Review: JFK - LHR on AA (via LONE4)

Discussion in 'Qantas Frequent Flyer Program' started by kooky, May 31, 2007.

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  1. kooky

    kooky Member

    Jan 18, 2005
    188
    44
    Recently flew on an AA 777 Y-class from New York to London as part of One World Explorer;

    1. Check-in already disastrous as bag weighed just over the alowed 23kgs by about 2kg and was asked to pay US$25 on the spot. Qantas hald told me as I had booked RTW ex Aus I was to be allowed to have the 30ish kilos for the rest of my ticket as the journey contained a stop in the US. Anyway they made me pay then I went to the AA excess baggage man to check this, he said they have had 23kgs for nearly 2 years now (!?) and that Qantas get away with it to New York via LAX but that's about it. So much for that, thanks AA!

    Since I had the one bag at 25kg, in hindsight I should have just grabbed an empty cardboard box and stuffed crap in to that, to proudly hand that to the check-in dragon as a 2nd bag. Next time!

    2. On board the disaster just got bigger thanks to AA's brilliant seat belt policy, where basically they don't turn the light off until the meal service has finished (ie. light on, take off, drink service, drink service, meal service, clear plates, light off)... 1hr later.

    So thanks to that I couldn't get my headphones out of my bag, because somehow I had missed the person selling the headphones for $2 (ridiculous in itself for a longhaul flight), which basically meant I missed about 1 HOUR (yes, HOUR!) of the inflight entertainment before I could join in.

    3. You have to buy alcoholic drinks, $5 a beer or wine! Outrageous! Imagine paying every single time you want a beer, for those that haven't seen this before. Nightmare!

    4. Everything otherwise you could argue was worse or similar to QF/BA:

    Staff - The least attentive of AA/QF/BA
    Food - A little on the meager side, but similar
    Drinks - Winner! Came through a few more times with the soft drinks
    Alcoholic drinks - $5
    Hot towel - No hot towel
    Amenities - No amenities
    Snack on Q - No snack bag
    TV-choice - Less channels
    Headphones - $2 to buy
    Call Attendant button - icy responses. No happy BA man with a Grolsch.
    Pillows, blanket - Similar to QF/BA
    Headrest - Similar to QF/BA. Had wings.
    Seatch Pitch / Comfort - Similar to QF/BA, honestly I can't tell the difference.
    Entertainment - No games

    .. Add your own here!


    5. What I think was weird was that when duty free came out they had completely different uniforms which I never saw again?? It's like they swapped coats or something!


    6. In summary it's all the little bits that sometimes make up the big picture, and in this case, you can see the benefit of flying BA or QF over AA.
     

  2. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
    8
    On point 1, that is their luggage allowance and is quite clearly detailed on their website and has been that for a long while. On a LONE4, you are entitled to 2PC, the weight per piece is down to the airline. From October, if you are travelling BA, you would be allowed 23Kg per piece and thats it; no option to pay extra for >23Kg

    The seat belt being left on is fairly typical ime of US Carriers in general and not specific to AA, but is v annoying

    The charging of alcoholic drinks is annoying but istr is again typical of US carriers; annoying but hardly outrageous imo

    Some annoying aspects, but hardly a disaster

    Dave
     
  3. Lonely Flyer

    Lonely Flyer Member

    Jan 13, 2006
    344
    60
    Gold Coast
    What is wrong with standing up and grabbing headphones.

    Or gotta go to toilet and grab them on way back

    Or my medicine is in my carry on and grab headphones.

    Bit like a deer caught in the headlights just sitting there
     
  4. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Its very much the same in all US carriers I believe - they all seem to be LCCs - so I dread to think what a real US LCC would be like :shock:

    I have flown F a number of times (approx. 10) on AA now and the only thing better is the seat width - I find it fatter than domestic J on QF. The int'l product for AA is no sky bed by the pitch seems huge and less enclosed than the skybed.

    Hvaing now flown domestic US I can see why they bascially consider it is like travelling by bus..
     
