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American Airlines business class used to stink. While United, Delta, and US Airways all had fully flat beds in business class on at least some of their flights, all AA flights had angled lie flat seats at best in business class.
That is about to change when American’s new 777-300ER comes into service with beautiful flat beds in business class, all with aisle access.
The plane also features a cool entry way that looks more like a Las Vegas club than the airplanes I’m used to walking onto.
How can you get on?
The 777-300ER’s first route will be from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Sao Paulo (GRU) six days a week in February.
The southbound AA 963 will leave Dallas at 8:35 PM and land in Sao Paulo at 9:30 AM the next day.
The northbound AA 962 will leave Sao Paulo at 12:55 AM and land in DFW at 7:20 AM the same day.
The 777-300ER will not be on the route long. According to the press release, the plane will only fly DFW-GRU from January 31 to February 28 before switching to a European route. The way to tell if a 777-300ER is on a certain route is to look at the aircraft listed. The 777-300ER’s code is 77W.
If the Aircraft is listed as 777, that is not one of the new 777-300ERs. Instead it’s an older 777-200 with angled lie flat seats.
While the press release says that the 777-300ER will be on the route starting on January 31, the schedule lists that day’s aircraft as 777, and the first 77W date is February 1. I’m not sure which to believe, but I would not book January 31 expecting to be on the new plane unless the listed aircraft is changed to 77W for that date.
Here are the calendars for one seat in economy, business, and first in each direction for the month the planes will operate between Dallas and Sao Paulo.
Economy Dallas –> Sao Paulo
Business Dallas –> Sao Paulo
First Dallas –> Sao Paulo
Economy Sao Paulo –> Dallas
Business Sao Paulo –> Dallas
First Sao Paulo –> Dallas
What the Calendars Say
There is better availability in economy than in the other classes, with only one day with any business class space in either direction. There’s better availability returning to the States than heading to Brazil.
What’s special about American’s 777-300ERs? They are the first American Airlines planes with fully flat business class beds. The first class looks about the same as their other Flagship First experiences, and economy will be the same on this plane as on other planes. That means I am mainly interested in getting on this plane in business class. I certainly wouldn’t book these flights in economy, since you can get to Brazil for 30k US Airways miles roundtrip.
I see one intriguing premium cabin redemption that gets you in all lie flat beds. If you book the outbound on January 31 and the return February 5, you will certainly be returning in a flat bed business class product for 50k miles. The outbound will also be in a flat bed Flagship First cabin, though AA has released conflicting info on whether January 31 will be a 777-300ER or a 777-200.
Economy/business/first cost 30k/50k/62.5k each way from the US and Canada to Brazil. That means one way in business and one way in first is 112,500 miles plus tax. Adding domestic first class to/from your home airport to Dallas will cost zero extra miles and $5 more in taxes.
If you want a free stopover in Dallas in either or both directions, you can book it as I outlined in How to Book Free Stopovers Online: American Airlines. If you live in Dallas, you can add two free oneways to the roundtrip award above as outlined in my YouTube video on the subject.
The 777-300ERs Next Routes
The fancy business class will be serving London from New York-JFK and Dallas after the Sao Paulo route. To search for that space, the concept is the same. Check for an aircraft listed as 77W.
I will look to have a post about these routes in the next few days.
Getting the Miles
American Airlines miles are super easy to get.
Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.
The business version, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, also comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This card comes with 2x miles on select business purchases and a 5% miles bonus on renewal. One person can have both cards.
We know that The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered to new applicants as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate, some time in the second quarter of 2015. That means that the chance to earn 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.
All US Airways miles not redeemed on the US Airways chart by the time of integration will become American Airlines miles, and American Airlines has committed to not devaluing its award chart at the time of combination. The two types of miles are roughly equal in value.
American Airlines joins the 21st century with fully flat beds in business class on one plane, the 777-300ER. The plane debuts Dallas to Sao Paulo in February, and getting a premium ticket with miles will be tough, but possible.