A warm welcome back my series concerning my winter 2019-2020 trip back to the US. After a TATL hop to JFK in an American 777, a morning transcon in a United 757, a beautiful sunset flight up the Pacific Coast in a United A320, a sunny ride down the same coast in a United A319, a nighttime transcon with a gorgeous takeoff in a United 787, and an uneventful ride down the Atlantic Coast in an American 737, it was time to fly back to Europe in another American 777. In case you've missed the aforementioned reports, be sure to check them out, as well!
I experienced 5 new products in a total of 7 flights. 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:
Now that we've arrived at the end of the series, I can finally announce how I booked this portion of the route. I used 30K AAdvantage miles to book MXP-JFK as a one way MileSAAver award and the same amount for the return. I used to fly American very often until 2016, so while I no longer have status, I still have a stash of miles. I usually try to save my AA miles for some fun premium routing (like BOM-AUH-JFK in EY F which I did in 2016), but when Star Alliance didn't have any good options to cross the pond in December or January, it was time for a backup. Plus I'd never flown AA longhaul coach, so it was time to try something new. Here's how the entire trip looked like on a map, thanks to the Great Circle Mapper:
On to the report, which marks my one year anniversary as a Flight-Reporter! I had a long layover in Miami, so I decided to walk around for a bit.
I love diverse international airports. Look at all those departures!
My flight, AA206, would be departing to Milan on time.
I didn't think that there were any Priority Pass lounges in the AA terminal at MIA, so I didn't even look for a lounge. You can imagine how horrible I felt when I later found out that there is a Turkish Airlines Lounge in the AA Terminal. Oh well, at least I know now for the next time I fly via MIA. Instead of going to any lounge, I decided to take a nap, as I had gotten up early that morning and still had a long day ahead of me. Luckily, I found a quiet area to take my nap…
…while having a 777 watch over me!
At the next gate over, an American A320 was leaving for somewhere in the Carribbean (I forgot exactly where).
After a surprisingly good nap (and a donut from Krispy Kreme ?), I headed to my departure gate, D21.
Flight information. I like that they show the aircraft type, too, though to be accurate they should have added an -ER. AvGeekery to the next level, I know ?
I took another lap around the terminal, and when I returned to my gate, the aircraft of the day had arrived. I'd be flying on N766AN (fleet number 7CA), which was built and delivered to American in June 2003, making it around 16.6 years old at the time of flight. Funnily enough, it had just arrived from Milan as AA207.
The boarding area filled up as boarding time neared.
As soon as Group 5 was called, I made my way down the jetbridge. I still can't come to terms with the fact that Group 5 is AA's first non-Priority group, while at United, Group 5 is the very last group ?
I was greeted by a very friendly flight attendant and pointed towards my seat. Unlike my previous flight, this crew was chipper and it seemed like they enjoyed their jobs. Business and Premium Economy were both full, so no pictures of that, but Economy was still rather empty.
I made my way to the very back of the aircraft to my seat, 35L, which was free to select even before OLCI. Waiting for me at my seat were a pillow and blanket.
While not as good as in Main Cabin Extra, the legroom wasn't bad.
IFE, which is touchscreen…
…but can also be controlled with a remote.
Wing view. It's been a while since I've sat so far back.
Once boarding was completed, the purser made her welcome announcement…
…and we started to push.
As we pushed, the safety video rolled. I miss the old video, though. It was much more personable. But you be the judge.
Here's the old video:
Versus the current one:
Though as I'm writing this, there are rumors of a new AA safety video being in the works, so we'll see what see happens.
Taxiing to the runway for takeoff.
"American 206 Heavy, runway 8 Right, cleared for takeoff".
Last views of the homeland for a while ? ??
Gorgeous view of Downtown Miami.
Leaving the US behind over Miami Beach.
Climbing out over the Atlantic.
Cabin after departure.
The same Avis co-branded earbuds from my MXP-JFK flight.
Another classic American info video.
Bimini Islands, Bahamas in the distance.
Grand Bahama, Bahamas.
The meal service commenced with Mini Pretzels. This time, I got the Philadelphia packet.
Slight right turn with nice lighting on the wings.
As we reached our initial cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, Captain Mike came on the PA to announce mostly smooth conditions ahead and that our ETA in Milan was 8:10 AM.
The sun setting slowly.
Almost fully dark outside.
For the drinks service, I went with my usual water with lemon.
Nothing to see outside but the navigation position light.
Inside, however, the meal service was commencing.
The options were chicken or pasta, and I chose the latter. Once again, the presentation left a bit to be desired.
The tray included crackers…
…a tasty Cinnamon Bar for dessert…
…and of course, the main.
It was…fine. Only the top had a bit of sauce and mushrooms, and the bottom was basically just pasta with nothing. I'd give it a C+.
Cabin after the meal service.
I watched Apollo 13 before I went to sleep. A movie that I've watch 5 times and never seems to get old.
As soon as the movie finished, I opened my tray table and went to sleep. I find it that whenever I'm in coach, I can only sleep with my head down on the table, unless I'm in the bulkhead.
I slept until the breakfast service, when my seatmate kindly woke me up. I was still tired when the breakfast came, so I forgot to turn on the reading light. Excuse the poor pictures, but the breakfast consisted of a bag…
…which included Chobani yoghurt…
As we approached the top of descent, the captain came back on the PA saying that he anticipated an early landing at 7:50 AM and thanked us for flying American.
Commencing our descent over Grenoble.
Left turn as we entered Italian airspace.
Our routing took us Northeast out of Miami…
…Southeast of Nova Scotia…
…past the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone…
…towards Europe which we entered over La Rochelle…
…and finally towards Milan.
Malpensa in sight!
Over the runway.
And back on European soil with a smooth landing on Runway 35L at 7:56 AM, 14 minutes early, after being airborne for 8 hours and 41 minutes.
Vacating the runway.
Cabin after landing.
Taxiing to the gate.
Emirates 777-300ER in the Expo 2020 livery which had just arrived from Dubai.
Pulling into our gate.
I already wrote about the routing above, so I'll let the screenshot speak for itself.
I thought I took pictures of the disembarkation, but apparently, in my sleepy state, I didn't. Immgration wasn't very fast, and I had to wait a while for my suitcase to show up. After all that, I took the Malpensa Express to Milano Centrale. From there it was a short walk to the Four Points, where I spent the night before heading to Innsbruck the next morning. Thanks for reading, and I hope that everyone is safe and healthy in these terrible times of Covid-19. See you in the next series!
This flight was actually a very enjoyable TATL crossing!
+ Fresh 777 Cabin
+ Comfortable seat
+ Really good IFE
+ Friendly crew
+ Good breakfast offerings
- Bland pasta dish for the main
- No free seat selection during OLCI
- Slow Malpensa immigration
I wouldn't hesitate to fly AA over the pond again, even in Y. The cabins are nice, and the breakfast is much better than what LH/OS offer on flights of the same length.