Review of American Airlines flight Dallas/Fort Worth Hong Kong in Business

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA137
Class Business
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 777-300ER
Flight time 17:05
Take-off 16 Jan 15, 11:30
Arrival at 16 Jan 15, 18:35
AA   #58 out of 115 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 471 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 11268
Published on 1st March 2015
Hello and welcome to the next installment in this series of flights with American Airlines. As I had recently decided to leave DL Skymiles due to incessant downgrades to the program, I decided to do a Status challenge in order to try to reach top tier Elite status with AA in the fastest way. I needed fly do 30,000 miles in 90 days and thought there was no better way to knock a big part of that out than to fly on the longest flight in AA's system: Dallas to Hong Kong. The round trip from DCA to HKG via DFW earned over 19,000 miles.

The routing:

Washington Reagan DCA - Dallas Fort Worth DFW, American Airlines, B737-800
Dallas Fort Worth DFW - Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok HKG, Amercian Airlines, B777-300ER [THIS REPORT]
Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok HKG - Dallas Fort Worth DFW, American Airlines, B777-300ER
Dallas Fort Worth DFW - Washington Reagan DCA, American Airlines, B737-800 [SOON]

Having arrived early from DC, I head directly to the Admirals Club to fix the problem with the DFW-HKG boarding passes that wouldn't print in DCA. The lounge agent is very warm and welcoming. I quickly explained my situation; she took a quick peek at my reservation and invited me to go to the assistance counter in the lounge upstairs to get my BP printed.

They're geniuses up there, and will have you fixed in no time she tells me, then calls her colleague upstairs to give him my reservation number and tell him I'm on my way up. I appreciated her going the extra mile by calling.

Sculpture in the elevator lobby on the ground floor.

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The assistance counters are right there as you get off the elevators. When I get to the counter, the agent is already working on my reservation and greets me by name. I hear the sound of a BP printing out and boom, there it is! What a relief. The supervisor in DCA must've fixed the problem while I was in the air on the way to DFW as she had promised. All's well that ends well!

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The club is rather large and pleasant with nice views of the tarmac.

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What a beauty. I love AA's new colors. I know a lot of folks don't like the new livery, but I find it stunning and modern.

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A little further you can see the 738 that brought me here from DC and the 77W that will take me to Hong Kong right next to each other.

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I like the design of the club's bar.

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Some champagne to celebrate finally getting my BP!

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My long awaited Boarding Pass along with my brand new American passport that I'll be using for the first time. I had just been recently Naturalized :-)
#America

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The Admirals Club in International Terminal D is decent as US lounges go, but there's a much better lounge in this Terminal: The American Express Centurion Lounge

Let's go check it out.

We pass by our gate on the way to the lounge.

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The Centurion Lounge is located upstairs. Dedicated escalators lead directly to the lounge.

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Fancy!

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We are warmly greeted by a very nice lounge dragon with a great Texan accent. As we checked in, I asked if there was a shower available, and as luck would have it, both showers were open. The lounge agent brings us directly to the showers while explaining the lounge layout, including location of the bar and buffet…important things to know :-)

The shower room is large with private toilet.

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L'Occitane products–nice.

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After a refreshing shower, I explored the lounge a bit. I like the design and colors of the lounge, though it would be nice to have a tarmac view.



Let's start with some Champagne. Cheers!

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We then find a table so that we can get some food from the buffet. It's nothing overly fancy, but the overall food offering is definitely well above average by US lounge standards, which is a nice feature of the Centurion lounges.

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The brunch buffet is very local Tex-Mex.

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My 2nd breakfast of the day :-)

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And another glass of champagne to finish

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We left the Centurion Lounge a few minutes before boarding time to head to the gate.

Our flight is leaving from gate D23 today.

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Boarding begins on time with First and Business class passengers. A very nice flight attendant, who we will also see on the return flight, greets us at the boarding door.

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And here is the wonderful Business class cabin on AA's 777-300ER. Very good first impression of this rather large cabin equipped with full-flat reverse-herringbone Cirrus seats.

