I mentioned in my trip preview that I unknowingly booked myself on American Airline’s inaugural flight from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. My business class systemwide upgrade cleared about a week before the trip, so I was able to secure business class on a 15.5 hour flight for under $500! I left the Admirals Club about 30 minutes before boarding was supposed to start to check for inaugural flight festivities. I must have just missed the ribbon cutting and speeches, but I caught the tail end of the dancing dragons.
The business class seat on the 777-300 was very similar to the A321T First class that I flew from New York to Los Angeles. Perfectly comfortable seat with a good sized entertainment screen. AA’s ultra long haul flights from DFW and LAX to Hong Kong and LAX to Sydney actually offer pajamas to their business class customers, which was a nice touch to make the trip more comfortable. As always in business and first class on American you get Bose headphones to use for the duration of the flight.
I have read that on some inaugural flights there are special food offerings or you might have the chance to try multiple main courses. First class and business class were both completely full on the inaugural flight LAX-HKG. The main courses all looked pretty good, but I chose the beef wellington.
First the canape came out and was pretty good! I chose to skip the salad because I wasn’t that hungry. When the beef wellington came out I was immediately unimpressed. For a long flight like this, and especially an inaugural flight I would have expected the food and drink service to be top notch. The beef was decently cooked, but the pastry was wayyy under cooked, and the carrots was also way under cooked. Surprisingly, I wasn’t offered bread or a refill on my wine until I was completely finished with the meal. After I declined the bread, I asked for some water and decided to skip dessert. The meal service on this flight was some of the worst I’ve experienced.
As I mentioned above the meal service was lackluster, and less attentive than I would expect for a long haul business class. The trash from the pajamas, amenity kit, and meal service wasn’t picked up until I flagged one of the flight attendants down and handed it all to them. About halfway through the flight I asked for another bottle of water and was told they had run out of bottled water, which was mind-blowing to me. How do you run out of water on a 15 hour flight?!
It seems the inflight entertainment had the same movies and TV shows available for all my flights on this journey. I watched a couple movies and watched the flight information screen for a good part of the flight. This flight also had WiFi available for only $19 for the duration of the flight. The affordable WiFi was nice so I could keep in touch with Mallory during this long journey. The WiFi was actually not terribly slow, which was a pleasant surprise since everything else about the flight had yet to meet expectations.
I had fairly high expectations for the inaugural flight LAX-HKG, and American Airlines failed to meet them. The food was sub-par and the service was some of the worst I have experienced in business class. The flight didn’t really feel special like I expected it to. Yes, there were dancing dragons at the gate, but there weren’t any other special touches that made this inaugural flight different than any other flight.