  5. DTM1

    DTM1 Member

    Jun 27, 2006
    471
    78
    Melbourne
    If I had a choice, I would always choose BA or QF ahead of AA.
     
  6. kooky

    kooky Member

    Jan 18, 2005
    188
    44
    OK then as a whole, would you then choose BA over QF, or QF over BA? And why?
     
  7. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    14,229
    1,742
    Personally they are about overall even for me. The lie flat bed is conceptually better to sleep in but I have had some bad exepriences of it (window seat mainly - felling cut off from cabin crew) and I find the seating on QF better.

    CX will be my preferred carrier when they have more new business class - until QF get THEIR new business class on the A380 ;)
     
  8. Reggie

    Reggie Established Member

    Mar 20, 2006
    1,616
    182
    Manchester
    Kooky,

    Thanks for your review, I was shocked when I say the title JFK - LHR on AA (via LONE4), I thought this is one brave pax, has option of BA and AA and took the AA:shock: .

    Dave your comments whilst accurate and well know to those of us that have travelled AA, it is a rude shock to those that haven't. Paying for drinks on a OW international flight, even though not disaterous to you and I, for the unprepaired it would certainly be painful. It would almost be akin to QF telling you next time you are in F, "Sorry Mr Noble, the ground crew forgot to load any wine, champers, or spirts on this flight, we only have mid strength or Fosters."
     
  9. kooky

    kooky Member

    Jan 18, 2005
    188
    44
    Oh I thought you were going to say in Economy!
     
  10. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    40,007
    8,548
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    Thanks for the comparison.

    I am glad I chose the BA flight for ORD-LHR on my upcoming RTW.
     
  11. d15.in.oz

    d15.in.oz Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    452
    0
    Many years ago, in Australia, I remember that the seat belt sign was “left on to remind you to fasten your seat belt while seated”… (the exact procedure IIRC was – after take-off sign went out, announcement was made, sign went back on) When ever the need arose during the flight for people to actually “return to their seats & fasten belts”, an announcement was made, and the seat belt sign was flashed. Those cute little dinging noises actually signalled what was really required.

    Today in Australia, the sign quite rightly means “sit down, belts on - everyone”. (If it didn’t, the sign would lose respect.)

    The current system in the US, is more akin to the old Aussie way.

    The sign is a suggestion only. The dinging noise (staff & other passengers getting up) tells you what is really allowed.

    If it is safe to do so, and there has not been any recent dinging/announcements to the contrary, Aussies shouldn’t feel weird about disrespecting the seat belt sign “advice” on a US airline, just like the locals. (Of course, if you choose to ignore the very often on, seat belt sign, you do it at your own risk & liability.)
     
  12. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    40,007
    8,548
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    Even when the seat belt sign is off and the aircraft is in motion and you are sitting in your seat then you should have the seat belt buckled.

    What happens with people laying down or sleeping in a row of 3 or 4 seats without a seat belt? Technically they are in their seat but not sitting down.
     
  13. openseat

    openseat Active Member

    Jun 1, 2006
    634
    76
    SYD
    I think using the seatbelt sign as a form of crowd control actually devalues its usefulness for those times that turbulence is expected. My penultimate AA flight one FA was on the PA system every five minutes mouthing lots of threats about people standing during the seat belt sign being on. Now I obey the sign, but having it on for an hour's smooth flight creates the problem of non-observance. In this case it was made worse by the attitude of the FA.

    Back to the original topic I'd like to make a recommendation for seat 41C or 41G on the AA 777. Last time I flew transatlantic Y JFK to LHR I was in 41 G and found it to be a good seat for the daytime flight because the plane was pretty much full (except right down the back where I was) and the extra room with the double armrests makes it that much more bearable. (It was helped by having 41F free as well!) It certainly is ironic when the vast majority of elites at the front of Y (upgrades are difficult, apparently, on this daytime flight) are squashed together.
     