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My seat for the next 17 hours

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Window seats seem perfect for those travelling alone. They give you privacy, aisle access, and a view–which I would have personally loved had I been travelling alone.

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But for two people travelling together, like we are today, the set of two seats in the middle are great.

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The pillow and cover are on the large foot rest. The cover is not as nice and plush as those I've had on Delta in Business, but it is fine.

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The Bose noise-cancelling headset are in a storage compartment in the center between the two seats. The remote control for the IFE along with the seat controls are also located in that area.

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The compartment's door has a mirror inside which can also double as a privacy screen if you don't like your neighbor :-)

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Very spacious

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Storage space is well appointed.

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The Herman Miller design amenity kit can be found there, along with a pair of slippers.

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Contents of the amenity kit.

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Menus were already on the center console upon boarding.

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There will be three meals on this long transpacific flight.



The selection of wine and spirits, however, is not quite as good as what I'm used to on Delta.



The armrest on the aisle can be in an up or down position, but must be down for takeoff and landing.

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Pre-departure drink. Champagne in a plastic cup, or course :-)
At least it's a nice plastic cup.

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Legroom again.

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As on all AA flights, information and announcements are displayed on the overhead monitors.

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At the end of boarding, the mood-lighting comes on.

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We push back on time as the safety video plays.

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Here we go!

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As an AvGeek, I like to look out the window a lot, but that's not so easy from the middle section especially wen all the windows were closed. Just one open on the other side…not that I could see anything.

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The IFE is very modern with good content. There are even videos on the seats in First and Business.



The 77W fleet is equipped with international wifi so I decided to pay the $17, judging that to be a decent price for a 17 hour flight. Unfortunately, the wifi only worked for the first few hours then stopped working somewhere over Canada and didn't work the whole rest of the flight :-/

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The tray table comes out from the center console.

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About a half hour after takeoff, drinks are served. Once again, as a longtime Delta Elite, I naturally want to compare with Delta's product. DL has champagne flutes in International Business class, which is certainly nicer than the glasses on AA. However, these glasses are rather large. So while they are not as classy as a champagne flute, you get a lot, so I'm not complaining:-)

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The FA came around several times with the bottle to refill drinks. Yes, please!

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Cheers!

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The appetizer and salad. Overall, it was good; however, the portions are smaller than on Delta and there is no soup like on DL.

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Strawberries in salad. Interesting…it wasn't bad.

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For the main course I chose the beef, which is usually risky on a plane, but t was quite good. The aluminum ramekin for the sauce is not particularly classy or visually appealing, but then agian Air France does it too…

Boursin encrusted beef filet with creamy demi-glace, mashed red-skin potatoes, and sautéed kale.

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Like I said, it was good. The meat was tender and on the pink side, which I like.

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As a proper Frenchman (well, I'm American now, but still French too :-P ), I chose the cheese and the dessert. I had a Port wine with dessert. Again, DL does better here with a Sauternes for dessert wine.

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Cheese and Crackers….soooo American :-P

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And a Cognac digestif to wrap things up.

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And as if I had not drank enough, the FA comes around and asks if I'd like more champagne after the meal. Of course I had to say yes :-)

So basically, although the meal was kind of average for Business class, the crew's attentiveness and the flowing champagne more than made up for it.

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Oh look, a US Airways glass made its way onto the plane.

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Cheers…again :-P

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The IFE is great with a large selection of movies, TV series, documentaries, music, etc. The touchscreen is very reactive, but there's no need to use it with the remote control right next to you. A cool feature of the remote control is that it displays the album cover of music you are listening to on its screen. You can also have the airshow on the remote control's screen, while watching movies etc on the main screen.

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I put on some music and took a short nap in this very comfortable seat.

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After napping for a bit, we headed to the premium cabin bar to check it out. We are still only over the Canadian North at this point.

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The bar is a nice place to hang out and talk without bothering other passengers, most of whom are sleeping at the moment.

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There is an impressive array of food on offer. I definitely won't be dying of hunger on this flight!



I brought back a little snack to my seat.

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After stuffing my face, it was time for another nap :-)
On this 17 hour flight, there is plenty of time for getting several full night's sleeps.

Here is the seat in full-flat position.

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Good night!

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I woke up after we had flown past the International dateline and were now over Siberia. With about 8 hours of flight time to go, or the equivalent of a typical Transatlantic flight, we were only at the halfway point of the flight :-)

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The lavatories were still in good shape and clean more than 8 hours into the flight.

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I hung around the bar area for a bit and chatted with the FAs.

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One of the FAs asks me if I would like more champagne…with pleasure!

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The snacks at the bar are always well stocked and continuously replenished. As good as it looked, I wasn't hungry, and I was saving room for the mid-flight meal.



Although the cabin is dark, the sun is shining outside.

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I had woken up just in time for the mid-flight meal. Although I wasn't terribly hungry, I did want to try it. I chose the Char Siu Duck with Lo Mein Noodles. It was quite good and not too heavy.

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After eating…again, I started watching a movie and fell asleep…again :-P

I woke up just south of Beijing with about 2 hours left to go before landing in Hong Kong.

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The pre-arrival meal was served shortly after I woke up. So I get to eat…again. This flight is going to put me in a food coma :-)

For the brunch I chose the Dim Sum, which I really enjoyed. I thought the presentation was nice and it tasted authentic. But then again I am not a Chinese cuisine expert despite my Asian roots.

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And uncovered.

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The main Business class cabin is very long and was almost completely full–there may have been one or two empty seats. This route seems to be doing very well for AA. I imagine that having a oneworld hub at each end (AA at DFW and CX at HKG) has something to do with this success. Of course, a high load factor does not mean the route is making money, but it is positive that AA is filling the premium seats (even if some are upgrades).

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We're almost there.

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Welcome to Hong Kong!

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Such a pleasant flight that I would have gladly stayed a few more hours in flight. I think it is safe to say that this is a very solid Business class product as I arrived rather fresh after this 17 hour flight.

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We breezed though immigration, which I always find efficient, and were in a cab and on our way to the hotel in no time. Sadly no stamp for my new American passport which will stay blank for the time being :-(

We arrived at the Gold Coast Hotel Hong Kong barely an hour after landing!

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As we were only doing this short weekend in Hong Kong, we decided to stay here on the beach away from the hustle and bustle of downtown and Kowloon. I definitely enjoyed the more relaxing environment and getting dowtown was still easy and only a half hour away. That's the great thing about Hong Kong, you're never really far from anything.

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Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave comments/questions below.
See more

Verdict

American Airlines

8.8/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering7.5

AMEX Centurion Lounge

8.4/10
Comfort8.5
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.5

Dallas/Fort Worth - DFW

8.9/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.5
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Hong Kong - HKG

9.1/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

An awesome flight with the New American! Or is it AAwesome :-P

Comfort - The Zodiac Cirrus seats are among the best Business class seats you can get. There is a lot of space, the seat in bed mode is comfortable and long, andthere is a good amount of privacy even in the center section. While AA was not the first US carrier to have Cirrus seats in Business class, I believe that AA went the extra mile and made more of an effort on the overall cabin ambiance (bar and mood-lighting) and with the seats finishes.

Crew - The crew was great! Professional, attentive and pleasant the entire flight.

Catering - This is where AA could probably do better. While the quantity was certainly generous, and the use of products like duck is a step in the right direction, the main meal was a little underwhelming. Again, as a longtime DL flyer, I have to say DL does better with international Business class catering. However, the food offering at the bar is great and probably better than most airlines, so this brings up the grade a bit.

IFE - The IFE was great, but I'm taking away some points for the Wifi not working.

Flight on-time.

Information on the route Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Hong Kong (HKG)

29 Comments

  • Comment 130815 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for the FR, Kevin!

