Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Flight
AA100
Aircraft
Boeing 777-300
Registration
N719AN
Class
Economy
Seat
30J
Date
26/08/2023
Flight time
06:20

Introduction

Hello and welcome everyone to this new Flight review!

Today, after two weeks of vacation on the East Coast of the United States, it's time to head back home.

For the return journey, we'll be following the same itinerary as on the way here. First, we'll board an American Airlines Boeing 777 from New York to London, and then we'll hop on a British Airways Airbus A319 bound for Basel, Switzerland.

As promised in the previous review, I'll take advantage of my departure from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport to explain it in more detail.

So, let's not waste any more time, and I'll meet you in the heart of New York.


The route to JFK

New York's JFK Airport is very well connected by public transportation, particularly by subway. The three subway lines that serve the airport are the A, E, J, and Z lines. These subway lines will take you to intermediate stations served by a local AirTrain, which serves all the airport terminals.

I personally took the A subway line and got off at the Howard Beach – JFK Airport station. From this station, you can take the AirTrain JFK directly to your departure terminal.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

That's how I arrived at Terminal 8 of New York's JFK Airport.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

New York John Fitzgerald Kennedy Airport

New York JFK Airport, the largest airport in New York, is composed of five terminals numbered from 1 to 8, with terminals 2, 3, and 6 no longer in use.

Terminal 1

JFK's Terminal 1 opened its doors in 1998. It is primarily served by Air France, China Eastern Airlines, Korean Air, Saudia, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Egyptair, TAP, Turkish Airlines, and the entire Lufthansa Group. Other airlines such as Azores Airlines and Philippine Airlines also operate at Terminal 1.

Terminal 4

Opened in 2001, Terminal 4 is primarily used by Delta Air Lines. Additionally, Aeromexico, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Singapore Airlines, Emirates, the LATAM Group, and Air India also serve this terminal. Along with Terminal 1, it is the only terminal capable of accommodating the Airbus A380.

Terminal 5

Opened in 2008, Terminal 5 is the most modern terminal at JFK. It is exclusively used by the low-cost carrier JetBlue. This terminal is known for being built on the site of the former TWA terminal, where the TWA Hotel is now located.

Terminal 7

Opened in 1970, Terminal 7 is the oldest terminal still in operation at Kennedy Airport. Originally built to accommodate British Airways, it now serves Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, ANA, SAS, Condor, Icelandair, and Kuwait Airlines. British Airways left Terminal 7 in 2019.

Terminal 8

This terminal is the largest at Kennedy Airport and exclusively serves Oneworld members such as American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, Qantas, Qatar Airways, and China Southern Airlines. It is from this terminal that I will depart today for London.

The former Terminal 2 is slated for demolition to make way for an expansion of Terminal 1, and Terminal 6 is currently under reconstruction. Terminal 3, on the other hand, has now disappeared and has been replaced by parking facilities for Delta Air Lines.


Back to the review

So, I descend from the AirTrain JFK at Terminal 8.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Terminal 8 is very modern and brightly lit.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Upon arrival, we immediately noticed the significant presence of American Airlines and British Airways, as both airlines are prominently displayed on one side of the terminal.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Check-in

I didn't have to walk very far to reach the check-in counters. A short queue awaited me.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

After about ten minutes, I reached the counter.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Once my luggage was checked and I received my boarding pass, it was time to make my way to the boarding gate.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

TSA Security Check

Once again, all passengers are subjected to the famous American security check: the TSA.

Just like at check-in, there's a bit of waiting involved. However, I got lucky! Since my flight's departure was less than an hour away, I was allowed to use the priority line, which saved me about half an hour.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

At security, you have to remove everything – shoes, belts, bulky sweaters. Some suitcases went through the scanner multiple times.

After about 15 minutes, it was time to get to the avgeek's favorite part of the airport: the Airside.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Airside

Once again, I must emphasize the cleanliness of the terminal.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

I now have a little over an hour before my boarding. I decided to explore the terminal.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

It's not very crowded today, which is quite pleasant. Furthermore, unlike some airports, we're not surrounded by duty-free shops. There is a space reserved for stores, but it's not necessary to pass through it to reach your boarding gate.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Additionally, numerous restaurants/bars are available.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

JFK Terminal 8 is very pleasant, and it wouldn't be unpleasant to spend several hours here during a layover. Many seats are available, with a view overlooking the aircraft, including a magnificent Iberia A350 about to depart for Madrid.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Water fountains are available everywhere, which is very nice, especially on a hot day like today.

Unlimited Wi-Fi is also available.

