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LOTS of American Airlines (very comfy) business class seats between London and the US for Avios

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American Airlines now has a very good business class product on its London to New York route.  It is a herringbone layout and looks like this:

…. on the new Boeing 777-300ER (77W in AA parlance) and:

….. on refurbished older Boeing 777-200 (772 in AA speak) aircraft.

Those of you of a certain age will know that the US airlines used to have laughable business class products.  American has now not only caught up but, in terms of Club World, overtaken.

The reason I’ve never reviewed the new seat is that American is incredibly stingy at opening up reward seats.  On Tuesday, however, it opened up huge chunks of space from New York and selected other destinations to London (and other European cities) for much of 2018.

This is good news because, as a British Airways partner, you can book these seats using Avios.

How to find American Airlines business class availability

The easiest way to search is at americanairlines.com even though you will be booking via ba.com using Avios.

On the AA home page, open the ‘Advanced Search’ box.  Scroll down and ensure you’ve got ‘MilesAAver’ and ‘Business’ and ‘American Airlines’ selected under ‘Options’.  Make sure you have ‘Book Using Miles’ selected.

On the results page, select ‘Business / First MilesAAver’ and ‘Full Calendar’.

This is what you see for April as at 10pm last night to New York from Heathrow (click to enlarge):

and from New York to Heathrow:

You want days showing 57,500 miles seats.  Click through and make sure that the flight offered is direct.  The 77W flights on new Boeing 777-300ER aircraft are the ones to go for, if reputation is anything to go by, but a similar seat is on the 772 (Boeing 777-200) aircraft which also fly the route.

Go over to ba.com, plug in the same dates and the same flights will show.

For clarity …. you do NOT pay 57,500 miles.  That is the price if you have AA miles.  You will pay 60,000 Avios each way which is the peak day one-way cost of an Avios redemption to New York.  All American Airlines flights are charged at peak day pricing.  You cannot use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 voucher.

Other routes are also showing good availability

Reports on US frequent flyer sites suggest similarly good availability from Los Angeles, Charlotte and Raleigh to London.  Other AA hubs such as Miami, Philadelphia and Chicago are not so open.

I did NOT see much availability – although there is some – on American’s other routes to the UK:

Edinburgh to New York (Summer only)

Glasgow to Philadelphia (Summer only)

Manchester to Chicago

Manchester to Philadelphia

Let’s talk taxes

To be honest, if you have any oneworld miles except Avios then use those instead.  In almost all case you won’t pay any surcharges, because AA doesn’t actually add surcharges.  However, if you book with Avios, BA adds on a surcharge (which it pockets) in order to equalise the taxes between the BA and AA services across the Atlantic.

This is why a return flight on AA to New York comes with $300 of taxes compared with £500+ if you book exactly the same flight with Avios via BA.

If you only have Avios, of course, it is a moot point!

Hopefully the availability will still be there when you read this on Wednesday morning for anyone who wants to give the American Airlines business class product a try to the US.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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Comments

  1. Bit OT but just as you mentioned club world. Flew inbound BA CW yesterday and it just looks old/dated.

    Everything a bit old/rattly. Person beside me couldn’t get a flat bed. My foot rest wouldn’t adjust to different positions and the padding on top was hanging off.

    My remote control to operate the TV wasn’t working and was a pain with the touch screen when lying back. Incredibly two members of cabin crew didn’t actually know the remote control “did anything”. They actually genuinely thought you could only operate TV with touch screen.

    Few other small issues as well. Was not impressed at all. I genuinely think I would have preferred to save the avios and the extra cash and sit in WT.

    Then again on WT outbound flight there was chewing gum and chocolate smeared on seat in front me and I didn’t have a safety card. Asked twice for a safety card but nothing arrived.

    • Yep, it’s gone downhill horribly.

    • Michael C says:

      I must admit on the LHR-NYC daytime flight I’m happy enough with WTP.
      That nighttime return is a killer, however: has anyone done the AA 1020h JFK-LHR?

      • Yes, I have – it was very pleasant, although I was in J rather than WTP. I believe a proper lunch was served and the AA version of ‘Club Kitchen’ is streets ahead of BA – lots of fresh nibbles and sandwiches and cakes. I prefer day time flights as I don’t sleep too well on overnights and I llike the AA seats – they are really comfy for lounging in, plus the aisle access is a big bonus.

    • which route / aircraft?

      • Indeed varies hugely with route. The 777’s they run to places like BKK really are terrible whereas the A380’s and 787’s are pretty decent in my experience.

        I’ve found the super high J 747’s absolutely fine as well, cant speak for other configs of the 747 as I know the planes themselves are very long in the tooth.