    Welcome to 'Merica! You'll have a gun rack on a F-350 in no time! (You live north of the Mason-Dixon Line so maybe that won't happen...)

    Good looking TexMex offerings at the Centurion Lounge, much better offerings than the Admirals Club even if the decor is not as nice.

    The cabin looks very good; I personally like the appearance of the greens used by CX and BR, but the new AA cabin is definitely the best long-haul product on a US carrier. Their Cirrus product looks much better than DL's. It's asking a lot for a seat that can withstand trips of this length. When I did the IAH-PEK haul (a little bit shorter than this), even though the seat is really comfortable, you just start to feel tired from being confined on an airplane.

    The Kikkoman soy sauce packet looks a little cheap too (from an Eastern perspective), it's like getting packets of salt/pepper. I think it is good that they did two small meal offerings, but maybe a second full dinner service near Beijing would have been more appropriate given the quantity available in the bar area for snacks. I'm not sure how I feel about the presentation of the last meal, but if it was good, that's all that matters.

    I'm a little surprised by the route they took through mainland China, normally aircraft skirt the coast in order to avoid all the restricted airspaces used by the Chinese military.

    Overall, the new AA longhaul product looks compelling as a viable American option.

    • Comment 311740 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5332 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! Yes, I'm very proud to be a 'Murican now :-)
      LOL! Well, technically DC is below the Mason-Dixon line and I went to college in Southwest VA, so F350s and gun racks are definitely not foreign to me :-P

      A lot of people have been telling me they prefer the CX color...personally, I like AA's more classic approach, which I find to be more consistent with their image. Yeah, DL's Cirrus seats look like they belong in a hospital with all that white and bright blue. But I guess now that they are re-branding Premium cabins, the International J Delta One seats will have a darker shade of blue and plusher feel, so that should make it a little more attractive.

      I was actually surprised with all that I had to drink that I didn't feel more tired upon arrival, but I slept so much I probably slept off any potential hangover, LOL. Being able to hang out in the bar area definitely helped to ease that I've been stuck in a metal tube for 17 hours feeling, as you are not confined to your seat.

      Yes, the soy sauce packet, along with the aluminum ramekin cheapens the presentation. It's a shame because AA seems to be making an effort on presentation otherwise. I actually like the One large meal and two small meals. Yes, there is a lot to eat at the bar, but I think that going 14-15 hours without a hot meal and having to eat just the snacks at the bar would be long.

      I've flown over mainland China several times on flights from the US to Hong Kong. I guess it's probably the shortest route. I would think the restricted airspaces used by the Chinese military would be away from major population centers like the Eastern half of China no?

      Thanks for your comment!

    • Comment 311742 by
      NGO85 1622 Comments

      I stand corrected, Mason-Dixon Line is the MD/PA border, but you got the drift...

      Most flights PVG-HKG (even on Chinese carriers), carefully follow the coastline (same with flights from Japan and Korea). I've never flown PEK-HKG so I can't confirm that is the case on those routes, maybe you were far enough west to avoid those militarized areas. I think the heaviest militarized air zones are in SE China close to Taiwan for historical reasons (Marathon can probably provide a better explanation). Most KIX/NGO flights to Europe fly through North Korean airspace, so who knows...

      The DeltaOne seats retain the pleather seating, no? I prefer the fabric seats like AA has opted for. I just don't like the herringbone seats on landings, it always feels like the landing is squirmish since you aren't sitting parallel with the touchdown.

      Look forward to the return trip!

    • Comment 311744 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5332 Comments

      Interesting. Thanks for the information. Not sure if the Delta One seats will be made of the same pleather. They Look like they an quilted from pics, so I cant tell. The headrests are def pleather, but can't tell for the rest, guessing cloth. I prefer cloth for long haul flights because it breathes better and leather starts to feel too hard after a while.

  • Comment 130817 by
    pokcay 68 Comments

    Great report Kevin!

    Loving the seats, it looks comfortable.

