American 777-200 EZE-MIA Business Class Review, Covid Edition

On a recent trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, we managed to snag a seat back on American Airline’s 777-200 to Miami. It wasn’t the easiest seat to get using miles OR cash as almost every day was sold out, but it was good to see that American didn’t really diminish their service too much due to Covid-19.

Some things are different however because of the Covid-19 pandemic, so let’s go over a few highlights of the trip so if you’ve got a business class flight coming up, you can know what to expect.

Covid-19 Measures

Things have changed quite a bit now for the worse in air travel in general. Mask restrictions are in place, many airlines have instituted cost cutting measures, and the service on many airlines has been lowered.

I’ll have to give American Airlines credit here, because with the exception of having to wear a mask on the plane, the general service offered by American Airlines in Business Class didn’t feel too different.

And with everything else going on right now, I’ll take that as a win.

Buenos Aires Airport, American Airlines

American Airlines has partnered with VeriFLY to make the check in process seamless. If you’re traveling to or from a destination that requires a Covid 19 negative test (like the United States) you can use VeriFLY to upload all your documentation beforehand.

This saves a ton of time at the airport as an independent third party verifies everything for you. Just show the confirmation screen at the airport and you’re good to go!

Check-In was a breeze but the airport itself was a truly surreal experience. Since tourism travel has been virtually eliminated to Argentina, the airport was a ghost town. Check in counters were empty, the security had no wait, and immigration was empty.

From the time the taxi dropped me off at the airport to the time I was in Duty Free took a grand total of 18 minutes. That’s unheard of, especially for a city of tens of millions of people.

Lounges

Normally you would have access to the American Airlines lounge or even the LATAM lounge. Both of them are currently closed along with the American Express Centurion lounge. The “Aeropuertos VIP” lounge was open for Business Class passengers as was the Star Alliance lounge for Priority Pass members.

We’ll do separate posts reviewing both of those options, but for now just know that if you do want a lounge, you have options, albeit different from what you might have expected.

Boarding

Boarding has always been, and will always be, an epic shitshow in Argentina. The concept of priority boarding doesn’t exist, as every Argentine considers themselves a VIP and a “Zone 1” client.

Since no one cares, including the gate reps, don’t expect anyone to check proper boarding zones. If you’re in business class, muscle your way to the front or expect to wait in the back.

Also, the secondary security screeners are total idiots. Do not try to argue with them. They’ll try and tell you that the water you bought in the airport is over 3.4 ounces and according to US law (which, you know, they’re well versed in) you’re not allowed to bring it with you.

Never mind the duty free that you just purchased, or the water they give you on the plane. If you paid for it in the airport, US rules say you can’t take it with you.

Just don’t buy any water, or any liquid for that matter, that you want to bring with you. I’m warning you ahead of time so that you’re not surprised or offended when the time comes for your secondary screening.

Business Class 777-200, The Seat

American does a great job at making the seat super comfortable with a good layout. As the cabin is laid out in a 1-2-1 configuration, I chose a seat by myself on the right side of the plane.

American Airlines 777 Business Class Seat

A large pillow and bedding was laid out at the seat upon arrival, along with a menu, sanitizing wife, and amenity kit.

The footwell on the side of the planes angles just a bit, but I didn’t find it uncomfortable for sleeping, even at 6’3”.

American Airlines 777 Business Class Seat Footwell

To the side near the window was a small storage space with 2 USB chargers, a standard 110 plug, headphone jack, and remote control.

American Airlines 777 Business Class Seat

American Airlines 777 Business Class Seat

Another small storage area was just behind it.

American uses Bang and Olufsen headphones for their flights. Note: American Airlines will take your headphones away from you 1 hour before landing, so either prepare to end the last hour of the flight in silence or make sure to have your own headphones.

American Airlines 777 Business Class Seat Headphones

On my flight, the flight attendant was truly militant, citing that they could not possibly take them away with 15-20 minutes to go, or even let us keep them at the seat, due to “security regulations.”

American Airlines 777 Business Class Headphones

While you and I both know that’s a load of crap, just understand that you won’t have headphones for a good chunk of the final approach.

The monitor for watching movies was a good size, and during sitting and sleeping, it was still visible without too much glare.

American Airlines 777 Business Class Screen

The Food

A menu was waiting at the seat which listed the food and drink options. I decided to order my food ahead of time, and it’s a good thing that I did. Everyone else behind me ended up getting stuck with the “Vegetarian Locro” which looked disgusting and, judging by the moans of all the people a few rows back, tasted bad too.

I ordered the Beef Tenderloin which came with grilled veggies and potatoes au gratin.

Before the food was delivered the flight attendants took drink orders. One of my favorites that’s often overlooked on American flights is the amaretto, Disaronno. I love it, and it’s usually always available since so few people ask for it.

