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If you’re flying to Tokyo for the weekend…this is a great way to start.
If you read us very often you’ll know that we love surprises. SO, when my girlfriend’s birthday was coming up, I wanted to do something super cool to surprise her. Over the past year, Tokyo kept coming up as a place she’d really like to check out, and as her big day drew near I found that AA was selling cheap one way tickets with confirmable upgrade space. WAYO! I still had my 4 SWUs from hitting Executive Platinum last year, and pulled the trigger. What was even cooler was that the 777-200 that they were flying was fitted with the new Super Diamond seats. Check out our experience aboard American Airlines Business Class 777-200 Los Angeles to Tokyo.
A little background:
American Airlines offers a slew of different business class products. Luckily, they will complete their wide-body retro-fit sometime in October to offer a lie-flat seat on all of their configurations. This plane, once retro-fitted, will offer two different styles of seats: Zodiac and B/E Super Diamond. The original retro-fit used Zodiac seats. I flew in them last year from London to Chicago and liked the seat, didn’t love it, but thought it was pretty solid. I, apparently, was in the minority because half through the retrofit AA, amidst delays, canceled their order and placed a new one with B/E Aerospace for these Super Diamond seats. They have been raved about. If you want to see how to tell which retrofit you’ll get…read this guide.
- When: September 2017
- Where: Los Angeles to Tokyo HND
- How: Booked using Amex Travel with Amex MR
- Applied an SWU ( System Wide Upgrade) at the time of booking
- Loyalty: Alaska
- Distance: 5488 Miles
- Flight: AA 27
Our flight was departing out of Terminal 4, which was great as we could utilize TSA Pre which isn’t offered in TBIT. Even if you’re flying out of Tom Bradley you can check in at Terminal 4 and then walk over – it’s very simple. We ended up doing this so we could hang out and enjoy the Qantas First Class lounge and have made to order breakfast. I’d just been there a couple weeks before when it was PACKED, but this time around it was a ghost town. A Completely different experience.
If you are flying in First or maintain One World Emerald status you can enjoy the Qantas First Class lounge in Tom Bradley. If you have Emerald with any airline except AA you can even hit up the lounge while flying domestic. Super travel hack 😉 It’s well worth a visit, and I was very excited to take my girlfriend to it as she’d never been. DEFINITELY worth the walk over, plus she had no idea where we were going and this added to the excitement.
We departed out of Gate 43 and my girlfriend was soooooo excited to be going to TOKYO…for the weekend! BYAH! The power of points. I need some fist bump emoticons or something on here =)
The plane is divided into two business class cabins.
The retro-fit 772s offer no first class. IMO, I’d much rather be in the forward cabin. More privacy as the rear cabin is only separated from economy by a curtain.
We were beyond excited. A dope ride over, which is half the fun, then stay in a great spot, and have an absolutely crazy weekend adventure! I’m telling you guys, you have to become weekend warriors =) Anyways…
Aside from 1 Concierge Key, we were the first to board. So exciting. I also chose the two middle seats in the first row of the forward cabin – I think there is something cool about being in the very front.
I loved the seat or “the hard product”
The Super Diamond is a deceiving seat, but effective and well designed. My first impression when flying it on China Airlines last Christmas was that it seemed small; however, once you actually sit down you realize that there is an enormous amount of room under the pull down tray. The design facilitates both leisure and business travelers who may utilize the seat differently. If you’re looking to have a mobile office – it will work well. If you’re looking to camp out, sip champers, and watch some flicks – you’re all set. I’d put the seat almost neck and neck with the Zodiac Cirrus featured on their 77W and Cathay Pacific 77W. The storage is outstanding as well. You’ll see in the various pictures, but there is ample space to store all your goodies.
I think AA offers the best IFE programming. Throw in Bose headphones and you’re killing it. Seat controls are easy to use, and we are off on a VACAY to remember.
And the Window seat in Row 1 + amenity kit.
The service and food
We were treated extremely well. I will disclose that Miles was recognized =) so that may have had something to do with it, and we were traveling in International Business with SWUs. That aside, it was great.
The food was good, not amazing, but I always love a good sundae 7 miles in the sky =)
Here’s the menu.
There is also a small snack bar set up between the forward and rear business class cabins.
There is Wifi offered on the flight as well.
It’s funny to me that a whole flight pass is just $19, but when you compare it to 3 or 4 hours flights domestically ( which I’ve seen pop up to $35+) it’s a bargain. I bought a 2 hour pass to get a few posts scheduled and it was a quick connection.
The AA 772 Super-Diamond retrofit is excellent. While I’m not nearly as critical as some when it comes to the other Zodiac retrofit, this is a better seat and experience, and one I’d seek out over the Zodiac. It’s a roomier, more ergonomic, and much more private ( the rear facing middle seats look directly into the forward facing aisle seats on the Zodiac layout). If you have SWUs and have a desire in going to Tokyo I’ve seen wide avail of confirmable upgrade space at the time of booking on the LAX-HND route. We flew over, stayed 2 nights, and flew back in Japan Airlines First Class. If you have a bevy of points – it was a VERY cool way to spend the weekend.
The odd thing is the issuance of pajamas on flight to Hong Kong, but not Tokyo. I knew this going in, but as far as I know, the only routes that offer PJs are LAX-HKG and LAX-SYD. It’d be nice, when flying over 12 hours to be given PJs, but that’s just a side note.
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