Rio to New York via DFW on American Airlines Business

via Dallas…  Yes, it’s a slightly long way round, and there is a direct flight.  But this was far more cost effective.

AA run from GIG Terminal 2, the slightly newer and nicer of the two terminals at GIG (comparatively, as nice isn’t a word I’d use on its own)!

AA’s check in is at the far end of the terminal, and had almost no queue on business class when we arrived about 2 hours before the flight.  And about an hour later than planned due to Rio’s traffic….

The post security immigration queue was the longest I had ever seen in Rio, although normally I’m flying from terminal 1.  All flights to the U.S. Go through 2, making it a lot busier with international flights I guess.

But I still had nearly two hours in the AA lounge thanks to the crew being stuck in the same traffic, with the plane leaving about one hour late in the end.

The lounge is nothing special.  No ‘food’ per se, just snacks.  But wine, and some seats.  It was very busy today with not many seats left as every AA flight was late.

The plane was a 767, with AA’s old 2-2-2 business product with angle flat beds.  I really wasn’t expecting much; it had been years since I last flew AA, and by all accounts I wasn’t in for the best experience.

On boarding we were directed to our seats, and offered champagne.  I didn’t get to see the bottle, but it was served in plastic glasses…

So the seat itself met my not so high expectations.  Certainly not up to a modern business class seat, but comfortable enough, and an angle flat is far better than an economy seat still.  I managed a couple of hours of decent sleep.

There is no built in IFE, instead about half an hour in to the flight Samsung tablets were distributed.  It’s functional, but a somewhat bulky solution with a mess of charging cables taking up most of the space on the mini tray above.

The seat controls were a bit odd I thought, in as much as how large and prominent they were.  But simple enough to use.  As I said, it is only angled flat, but can be comfortable enough in intermediate positions.

The crew themselves were the real surprise though.  With one exception, they were friendly and helpful.  My wine was kept proactively refilled (although nothing special), the food was edible (but didn’t leave much impression other than the Sundae) and the Bose noise cancelling headphones welcome (I’d forgotten quite how noisy a 767 could be in comparison to a 777).  Other airlines take note!

I was expecting much worse from some stories.

Immigration at DFW….  For me I was through fairly quickly.  For those on a visa it was a different story.  Well over an hour.  Then a long transfer between terminals for the Domestic First leg to JFK.  Things were a bit of a mess with some building work going on, and it was a bit confusing finding the lounge, having to go through what at first I thought was closed off!

The Admiral’s Club lounge was big.  

And seemed deserted as a result, even though counting people there were a fair few.  I was somewhat surprised to find alcohol wasn’t free, especially on a long haul connection…  There was a proper bar, but you just had to pay.  But as it was 7am in the morning I didn’t want anything either.  The food options weren’t great, just cereals, fruit etc.  Nothing hot.  Generally domestic lounges in the US don’t offer the same level as European lounges I would say (the BA Galleries at Heathrow being a prime example).

The connecting flight to JFK…  Used to European business class, I don’t expect much on a three hour connection.  But I really don’t understand calling it First, as that devalues real First to me.  Business is a perfectly ok name…  

We had front bulkhead seats, enough legroom, only 2 abreast on a 737, and something resembling a cooked breakfast.   No champagne though, which was disappointing.

And finally, after 24 hours from leaving home, we arrived at JFK.

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