  2. Is there any advantage/disadvantage to booking using Iberia rather than BA?

  3. The crazy surcharges are so frustrating.
    Given you can, with a bit of luck for your dates, in a sale be looking at ~£1k return then £500 plus 120,000Avios seems a rip off !!
    Of course out of sales dates it’s a different proposition.

    • Buy AAdvantage points instead. You can easily get them for less than 1p/mile.

      • Colin MacKinnon says:

        Where’s the best place?

        • DM someone with a nice balance. Can be done in various forums. Slickdeals is another option. Or brokers.

      • Where can you get AA miles for 1p?
        They are usually over 2p on the AA site

        • They are on permanent special offer, a bit like the DFS sale. One offer ends, you wait 2-3 weeks, another one comes. A bit like IHG recently.

    • Pointless using BA based on this calculation. Its a fairly short flight anyway so save your Avios for better airlines eg Cathay etc

  4. Frenzie says:

    It is worth noting that with the new CW service, the soft product is much much better on BA than on AA.

    • BA no longer has a competitive business class product. Business class is predominantly about the seat and AA 7777-300ER has among the best seats in the business. BA’s seats are almost impossible to sleep on. BA’s soft product may on average be slightly better than AA given the inconsistent service on AA. I pick AA over BA on any transatlantic flight.

      • BA’s service has always been consistently inconsistent, so they’re in good company with AA there.

        That “new CW service” is already being enhanced (see FT for details), plus it is suffering from the slowest rollout in history! How hard can it be for BA to buy bedding?

      • Personally I find CW very nice for sleeping comfort because my feet are not restricted into a little cubby hole. It’s one of the few advantages the CW layout has over other lie flat configs.

  5. As many of us know, it’s often the little things in air travel life that make a big difference. I fly regularly LHR-CLT with American (formerly with US Air) in Flagship Business. The Bose Noise Cancelling headphones are the best and, unlike BA, they know how to prepare fillet steak to perfection! 🙂

  6. Yesterday someone asked

    “Why do you sound so baffled that you might need to pay BA something to use your avios? Did you think they were magic beans?”

    Today Rob posts how “a return flight on AA to New York [2 x 57,500 AA miles] comes with $300 of taxes compared with £500+ if you book exactly the same flight with Avios via BA [2 x 60,000 Avios]”

    Looks like those AA magic beans work just fine.

    • That $300 is the taxes that have to be paid by American Airlines to fly the route. The £500 includes fake fees made up by British Airways. That is the difference .

  7. Is there any easy way of searching for AA reward availability from MAN on ba.com? All their search tools seem to only work with flights out of London airports and often only show BA operated services.

  8. The AA 77W has a J ‘mini cabin’ immediately behind F in the section between doors 1 and 2. From memory it’s rows 3 and 4 and comprises just 8 seats. We’ve always enjoyed the trip in those seats (feels exclusive) except the time we went tech and by the time we were fixed storms had rolled in taking the crew out of hours. So we ended up in random seats on the first BA 747 the next morning!

  9. I assume you can book via Iberia as well? Are their Taxes and Charges any better?

    • Don’t think so – and I am not sure if AA redemptions via IB can be cancelled or changed. Oneworld airline bookings are non refundable but I don’t know if AA is exempt due to the transatlantic JV.

      • Does AA even show up on Iberia.com? I cant ever remember seeing it show up as an option when searching for flights to the USA on there.

        • I hate the Iberia website – Even if I am buying Iberia I would rather buy on ba.com it feels like everything on Ib.com is created to make it hard for the customers. BA have a lot of issues but I do rate their web journey.

  10. Is there not a legal case to be made against BA for overcharging versus the AA example ?

    Hard to argue when it is just BA metal but against another carrier, the taxes element is removed and you have a fee imposed which arguably reduces the value of the Avios you earned ?

    Similar argument with the 241 Amex. 2 x taxes I understand, to a degree, though you have not “bought” the 2nd ticket, but 2 x fees ?

    • Why would there be a legal case? A tin of Heinz baked beans is more expensive in Waitrose compared to Lidl. You wouldn’t expect to be able to sue Waitrose for the difference.

      • How about if Waitrose labelled the beans prominently with the Lidl price on the shelf…

        …but slapped a big “manufacturer surcharge” on top at the checkout…

        …but hid this in the VAT section of the receipt…

        …*and* then kept the “manufacturer surcharge” for themselves… ?

