Unfortunately, my JAL flight last week had to be rebooked on AA metal due to weather in Chicago. Instead of experiencing the JAL SKY SUITE, I flew on one of American’s older 777s from Dallas to Tokyo. Now, I knew what I was in for and was fully aware that this was not one of AA’s new 777-300ERs that look pretty awesome. Business isn’t even lie-flat on the older 777s for the 13 hour and 25 minute flight, which is why I used an additional 12,500 miles to upgrade to First where I could have a fully flat bed.
The flight started out nice enough with the decent Flagship Suite, new amenity kit, generous bedding package (mattress pad, duvet, additional blanket and 2 pillows), Bose headset, and AA PJs.
I knew there was only DC power (even in First), so I immediately asked for one of the converters before they were all given away.
Now, the most disappointing part of the flight came just a few minutes in when my TV failed to turn on. I knew it was bad when the remote had no power at all even when they reset my seat. With 13+ hours to go, I was told that TV was broken. Additionally, there were 2 open seats in First on the left side in the 1-2-1 configuration, but those were for the pilots. The purser and flight attendant told me they could not put the pilots in a “middle seat with aisle access” like the one I had. My flight attendant didn’t seem that concerned by this and told me not to worry, my food was coming out soon and to sit back and enjoy! Wow…
About the purser and flight attendants, both men in their upper 50s / early 60s, definitely not in-tune with the “New American”. The purser took his time coming over to me, but eventually found his way and told me that they might have a back-up tablet that I could use. In the end, I think I was actually lucky. The TVs (even in first) are tiny, extremely fuzzy (no LCD here or wide-screen here…the screen is made up of multiple boxes), and while there is on-demand, it was limited to 5 new releases, 3 comedies, and 4 TV shows, shockingly poor for a “Flagship” product.
Meanwhile, they did find me a Samsung Tablet which plugged into my DC power outlet and was loaded with a ton more content. I first made sure that all the new releases on my neighbor’s screen were available on the tablet. Not only were they there, but so were about 20 other new releases and 30 other movies. There was also a large TV show selection and eBook library. The tablet was larger, wide-screen, and much clearer than the standard TVs. I even liked that I could position it in different places depending on whether I was eating, reclining, or fully flat. The only thing missing was the moving map which was projected on the TVs in the front of the cabin, just one row in front of me for about half the flight. When they were switched off, I was lucky in that my neighbor turned his TV toward me and had it tuned to the map.
I’ll have a full trip report in the weeks to come, but let’s just say the service was pretty horrendous. Oh and that turn-down service (with a reminder to ask for it even listed on the dessert menu), is like pulling teeth. When I asked for assistance with the bed, I was shown how to recline the seat and the mattress pad was sort of tossed up on it as it was reclining. They then “explained to me” how to complete making the bed…certainly no Emirates/Cathay/Singapore service here. There was no one around to order any of the menu snacks from and the grab-and-go snacks which were supposed to be set up in the galley were forgotten about until I asked for them. Again, full trip report coming up. Oh, and good news! I’ll still get to experience the JAL SKY SUITE product when I fly home on NRT-JFK next week!