I noticed a nice little feature on one of the walls in the main hall of the terminal: the evolution of American Airlines logos since the company's inception. On the opposite wall, a mural represents famous landmarks from around the world.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

As if American Airlines wasn't present enough in the terminal, a huge old American Airlines logo is painted on the floor of the same hall. When I say huge, it was about 7 meters long. Additionally, an artistic model of a 767, also from the American airline, is positioned in the middle of the terminal. When you add in the jetways stamped with AA, I think it's safe to say that we are indeed in the domain of the world's largest airline, which operates a fleet of more than 1,200 aircraft!

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

In one branch of the terminal, I catch sight of my aircraft for tonight. It's a Boeing 777-323ER that joined the American fleet in early 2013.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Now it's time to board this big toy.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Boarding

I arrive at my boarding gate, Gate 14, where the boarding by groups has already begun.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

The groups are numbered from 1 to 9, and I belong to the last group, which gives me a chance to take a few more photos of the aircraft.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

As I approach the gate where you would typically scan your boarding pass, I notice something surprising.

Neither a passport nor a boarding pass needs to be scanned. A simple facial recognition allows the gate to open. It's at this moment that I remember that before passing through security, a police officer scanned our passports.

I find this method of boarding very nice, even though those who are nostalgic for traditional boarding passes will be disappointed.

After passing through the gate, a long corridor leads me to the jetway, unfortunately without any windows.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

It's now time to board the plane. The traditional fuselage shot is done, and I board through door 2L of the aircraft.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Upon my arrival, two flight attendants welcomed us with a warm smile, while indicating the way to our seats.

I then discover the cabin of my plane.


Cabin and Seat

First, I walk through the Business Class, configured in a 1-2-1 layout. Further down, Premium Economy appears, configured in a 2-4-2 layout.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

A few rows later, I reach the main cabin. My seat is 30J. Interestingly, being located near the central galley, row 30 is configured in a 2-4-2 layout, whereas the rest of the cabin is configured in a 3-4-3 layout. This type of seat can be appreciated by passengers traveling as a pair. Additionally, I find this configuration more comfortable. Furthermore, the absence of a passenger behind you allows you to recline your seat without worrying about inconveniencing the passenger behind you.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

When I get to my seat, I find a cushion and a blanket on the seat, as well as earphones.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

I'm sitting by the window, which will allow me to take numerous photos.

While waiting for the end of the boarding, let me give you a tour of the seat.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Each seat in the main cabin is equipped with an entertainment screen. In addition, you'll find an audio jack and a USB port under this screen.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Furthermore, each seat is equipped with a universal power outlet, which is becoming increasingly rare in Economy Class these days. A big plus for American Airlines.

Under the screen, the tray table can be opened fully or partially. Although a cup holder would have been preferable, it's still decent.

Boarding is now closed, and it's time to depart.


Push-back and taxi

We push back to the northeast.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Once again, American Airlines clearly shows that Terminal 8 is THEIR terminal.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

During the pushback, the safety instructions are given through the Airline's new safety video.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

The two massive General Electric GE-90 engines roar to life, and we begin our taxi. During the taxi, I'm fortunate to catch sight of many European airlines that you don't see every day, especially with their long-haul aircraft: a LOT 787, two ITA A330s, and even American airlines like JetBlue, which we don't see much of in Europe either.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

During the taxi, we cross runway 13L/31R.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

It's at this moment that I see the long line of planes waiting for takeoff. There are at least 10 planes ahead of us. So, a little wait is to be expected.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

During this wait, a little surprise for me! I spot in the distance a plane that I haven't seen in a long time but is one of my favorites, especially when it's in the livery of my favorite airline: Lufthansa's A380.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

If you've read my other reviews, you'll see that despite traveling a lot with the German airline, I rarely had the opportunity to go through Munich, where the 380s of the German carrier are based. So, as an avgeek, it was a great pleasure to see the king of the skies.

Anyway, after this little moment of emotion, let's get back to business.

Thanks to the highly efficient New York air traffic controllers, the takeoff sequence is crazy.

10 minutes after crossing runway 13L/31R, we are second in line for takeoff, right behind a Delta Air Lines Boeing 767-300.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Take-off

At 6:45 PM, 30 minutes after the scheduled time, our Triple 7 throttles up.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Bye-bye, America. See you soon!

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

During our initial climb, we can catch a glimpse of the New York skyline in the distance, all under a beautiful sunset.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

We pass through a thin layer of clouds and quickly reach an altitude of 10,000 feet as the sun gradually disappears.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

In-Flight Service

During the last light of this August 26, 2023, the meal is served, along with drinks.

