777-300; American Airlines has 20 of the long haul 777 in its fleet.
Los Angeles to Sydney
American Airlines is a founding member of the Oneworld alliance, of which Qantas is also a member.
Business, seat 13A
14 hours, 43 minutes
Each fully lie-flat seat has direct aisle access, a bonus when needing to access the bathroom during this overnight flight. The bed stretches up to 78 inches (198 centimetres) in length with a side arm rest that can be lowered. The reverse herringbone Cirrus seats are similar to those in Cathay Pacific's business class.
In business class, there's a generous two-bag allowance at check-in, maximum 32 kilograms each (64 kilograms in total), plus hand luggage.
Passengers are provided with mattress pads to make the seat more comfortable come bedtime. The Cole Haan amenity kit features C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries products with the Lime & Coriander body lotion particularly refreshing.
Best though are the loose fitting cotton pyjamas. They're in a dark hue which is the perfect foil for any midnight snack-induced spillages (sliders and hotdogs are on offer). The black slippers are also worth keeping once on the ground.
There are 260 movies, 230 TV programs, 310 audio CDs and 20 games on offer on the generous 15.4-inch touchscreen monitor. Superb Bose noise-cancelling headphones are available for the flight with disposable foam headphone covers (in the amenity kit) if desired. The screen has to be stowed for take-off and landing and the Bose headphones are collected 30 minutes before landing so be sure to time your viewing accordingly.
The plane has international Wi-Fi capability for a price ($US19 for whole flight), and there's a power outlet and USB port for personal devices. If you're really scrambling for entertainment options, "seat chat" is available, where you can chat (perhaps even flirt) with another passenger via the touchscreen. Be careful what you write – while your username can be anonymous, your seat number is part of the title.
Flight attendant Melissa introduced herself by offering champagne or orange juice and a New York Times to read. Service throughout is friendly but not over-the-top which is perfect for an overnight flight. Any call button requests were attended to immediately.
Because 70 per cent of passengers who travel this route are Australian, the menu planners worked with Qantas on getting the balance right. Chef Sam Choy, a founding contributor to Pacific Rim Cuisine worked on the menu, offering fresh seasonal produce and partnering with local US farms and artisans like LeBrea bakery in Los Angeles and cheese from Sonoma County. But that's not to say there are no rich cookies, sliders and ice cream (Ben and Jerry's) on offer.
For dinner the choices included grilled beef filet, chicken tikka masala, lobster ravioli, asiago-stuffed gnocchi and, lastly, an antipasto plate, which was available throughout the flight. I chose the beef, which came with a Zinfandel demi-glace, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, broccolini and red peppers. The deconstructed pavlova dessert was a highlight. There's also a walk-up bar stocked with snacks and refreshments.
The wine list isn't large but the addition of Australian wines from the Barossa and Margaret River regions is welcomed.Breakfast was a choice between a traditional American and continental. Coffee was American joe style.
THE LAST WORD
The Wi-Fi capability (although not as fast as on the ground) and direct access to the aisle make this a very attractive option for flying to and from the US.
The writer travelled as a guest of American Airlines
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