Always on the look out for the best Business Class options to fly nowadays, has put me on American Airlines from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Athens, Greece for a reasonable price of about $2400USD roundtrip, although, it was in Business Class one way and then Premium Economy on the return. I could always wait list for the upgrade with miles to Business on the return, so I booked it! Therefore I broke from my usual routine of flying directly from Mexico City to Europe. I flew then from PVR to ORD on the normal business class service and after an overnight in Chicago, I was to board a direct flight from Chicago to Athens.
Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate later in the afternoon, and I had to rebook myself later in the day through a 9pm London Heathrow flight to Athens and arrived about 1am the next morning. Needless to say, after spending 9 hours in their new Admirals Club that day, I did get a good experience and feel of the club in Terminal 3 Concourses H/K at O’Hare International Airport. A very warm welcome and both the regular American Airline Club and the new Admiral Club lounges are in the same entrance, just on different levels. With my special pass to proceed to the Admiral Lounge (I later found out that only certain international flights are designated as Flagship Routes), I proceeded. Immediately at the entrance champagne was being poured for you welcome drink.
The entire lounge is divided up into sections; food service and dining seating, work areas, tarmac views, quiet areas including some loungers, and then even a sports or event watching theater. The bathrooms are well stocked and there are showers available to use for those longer stays. It does have hours and I do not know if they stay open longer if there are flights delays, but I got the impression they do! There were power outlets just everywhere; at the chairs, in the little side tables between, at the dining area tables and counters, etc. As you can see food and beverages are plentiful and served in smaller warmer chafing dishes to keep things as fresh as possible. There is even a full service wine bar! Overall the best lounge I have ever been in and it made the 9 hours of waiting a bit more pleasant!
Now again after delays and more delays, we finally board the American Airlines flight from Chicago to London Heathrow on a Boeing 787 that has a nice 1-2-1 herring bone configuration in Business Class as there is no more First Class on these planes. Since I was alone, I picked seat 1F right in front on the bulkhead also one of the last options left after I had to change my flights earlier that evening. The business class section was completely full and I was lucky to have secured one of the last seats.
I liked the numerous storage bins at my seat both to the right and the left inside an adjustable armrest. The right side one has the wired remote control as well, but inside there a safe place to charge your cellphone or electronic devices via USB and 110V outlets. The seat was comfortable with a infinite adjustable digital display to lie completely flat as well with your feet extending into the area below the TV screen. The tray table can be pulled out from that area and was completely adjustable; one of my major complaints on regular business class seating is the tray table is configured very tight to your waist.
Business Class boards first, so we have plenty of time to get situated and stowage of personal items and your carryon luggage in the large oversized bins above the seat. The menu card is available, presented right on the tray table, and before take off the cabin attendant introduces themselves by name and addresses each passenger by last name, a nice touch. Then your choice of water, juice, or champange is served. The high end noise canceling Bang and Olafson headsets are provided, but I thought it was strange that they were collected well before landing. They think you are going to steal them after you paid over $2000 USD for the flight?!
Just an hour or so after takeoff and because it was defintely getting late, the dinner service was started with warm mixed nuts and cocktail of choice was offered. A few mintues later, they first course was served which consisted of tossed greens and a cajun shrimp appetizer; all very tasty. I opted for a main course of something lighter which was the grilled red snapper with lemon beurre blanc, white wine risotto, and glazed sugar snaps/pepper medley. Everything was prepared well, hot, and flavorful. The dessert choice was ice cream sundae, fruit, or raspberry swirl cheesecake and of course at 39,000 feet a hot fudge Haagen Dazs Sundae was the natural choice!
The 18″ Inflight touch screen provided lots of options of movies, tv shows, music, and of course the flight tracking. I was impressed that several of the recent Oscar and Golden Globe winners were a part of the lineup, so I was able to catch up with the ones I had missed. I felt the touch screen was a bit catchy and it required really hard pressure to move around, unlike my cellphone or tablet.
Overall the flight was calm and quiet at 39,000 feet, occasionally there was some shaking but it did not last long and the flight tracker had us arriving about 1 hour earlier than planned at London Heathrow. Since I had more than a 6 hours layover, I was not concerned either way. I am not much of a plane sleeper, so a catnap here and there was all I could manage. About 2 hours before landing breakfast was served and the choices were a Southwestern Corn Enchilada with sausages or a fruit plate. I ordered the Enchilada and it was served with a fruit dish, choice of breakfast bread, tea and juice.
Overall, I felt this was a very good flight and I look forward to comparing it to my next couple of international flights to Europe in July, September, and November all in Business Class. I am not sure what the coach fare was for this trip; probably about half the cost, but it sure was a pleasant way to travel and it is now stuck in my blood!
Due to some delays after my cruise due to testing positive for Covid in Athens and forced into a 5 day quarantine, I managed to change my flights without any fees or hassles from American Airlines and I was even automatically upgraded to Business Class for my return. I had flown American Airlines numerous times over the past few covid years to the USA always in regular Business Class and they handled things as well as to be expected. From their boxed snack boxes and plastic cups at the beginning, I watched as things progressed back to normal and I believe their service is back on track in Business Class!