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Flying AA international biz, domestically, on the Inaugural LAX-HKG plane
I had written an article a little while back about how you can find International planes on domestic routes. I took advantage of this option yesterday when I flew from ORD to LAX on AA’s 777-300ER in business class. This is actually the first time I’ve had the opportunity to fly AA international biz domestically, and was excited to see what was offered and what wasn’t. I had a very tight connection from Indianapolis and boarding was just about to start when I arrived at the gate. After I boarded I asked a flight attendant where the plane was headed to next. He said that the plane being routed to LAX for the inaugural flight to HKG! How cool. A quasi inaugural flight lol. Here’s my experience flying AA’s international biz on a domestic route from ORD to LAX.
They boarded First class and military. Then Elites, etc. I’m Platinum and boarded in the second grouping – It was a MAD rush to get on the plane. Bows were being thrown, people. I’m not sure if it was the time of the flight, or the fact it was after labor day and people were hungover, or it was 777-300ER BEAST excitement, but there was a more frenzied sense to boarding than I have normally experienced on domestic flights.
In case you are unfamiliar with International planes operating on Domestic routes there are a couple things to note. If the flight is sold as a 2 cabin plane, and there is a third cabin ( business ) then you can select to sit in this cabin, but it won’t provide any normal business class amenities, just the seat. However, if you fly a 777-300ER from LAX-MIA it is marketed as 3 cabins, and business is sold as such. In this scenario, you will have to use points, 500 hundos, or complimentary upgrades ( if you’re EP) to get bumped from Econ to Business, or Business to Fist. Since this was a 3 cabin plane, but sold with just 2 cabins, I was able to sit in the business class cabin while paying for economy ( it was sold as main cabin extra which elites have complimentary access to)
The mini cabin
I was booked into 4A. I’d purchased the ticket ( LAX-IND-ORD-LAX) a couple of months ago for $350. First class was about $250 more and I was seriously tempted to spring for it. But, ORD-LAX was in the mini cabin of a 777-300ER and I have loved the mini cabin the last two times I’ve flown it: Internationally from LAX-LHR-LAX and also Domestically from LAX-MIA. I haven’t flown the 777-300ER in First so this would provide a hard product review, but $250 is $250. I let chance run its course, requested with 500 mile upgrades, thinking the WORST case is I get to see what it’s like to fly a business class hard product without the extra amenities. Ultimately, I got the worst case scenario…which was absolutely amazing.
It was so awesome, and slightly confusing, to sit in the mini cabin on such a short flight. I think my body just feels like it should be getting settled for a long haul flight. Luckily for my body, the plane got delayed for almost an hour and a half on the runway. I’m not exactly sure the length of the delay because I was totally wrapped up in a movie: Me before You. It’s great that they start in flight entertainment prior to take off and also that it’s now FREEEEEE in economy…er ‘business class’ for this flight.
One of the things to note is no headphones. Typically this is where the BOSE would be.
No amenity kit, menu, pillow, or blanket
But the IFE works!!!!
So far I can’t really say I miss all the other stuff. Well maybe the pre-departure drink 😉
I would note that passengers who were actually sitting in what we think of as economy were very confused. Most of them held on to their luggage until they were in their assigned row even though there was tons of overhead space in the business cabin that was appropriate to econ passengers. After a couple of announcements, there were some passengers that came forward to the mini cabin to deposit bags because the normal econ cabin had filled up. Anyways…Back to my economy Business Class pseudo Inaugural flight.
The lie flat works like normal
I thought maybe they would block it’s lie flat access. But it’s perfect. Man I love this product.
This was actually a surprise to me. I was expecting GOGO, but obviously the plane is equipped with the International WIFI service. I’d planned on blogging in flight so I bought a 2 hour package and wrote yesterday’s Korean Air Business Class cabin article. I thought the WIFI was much better than is typically offered domestically with GOGO.
The crew was very nice. I’d ordered a glass of wine once the drink cart came through. Mid way through the flight I asked if I could get another whenever she got a chance. She stopped, headed into first and came back with a comped wine. BYAWWWWW – I was even getting quasi business class treatment. WHO’S the LUCKY BOY??!??!
I was happy I’d just stayed in the mini cabin instead of splurging. For me, the premium cabin is so amazing because of the hard product, the IFE, and having a little something to sip on. I got all of those on what ended up being just shy of 5 hours on the plane ( including the delayed time on the ground).
The Inaugural flight LAX-HKG
Earlier, I’d mentioned that the crew had informed me that the plane was heading on to Hong Kong for AA’s Inaugural flight from LAX to HKG. I was beyond excited. I kinda felt like I was on the inaugural myself. It was really cool when we landed since I was on the left side of the plane in 4A which meant I was the closest seat to the exit. I was the first passenger off the plane and immediately behind a flight attendant exiting. We both walked into a very excited environment of pre-inaugural flight festivities. Man. I kinda wish I’d just booked an award ticket right on through to Hong Kong. I had checked the available space and it was insane. Nearly 2/3s the business class cabin and all but 2 seats in First were avail for the INAUGURAL. WHAT!?! That’s crazy. I forgot to screen cap the space, but it may be something for us all to check out as this route continues to develop. If it’s under sold…maybe this will be a great route for Asia.
I loved it. Not only was it an incredible product for an incredible price, it was ultra cool that it was the same plane that would fly the Inaugural flight to Hong Kong.
Things not offered because it was domestic economy
- Pillow and Blanket
- Amenity kit
- Food and alcohol
- No snack bar either
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