The airline with the best average rating is Emirates with 8.4/10.
The average flight time is 9 hours and 13 minutes.More information
Welcome to my latest Flight-Report series on my recent trip back home to the United States! This trip was taken in December 2019-January 2020, and was my last TATL journey before the whole Covid-19 situation. Luckily, it turned out to be a memorable journey, so let's get into it!
I experienced 5 new products in a total of 7 flights (including this one). Not bad! I'll be keeping you in suspense by announcing each new segment as it comes. So, here's where the routing stands at this first report:
I'll share how this flight was booked at the end of the series, so as not to give away whats coming later. Here's how the entire trip looked like on a map, thanks to the Great Circle Mapper, now that it's all done:
I arrived at Milano Centrale the day before departure after a long journey from Innsbruck which included 2 trains and a stop in Verona. I then took the Malpensa Express to Malpensa Airport, where I spent the night at the Sheraton. The next morning, I woke up at 7:30 AM, as American charges for seat selection online, I wanted to go to a check-in desk extra early to make sure I got a window seat. So at 7:55 AM, I left my room and headed for the terminal.
Not only is the Sheraton quite nice, but it's also extremely convenient, because it's connected to the terminal.
I followed the signs to check-in areas 20-24, which is where American, Delta, El Al, and United's check-ins are located. Unsurprisingly, they are all the way at the end of the terminal, though there was no security or docs check to get there.
There was already a fairly big line at check-in, though fortunately that was for the self check-in kiosk. The bag drop line was much shorter, and I got my boarding pass there.
My getting up early proved to be a good thing: not only did I get a window seat for free, but it was also located in Main Cabin Extra row 27!
Emirates 777-300ER to Dubai, with a Delta A330-300 arriving in JFK in the background.
Security took a while, and after that I found myself in the middle of Malpensa's duty free maze.
I don't think I've actually seen such a large duty free area at an airport before.
After that, it was time for passport control.
Oh boy. And I thought security took a while. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it took close to an hour to get through! By the time I got to my gate, I only had 30 minutes until boarding.
American 777-200ER to Miami.
Air China A350-900 to Shanghai-Pudong.
Flight information at my gate.
My beautiful ride across the pond was N794AN, a November 2000-built Boeing 777-223(ER), which was delivered directly to American a month later. Its fleet number is 7BC.
I think we can all agree that 9 boarding groups is a bit much, right?
Much to my surprise, not only was the boarding process very orderly, but it also began 5 minutes early. Is this really American ops? In Italy?!?!
I was warmly greeted by a flight attendant at the door and passed through the very nice Business Class cabin. I flew AA's 777-300ER in Business to Sydney in 2016, and while that was a great product, I have to say that this seat looks nicer (albeit a bit less private).
Premium Economy looked pretty nice as well.
Though I'm always happy to fly, even if it's in coach. And I must say, the cabin did not feel 19-year old. On the contrary, it felt very fresh.
Made it to row 27.
Waiting for me at my seat was a blanket and pillow…
…and a pair of Avis co-branded earbuds.
I knew that legroom was supposed to be pretty good in MCE, but I was still surprised by how much legroom there was!
Welcome screen on the IFE.
Fantastic wing view from my seat!
Blue Panorama 737-800 from Tirana.
American plays informational videos throughout the boarding process and flight.
Blue Panorama 737-800 to Tirana.
El Al 777-200ER from Tel Aviv.
Aegean A320 from Athens.
From the moment I boarding until the moment I disembarked, the TVs on the bulkhead played a video showing some of American's destinations.
Once boarding was completed, Captain Paul came on the PA to welcome us aboard on behalf of the entire New York-based crew. He also announced a flying time of 8:10. A few minutes later, we pushed back and started our engines.
AlMasria Universal Airlines 737-400 to Sharm El Sheikh.
Bulgaria Air A320 operating an Air Italy flight to Palermo.
Star Alliance Lufthansa A319 from Frankfurt.
SAS A320 from Copenhagen.
Checking the flight controls.
Flaps set for takeoff.
AIr Italy A330-200 to Miami.
Etihad 787-9 'Choose Italy' Livery to Abu Dhabi.
The aforespotted Delta A330 trying to beat us to JFK (we beat them by 8 minutes…)
Malpensa Terminal 1 with an Alpine background.
Parked EasyJet A320, which would fly to Nantes later in the day.
Air Dolomiti E195 operating a Lufthansa flight to Munich.
Lining up on Runway 35R.
A spotter took a photo of us lining up ?