  14. Evan

    Evan Established Member

    Dec 26, 2006
    3,168
    0
    SIN / MEL
    If your feeling unsafe sleeping, get a seatbelt extender from the cabin crew and just put your seatbest on while sleeping, you may get a strange look from the crew person though :)

    E
     
  15. JohnK

    JohnK Veteran Member

    Mar 22, 2005
    40,007
    8,548
    BNE, SYD and CNX
    Don't worry I have had to ask for a seat belt extender on some flights and it wasn't because I needed to feel safe. :shock: I don't ever lie down across a row of seats on an aircraft. I sleep easily sitting up.

    My question was if airlines have a policy, whether it is written or not, of requiring passengers' seatbelts to be buckled at all times when not moving around the cabin then why are passengers allowed to sleep across a row of seats without a seatbelt?
     
  16. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
    8
    I think that that isn't quite a fair comparison. A better one might be to get on QF F and ask for a glass of JW Blue label ( as served in F on CX and ,iirc, BA ) and to be told sorry we don't stock the expensive stuff, we only have 18 yo Chivas.

    QF's catering is , ime, of a lower standard in F than BA/CX , but that is how the airline operates rather than a problem loading particular items

    If all was equal, I would take BA over AA across the Atlantic, however there are routes where AA wins for me hands down ; I am taking them in a cpl of weeks from ORD-LHR since they have a daytime flight and decent schedule trumps the quality

    I think that it is fair to say though that AA's service is comparable to other US carriers rather than being a distaster area

    Dave
     
  17. Reggie

    Reggie Established Member

    Mar 20, 2006
    1,616
    182
    Manchester
    If I used a fair comparison I wouldn't have been able to disagree with you, I didn't realise I had to play fair:p

    I was wanting to use the scotch comparison, but seeings as I can't stand the sugarised vinager, I couldn't quite recall whether it was JWBlue that Qantas didn't have but BA did and whether you actaully drank scotch. So for accuracy sake I chose to use one that I tried to cover all bases.

    No disagreement. After flying the BA F recently, I think BA's whole F experience is better than QF

    Dave but are you taking that flight in WHY? I also much prefer daytime flights. If trying to book and award flight, I would almost (and I repeat almost) take a Y flight on QF from PER to east coast, during the day than a midnight horror in J.

    Yes comparable to other US carriers, but if you had only flown carriers like QF, CX, NZ etc, it would shocking, and if I had not been forewarned by this helpful site, I probably would have refered to my first AA experience as a disaster area, if not worse. I now try hard to avoid AA international flights.
     
  18. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
    6,419
    8
    No. But I would take the AA daylight flight in Y rather than take either of the BA overnight flights in Y. Plus, for me, AA in Y has one *big* benefit over BA Y in that AA has in seat power, so can use my laptop to watch movies during the flight. That is the one real draw AA Y would have if all else was equal . I also find that AA J meals can be fairly decent transatlantic and are sometimes better than QF J meals

    I would take a PER-SYD in Y daytime over travelling overnight in J . No almost about it

    Do you prefer free drinks or laptop power :) . I think that AA service is not as good and I find BA a bit more comfortable in Y plus as an OW Emerald, can nab exit seats in advance easily on BA.

    Dave
     
  19. Reggie

    Reggie Established Member

    Mar 20, 2006
    1,616
    182
    Manchester
    Didn't know that, but hopefully never need to use it. Y on transatlantic or in seat power.

    :idea: SNAP, actually, I just realised why I definitely would fly BA, over AA, and QF for that matter, BA have Southern Comfort on board. Inseat power, is actually of no use to me at present, my computer is too big (widescreen). Besides I am completing an MBA at present so I spend nearly all the flight time reading monotonous notes and text books, that with the Southern, and a meal is a great sleep inducer.:-|
     
  20. littl_flier

    littl_flier Active Member

    May 1, 2007
    898
    0
    Brisbane
    Thanks for the reply Kooky. At the end of next year I will probably spend four months in North America before touring in Europe and I was actually considering AA becuase I thought they had a better baggage policy. With work paying the excess baggage though, I think I will be flying BA and ship the rest as cargo. Its a bit tough for a longish flight to endure that sort of service.
     
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