While I was extremely excited about my trip to Italy via Chicago (ORD) in First Class, I was a little disappointed because I couldn’t get a seat on the ‘newer’ American Airlines retro-fitted aircraft that are available between LAX-JFK connecting to JFK-FCO (Rome Fiumicino).
It was available but I’d be required to add an extra 50,000 miles so it wasn’t THAT worth it. No biggie. If you missed my last post on How I Booked a First Class Ticket from LA to Rome for $5.60, read it here.
Los Angeles (LAX) to Chicago (ORD)
This flight’s aircraft was on an A321 (non-transcontinental route) two cabin aircraft with First and Economy Class only. The entire experience was uneventful because it was just a regular reclining seat that is wider than an economy seat with much extra legroom, no footrest, no lie-flat beds, although I was glad at least the reclining first class seats and In-Flight Entertainment has been upgraded to the latest version.
I was fully entertained for the entire 3.5 hour flight so I can’t complain – I also benefited from the priority check-in, boarding and TSA checkpoint.
A321 First Class – LAX to ORD (photo: airlinenews)
American Airlines does fly their new Boeing 787 Dreamliner – only one schedule a day between Los Angeles and Chicago where you can have lie-flat seats and a real international business/first class experience. The airfares are often sold similar to the rest of the herd so if you have flexibility in schedule make sure to book on these flights.
Los Angeles to Chicago – AA 110 9:45AM – 3:53PM
Chicago to Los Angeles – AA 2225 6:20PM – 8:35PM
Google Flights is a great tool to compare airfares and aircrafts.
AA Business Class 787 Dreamliner between LAX and Chicago (ORD)
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) to Rome – Leonardo da Vinci Fiumicino Airport (FCO)
Flight: AA 110 ORD-FCO
Depart: 05:00 PM, Arrive: 09:05 AM
Configuration: First Class (1-2-1), Business Class (2-3-2), Economy Class (2-5-2)
First Class Seat Map 777-200 (Seat Guru)
I knew that I was going to fly in the older 777-200 cabin so I had no great expectations whatsoever and I was right.
I was not impressed with the entire old-school facade and quite surprised why AA still operates such ancient design for a long-haul international flight.
Luckily for me it had only cost me $5.60, I’d hate to be a first-class traveler who would have to pay over $7,000 (actual one-way airfare from LAX to FCO with AA) and to get this kind of seat.Much better off flying with British Airways, Alitalia or Swiss Air if you have to purchase a full business or first class airfare to Rome.
AA First Class 777-200, Seat 4A
Although, just like watching a new TV show after 2 or 3 episodes, the seat kinda grew on you and it is not as bad as it looks.
Especially after you turn it into a fully flat bed. The extra mattress padding, blanket and two pillows certainly helps.
The IFE monitor was a little depressing that I prefer to watch movies from my own laptop.
Catching up on Tyrant (FX Series)
The cute thing was because of how ‘old’ the seat design is, they only had 1 DC output next to the seat (like the smoke-plug in a car) so they had to provide me with an adaptor to charge my electronics. On the upside though the in-flight dining exceeded my expectations!! It was delicious and I never liked anything that AA served in-flight, except for this one.
Crab Salad with caviar and a side or watermelon, warm pretzel bread on the side.
Spicy Kale Soup
Beef fillet with sautéed spinach
The dinner was supposed to be a 5-course meal, but I was so full by the third and had to skip the salad and the ice cream sundae.
Breakfast (another option was the Omelette)
Amenities Kit by Cole Haan – Pajamas are also available on request.
The service was also not what I had expected from an American carrier, but the flight attendants were genuinely friendly and extremely attentive.
They probably checked on me every 30 minutes to make sure I had everything I needed and called me politely by name, ‘Hello Ms Rumantir, is there anything else I can get for you?’. Hats off to the crew for making the extra effort!
How would I rate this experience?
Seat Design: 1/5
Flat Bed: 3/5
Overall, the surprisingly tasty food, excellent service and having 3 windows to yourself definitely compensates the outdated cabin. Would I fly this again? With American Airlines definitely, but not in this old cabin.
Read my airport lounge experience prior to these two flights: