I was impressed by the seat/bed, and crew, but once again the American Airlines First Class food let them down. Hence my '4 teddy' rating.
Flagship First Check-In
There was an enclosed dedicated First Class check-in area but a line there. When I did get served the Portuguese lady was very friendly but computer problems meant my baggage tags had to be reprinted several times and this made it a length process. However, we spent the time chatting about Barcelona, my stay at the Mandarin Oriental there and having a laugh.
Fast-track security at Terminal 3 was a 'painless' as it ever is at Heathrow.
First Class Lounge
Check-in to the lounge were friendly and an ice bucket full of Moet champagne was the first thing you saw in the lounge.
Staff were attentive and helpful, immediately offering to pour me a glass but I decided to wait until breakfast.
The seating areas were fine but a dedicated dining area, with waiter service, looked better and I got breakfast there. Staff could not have done more for me (eg got me a glass of champagne) but the eggs in the Eggs Benedict were a little too watery.
On the 777-300
Seat 1A & 3LAB
I was in seat 1A. I was impressed by all the space and explored my First Class Cole Haan wash bag. It contained 3LAB products that I love and can be reused as an iPad cover. In fact, on my Miami to London First Class flight the crew gave me a large tub of the 3LAB hand cream, which saved me buying it in Barneys New York at New Year.
The Wrong Glassware
We were quickly offered champagne, newspapers and pyjamas. I took the XL pyjamas but, from my Miami to London First Class flight, know they are tighter than those in British Airways First Class.
The champagne came in tumblers, as it had on the 'domestic' flight from Cayman Islands to Miami. All I can think about when I see this is the course the former GM of Four Seasons Chiang Mai told me about that showed that even water will taste different depending of the glass it is served in. I wish American Airlines and Qatar Airways would pay more attention to this subject.
A 'Massage' After Take Off
The crew turned my seat to face the large TV monitor, a very nice feature, and I tried the massage function on my seat. It was not bad. There were hot towels but I prefer the Qatar Airways choice of hot or cold.
Champagne & No WiFi
Champagne then came in a glass with stem and I tried to work on www.sifrew.com but could not access the WiFi.
Instead I reviewed the menu and drinks list, while being impressed by the Bose Noise Cancellation headphones.
After a lamb Scotch quail egg main course dish that was disgusting, both in terms of texture and taste, on my Miami to London First Class flight, I tried to be careful with my choices. I am still shocked American Airlines can produce such inedible First Class food. My worst First Class meal with them was a chicken baked with cheese dish on a Buenos Aires to Miami flight.
A Spanish Omelete to Start
I picked the 'Tortilla de Patatas with chorizo, pickled shallot and Romano pepper jam'. It was the chorizo that attracted me to this dish but I took several mouthfuls without any of the punch I expected. It was a bland dish to point of being insipid and I eventually gave up with it. Not a good start from English Chef Mark Sergeant.
Wild Mushroom Soup with White Truffle Oil
The celeriac and wild mushroom soup, with white truffle oil, was another story with delicious chunks of mushroom and a perfect truffle flavour. Delicious with the warm bread.
Savory Crusted Filet of Beef with Duck Fat Chips
For the main course I picked the 'Umami Crusted Filet of Beef with confit barrel chips and mushroom "ketchup"'. The beef was dry to the point of being unpleasant, the chips soggy and the Umami did not improve any of this.
Far from Michelin starred food Mr Sergeant is said to be renowned for.
Ken Chase's Wine
With this I tried the Napa Valley Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon. However, this wine was too earthy and dry for me and I switched back to champagne. Not much was going right at this stage of the meal.
You Cannot Go Wrong With Cheese
I tried to salvage the meal by ordered the cheese board with no goat's cheese.
The Coastal Cheddar was rich rugged and mature and Blacksticks Premier Cru creamy with a peppery taste. No problems with these and the jellied plum worked well with them.
American Airlines' Double Espresso Joke?
I was bemused to be given two coffees, when I ordered a double espresso. Not sure what this was about?
Entertaining the First Class Cabin
During dinner I watched Sofia Coppola's 'The Beguiled' starring Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman and Kirsten Dunst. A gripping film but after this I got talking to the Munich based lawyer sitting in 1B. It turned out the whole First Class cabin was interested in 'my gang' and www.sifrew.com. I had to explain things to almost all of the First Class cabin.
This "Si Frew being too friendly" approach got me into trouble with my New York Real Estate friend later in the trip. In New York I talked too much to tables close to us during dinner on New Year's Eve. We are very friendly in Cayman Islands.
A Bed is Good When There is Turbulence But A Four Seasons Lucky/Calming Stone, From An Oasis in Qatar, is Better!
Then turbulence hit and the rest of the First Class cabin were 'jealous' over my lucky/calming stone from an oasis in Qatar. A sweet gift from the former Senior Spa Director for Four Seasons in the Middle East & Africa.
I got the crew to make up my bed and tried to get a few hours sleep.
A 'Snack' Before Landing
Before landing I got the gourmet steak and melted cheese sandwich, with a warm cookie and a Spicy Blood Mary. This was perfect food to end a flight and all delicious.
Philipponnat Clos des Goisses Vintage Champagne
Before the flight ended I asked for champagne but was told I had "drunk it all" before some more was then "found". American Airlines is the only airline that ever tells me they have no champagne left in First Class.
I should also mentioned I had to point out the champagne first served on the Miami to London First Class flight was totally flat. The other passengers only noticed when I pointed this out. #travelblog www.sifrew.com are doing our best to keep standards up!!!!
A G&T To End
I ended the flight with a refreshing gin & tonic holding my calming stone again, regarding a, weather related, bumpy landing.
🐻🐻🐻🐻(4 out of 5 ‘teddies’) - two poor courses; the initial, incorrect, glassware; no WiFi and the "no champagne left" comment lost the new American Airlines First Class a 'teddy', despite great seats/beds, crew and TV. My tip:- do not be experimental with your choices from the menu, American Airlines are serving bad dishes in First Class.