50,000 American Airlines miles secured me a business class seat on flight AA997 from Dallas (DAL) to Buenos Aires (EZE). The Boeing 777-200 aircraft has not been retrofitted, which left me with mixed feelings on the experience.
Below I outline the flying experience and explain why I would recommend the flight for those with big American Airlines miles in their frequent flyer wallets, but not for anyone else.
- Flight: American Airlines 997
- Aircraft: Boeing 777-200
- Length: 10 hours, 24 minutes
- Route: Dallas DFW to Buenos Aires EZE
- Seat: Nearly full-flat seat
- Seat Configuration: 2-3-2
- Entertainment: 250 movies, 180 TV shows
- Lounge: Admirals Club DFW
- Miles Used: 50,000 American
- Grade: C
The American Airlines Admirals Club in Dallas Fort Worth is an excellent facility with all the services you would expect of a high-end U.S. lounge. Business class to international destinations will allow you to access the Admirals Club, although I should mention that economy travelers can still access the lounge by paying onsite or showing the Citibank AA Executive card.
The lounge is located in Terminal D, across from gate 23, and is open from 4:45am to 10:30pm every day. Services include 250 individual workstations, complimentary WiFi, tablets, printers, faxes, telephones, children’s playroom and five showers. There are also complimentary non-alcoholic drinks and a full bar to pay. I should also note that we received two “free drink” vouchers upon arrival, although I am not sure if that is standard for AA business class.
Once boarded, an American Airlines flight attendant immediately greeted us by name with drink choices and a quick overview of the amenities offered. The amenities included a full travel kit – complete with toiletries, a sleeping mask and socks – as well as Bose noise canceling headphones. The entertainment screen, however, was the main area of the experience that felt old. While the somewhat small screen was a touch-screen, the response of the touch-screen and remote was slightly delayed – a bit of an annoyance, but not bad.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft for AA997 – DAL to EZE – has not yet been retrofitted, as of January 2015. This means that the 777-200 business class cabins are not enclosed “pods” that all have direct aisle access; it has a 2-3-2 format and seats that recline at an angle, not fully flat.
While this may be splitting hairs to some, it is important to note that the American Airlines phone representatives are not always aware of if a flight has been retro-fitted or not – meaning they could assume you will have a fully flat bed when that is not the case, a potential issue to avoid when booking.
With that said, the seats were still good for an older version of business class, although Andrea and I found that securing two seats not in the middle “3” section proved to be highly valuable. Since they were not individual pods, I am not sure I would recommend the experience if you were in that middle seat.
But the seats did provide enough privacy near fully flat that you wouldn’t be able to notice other passengers much, even without a sleeping mask on. This is best exemplified in the picture below (and yes, the flight attendant closed the blinds at some point in my slumber).
The final word
So what do I recommend? As I stated initially, I do not regret my decision to book business class, however I say that with a fairly large American Airlines mileage balance in my account – thanks almost entirely to the now expired 100,000 offer.
For those with miles to spend, booking a bed – even not fully flat – for a long haul flight is a no-brainer and the best way to get a head start on the inevitable jet lag.
If you do make the booking, I’d recommend pushing for a window or aisle seat in the “2” section of the 2-3-2 format, which will make your experience much better. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions as you consider your own business class flight on American Airlines' Boeing 777-200 aircraft.