Flight: Seattle (WA) to London Heathrow
Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA156
Plane: Boeing 777-200
Cabin: Business Class
American Airlines flight AA156 departs Seattle at 19:45 and lands in London Heathrow at 13:10, and is operated by the Boeing 777-200. The flight takes about 9:25, and it’s one of my preferred flights to take when heading back from the US to the UK – as it’s just about possible to get 8hrs of sleep and feel OK for the rest of the day! When I last took the flight it left at 21:00 – it seems it’s been re-scheduled slightly earlier.
British Airways’ flight BA48 departs Seattle just about and hour before at 18:35, landing at 11:50 – it’s 10 minutes shorter at 9:25. This is quite interesting to me, as I previously flew to Seattle on BA’s 777-300 – so this may be reduced in size since American re-opened this route.
One interesting factor about this flight is that American don’t have a ‘home’ for long haul in Seattle (at least at the moment) – so this particular flight was operated by Dallas crew. Other crew who operate the route include LAX and Chicago – who knew!
This was a connecting domestic flight on Alaska Airlines – so I’d already checked in and my bags were set to go straight through. Perfect!
This is an American Airlines operated flight to London – which departs from Seattle’s South Gates. I’d reasonably assumed that I could use the British Airways lounge, but here’s what happened (as stated in my BA Lounge review):
…..when I arrived around 18:00 to catch my 21:00 American Airlines flight to London, I was told that I wasn’t allowed in! The lounge was entirely empty, with plenty of seats available – but the ‘manager’ said “no”. AA’s approved lounge is apparently the Alaska Airlines Lounge at N-Gates, which is 3 trains away! To that end the lounge were turning away a 777-200’s worth of paying Business Class passengers!
Anyone reading this who things that going to N-Gates isn’t a big deal, may want to look at the tram map below to check out how absurd this is! Blue to A-gates, yellow to D-gates, green to N-gates!
The other point to make is that none of the Alaska Airlines lounges in any of the gates have showers. The only lounge that does have showers in SEA is The Club at S-Gates…..which of course doesn’t allow in OneWorld passengers, unless you have a Priority Pass or Platinum American Express.
Luckily, I come prepared for this sort of eventuality, and I was able to use The Club and shower………but what a faff!
If there is one plane I know well, it’s the trusty American Airlines 777-200 – I think I’ve done around 50 flights on it now!
All of American’s 777-200’s are configured in 37 Business Class, 24 Premium Economy and 212 Economy – giving a total of 273 seats!
I’ve previously reviewed the Flagship Business seat here – however, this particular 777-200 had its Business Class seats all facing forwards. This is rather different to the 777-200 I flew from JFK to London, which had a backwards forwards layout.
So although the capacities are all the same some American 777’s have different cabin layouts!
Food and Drink
Before takeoff champagne was offered, along with water or orange juice. I still don’t know why the nice lady gave me orange juice, but I drank some. I do find the plastic cups annoying! United Airlines don’t serve their champagne in plastic cups!
Once airborne, I was quickly offered a drink, which was served with hot nuts. I absolutely love Dos Equis – so it’s my regular goto with American.
More generally, I always find that America have a great choice of wines, and with my meal I had some of their very nice Californian Merlot.
Once sat down, I was provided with the dinner menu.
To start a tomato tartar was offered. This was served with a side salad.
Mains on offer included:
- Peppercorn seared beef
- Roasted chicken
- Bourbon-glazed salmon
- Cheese enchiladas
I’ll admit to usually being ‘beef or chicken’ on AA, and I believe I pre-ordered the chicken. Usually, the AA cabin crew confirm your order with you, and I asked if I could swap to the enchiladas…..and I am SO glad I did. These are a revelation! I will 100% be ordering these again – they were great!
Deserts offered on this flight were;
- Ice cream sundae
- Cheese plate
- Lemon tart
Being a creature of habit, I went for the sundae – I never regret it!
Breakfast on offer I thought, was a little sparse. It was either an American breakfast, or fruit bowl – I’m pretty sure American usually offer more than that on their LAX, ORD and MIA routes!
I don’t do breakfast, but I had my ‘alternative’ breakfast!
I was keen to sleep on this flight – I’d had quite a long day at work! I believe the snacks would be similar to those offered on my JFK to London flight, which you can see here.
Having flown with American Airlines a lot, I’d always found their Amenities Kits to be excellent. Sadly, it seems they’ve decided to scrimp and save on these.
At my seat was a small pencil case looking thing, made by Shinola. I am told they are good manufacturers from Detroit – but this looked soooo cheap!
Inside the kit consisted of;
- Eye mask
- Ear plugs
- The world’s smallest pen
- Body lotion
- And a pretty rubbish toothbrush
Wifi was available for purchase $40 for the whole flight. My plan was to sleep, so I did’t buy it.
As always I found the entertainment system to be pretty good! There were a number of new releases on the system – and I found some good music too!
And, of course there was the flight map!
I’m usually pretty critical about the American Airlines cabin crew for good reason – but this time, I was happy to be entirely wrong! The cabin crew were great!
It’s always interesting watching from 1L in the front galley, and these guys had this down to a tee. It was like watching a machine – when it was safe to do so these guys raced to get dinner out and done ready to give everyone maximum sleep. Breakfast was offered as late as it reasonably could be to give everyone as much sleep as possible.
It was great to watch just from a teamwork point of view – these guys just nailed it – every time someone needed something it was there, waiting. Really excellent!
Even the usual ‘headphonegate’ wasn’t as interruptive as it usually is.
Aside from the fantastic team work, the cabin crew were also really nice, friendly and gave a great service. My glass was never half empty!
The cabin crew were just great – and nice to be able to say that for a change too! I believe it’s the Texan difference 😉
Landing in Heathrow
Surprisingly, landing in Heathrow was pretty straightforward! I quickly got through Passport Control, and didn’t have to wait too long for my bags.
Aside from the lounge debacle, this was a great flight, with great crew. It’s proof that with the right crew with the right attitude, flights can be great!