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Middle Age Miles

Flight Review – 767-300 Business Class on AA Between Philadelphia and Prague

AA 767 Business Class Review
It was very nice to be in Business Class from PHL to PRG on our overnight flight!

This article is part of our Trip Report – Our Summer Holiday in Dubrovnik and Beyond

For our transatlantic flights between Philadelphia (PHL) and Prague (PRG), we flew Business Class in American Airlines 767-300 planes. We were very happy that Systemwide Upgrades (SWUs) cleared on both transatlantic legs of our trip, allowing us to fly in style and arrive more rested at our destinations. This is a bit of a dated product, but it was still a nice treat, and this was a particularly good configuration for couples like us who like to converse and watch entertainment together when we fly.

For veteran travelers, flying in Business Class may be old hat. But it’s still a fresh new experience for Philly and me, and probably for plenty of Middle Age Miles readers. So, we wanted to post a review as part of this Trip Report, to give our less-experienced readers a better idea of what to expect in this Business Class product.

Flights and Times

Our outbound transatlantic flight from PHL-to-PRG was:

  • AA 52
  • Depart PHL 6:45 pm on Friday, 8/3/2018
  • Arrive PRG 9:20 am on Saturday, 8/4/2018

Our return transatlantic flight from PRG-to-PHL was:

  • AA 53
  • Depart PRG 11:30 am on Saturday, 8/11/2018
  • Arrive PHL 3:20 pm on Saturday, 8/11/2018

Business Cabin Configuration

Our AA 767-300’s Business Class cabins were configured with 7 rows of 1-2-1 seating. Here’s a diagram from SeatGuru, so you can see it visually:

AA 767-300 Biz Class configuration with 1-2-1 staggered seating

As you can see from the diagram, each seat has an oversized armrest/small countertop on one side of the seat, and seats are staggered. On window seats in even-numbered rows, the oversized armrest is between the passenger and the aisle, giving the passenger extra privacy, whereas on odd-numbered rows, the passenger is immediately adjacent to the aisle, with the oversized armrest between the passenger and the window. If I were choosing a window seat, I’d definitely try for an even-numbered row!

The center seats are great for couples, as you’re pretty close to one another without any dividers. It’s easy to talk, and it’s easy to put a tablet on the countertop so you can watch a movie on it together. We don’t know how many people are like us, but on our flights, we prefer to pass the time by watching downloaded movies or tv shows together on our personal iPad. We’re always a little scared to rely on the functionality, selection and availability of in-flight entertainment systems!

Each row of center seats is staggered so that one person is immediately adjacent to the aisle, and one person has some privacy because of the oversized armrest. In even-numbered rows, the person in the “G” seat on the right has the extra privacy; in odd-numbered rows, the person in the “D” seat on the left has the extra privacy. I always book the seats so that Philly is in the extra-privacy seat, if at all possible.

On these flights, we had center seats on both flights, Row 3 on the outbound and Row 7 on the return. On each flight, Philly had the “D” seat with extra privacy, while I had the “G” seat.

These pictures will give you a little bit of an idea what the cabin looks like. First, here’s our picture from Row 3 on the outbound flight:

Row 3 of the AA 767-300 Business Class cabin on our outbound PHL-PRG flight

And here’s what it looked like from Row 7 on the return flight:

Row 7 of the AA 767-300 Business Class cabin on our return PRG-PHL flight

Seats

The seats are lie-flat (or very close to flat), with enough legroom so that I could lie down and sleep comfortably at 6’1″.

Here’s a tour in pictures:

AA 767-300 Biz Class – good legroom
AA 767-300 Biz Class – oversized armrest/small countertop alongside each seat
(with a photo bomb from Declan the Sheep)

AA 767-300 Biz Class – the cubby by your shoulder, above the oversized armrest, holds small items; underneath is a 3-pronged power plug and a USB port
AA 767-300 Biz Class – seat controls have upright, recline, and lie-flat master settings, plus controls for the individual seat components and the light
AA 767-300 Biz Class – the table extends from underneath the oversized armrest
AA 767-300 Biz Class – bedding includes a large pillow and a comforter supplied by Casper;
I found both to be comfortable, although the comforter was a bit warm at times

In-Flight Entertainment

There is no built-in in-flight entertainment in AA’s 767-300 planes. Instead, in Business Class, each seat has a portable tablet. On our flight, the tablets were already in place when we boarded, in a slot in the seatback in front of us. The slot has a fold-down table that can cover the tablet if it’s up, or serve as an extra table/countertop when it’s down in order to permit viewing the tablet.

