American Airlines 767-300 Review – Business Class

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American Airlines 767-300 at its gate at JFK.

I recently traveled to Switzerland and had an incredible trip!  I will separately post about each segment of my trip:

To start, you may wonder how I flew business class to and from Europe.  Surprisingly, I did not pay one cent for the ticket!

Booking – Miles and Points

Last year, American Airlines offered excellent economy fares to Zurich, Switzerland on multiple dates, including over Memorial Day weekend.  The fare was $580 from Washington DC (DCA) to Zurich, with a layover in New York (JFK).  At the time, Citi Thank You Points were worth 1.6 cents per point on American Airlines if you had the Citi Prestige credit card (the rate decreased to 1.25 cents per point earlier this year).  I cashed in 36,222 Thank You points for my ticket.  Notably, there was no cash co-pay so I paid $0.00 for the ticket.

This was an economy ticket.  As an Executive Platinum AAdvantage member, I receive 4 system-wide upgrades (SWUs) per year.  I can use these to upgrade a one-way trip by one cabin of service:  Economy to Business or Business to First.  I used 2 SWUs, one for my outbound flight to Switzerland and one for the return flight.  The outbound flight cleared several days in advance but the return flight cleared 10 minutes before boarding.  Given that the outbound flight was a red-eye, I really appreciated the lie-flat seat and the advance confirmation.

Overall, for 36,222 miles, 2 SWUs, and no $$, I flew on a plane ticket that would have otherwise cost approximately $6,500.

Seat and Cabin

The business class cabin was configured in a 1-2-1 configuration.  The window seats were ideals for solo travelers and the middle seats were ideal for couples.

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You may notice that the window seats are staggered so not all window seats are created equally.  Do you prefer the tray to be between you and the window or you and the aisle?

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The seat with the tray near the aisle affords more privacy.  Again, the middle seats are ideal for non-solo travelers.

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The seats had storage along with American’s standard business class amenity kit.

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Importantly, the seat has a universal 110v plug.  Surprisingly, this plane did not have seat-back entertainment.  Instead, passenger were given iPads.  This may be a controversial view, but I actually preferred the iPads over the seat-back entertainment.

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The iPads were stored behind the fold down tray.

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There is an electrical outlet behind the iPad.  Unfortunately, it is difficult to place the iPad in the storage unit so that it faces you.  I was able to stuff it in the gap at the top of the fold down tray such that the iPad was fairly high off the ground (this was perfect because I’m tall).  Note the mess of cords.  I ripped the cord out every time I readjusted my blanket.  It’s a rough life over here at TTM.

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The best part of the seat is the bed, especially on a red-eye flight.

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Overall the seat was great!  The bed was comfortable and was long enough for a tall individual.  I slept for 3-4 hours before we landed which was all I could hope for on such a short overnight flight.

Food

If I had foregone the food I could have slept for another hour.  But what fun would that be?  Sampling the food and wine is one of the highlights of the flight.  For an appetizer, I received two white wines and warm nuts.  As you can see from the menu below, the wines were a Robert Oatley Singature Series Chardonnay (Australia) and a Abbazia di Novacella Kerner Classico Alto Adive (Italy).

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Both the small plate (Melon Manchego Carpaccio with Lime) and salad (Kalette and Saffron Orzo Salad) arrived at the same time along with two red wines–Gundlach Bundschu Mountain Cuvee Red Blend (Sonoma County, CA) and Pasqua Ripasso Valpolicella Superiore (Italy).  The pretzel bread and two dishes were surprisingly good.  Cheese and melon work well together.  The pomegranate seeds added a sweet kick to an otherwise savory/ slightly spiced orzo dish.

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I was still working on the same red wines when the main dish arrived.  I ordered the Fenugreek Herbed Chicken which was chicken smothered in a tikka masala sauce.  Indian dishes are typically a safe dish to order on a plane because they have more flavor than other dishes.  I would have preferred a spicier dish but I otherwise thought it was excellent.  For the record, I did not touch the green beans.  For this I do not entirely blame American Airlines.

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Finally, dessert arrived!  Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream with a glass of Churchill’s LBV Port on the side.  Amazing.  The port paired well with the cheesecake.

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Needless to say, I was highly impressed with the meal.  It was filling, delicious, and surprisingly flavorful giving the altitude at which it was consumed.  At this point, I was ready for my 3-4 hours of sleep.

I knew I would still be full when I woke up so I did not request breakfast.

Service

The service was prompt and thorough.  The flight attendant was slightly annoyed at my request for a wine tasting although we compromised that she serve two glasses at a time (understandably, this reduced the number of her trips).  It is worth noting that United advertises its new Polaris service which includes wine tasting, so the concept is certainly not foreign to the airline industry.  She kept my glasses full and promptly served new courses.  Dinner lasted approximately one hour which was great given that the flight was a red-eye (allows for more sleep).  She turned my seat into a bed while I brushed my teeth.

Conclusion

While the 767-300 is not my favorite American Airlines business-class long-haul product (typically goes to the 777-300 and 777-200), it is clearly superior to the 757-200.  The food was great and the bed was lie-flat.  I would not hesitate to fly the 767-300 again, especially if miles and points are picking up the fare 🙂

1 Comment on "American Airlines 767-300 Review – Business Class"

  1. A great review. The AA SWU’s are priceless.

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