Travel

Review: American Airlines’s newest BusinessClass in the 767-300 from Zurich to New York JFK


the changeover continues and as I reported a few weeks ago, changing to Boing 767-300 is under way. First track will be Zurich (ZRH) – New York (JFK) with the currently only machine. In Germany it will be Dusseldorf to Chicago in exchange for the old products of Business Class.

For all flights with the 777-300, American Airlines already offer a great product, which I tried out in (Business and (

Form an event tomorrow night in San Francisco, the decision was simple. Instead of flying directly to San Francisco, I took the detour over Zurich and New York, which was the plan at least. But who cares about plans ;-). After I went to Zurich by AirBerlin yesterday (very comfortable, more about to come) and spent the night in the beautiful Radisson Blue Zurich Airport, I got a text message from TripIt this morning saying “Delay AA65 2,5hrs”. Luckily it’s Saturday and I wouldn’t have cared if there wasn’t my connection flight in New York, which is the last flight to SFO.

Having a look at my booking and giving a big compliment to the airport team, I realized my flight was already changed to BA via London (with almost identical lading time as plan, just 160 Tier Points less)with a backup flight via Delta to New York (- 210 TP), so I would have arrived either way. For someone, who only cares about time, this would have been alright. For me, as I care a lot about the product itself, it was “okay”. So I called the hotline and got another offer.

“No problem, how would you like to fly?” the kind lady in the English call center asked me. I wanted to stay with AA65, if the delay is just 2,5h, then continue with AA 181 (which is the new a321T where I already loved first class) to Los Angeles and then continue to SFO tomorrow morning. I didn’t really care whether I arrive a Sunday morning or Saturday night…

So I booked an airport hotel, cancelled the one in SFO and went to the airport, which was just a few steps away. Arriving there, I was welcomed with coffee, beverages, buns and pastry in order to make the waiting time as comfortable as possible for passengers. Reason was probably bad weather in New York the night before. So I checked-in, chose a few suitable seats on the airplanes and went through TSAPre, the simplified security control and on to the lounge.

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Oneworld lounge at Zurich airport

The lounge is located behind security control on floor 2, sufficiently big but unfortunately without view on the airfield, but you can’t have everything. Today, on a Saturday, it was extremely empty so I went to the reception. I was wondering why you’d need an internet voucher that accounts for only 60 minutes. When asking how this one should last during the delay, I got another one and the problem was solved. The connection was even comfortably fast.

The lounge has seating furniture and tables with sockets, sufficient lighting and high tables to do some work. But before I did, I had a quick look at the breakfast buffet, which wasn’t really big but tasty. They offered crunchy buns, jelly, honey and cheese, yoghurt and fruit.

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Washing room and toilettes are shared with the lounges of AirFrange KLM and the airports general one, in which you can pay for access. So if you have status or a business ticket, you can enter.

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About 20 minutes before boarding time I went to the EGates (today E35), for which you need to take the train, but don’t have to pass any further security control. You must access passport control, so it’s worth it to start a little earlier, but today 15-20 minutes were absolutely sufficient.

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Boarding and cabin

When I arrived the crew just started boarding, so I had the time to visit one or two stores, which are spread all over the airport. Business Class passengers then boarded first, then the others as usual.

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Inside the cabin I was immediately welcomed with Swiss accent and had the chance to take a look at the new cabin. In Business Class you find 6 rows in a 1-2-1 seating with skewed positioning (so the one behind has space for his feet under the table of the front man). Seats 2,4 and 6 respectively A and J are those at the window with their table as separator to the corridor. In the other rows it’s vice versa with the table between window and seat.

I personally like the seats at the window most, but this is a matter of taste. American Airlines has no row 1, so I have the best place, according to a sir at the counter in Zurich, which is 2J in row 1 at the window.

The seat

In the 767-300 the seat is not skewed, like in the 777, but comparable to the seat in Swiss Business Class.(Review Swiss BusinessClass). The extra table aside the seat provides additional space to put “stuff”, a glass or a cup of coffee without having to unfold the big table.

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It’s parted into two and unfolds out of the seat. Because it’s rotatable, it provides enough space to stand up when unfolded.

All together the seat is very comfortable. It’s broad enough and can be expanded when you want to sleep by pushing down the armrest. It’s controlled via touch panel inside the table and comes with three fixed positions for take-off, landing, bed and lounge. A further panel can be found behind the rest, so that you can put on and off the light when the seat is turned into a bed.

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You find shelf not only for magazines but also for your shoes, so you can store them well and pragmatic during the flight.

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The seat is sufficiently broad and comfortable, not only when seated but also as bed. The bed is completely flat and lets you sleep relaxed in whatever position you wish to.

You also find an international socket with USB plug directly behind the shelf so you can plug your notebook, cam or smartphone. In the front area of the seat is a little clack, containing the…

Inflight Entertainment

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It’s not fixed in the 767, but comes in form of a pad, as in the 767. You also find another socket to load up the Galaxy Tab and you get noise reducing headphones by Bose, covered by an AA branding. Luckily the cable is long enough so you can use it while lying. The screen is located in an extra bag a can be adjusted. I could see well in any position without problems. Of course the mirror reflects a little when the sun shines, but that happens to other screens as well.

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The nice thing about tablets is you can put them on your lap and play games, just by touch, no control pad necessary. The disadvantage: the screen is not as big as in the 777, but there is always something to bitch about.

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Unfortunately there is no WiFI in the 767-300 yet, only in the 777 on long distance flights, or in the A321T or 757, 737. On domestic flights you can surf, but so I had time to sleep.

The food

Oh yeah, the food! Before thake off we got the first beverage, which could be orange juice, champagne or water. Shortly after we got the menu for the flight. As usual, on a 8.25h flight you get two dishes.

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Since we took off at noon, we got lunch shortly after. As starter there was salad with delicious honey mustard dressing, coming with warm buns and the actual starter: salmon on Blini an cottage cheese. Both was very delicious but was topped by the main course: Chateaubriand with potato gratin and fresh vegetables. All together a very nice lunch. You find the menu as picture below, as well as beverages, because I had nothing more than coke and coffee.

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As dessert – as always with AA – I had a nice cup of ice cream with berries. You just can’t avoid that and luckily I’ll have it four more times in the next days. Can you eat ice cream at 7 in the morning? I’ll ask that question tomorrow morning on flight LAX-SFO ☺.

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The second dish, 1,5h before landing, consisted of salad an pizza or a cold plate with chicken. I really liked the pizza, so I went for it.

Amenity Kit, slippers, sheet and pillow

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As In other machines you get an amenity kit in Business Class, which is identical with the one in the 777 or A321T in First and comes with everything you need on a flight (see picture).

The sheets are soft, warm and comfy and a lot more than those of other airlines. They come with warm and cushy pillows, so you have a great sleep.

Result

The 767-300 is a modern and appealing product. The changeover makes it possible for travellers from Zurich to try a new an interesting product that’s comparable with Swiss Business Class. It is indeed another option to travel from Switzerland to the US or other targets in the world.


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