To have some sun and warmth for her birthday my sister decided to travel around the Caribbean on an MSC cruise and asked my mum to join her on the trip. As there were no direct flights from Brussels to Miami they flew via London and had a few days at the beach of Miami Beach before setting sail.
Unfortunately their time in the sun ended too soon and they came they had to fly back home, as their flight left in the evening they still enjoyed a tour of Miami organised by the MSC cruise before being dropped off at Miami Airport.
They arrived at a chaotic scene in the American Airlines terminal, as they arrived about six hours before their flight was due to depart it wasn’t on the screen yet. After looking around a bit they found a desk that checked in all flights and it was no problem to drop off their bag and head airside.
American Airlines operate from the North Terminal in Miami with the D and E gates. This one of Miami’s nicer terminals to spend some time, decorated with some artwork at certain places. To spend the time they took a ride on the terminal train that drives over the roof connecting the different gates and giving them some nice apron views.
From Miami (MIA) 19:35 to London Heathrow (LHR) 9:15
Flight Time 7 hours and 42 minutes
Boeing 777-300ER N734AR
Delivered to American Airlines in October 2015
Their flight home would actually leave from one of the gates near the center of the terminal, so they had to walk back in the end. The flight was operated by one of American Airlines newer planes, a Boeing 777-300.
The boarding was divided into eight groups and my sister appreciated the speed and efficiency of the system until they had to wait in the jet way as maintenance was still repairing one of the seats in the rear of the aircraft.
Just like British Airways the Economy Class was in a 3-4-3 configuration, but as the fuselage of the 777 is narrower than the 747 the seats where quite narrow, As the seats were also newer they were thinner and a bit harder.
Just like on British Airways they were served an aperitif before the meal service began. On American Airlines International flights wine and beer in economy class is also complimentary but hard liquor has to be paid for. My sister just ordered a coke however and was served a full size can.
The meal was a less than memorable affair, while the tray had a good portion size and was nicely filled the taste wasn’t what they had hoped for. While my mum still had a nice vegetarian pasta with mushrooms, my sister describes her chicken with mozzarella as “eating cardboard with gum”.
On the tray were also some salad with dressing, a bun, butter, ‘cheese’ and crackers as well as a bottle of water. The cookies meant to be eaten as a dessert where quickly stowed away in their handbags “for later” as they luckily had eaten a nice pizza in the airport before.
The entertainment was clearly of a newer generation and my sister was amazed by the gaming console style controls at the backside of the entrainment controller but was disappointed the games did not work.
Throughout the night it was a very turbulent flight despite the captain telling them it would be a quiet flight. As my mum and sister have the odd tendency to sleep well during turbulence they had a pretty solid sleep through the flight.
My mum was also very pleased about the older American Airlines Crew doing frequent drink runs throughout the night while my sister appreciated the offer of snacks and soft drinks available in the galley.
Before landing in London the crew came around offering ‘breakfast’. It composed of pre-packaged items that would still be safe to eat in a distant future, a strawberry yoghurt (which my sister didn’t eat because she can’t stand the taste of artificial strawberries, some nut granola (which my sister couldn’t eat because it contained dates to which she is allergic) and a fig bar.
Along with the breakfast they were served some very terrible tea. First thing they did when they landed in landed was buy some crisps to eat as the breakfast was very underwhelming.
In London Heathrow they once again had to do the transfer from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 for their British Airways flight back to Brussels, which once again went very smoothly.
They clearly preferred their experience on British Airways with a far superior catering and a cabin crew looking more stylish and acting in a more coherent way. You could say the prejudice about a European versus and American airlines on a transatlantic flight has been confirmed.
Have you experienced such a different experience between 2 carriers on the same route? Let us know in the comments below!