  • Comment 130822 by
    SKYTEAMCHC GOLD 8248 Comments

    Hi Kevin. thanks for sharing this new flight with AA with US. I am quite impressed by the new cabin that looks good and seems very comfortable. I agree that DL does better for meal services but yet AA does serve some goods products ( like the duck) served on this flight. I like the buffet/bar very much. The bathroom is nice with this sink and the dermatologica products available.

  • Comment 130825 by
    Frequent flyer B747 1 Comments

    Good Fr;)

  • Comment 130845 by
    pititom GOLD 10843 Comments

    Ok, now I understand how you fulfilled the challenge's requirements so promptly ;)

    AA is changing...of course there is still space for improvement, but globally, this reports depicts a very good product / flight. Six or seven years ago, I would not have bet that on AA...

    How can one get access to the Centurion lounge ? Is it exclusively with the adhoc card or are there other ways in ?

    Thanks for this report and...congratulations for the nouveau passeport ;)

    • Comment 311762 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5332 Comments

      Yes, I did a few transcons as well, but with my work schedule I had limited opportunities for mileage runs so this was the best option to get as many miles as possible in the shortest amount of time. And the flight schedule perfect for a long weekend. Left on a Friday Morning and was back by Monday afternoon and still had 3 days/2 nights in HKG to enjoy the weekend.

      You have to have an Amex card (not necessarily a Centurion card) to get into the lounge. I also think that anyone can buy access, but I'm not sure about that.

      Thanks for your comment!

  • Comment 130874 by
    adrianfong 26 Comments

    Hey Kevin,

    Thanks for this wonderful report:) Been waiting to read this for quite a while LOL

    One thing I'm particularly impressed with is the mid flight foodies bar.. this is certainly something I hope CX can work on in the future when even a supposedly inferior airline can do better.

    Anyways, I'm glad AA decided to start HK with its newest product (no choice really) and would to hope try this seemingly brilliant product out one day.

    Adrian

    • Comment 311809 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5332 Comments

      Hi Andrian, thanks for your comments! Yes, it always takes me a long time to post :-)
      Yes, the food offering at the premium cabin bar is impressive. Of course, the quality of the catering overall is nowhere near the levels of CX, the hard product is the same and this definitely places AA on equal footing with its oneworld partner CX from Hong Kong.

  • Comment 130893 by
    flywunala 158 Comments

    kevin, this is one of a hell of flight report. A beauty. Thanks for the moving map pics, which I will post on the FLICKR page.
    You are the master.

  • Comment 130899 by
    flywunala 158 Comments

    Moving Maps posted on FLICKR https://flic.kr/p/ra9e7G
    There is no such thing as too many moving map pictures. Keep them coming

  • Comment 130902 by
    greg787 31 Comments

    Hi Kevin.
    Fantastic report. Really makes me want to do HKG again.

    Was always curious, is the alcohol in the Admiral's Lounge complimentary?
    Greg

    • Comment 311824 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5332 Comments

      Thanks! HKG is great. House wine, some beers, and rail liquor are free, you have to pay for the rest. Oneworld Emeralds travelling internationally get vouchers for free premium drinks (in clubs that don't have a special First Class lounge)--that's how we go the champagne.

  • Comment 131156 by
    FBI92 141 Comments

    Thanks for sharing! Thats a long flight! Probably less easy to live in the back of the plane!

  • Comment 135646 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Fantastic FR! Thanks for sharing it!

    Very detailed FR, I have always been curious about this flight ever since it launched. It's nice to see that the business cabin is pretty filled up.

    Love the look of these seats, good to know that they are comfortable as well (even though I highly doubt I will ever get to try it).

    I'm a really big fan of the new AA livery, it really fits the 77W IMO.

    Seems like you had a great flight, impressed by their service.

    See you on the next one!

  • Comment 146190 by
    aadvantagegeek 1 Comments

    Great photos, especially the food pics. Really enjoyed your trip report. Thanks for sharing!

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