Review: American Airlines Business Class Sao Paulo to New York (GRU-JFK)

First Class Giraffe settling into American Airlines 777-300ER business class seat
First Class Giraffe settling into American Airlines 777-300ER business class seat

Read more from this trip – Christmas in Argentina:

Introduction

Flight Details:

  • Date of flight: December 31, 2019
  • Where: São Paulo/Guarulhos–Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport (“GRU”) to John F. Kennedy International Airport (“JFK”)
  • Flight time: 9 hours 50 minutes
  • Departure / arrival time: 11:20pm – 7:10am
  • Flight #: AA950
  • Aircraft: Boeing 777-300ER
  • Seat: 13G
  • Paid flight / points: Paid

After an epic trip visiting Buenos Aires and Mendoza I was ready to head back to the NYC. I flew to Argentina in American Airline’s premium economy cabin so I was excited to upgrade to business class on my return from Brazil.

Cabin / Seat

American Airline’s flagship aircraft is the Boeing 777-300ER. They only fly the aircraft on select international routes. It’s the only aircraft in their fleet that has an international first class cabin, but this trip I’d be traveling in their business class cabin.

The business class cabin features reverse herringbone seating setup in a 1-2-1 configuration. There’s 8 seats in a mini forward cabin and 44 seats in a larger aft cabin. The seats have 43 inches of pitch and are 20.5 inches wide.

American Airlines 777-300ER business class cabin
American Airlines 777-300ER business class cabin

The forward facing Safran Cirrus seats are very comfortable and offer a good deal of privacy. If you’re sitting in a window seat you really have to lean forward and make an effort to see the person next to you. The center seats are ideal if you’re traveling with a companion.

American Airlines 777-300ER business class seat
American Airlines 777-300ER business class seat

The seats are controlled via push button controls, which in my opinion are much easier to use than touchscreen controls on other aircraft. There’s also a remote to control the in-flight entertainment system and lights.

Seat controls
Seat controls

Recommended Seats

If you’re traveling solo choose 3A/J, 6-10A/J or 12-14 A/J. If you’re traveling with a companion choose 3D/G or 6-14D/G. Rows 4, 5 and 15 are in close proximity to the galley or lavatory and are best avoided. Seats 11A/J should be window seats, but the location is missing a window.

American Airlines 777-300ER business class cabin source: Seatguru

In-Flight Entertainment / Storage

The business class cabin has 15.4″ pop-out touchscreen monitors. American has a pretty good selection of latest release movies, TV programs, audio selections, games and 5 live steaming  TV channels. You can check to see what’s playing on your upcoming flight here.

IFE display
IFE display

You have several storage options available for your accoutrement. There’s a floor-level medium sized open compartment that is a good place to store your laptop or shoes.

Storage compartment
Storage compartment

An additional small storage area is located beside the seat controls. This is a good place to store your phone so it doesn’t get lost in the seat while you’re sleeping. Some giraffes tend to lose their phone when snoozing, but not this giraffe!

Small storage compartment
Small storage compartment

American uses the Bang & Olufsen H9i headset, which features active noise cancellation. I find this headset to be excellent both in terms of comfort and sound quality.

Bang & Olufsen headphones
Bang & Olufsen headphones

Amenity Kit

American teamed up with This is Ground, a downtown Los Angeles based leather goods manufacturer to produce their amenity kits. The international business class amenity kit version comes in a few different variations. The one I received on this flight was a zippered version in blue. The kit contains body lotion, a dental kit, earplugs, eye mask, lip balm, mints, mouthwash, a pen, socks and a pack of tissues.

This is Ground amenity kit
This is Ground amenity kit

Food and Beverage Menus

Menus were distributed shortly after boarding. There were 4 options for main plates and 3 dessert options.

Food menu
Food menu

American offers a good selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Beverage menu
Beverage menu

The wine list included Cattier Icone Brut Champagne ($31 per bottle), Craftwork Chardonnay Monterey ($20 per bottle), Esencia Divina Albariño Rias Baixas ($21 per bottle), Famiglia Bianchi Cabernet Sauvignon San Rafael Mendoza ($15 per bottle) and Domaine Porto Carras Ruby Heart Red Wine Halkidiki ($5 per bottle). If you fancy dessert wine they also had Churchill’s Late Bottled Vintage Port ($25 per bottle).

Wine list
Wine list

Food and Beverage

Pre-departure beverages (“PDBs”) were offered upon boarding. I decided to have some champagne to celebrate NYE and some water because giraffes need to stay hydrated.

Pre-departure beverages
Pre-departure beverages

The meal was served all at once on a single platter, which is typical for late international red eyes. To start I had red wine poached pears with gorgonzola mousse, pomegranate seeds and cherry tomatoes. The salad included seasonal greens, heart of palm, white bean salad, tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette. After doing some research on Flyertalk I decided on the braised lamb roulade main. The dish featured lamb with an almond crust, lamb jus, sweet potato puree, julienned carrots and zucchini. The meal was pretty tasty.

Braised lamb roulade
Braised lamb roulade

For dessert I had the chocolate mousse pie with cachaca chocolate sauce and cocoa nibs. It was delicious.

Chocolate mousse pie dessert
Chocolate mousse pie dessert

About an hour before landing breakfast was offered. I went with the seasonal fruit plate. It came with greek yogurt and granola. The fruit was fairly fresh, but American must be trying to save money by only offering 3 blueberries.

Breakfast
Breakfast

Service

The purser welcomed passengers on board with a smile. It’s a small gesture, but really sets the tone for the entire flight. Other than the greeting service on this flight was efficient, but not particularly warm. Flight attendants came through the cabin several times proactively offering refills on drinks, but didn’t try to engage in small talk.

Overall Verdict

First Class Giraffe Approved

The hard product on the 777-300ER is the best American’s fleet. You’re guaranteed a good nights sleep, which is the most important feature when flying business class. The food was pretty good, which is usually a weak point for American. I wouldn’t hesitate to fly this route with American again.

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