Monday, January 28, 2013

LAX-NRT AA business class

One World lounge tour of Tokyo Narita
NRT-LAX AA business class
LAX AA Flagship Lounge
LAX-NRT AA business class
NRT JAL domestic Sakura lounge

After a short stay in California, it was time to head back to Japan on American Airlines 777 business class.  This segment was the most crucial since it's a 12-hour flight, which is an absolute misery in economy class particularly for a U.S. carrier.  My flight departed on 12/31 and arrived on 1/1, so I was forced to celebrate New Years in the sky.  I chose this flight because AA was offering double miles through 12/31, and this would be the last flight to qualify for the promo, which would result in a whooping 35,000 award miles for a roundtrip flight.  It also didn't hurt that my systemwide upgrade to business class cleared instantly at the time of booking.

Hard product
The hard product, including AVOD, was synonymous with my NRT-LAX segment, which sucked because that means all the movies would be the same.  Fortunately, AA has several dozen movies to choose from, so I settled for second best.
Empty cabin
The business class cabin was near empty with only about a quarter of the seats being filled.  This can be expected on a New Years' Eve flight.  But that just meant more service attention and more food, which is always a good thing.

Lunch was served an hour after takeoff.  I opted for the Japanese meal set, which needs to be requested over the phone with AA at least 24 hours in advance.  Because the Japanese meal was decent for my NRT-LAX segment, I expected nothing less for this transpacific flight.  At first sight of the starter sushi, I knew that I was doomed for disappointment.
Half the size and half the taste of the NRT-LAX sushi
What's interesting is that the meal set didn't come with the actual set menu, so the entire thing was a mystery.  After the sushi appetizer was the main course, which consisted of steak, assorted vegetables, rice, mushrooms, and eggs.
The steak was so hard that my chopsticks couldn't make a dent in it, and the mushrooms were definitely subpar.  I hate to say it, but this meal reminded me of United's transpacific business class meal, which would be unsellable in the deli section of Safeway.  1 1/2 hours before landing, they served the light meal, which was a choice between sesame chicken and Uno's cheese pizza.
The light meal was reminiscence of what AA serves on their domestic flight class flights, but I guess that's what you get for a transpacific "light meal".
The Western/Japanese fusion lunch menu: I probably should have picked from this instead of the Japanese meal set
Light meal options.  The mini bento box was not bad.
Bottom line
Don't expect much out of the food from a U.S. carrier transpacific flight departing from the U.S.  This meal was substantially worse than the NRT-LAX segment's and night and day compared to Japan Airlines' transpacific business class food from SFO-HND.  However, possibly due to the empty plane, service was great and the flight attendant was definitely worthy of an AA employee recognition certificate, which I gladly wrote up.

1 comment:

  1. They obviously subbed the Western steak entree into your Japanese set, hence the missing menu. Complete with microwaveable plastic tray; they didn't even try to hide the fact that catering screwed up. There is nothing about that entree that looks remotely Japanese. I'm surprised you even touched it, given your insistence on eating only organic beef.

    Please show the wine/spirits menu too. That's of much more interest than whatever $6.99 discount deli food they have on offer.