AA 767-300 Biz Class – in-flight entertainment tablet with the table/countertop down for viewing
AA 767-300 Biz Class – in-flight entertainment tablet
(you may be able to see that mine was only at 16% battery when we boarded)

In addition to the tablet, AA supplied nice Bose headsets for our in-flight enjoyment.

We didn’t actually use the tablets or the Bose headsets provided by AA, preferring to use our own device to watch content that we’d downloaded. In my case, that was probably a very good thing. My tablet’s battery was at 16% when we boarded, and it took a fair bit of playing with the tablet and plug to get it to start charging.

As is standard on AA, flight attendants came around to collect the tablets and Bose headsets about 45-60 minutes prior to landing.

Amenity Kit

At each seat was a nice Cole Haan amenity kit. The kit contained socks, tissues, a dental kit, a pen, and a “Refreshing Travel Kit” with C.O. Bigelow toiletries. The kit container itself opened up into a nice drawstring bag. As usual, we didn’t use the amenity kit on the plane, but the dental kit came in quite handy when we arrived in Prague before our bags did!

AA 767-300 Biz Class – Cole Haan amenity kit (intact)
AA 767-300 Biz Class – Cole Haan amenity kit with all the goodies

Food

On each flight, we were served one full meal that included a first course with an appetizer and salad, a main course, and dessert. On our outbound PHL-PRG flight, we also received a breakfast snack as we neared arrival (not pictured). And on our return PRG-PHL flight, we were offered another “light meal” as we neared Philadelphia (we declined, so no pictures of that).

I have the taste of a 7-year-old, so I won’t comment on the food except to say that the desserts were delicious. Here are a few pictures:

AA 767-300 Biz Class – outbound PHL-PRG flight first course, salmon rolls, salad and bread
AA 767-300 Biz Class – outbound PHL-PRG first course, shrimp canapes and bread
(I had given my salad away to Philly at this point!)
AA 767-300 Biz Class – outbound PHL-PRG, beef main course
AA 767-300 Biz Class – outbound PHL-PRG, yummy chocolate dessert!

On the PHL-PRG return flight, I remembered to take pictures of the menu, the first course, and dessert – but not the main course:

AA 767-300 Biz Class – return PRG-PHL, menu cover
AA 767-300 Biz Class – return PRG-PHL flight, food menu
AA 767-300 Biz Class – return PRG-PHL flight, wine list
AA 767-300 Biz Class – return PRG-PHL flight, first course of beetroot-cured salmon, salad and bread
AA 767-300 Biz Class – return PRG-PHL flight, very delicious butterscotch sundae for dessert!

And finally, as the menu notes, on both flights the galley was stocked with a variety of snacks. We took full advantage of this to munch off-and-on during both flights. I’m very partial to the Nature Valley Almond Butter Granola Cups!

Service

We’re always hesitant to review service on flights, as it’s so much of a your-mileage-may-vary (YMMV) situation. But there’s one story that I’ll tell about this flight that made my blood boil, which I’ll share here.

On our outbound flight, we were connecting in Philadelphia – DFW to PHL, then PHL to PRG. We had a 1-hour 40-minute connection, which should have been fine, given that we wouldn’t have to collect bags or re-clear security.

Unfortunately, our initial DFW-PHL flight was delayed by weather, by almost an hour and a half. Needless to say, this made for an extremely tight connection in PHL. And to compound things, we arrived into Terminal B but were departing from Terminal A. They’re connected airside, but it’s a solid 10-minute walk even when you’re hustling.

Philly and I were in Row 9 for DFW-PHL, but Middle Age Miles sister Cymber was about 15 rows back. We had talked to our flight attendant on the DFW-PHL flight, and we knew that there were several people from our flight who were connecting on to PRG (at the time, we knew the exact number, but I can’t recall it for sure now but we’ll call it 9 people).

When we arrived in PHL, Philly and I hurried over to Terminal A for the PHL-PRG flight. When we arrived, the gate agent let us board but commented, “you’re lucky, we were supposed to close the door 2 minutes ago.” I took the time to tell all 3 people at the gate that we were from AA 1798 from Dallas, that we were delayed by weather, that there were 7 other people from our flight who were on their way over and would be at the gate within 5 minutes including my sister – and could they please hold the plane for them.

That didn’t happen. Within a minute or two after Philly and I boarded, the flight was closed. Cymber and several others from our flight didn’t make it. We then proceeded to sit still at the gate for 20-30 minutes, which maddening in and of itself. (On the bright side, at least we had a few minutes to help Cymber by searching for alternate flights, helping guide her on what to do, and enlisting my good friend JBTx to help her once we pushed back.)

