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Finding award space on American Airlines business class is an absolute chore. They don’t release award space with any rhyme, reason, or reliability, and if that isn’t bad enough, they marry segments like crazy. It makes using partner programs nearly impossible, and strategically requires a lot of time searching options to find married segments that match up if you and your travel partner are originating in different cities. However, when I surveyed all of our options to get to South America, my top choice was to get Dave and I on AA’s business class because of the flight times and overall comfort of its product.
When it comes to American Airlines and their business class, all cabins are not created equal. American flies a wide variety of business class cabins, and out of them all, I would say that those that feature Cirrus seats ( 77W ) and Super Diamond ( certain 777-200) are by far my favorite given their privacy, space, and storage.
I wrote a guide as to how you can figure out which retrofit 777-200s will feature the Super Diamonds, and which will feature the seats that have had rocking problems. Apparently, that guide isn’t 100% correct now, and I’ve heard arguments that because AA has replaced Econ with Premium Econ, ripped out business class capacity, etc and now it’s nearly impossible to know before you board the plane. I used the guide’s principles – namely how many seats are in the rear biz cabin ( ours had 4 in the seat map, and 4 in real life), and it worked out for us, so its at least worth a shot.
SeatGuru does an awesome job of illustrating the differences between each aircraft and cabin and I’d highly suggest checking them out.
If you’re interested in the other AA business class cabins and configurations:
- American Airlines 777-300ER Business Class LAX to LHR
- American Airlines 777-300ER Business Class LHR to LAX ( Forward Mini Cabin )
- American Airlines 787-800 Business Class Chicago to Shanghai
- American Airlines 777-200 Business Class Los Angeles to Beijing
- American Airlines 777-200 Business Class London to Chicago
- American Airlines A321T Business Class New York to Los Angeles
- American Airlines 777-200 Business Class Los Angeles to Tokyo
- American Airlines 757 Business Class Las Vegas to Miami
- When: November 2018
- Where: Miami to Buenos Aires
- Flight: 907
- Flight Time: 8h 50 mins
- Seat: 7H
- Program used: AA 57.5k + $5.60
Total Itinerary looked like this:
Between booking and boarding I changed our seats from the last row of the forward cabin to the first row of the mini cabin. I’d flown on the Super Diamonds between LA and Tokyo in the main cabin and thought this would not only provide a new experience for me, but also a bit more private experience for Dave and I. We’d spent a little longer than we had anticipated at the Corona Beach House and when we boarded the cabin was pretty full. As a result, I didn’t take any pictures of the cabin during boarding so the pic below is from the same plane and configuration that I flew to Tokyo a year prior.
My Seat: 7H
Super Diamond seats are made by Collins Aerospace and can be recognized by their reverse Herringbone layout, large storage compartments built into the opposite side from the aisle, and hidden footwell that is under a fixed tv. This is different from other reverse herringbone configurations where you can almost always see a stool where your feet will go, and a monitor that pops out from its fixed position.
I’ve flown the super diamond a couple of different times ( China Airlines and AA to Tokyo) and loved the immense storage, and was surprised at how much room is under the tv in the hidden footwell. I had a chance to again fly a Cirrus design seat on Air France in January and I’d say the two are very comparable. If you’re an AV Geek you’ll also recognize the design as its the chosen seat of the new BA business suite which will also feature a door that closes to the aisle.
If you’re looking for the most privacy, I’d pick a window seat. The most private would be 6L; however, I think you could be disturbed by its close proximity to the galley. They do put up heavy curtains that block most light, but you can occasionally hear crew and passengers milling about.
The seat goes fully into a bed…pic from the Tokyo flight
AA isn’t known for its food, and we had eaten at the Corona Beach House prior to boarding so I wasn’t exactly starving when the meal service began. In fact, I would have been better served going straight to bed, or ordering an express meal, but Dave and I were too excited to sleep, and figured we’d feast once again.
The Service was fine. Nothing extraordinary, but also not rude. I’ve heard horror stories, but in my experience I’m pretty consistently had good service on AA and this was again the case.
This was a different designed kit than I have previously gotten on AA. Cole Haan with C.O. Bigelow products. I’m not sure if its water proof, but I used it to store other dop kit items I’d packed, and ultimately stuffed it full of laundry when things got desperate towards the end of our trip. Certainly got more use than smaller kits I’ve received in the past.
Would I fly this again? Absolutely
Do I still love Super Diamond? Yes, it’s pretty great.
Would I choose to fly AA again compared to my flight back on United’s new Polaris? I’d say that they are the two best ways to fly to South America from the States. Is one better than the other? Personally, the bedding on United can’t be beat, but I would probably choose a Cirrus seat over United’s Polaris, and would put this Super Diamond on par with it or maybe slightly ahead. These are obviously my personal feelings, and if I have the opportunity to fly either again in the future, I’ll jump at it.
It’s a tremendous value at 57.5k points, and the only thing I would change, if I could, would have been the ability to fly direct on the 787-9 from LAX that features the same super diamond seat.
Experiences like this are funny, you just want a longer flight, more time to share it with someone important in your life, and at least for me, they end too quickly. I like to get on the flight, sip champagne, talk about how freaking lucky we are to be doing this, marvel at the cost, cheers, sip, cheers again, then marvel again at the joy of points, start planning our next trip, eat, cheers again, and after a good 5 or 6 hours of doing this, sleep for 6 or 7 hours, wake up and do it again. On a flight that is 9 hours…the thing that ultimately gets sacrifced is sleep….and well, I’ll sleep when I’m dead 🙂
South America 2018: Buenos Aires, Uruguayan Wine Country, Iguazu Falls, and Rio
- Planning a Two Week trip to South America with points and miles
- American Express Centurion Lounge Las Vegas
- American Airlines Business Class 757 Las Vegas to Miami
- American Airlines Flagship Lounge Miami
- Corona Beach House, Priority Pass Restaurant
- American Airlines Business Class 777-200 Miami to Buenos Aires
- Planning a weekend trip to Buenos Aires
- Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
- How to get from Buenos Aires to Colonia via Ferry
- Buquebus Buenos Aires to Uruguay
- Carmelo Resort, A Hyatt Unbound Collection
- Wine Tasting in Uruguay
- How we problem solved a passport stamp issue in Uruguay
- Colonia Express Uruguay to Buenos Aires
- Intercontinental Buenos Aires
- Andes Lineas Aereas Economy Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls
- Iguazu Grand Iguazu Falls
- Guide to visiting Iguazu Falls in just one day
- GOL Economy Iguazu Falls to Rio
- JW Marriott Rio, Copacabana
- Planning a weekend trip to Rio
- Azul Economy Rio to Sao Paolo
- Bleriot Priority Pass Restaurant Sao Paolo
- Star Alliance Lounge Sao Paolo GRU
- United Polaris Business Class São Paulo to Chicago
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