An American Airlines 777-300ER (N720AN) bound for SYD on the inaugural flight pushes back from Gate 41 at LAX.
Less than a week after covering American Airlines’ launch of their new Los Angeles-Sydney service, I found myself onboard Flight 73 on a last-minute holiday down under. The route featured American’s flagship Boeing 777-300ER, with my personal-favorite business class seat. In spite of holding status on both American and Alaska, which would entitle me to at least a little bit more leg and elbow room in coach, I willingly (!) chose to sit in a regular economy seat for a 15-hour flight… and managed to survive. A feat made even more impressive (or harrowing, depending on your point-of-view) by the fact that I was accompanied by my wife.
Now, I’d like to claim credit for taking one for the AirlineReporter team and be able to gloat for making the trip, but I’m not as magnanimous as my colleague JL, who flew a Spirit Airlines Bare Fare “for science.” There were very strategic, practical, and self-serving reasons for booking seats behind the curtain instead of in front of it.
I’m splitting my experience into two parts: first, about why I chose economy (this time), followed up with my actual flight review of American’s economy service to Sydney.
The departure lounge for Gate 41 at LAX, for American’s inaugural flight to SYD. #AvGeeks cringe at this banner…
Updated 12/22/2015 @ 4:38pm PT
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With critters, music, food, gifts, and didgeridoos on hand, American Airlines celebrated its inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Sydney last Thursday, marking the first time the airline has directly flown to Australia from the contiguous 48 states with its own aircraft, this route featuring its flagship Boeing 777-300ER.
But even hard-core AvGeeks would be hard pressed to focus on the 777 on the other side of the windows when there was a baby kangaroo (WHAT?!)…
An American Airlines Boeing 737-800 – Photo: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren | JDLMultimedia
Recently, I had the chance to fly pretty similar flights from Seattle to Puerto Rico and back on Delta Air Lines and then American Airlines.
I had not flown on two domestic airlines back-to-back with so much the same, and I found there to be a pretty stark differences.
To San Juan, I took two Delta Boeing 737-900ERs with the newest interior (one was only a few weeks old). I flew from Seattle to Atlanta (shocking), then on to San Juan. On the way home, I took two American 737-800s. One had the Boeing Sky Interior cabin, but still shared entertainment screens. The second was an older 737-800, with no sky interior and also shared screens (but more on that later). I flew out of San Juan, through Miami, and then on to Seattle.
The cost of the tickets were exactly the same: $236 each way. I also earned Alaska Airlines miles for both flights, so I didn’t care about miles on either, nor did I have any status [update: I did not realize that Delta only gave me 50% Alaska miles vs American’s 100%. Still knowing this, it doesn’t change any of my choices or opinions since I am not much of a miles guy]. I was also in window seats and had similar seat-mate setups.
I went into these flights with no expectation of doing a story, but the fact that on similar flights, there was an obvious winner, I became motivated. And yes, you will have to wait until the end to see which airline won — no cheating!
A classic TWA livery on an American Airlines Boeing 737 – Photo: American Airlines
It seems this was quite the week for a few airlines to show off some very cool retro liveries. We have American showing off their TWA scheme, PIA shows off a classic look, and Qantas has their Retro Roo II livery. They say things come in threes; it looks like airlines really came through on this one.
It is always great when airlines put out retro liveries, but it can be a bit odd (and cool) to see these liveries on different aircraft types that never previously saw those schemes. We take a closer look at these new (old) designs, and the aircraft they are on.