"American 199 Heavy, Runway 35 Right, cleared for takeoff."
Slight right turn.
Vergiate Airport (LILG).
Cabin after departure.
A look back at Malpensa.
Continuing our climb up to our initial cruising altitude of 32,000 feet.
As we climbed over the alps, we hit quite a bit of turbulence, and even dropped a few feet, which caused many passengers to scream. The Captain spoke to us again a few minutes later to apologize and inform us of our routing. He told that we'd fly over Dijon, east of Paris and London before beginning our Trans-Atlantic Crossing over northwestern Ireland, and from there direct to Boston and New York. I love pilots who provide detailed flight information!
Once we reached our cruising altitude, the service commenced with pretzels. AA puts illustrations of a symbol of one of their 9 hub cities on their pretzel packets. I got Miami.
Just water to drink, though in MCE, free alcohol is available, as well.
On clear day, Paris would have been visible, but as luck would have it only clouds could be seen.
Not too much later, the main event arrived. There was a choice of chicken or pasta, and I went with the latter. The presentation did leave a bit to be desired.
In addition to the main dish, the tray included crackers (and spread cheese)…
…butter and a pretzel roll…
…a salad with herb dressing…
…and a cherry crumple.
The pasta was a Rigatoni with Tomato Sauce, Pesto, and Cheese. It was actually one of the better pasta dishes I've had on an airplane.
The meal service ended as we flew over the Irish Sea.
The IFE was crisp and very responsive.
It had a great choice of movies and TV shows…
…and a decent choice of live TV stations.
A look at the rear Y cabin.
The crew on this flight was oh-so New York (in the best possible way), though interestingly enough one of the FAs working my row was wearing a US Airways uniform, which led me to think that she was Philly-based. I heard her chatting with another passenger, and it turns out she was New York-based as well.
Blue mood lighting was left on for the entire flight, which was appreciated.
Around halfway through the flight, a beverage and ice cream service took place.
The clouds finally started to clear as we neared North America.
The view from 4L over Canada.
We entered US airspace just south of Presque Isle, Maine, and as the cabin prepared for the pre-arrival snack, American mood lighting came on, which I particularly enjoyed.
The choice was snack was given as beef or vegetarian sliders. Naturally, I went for beef.
The sliders were delicious but way too tiny. They were both gone in 90 seconds.
Great view of Boston Logan International Airport (BOS/KBOS).
Commencing our descent over Providence, RI.
Quonset State Airport (NCO/KOQU) in North Kingston, RI.
The prepare for landing video screened as we descended through 26,000 feet.
Block Island, RI.
As we were over the Block Island Sound, the Captain made one final announcement that we were 15 minutes from landing. He ended his announcement by saying that the FAA had advised everyone to be on the lookout for a low-flying sleigh on the night of Tuesday the 24th. Hah!
That's what I like to see!
East Hampton Airport (HTO/KHTO).
Robins Island, NY.
Francis S. Gabreski Airport (FOK/KFOK) in Westhampton, NY.
Long Island looking east.
Fire Island National Seashore.
Established on final.
Note the Singapore A380 taking off in the top right corner.
Over the airport.
Smooth landing on Runway 31R at 12:42 PM, 58 minutes early! Well done American!
Vacating the runway.
Pulling into Terminal 8.
Deplaning through Economy…
Thanks for the ride, 7BC!
Our routing across the Atlantic had us leaving Italian airspace shortly after departure. We reached our initial cruising altitude over Lake Geneva, near Lausanne. From there we flew past Paris and London before making a left turn near Liverpool. We began our Atlantic Crossing over County Donegal, Ireland, and made landfall near Charlotteville, Newfoundland approximately 3 and a half hours later. We entered American airspace just south of Presque Isle, ME, and commenced our descent into JFK over Providence, RI.
Immigration was slow, but I didn't mind. I ended up leaving the terminal at 1:40 PM, our scheduled arrival time. To get home, I took the LIRR to Penn Station and the 1 to the Upper West Side. That took another hour. Thanks for joining me, please feel free to leave a comment, and see you in the next installment!
I was actually very impressed with American's TATL service in Y:
+ Very comfortable leather seats
+ Scored a MCE seat for free
+ Friendly, professional cabin crew and pilots
+ Surprisingly good food
+ Great IFE selection
+ Early arrival
- Poor efficiency at Malpensa
- No free seat selection online
- Poor presentation of the meal
I wouldn't hesitate booking another TATL flight in AA Y. I'd be curious to see how their A330s and Dreamliners compare.