I booked these flights using the special price of £900 return that I wrote about a while ago here. Most people would have paid £2000 plus for this flight.
One World flights such as American Airlines and British Airways seem to depart from Terminal 2A at Charles De Gaulle. We found it hard to find the Business Class check in (no signs), which turned out to be downstairs from the regular check in. The check in line was quite long and moved pretty slowly. We were given priority through security but realised that the gate was a really long way from the lounge. As a result we didn’t have time to visit the lounge.
We were given priority boarding. Business Class is the first five rows, with seats 2 x 2 x 2 across – there was no First Class. All boarding was via the front aircraft door and that resulted in all passengers passing through the business cabin, making it difficult to settle in, put bags in the overhead lockers etc.
All business travellers were provided with a Samsung Galaxy Tab and Bose noise-cancelling headphones – these sat nicely on a dedicated table lowered from the seat back. The tablet was customised for AA and contained a good range of new release movies, plus classics and TV shows. The overhead TVs showed a movie in both directions and I wondered why that was. I checked behind the curtain, where there were three rows of Premium Economy (2 x 3 x 2 across) and noticed that there were no seatback TVs. I’m amazed that some airlines still fly without seatback TVs as it’s been 12 years since Virgin pioneered these in all cabin classes. The only thing missing from the Galaxy Tablets was the aircraft ‘moving map’ – which of course wouldn’t work with a standalone device. It would be nice if the overhead TVs in Business could show this map as nobody would be watching the movie.
The Galaxy Tablets were powered by a cigarette-lighter-style connector in the seat back. I was also provided, on request, with an adapter so I could connect my iPad to this socket.
The food and wine, selection and quality was very good – better than BA Club World. The flight attendants were friendly and helpful.
The seats were comfortable but didn’t lie completely flat when in ZZZ mode. The amenity pack contained socks, pen, earplugs, toothbrush/paste, eye mask and lip balm. On the outbound flight there were also hotel slippers – a nice touch but shame this wasn’t replicated on the return.
All passengers seem to have to use the automated check-in machines and then bag drop. As a result we weren’t given any advice about security or lounges. It wasn’t clear where to go for priority security clearance. We were directed to one line that turned out to be the regular line and had to fight our way back out and find the right line.
We were flying from gate D22. The only Admiral’s Club lounges available were the a single train stop away in either direction. The Admiral’s Club lounges are shared with domestic travellers and were absolutely terrible. These lounges don’t offer any complimentary food, only a menu where you can order and pay for food. There is a bar, but international business travellers are only offered two drink vouchers per person. I tried eight power outlets before I found one that was actually working. The lounge was huge, but had a small toilet with just one urinal, one disabled cubicle and one regular cubicle – there were constant lines waiting to use the facilities. I’m amazed the AA think that this is sufficient to retain customers who could easily fly Virgin Upper Class for a similar price and enjoy the amazing Virgin lounges.
Boarding for all passengers was again via the front door. The return flight was similar quality to the outbound. A slightly rushed breakfast was served one hour before landing.
Overall I enjoyed these flights, although the low fare really helped. However, I wouldn’t choose AA at full fare as the airport facilities; check in and lounge really let AA down.