-US citizenship comes in handy."
    - Having dual citizenship is certainly an advantage. I can attest to that as well. ;)

    "... and invited her to join us in the Flagship lounge as a guest."
    - Karma got you back with the upgrade. Instant one at that ;)

    "The food selection is really good for a US lounge–a vast improvement over normal Admirals Clubs "
    - Yes it is a great improvement compared to the previous Flagship lounges and Admirals Clubs. However I think the presentation is a bit "cafeteria" style and in that sense I find that the UA Polaris (at least in SFO) does a better job at the buffet.

    "The shower rooms are large and each have a toilet."
    - UA Polaris went a step farther when it opened. It provided pajamas from J and warm blankets upon request. Unfortunately they stopped providing pajamas as of Nov.

    "Woo Hoo! Operational upgrades on long-haul flights are always exciting!"
    - Did you do the upgrade dance right there? :P I was hoping for an operational upgrade with BR since their flights were full but alas, nothing materialized. However, I was surprised with a hotel upgrade in SIN when I checked in at the IC. One of the best upgrades that I received in my life (the other being at the IC Le Grand in Paris many years ago) I guess we both got lucky in our trips.

    "Aside from the new Casper pillow and bedding, were the Cole Haan amenity kits and menus pre-placed on the seats."
    - What a difference compared to Asian carriers where these are handed out personally by the FA's. Even in PEY or Y!

    "The tray tables are so large that the linen laid for dinner service looks tiny."
    - A bit embarrassing, kind of like a kid who grows up too quickly and his pants are now shorter.

    Catering looks fine and the breakfast is the same that I remember from a few years ago flying in J.

    Rio is a gorgeous city and the people are some of the friendliest that I have encountered in my travels. As long as you exercise common sense and stay away from the sketchy areas especially at night you should be fine.

    Thanks for sharing this great FR and congratulations on the upgrade.

    • Comment 478467 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

      Hey Adan, thanks so much for your thoughtful comments, always a pleasure!

      "You are not the only one. ;) It's so true what you have said - domestic US travel is a zoo while intl flights get the bargains although my SFO-TPE flights have been full to the max."
      - US carriers have gotten so scientific about revenue management. They really know which fare levels will fill planes in which markets. My planes were super full as well, both ways. I imagine they wouldn't have been quite so full without the good deals for the US-based market.

      "Having dual citizenship is certainly an advantage. I can attest to that as well. ;)"
      - Although I've often switch between passports on different overseas trips like between the US and EU or when I was already overseas, like between AU and NZ, this is the first time I've had to do this to avoid a visa. I thought it would be more complicated, but all I had to do was enter my French passport when checking in online for the outbound DCA-MIA-GIG, and just re-entered my US passport in my reservation before check-in for the return, to avoid the system asking me for an ESTA. Also, I had to make sure to only show my French passport to Brazilian immigration both in and out. Worked out well!

      "Karma got you back with the upgrade. Instant one at that ;)"
      - Hah! I didn't even think about that. I guess it was instant good karma!

      "Yes it is a great improvement compared to the previous Flagship lounges and Admirals Clubs. However I think the presentation is a bit "cafeteria" style"
      - I agree, and this is probably to differentiate with the Flagship First dining with a la carte table service.

      "Did you do the upgrade dance right there? :P I was hoping for an operational upgrade with BR since their flights were full but alas, nothing materialized."
      - I did, I also squealed with excitement like a school girl :-P
      I try not to think about op-ups so they stay pleasant surprises when they happen and I'm not disappointed if they don't, but of course I subconsciously knew it was a possibility.

      "UA Polaris went a step farther when it opened. It provided pajamas from J and warm blankets upon request. Unfortunately they stopped providing pajamas as of Nov."
      - That's the problem with Polaris...it was rolled out with so many amenities and they've been chipping away at it ever sense. And this is before they even finish retrofitting the fleet with Polaris seats.

      "What a difference compared to Asian carriers where these are handed out personally by the FA's. Even in PEY or Y!"
      - Absolutely. I feel like AA hands out the amenity kits and menus on day flights but not night flights. AA can be so inconsistent, it's hard to tell if that's actually policy or just coincidence because of different crew preferences.

      "A bit embarrassing, kind of like a kid who grows up too quickly and his pants are now shorter."
      - Haha yes, it's the linen equivalent of high-water pants! LOL

      Thanks again for stopping by!

  • Comment 478695 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 72 Comments

    Thanks for sharing your nice report and definitely a welcoming surprise for a free upgrade. (Can't say no to that obviously!)

    Though that beach... Way too crowded for me.

    • Comment 478747 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4473 Comments

      Thanks for your comments ThomasDutch! The upgrade was definitely a great surprise! Yes, Copacabana is very crowded, luckily my hotel has a section of the beach with chairs and umbrellas where it's a bit less crowded.

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