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American Airlines Boeing 777-300 Flagship First Review [LAX to MIA]

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Daniel Ross
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Daniel Ross

Senior Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 56U.S. States Visited: 17

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points...
Edited by: Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

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With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

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Airline: American Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 777-300
Flight #: AA2286
Route: Los Angeles (LAX) to Miami (MIA)
Date: March 7, 2022
Duration: 4hrs 7mins
Cabin and Layout: American Airlines Flagship First, 8 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration
Seat: 1A
Cost: From ~$769 one-way

When I realized I’d need to travel to Miami from LA, there was only 1 way I wanted to fly — American Airlines Flagship First.

I love the idea of flying wide-body aircraft on short mid-haul flights, especially domestically. Having grown up in the U.K., wide-body aircraft always means a far-flung, long-haul destination to me. So stepping onboard a jet such as the Boeing 777-300 brings back those feel-good childhood holiday memories.

With the flight choice made, all I had to do was book my ticket… but did I find the price I was looking for?

Booking American Airlines Flagship First

A one-way flight in Flagship First on American Airlines’ wide-body aircraft can set you back as much as $2,500 for a one-way flight. Even though I was reviewing this flight, there was still no way I would spend that much on a 1-way, 4-hour-ish flight.

My next move would usually be to use Avios, given that I don’t have AAdvantage miles. But I paid less than $1,000 cash this time to earn status.

Hot Tip: British Airways Avios provide some great value redemption options, even as a resident in the U.S — there are several ways to earn them, too, like by using the British Airways Visa Signature® Card.

Despite the pandemic, I was the closest I’d ever been to attaining British Airways Executive Club Gold status (Oneworld Emerald), and my Tier Point collection year was due to end on March 8, 2022, with just 200 points left to earn.

Having planned my Tier Point-earning strategy to within an inch of its life, I knew this flight would earn me 210 Tier Points if I paid cash, so the hunt was on for an affordable fare.

British Airways and American Airlines have a close relationship through their Oneworld alliance memberships, which means that as a British Airways Executive Club cardholder, I still earn Tier Points when flying other Oneworld member airlines, including American.

Thanks to a stroke of luck while searching, I managed to find the fight for $973 — less than half of what you can usually expect to pay.

My mind was made up. I’d be flying American Airlines Flagship First for the first time on a Boeing 777 from LAX to Miami — a city I’d never visited before — and I’d hit Gold status all in 1 flight.

Then about 2 weeks before my flight, I loaded up Manage My Booking on AA.com to be informed there’d been a change to my booking.

To my dismay, my Flagship First 1A seat on the Boeing 777 I was originally booked onto had been switched out with seat 1A on Boeing 787, but in Flagship Business rather than Flagship First. Not only had I been downgraded, but this change also meant I’d only earn 140 Tier Points. Goodbye hopes of British Airways Executive Club Gold.

American Airlines flight change
From Flagship First to Flagship Business, just like that.

I called American Airlines immediately and explained the situation. The super-helpful agent was more than happy to switch me onto the same flight the day before, as it was still scheduled to be operated by the Boeing 777 and not the Boeing 787, which doesn’t have a Flagship First cabin.

Mission complete.

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

I rocked up to LAX with plenty of time to enjoy the Flagship experience. Sadly, the Flagship First section of the Flagship Lounge at LAX remains closed, so I didn’t get the full Flagship First experience.

I always try to get public transport to and from airports, but there was no simple, time-efficient route for me to do so from my hotel in West Hollywood.

The 10-mile trip took just over 30 minutes and cost me $35, which I didn’t think was too bad given how bad LA traffic can be.

Flagship First Check-in

If you’re getting dropped off curbside, you’ll need to head to the American Airlines section of Terminal 4 at LAX.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Terminal 4
American Airlines Terminal 4

The exclusive Flagship First check-in zone is a few steps further than the main entrance to the American Airlines area.

I was greeted by 3 members of staff and my name was cross-referenced from a checklist: they know you’re coming.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship First check in entrance
The Flagship First entourage.

My bag was weighed and tagged without an issue.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX case weighing and tagging
Flagship First bag check.

American is using a temporary check-in area for its Flagship First passengers. The space has no natural light, low ceilings, and is drably decorated. At least the check-in process is quick.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX check in
American’s temporary Flagship First check-in.

I did, however, enjoy the retro artwork that lined the walls.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX check in art
A trip down memory lane.