I opted to try for a nice Churchill’s Port as well with my main course, since I’m a firm believer that port wine isn’t just for dessert!

Still no glasses, only plastic ware, but I’ve become accustomed now to having plastic cups instead of glass due to Covid.

The meal, once delivered, is still covered with plastic and/or foil. The flight attendants purposely do it that way to try and keep it as sanitary as possible for as long as possible.

While the appearance of the potatoes, veggies, and sauce wasn’t that appetizing, the meat was cooked perfectly and was super tender.

After a good long sleep on the flight I woke up for breakfast. American offers a hot and cold option, so I went with the hot.

The cold option was a fruit bowl with granola and the hot option, scrambeled eggs, hash browns, and grilled ham. I ate the fruit but let the bread untouched. Something about a croissant wrapped in a plastic bag for days on end doesn’t seem terribly appetizing.

Arrival

You can tell that we have arrived in Miami by the amount of humidity on the windows outside.

Since the flight from Buenos Aires lands so early, the customs and immigration lines were non-existent. I didn’t have any wait at all and the luggage came off fast (in about 22 minutes).

There’s something really cool about arriving in Miami and seeing all the flights from Central and South America all arriving at the same time.

Overall Impressions

I’ll give American Airlines credit here, as they really went out of their way to make the business class flight seem like it was back to normal, within reason.

Sure, you’ve got to wear your mask throughout the flight (even while sleeping) and the food comes out covered in plastic and foil, but the quality of the food was good, the seat was still comfortable, and on the ground, there were still options to relax beforehand.

I’ll look forward to getting back to a full lunge offering and more options with proper glassware on the flights soon, but all things considered, you shouldn’t expect too much of a difference flying business class with American Airlines.

Have you flown internationally since the pandemic started? How have you felt throughout the process?

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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11 Comments

  1. In contrast to pre-covid, was no personal, by name greeting, no pre-flight champagne or other beverage, I had to ask for my suit jacket to be hung, and there was no beverage refills, nor snack bar available during the flight. At 6’ I found the compartment very confining when trying to lie down flat. There is very real wiggle room for your feet. In contrast, a LAX to HKG had a more spacious compartment, a 1” mattress and pajamas. Of course that’s a bit longer flight. I normally fly DFW-EZE 5-6 times a year, but only 2x this year as since April the covid protocols are excessively restrictive for a brief r/t of 6-8 days.

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    • Hopefully they’ll un-cancel the DFW route and get it back operating again.

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  2. You’re alive! Good to read your writing again. How bad were things with Covid in Argentina? I read something about the situation being so bad that there is an incredibly low number of entrants allowed in the country every day, kinda like Australia but with extremely high case numbers.

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    • Argentina is a mess right now. Covid is out of control, and the government is completely inept and doesn’t know what to do. They’re actually turning away free vaccines because the corrupt people involved can’t make a buck off of it. Great country, unfortunately being run into the ground. But we will be back as often as possible.

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  3. Sure doesn’t look normal. Try flying Emirates. THATS normal. Not a single thing different except masks. No plastic cups or reduced food service. Everything done in courses.

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    • We love Emirates and have flown them many times, wrote some great reviews on this blog too!

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  4. How did you get into the country, considering Argentina was not allowing Americans? What date did you arrive and depart?

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    • Ben is Argentinian, so he was allowed to return to his native country, and I was allowed to return with him!

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  5. I commented a bit on your Delta flight not realizing you have experienced AA. I would add i my flight was supposed to be on the 777-300 with swivel seat and I missed that as the night sky was magical, it never got completely dark but I felt that twisting in my lower back afterwards. Fortunately there was champagne afterwards at the BA Concorde Tearrace

    I should add that not withstanding my snide quip at BA, they did serve with real glassware and china:-) it was a delightful flight 🙂

    However they did a bit of COVID theater by boarding from back forward including first class even though they were using 2L door Especially bogus at Dulles as we simply walk off the plane by rows and promptly get squeezed in together on the buggies to immigration 🙁

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    • I’ve learned – that when I’m flying First class I feel like boarding whenever I damn well please 🙂

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  6. Certainly agree with the flight attendant/purser was a brown shirt on my downgraded 77W to 777-200 on Birthday trip JFK-LHR a couple weeks ago. After I mentioned I was downgraded from First, she just complained that she was downgraded too. Jeeze talk about lack of customer first. This was Lynn on AA#100 July 8. She also loved that I was annoyed by the cabin light shinning in my eyes from my seat 2A. And she wouldn’t close the curtain cause she had to keep an eye on us 🙁
    Why do those Phoenix pinheads still allowed to run this crap of an airline

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