To change things up from pasta, this time I opted for the chicken. It was accompanied by wheat and a tomato sauce. On the tray, we also had a salad, a small roll, and a water bottle. Additionally, there's cheese, butter, a little biscuit, and, to finish, a cinnamon cake for dessert.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

On its long-haul flights, American Airlines offers a wide range of beverages, from fruit juice to wine.

The meal was, to be honest, relatively good, although the chicken was a bit unusual, especially in terms of color, which was very white.

After the meal, it's time to embark on the overnight crossing of the North Atlantic.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Inflight entertainment

In order to get some rest and combat jet lag, it's time for me to get a little sleep. But first, let me introduce you to the in-flight entertainment system.

Just like on the outbound flight, American Airlines offers a wide selection of movies, TV shows, and live TV. Additionally, the interactive map also offers different views, including my favorite, the cockpit view. Wi-Fi is also available onboard American Airlines flights.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

When you connect to the in-flight Wi-Fi, a page opens, presenting the two available options:

  • A 2-hour pass for $29
  • A pass that covers the entire flight for $35

Both passes allow complete internet access. However, I find both passes quite expensive. It would be interesting for passengers if a free messaging pass were offered, and if the prices were lowered.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

When compared to other American carriers like Delta Airlines, which offers complete in-flight Wi-Fi, or European airlines like Air France, which offers a free messaging pass, American Airlines remains relatively expensive compared to its competitors. I find it quite unfortunate in this day and age to have to pay astronomical sums to stay connected. It's a service that, for me, is essential in 2023.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

In-Flight Service (Continued)

After two hours of sleep and upon opening the window shade, the sky has already brightened. We can already see the first Irish coasts.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

At the same time, the crew serves breakfast. A paper bag contains vanilla yogurt, peanuts, and a cookie. I found this breakfast a bit light, but despite that, it was decent.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Descent and landing

Once all passengers have disposed of their waste, the captain begins our descent. During this descent, the sky brightens more and more, allowing us to observe the United Kingdom waking up.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Once again, the morning traffic at Heathrow forces us to circle above the countryside in the south of London. During our turns, we will fly not far from London Gatwick Airport.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Once the preceding traffic has landed, our Boeing 777 lines up for approach to runway 27L.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

This approach offers us a magnificent view of all of London, from the City in the east to Buckingham Palace in the west. We then spot iconic London landmarks like Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Landing

At 6:02 AM, 18 minutes ahead of schedule, the wheels of the plane touch down on London soil.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

We then begin our taxi to Terminal 3, where we departed from two weeks ago.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

During the taxi, the first rays of the sun make their appearance. The sky turns red-orange, offering us a magnificent spectacle.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

Five minutes later, we arrived at our gate.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

It's time to leave our 777 and head to the terminal.

The crew bids us farewell, I thank them, and I deboard from the aircraft.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

London Heathrow Airport

As mentioned in the introduction to this review, I am in transit today, so I must follow the "Flight Connections" signs.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

I turn around one last time and bid farewell to Alpha November.

Flight review: American Airlines from New York to London in Economy

And thus, this Flight review comes to an end. I hope you've enjoyed it, and I'll see you very soon for the fourth and final flight of this journey to Basel.

Until then, safe travels!


Conclusion

New York JFK Airport

For my first experience, New York JFK Airport was very satisfactory. Firstly, the airport is very well-connected by public transportation, which is crucial for an international airport. Additionally, Terminal 8 is modern, bright, efficient, and clean. Many seats provide passengers with a pleasant experience during long transits. Pro tip: allow for 3 hours to be comfortable during your stay at the airport, as it can sometimes get crowded during peak hours.

American Airlines:

Having been quite disappointed by the outbound flight, the American airline managed to redeem itself on the return flight. The crew was very professional, and the service was decent. American Airlines' entertainment service is well-stocked, despite the cost of in-flight Wi-Fi, which, in my opinion, is quite expensive. One minor downside: the breakfast was a bit light.

London Heathrow Airport:

Arriving in London was quite smooth. Just like on the outbound flight, everything is well-indicated. The terminal is somewhat dated but gets the job done perfectly.


Ratings

Cleanliness
5/5
Accessibility and orientation
5/5
Efficiency
4.5/5
Services
5/5
Cabin and comfort
4.1/5
Entertainment
4.4/5
Food and beverages
4.2/5
Crew
5/5
Cleanliness
5/5
Accessibility and orientation
5/5
Efficiency
5/5
Services
N/A

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