We took a trip to New York to compare economy class onboard American Airlines and British Airways, and ended up getting stuck in New York!
Big thanks to Dashlane for sponsoring this video. More on their fantastic password management software later in the video.
The assistance desk in Terminal 3 is located upstairs, just before security.
It wasn’t long before we were picked up and whisked through security.
Once airside, we were taken straght to the accessibility lounge to wait for our onward assistance to the gate.
We were flying from Gate 28 today, and after answering the usual security questions ahead of our flight were allowed through to the gate area.
Our ride to New York today was this 19 year old Boeing 777-200, originally delivered to American Airlines in December 2000.
American’s 777 has a 2-4-2 configuration in Premium Economy, and a 3-4-3 configuration in standard economy, reducing to a 2-4-2 in the last few rows as the aircraft gets narrower.
The seats are pretty comfortable, with a decent sized TV and plenty of power options.
Once everyone was onboard it was time to pushback and start our journey west.
We had a pretty lengthy taxi out to runway 9R at Heathrow. This Virgin A340-600 took off a few minutes before us, also heading to JFK. Remember this aircraft as we’ll be racing it across the Atlantic.
Our route today took us direct west out of Heathrow, crossing Wales and Ireland before crossing the North Atlantic. We made landfall over Newfoundland in Canada before crossing Nova Scotia, and entering the US. We started our descent over Boston, and touched down after a flight time of 7 hours and 6 minutes. Our cruising altitude today was 36, 37 and 38,000ft.
American’s 777 has wifi onboard which was relatively fast and pretty decently priced. It cost $19 for an entire flight pass.
As we coasted out into the Atlantic we started to trail pretty well, as we chased the sunset heading west.
It wasn’t long before lunch was served, or should I say thrown at us. This is exactly how my meal landed on my tray. They’d ran out of all but vegetable curry much earlier in the service, and the cabin crew were being pretty rude to some other passengers. The food didn’t taste that great, and Rach didn’t take a main course as she doesn’t eat curry, so she went hungry until the next service.
They did at least serve a pretty decent IPA beer though, which was pretty nice.
Later in the flight we were served some chocolate ice cream, which wasn’t too bad.
The inflight entertainment choice on the American 777 is pretty decent. There’s loads of TV, movies and box sets to watch, as well as live TV which is a nice feature.
You can apparently choose drinks through the system but it doesn’t seem to let you order anything.
The sun finally started setting as we approached the Canadian coast leading to some beautiful views out of the window.
A snack service was bought around about an hour before landing, and once again they’d ran out of all but vegetarian options.
It was a lattice pastry which actually wasn’t too bad.
As we approached Cape Cod the sky looked absolutely stunning.
We were played the ‘Welcome to the USA’ video, which always makes me think of the excellent SNL skit that parodies it.
We started our approach into runway 4R at JFK
After we landed, the Virgin Atlantic A340 that took off ahead of us landed just behind us.
The assistance at JFK met us at the gate and took us through to the kerbside where we waited for our ride to Manhattan.
The ride to the FBO at JFK is about a 5 minute drive. Once there they let us know that with us having arrived an hour early, they’d moved us to an earlier flight so we weren’t hanging around.
The ride across to Manhattan tonight was beautiful. It’s incredible seeing the city lit up at night. As it was the pilot’s last run of the night, he slowed down and gave us a tour of the sights as we headed across to Manhattan.
Once we’d arrived we had a drink in the bar, before grabbing an Uber for the short ride to the hotel.
We had time for a bit of sightseeing in the day, and thanks to Ubers being on every street corner managed to get around New York pretty quickly to see the sights.
From Central Park, we grabbed a yellow cab across to JFK.
The assistance met us at the check in counter and wheeled Rach all the way through to the gate.
The crew soon arrived, giving us a little more hope that we’d be getting out of New York this evening.
It was soon time to get onboard, and the assistance arrived to wheel Rach down to the plane.
The BA 787-9 differs from the -8 as it has a first class cabin too, which was empty tonight. Club World takes up a good chunk of the aircraft, with a smaller WOrld Traveller Plus and World Traveller cabin at the back of the aircraft.
There were just 51 passengers onboard this evening, as many passengers had been moved to earlier flights the day before when the flight was delayed.
Before long, we pushed back and began our long taxi out to the runway at JFK.
The weather really started to come down as we taxied out, and we were glad to get out of New York before the worst of the weather hit.
Our route back to London this evening took us northeast off the coast of New England, flying past Nova Scotia and the tip of Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic. We flew across Ireland and South Wales before descending into Heathrow after a flight time of just 6 hours and 15 minutes, at a cruising altitude of 39 and 43,000ft.
Thanks to the low loads tonight, the cabin crew were particularly generous with their servings, and handed out handfuls of snacks and drinks.
Dinner service tonight was a chicken casserole, which was pretty tasty. The rolls came complete with American ‘Buttery flavoured spread’ which actually tasted nothing like butter.
I woke up as we approached the west coast of Ireland.
I have to say that breakfast was a little underwhelmiing. It was a cold croissant with a bit of cheese in it. Last time I flew transatlantic economy from New York we got served a hot English breakfast which was much nicer, so it was a little surprising to just get a croissant today.
The bright lights of London soon appeared outside, and we made our approach and landing into a clear but cold Heathrow Airport.
Our flights to New York were booked as a return trip through BA.com, and cost £448 per person return, giving a cost per mile of 6 pence. However, with the delay of more than four hours due to a technical fault with the aircraft, we were able to claim 600 Euros or £500 each in EU261 compensation, as well as having our meals covered, and the hotel in New York, which they not only paid for our extra night, but covered in full as a gesture of goodwill – meaning that even with the cost of fuel to get to Heathrow and the parking, it didn’t end up costing us a penny. In fact we ended up £115 in profit from taking this trip, which covered some of our spending money in New York.
Once we’d disembarked we took the buggy to the baggage claim, who had to battle with passengers wandering in front of him. I’ve no idea how the drivers at Heathrow keep their patience, they’re far more patient than I’d ever be!
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