        • But BA don’t advertise the same price as AA. The same flight costs a different number of ‘miles’ in a different ‘currency’. I don’t like BA’s policy of charging extra fees on top of reward seats but not everything’s a lawsuit. Everything’s made clear before you press the ‘pay now’ button.

  11. OT but regarding taxes, I just redeemed for Tallinn and checked booking as one ways and yes – taxes back were £12 instead of £50 (Club Europe) thanks for the tip Rob!

  12. Basic question – why do you ‘want days showing 57,500 miles seats’? What are the others in grey eg 30k?

    Also, I can get an availability chart on AA as shown, but not all of the flights show up on BA.

    • The 30k dates are economy flights but on this example the Business SAAver filter has been selected so they’ve been greyed out

    • Those 30k seats are economy seats on days when there is no business space at 57,500 miles.

      If it shows as MilesAAver on AA and it is a non-stop flight then BA can book it. If there is a connection involved with AA then BA may not be able to book it due to married segment issues with AA.

  13. Aren’t there reports of the 777-200 seats (the ones with the rear facing seating in the second photo) moving around when the person next to you moves?

    • I didn’t find that to be any worse than with the CW seat where you get exactly the same thing. I thought those seats were perfectly fine, but the other version of the 777-200 is much better

      • I’ve got an AA trip coming up with flat beds on 330, 757 and 321 so it will interesting to compare all of those against each other and against BA CW. Mind you, based on HFP reviews and comments, I have even higher hopes for the QR business holiday trip coming up!

        • What QR aircraft are you travelling on?

        • No reply link on your post for some reason shd – but new and old. Nice new 787 and older 777. I guess ‘high hopes’ was not the right terminology – I know what to expect, I should have said ‘looking forward to’ – although maybe not the 17hr flight. But at least it should be in comfort.

    • Yes, they vibrate because of the way they are constructed, basically two seats in one.

  14. Richmond says:

    There’s def. some availability on AA LAX-LHR last minute. I’m looking for a flight next week and stumbled upon some business class seats. However taxes are quite high for one way ticket.

    Actually BA taxes for economy redemption from USA to UK, cost almost the same as basic Norwegian one way ticket.

  15. Are these good seats only on the New York to Heathrow route? i.e. they haven’t fitted these seats to Miami for example?

    • You certainly get them on the Miami route which uses the 77W. The A330s (former US Airways) are very similar, and the J cabin on good is very private as its forward off the entrance door, so you don’t get Y passengers traipsing through when boarding. No F on the A330.

  16. It’s good to see that people things the latest AA business seat is good….

  17. Slightly OT as its about Virgin Miles, but I only recently found out that if you use your VMs for Delta flights the charges are considerably lower. For example, LHR-JFK in economy is £136 return on Delta but £266 on VA. You do, however, require more points to use the Delta flights.

    VA’s site is a bit weird when looking to book miles flights though as there doesn’t appear to be any rhyme or reason as to when they offer the Delta options to you. When we booked for February we were offered a lot of Delta options (which we booked) but we’ve had to cancel those now and we are looking at going in the summer but we are only getting offered VA flights (which has plenty of availability)

    Wish I could work out how to get the Delta flights when VA website doesn’t offer them as I’d rather use more miles and less money

  18. Neil Donoghue says:

    While on the topic of VS – I have 160,000 VS points and the other half has 80,000. Can we somehow combine the points to book 2 x Return Ana flights to Tokyo in F? Thanks

    • Not too sure, but I think pooling is only for VS Gold, shame because nearly everyone else let’s you do it from base.

      • Is it not still possible for one person to book 3 legs, the other person 1 leg? Or is this just VS metal only? I don’t know.

        • ankomonkey says:

          ANA reward flights with VS miles can only be booked as returns, so it’s slightly more complicated than a VS redemption. I suspect it would need a friendly CS person who might be willing to be flexible.

        • Yep ANA via Virgin is returns only. PIA.

  19. Cheers guys, just spoke to VS after 1.5 hours on the phone. Not only would they not let us combine points, but apparently there is no availability in first class between today and the 1st of December 2018!! Looks like my other half needs to up her game asap

  20. Paxtonfan says:

    One of the biggest failings of BA compared to AA is the lack of ability to enter Known Traveller Numbers (Global Entry) on bookings. It is infuriating to have to go through full US security instead of being given TSA Pre-check. BA recently told me that they have no plans to update their systems. From my perspective it is a deal breaker and I only fly BA when I have a 2-4-1 to redeem. On a recent return flight booked in economy for cash we were offered an upgrade at check in to Y for $400 each. Im only 5’7” so thought the flat bed seat was way better than CW. For pure Avios bookings it’s AA for me hands down

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