But beyond that, it was a conversation amongst the crew that absolutely upset me. The same gate agent who had told us we were late was talking to a flight attendant in the galley in front of me (and I was in Row 3, the second row, so close enough to overhear clearly). The gate agent said, and this is very close if not an exact quote, “We should have closed the door sooner so we could upgrade more non-revs into Business.” I tell you, it took every bit of restraint in my body to not step up there and give the gate agent a very large piece of my mind.

Ok, deep breath.

In other news, Cymber re-routed from PHL to LHR, had a several-hour layover there in which she managed to go into town, ride a hop on-hop off bus for a while, and then get back to LHR in time to b-a-r-e-l-y catch her flight on to PRG. She ultimately arrived into PRG about 12 hours late, basically trading a day in Prague for her quick bus ride around London.

Our bags, of course, didn’t make the connection in PHL but fortuantely ended up on the same flight as Cymber. She was very kind to pick them up and, with the help of her Welcome Pickups driver, bring them to our hotel in Prague.

So, our Summer Holiday started off with quite the adventure, a bit of inconvenience, and an extremely rude AA gate agent – but at least this didn’t ruin anything about the trip.

Bonus Pics of the Terminal B/C Admirals Club at PHL

Fortunately, our return flights went much more smoothly, and we had a little time to catch our breath in the Admirals Club in PHL during the connection on our return flights. There are 3 Admirals Clubs at PHL, and we were in the Terminal B/C Club, located on the third floor between Terminals B and C.

This Club was large and not crowded when we were there mid-afternoon on a Saturday. Its look and offerings were standard (read: somewhat dated but fine), so we only took a couple of pictures and won’t spend time on a full review.

Here are the pictures:

Terminal B/C Admirals Club at PHL airport – it’s a long, slender room with a good bit of seating and standard Admirals Club snacks and amenities
Terminal B/C Admirals Club at PHL airport – view from the Admirals Club of the tarmac and gate area on a gray and rainy August Saturday afternoon

We hope you’ve enjoyed our review of our flights in AA 767-300 Business Class between PHL and PRG.

Do you have any thoughts or tips to add with respect to AA 767-300 Business Class? What do you think of our AA gate agent at PHL and his comment? Please let us know in the Comments!


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5 thoughts on “Flight Review – 767-300 Business Class on AA Between Philadelphia and Prague

  1. lew

    we will be flying to amsterdam on aa business out of Philadelphia end of march. very disappointing how you and the other travelers were treated. AA continues to disappoint.

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hi Lew – Thanks for reading, and thanks for the kind words. It was definitely a disappointing experience in Philadelphia – but AA got to notch another on-time “departure” for its stats [groan]. In hindsight, I wish I’d related this story directly to AA management, but I sure wasn’t going to waste my vacation time doing it. And by the time we got back, I had plenty of more important stuff piled up. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was going to accomplish anyway – I wasn’t looking for compensation (although perhaps I should have on behalf of my sister), and I didn’t have the rude gate agent’s name to be able to identify him and call him out.

      That’s awesome that you’re heading to Amsterdam soon! I hope you have a great trip, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed that AA treats you well! ~Craig

  2. Michael Bryant

    Thanks for the review. I read it last night before getting on AA53 today. They were operating the flight with an Airbus 330. I found the business class to be much more comfortable than British Airways Business Class which I flew 10 days prior to London on my way to Budapest. The seat config is different on the 330 but also had a 1-2-1 configuration. The seats on the windows are each turned slightly toward the windows and the seats in the middle each turned slightly toward the middle, so that you have a small table to use that is over the compartment where the person behind you puts their legs. I thought it was very comfortable.

    As for service, my FA was great but I found the one operating in the other aisle to be a little rude. The menu has changed slightly but I didn’t capture the details.

    Writing this from the Philly Admirals Club waiting for my connection to Boston.

    Happy travels.

    Mike

    1. Craig at Middle Age Miles Post author

      Hey Mike – Thanks for reading and taking the time to update the review, given that it’s an A330 now. Hopefully the review is still helpful for those routes where AA is still operating 767s, like the new routes between PHL and TXL, BLQ and DBV.

      Hope you have a safe last leg back to Boston and a great rest of the weekend! And I hope you had a great trip to Europe! Great time to go. ~Craig

  3. Anthony Wright

    I’ll be on AA 52 in a few weeks, July 21. Trying to get upgraded to Economy Premium or Business if possible. Got our tickets from a third-party site. Surprisingly, our DEN->PHL leg is in FC, and am seeing if AA (codeshared and purchased Finnair) or Finnair will upgrade?

    One question… how full were the transatlantic flights for you and Philly last summer? Want to brace myself if an upgrade doesn’t happen.

    Thanks,
    Anthony

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