Next, I was escorted through a side door and into the main terminal building.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX escort to security
I was feeling very VIP at this point.

We headed up to the entrance to departures where the security checks take place.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX inside Terminal 4
Inside Terminal 4 at LAX.

My Flagship First chaperone then opened the barriers, allowing me to cut some of the line to security.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX skipping the line
More line cutting.

All told, it took 15 minutes from arriving curbside to being airside in the departures area of the terminal.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX post security in Terminal 4
Welcome to Terminal 4 departures.

A few steps past security, there was a huge sign that explained why my Flagship First ground experience wasn’t as good as it could have been.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Terminal 4 upgrade sign
LAX’s Terminal 4 is in the middle of a huge upgrade that is set to complete towards the end of 2027.

Terminals 4 and 5 are undergoing a $1.6 billion modernization project slated to be complete in 2027, just in time for the 2028 Olympic Games.

Flagship Lounge

As part of the construction work, American’s Flagship First lounge is closed.

With the lounge closed, I didn’t get to sample the delights of American Flagship Dining. Maybe I’ll flash my old boarding pass once it’s opened and see if they’ll let me in given I missed out this time.

The entrance to American’s Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge is only a few more steps into the terminal — you can’t miss it.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Lounge Entry
The entrance to American’s lounges.

I arrived at the first of 2 check-in areas where my boarding pass was scanned to make sure I had access to the lounges.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX lounge check in
The check-in area for the lounges.

I was handed this laminated invitation granting access to the Flagship Lounge.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX invitation
I was invited.

After heading up a level, I was welcomed by a fun bunch of staffers.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX second lounge check in
The second of 2 lounge check-in areas.

They directed me left into the Flagship Lounge.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship Lounge entrance
Flagship Lounge to the left, Admirals Club to the right.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship Lounge and Champagne
I spy with my little eye, something beginning with C…

They even asked me if I wanted my picture taken after seeing me so snap-happy. Complete with a glass of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne in hand, I obviously obliged.

American Airlines Flagship First Flagship Lounge posing with Champagne
It’s never too early for a glass of Champagne, is it?

Once inside the lounge, I noticed this reminder of what could have been.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship First Lounge closed
The Flagship First lounge at LAX remains off-limits to passengers.

Hot Tip: Check out my colleague Stephen’s review of American’s Flagship Lounge at LAX for what you can expect from the Flagship First lounge and Flagship First Dining areas. 

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disheartened that I wasn’t getting the full Flagship First Dining experience. However, I have only good things to say about the breakfast menu that was on offer.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship Lounge menu
Flagship Lounge breakfast menu.

The asparagus and eggs breakfast fold was something I’d never seen before.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship Lounge asparagus egg wrap
Asparagus and egg breakfast fold.

I liked that turkey sausages replaced the classic, yet less healthy and fattier, pork sausage.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship Lounge sausages
Breakfast sausage.

Knowing I’d be feasting in the air, I didn’t want to stuff myself on the ground, so I asked Lemar to rustle me up a mushroom omelet. It was delicious.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship Lounge omelette making
The omelet I ate before remembering to take a photo.

Then I sat back for a while and admired the views across the apron and onwards to the runway in the distance.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Flagship Lounge Cathay Pacific
Cathay Pacific Boeing 777 and American Airlines Airbus A321 at LAX.

Boarding at LAX

Before I knew it, it was time to board the N721AN-registered Boeing 777 that would take me to Miami (MIA).

American Airlines Flagship First LAX Boeing 777 300
It’s always nice when your aircraft pulls up right in front of the lounge.

I headed to the gate a little ahead of time to make sure I was onboard promptly to settle in.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX boarding gate 43
Gate 43.

American boarding is by group: priority boarding is groups 1 through 4, with main boarding in groups 5 through 9.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX boarding gate priority boarding singage
American boards passengers in groups 1 through 9.

Given the size of the bird, the seating area around the gate was crowded.

American Airlines Flagship First LAX boarding gate 43 seating
It was looking like a busy flight.

And, of course, a bunch of eager beavers were already lined up at the gate well ahead of boarding time (myself included).

American Airlines Flagship First LAX boarding gate 43 lice
I admit to being a gate louse and I’m not ashamed to say it.

We started boarding a few minutes after I arrived at the gate and a flight attendant announced at 12:50 p.m. that boarding was complete — 10 minutes before our scheduled departure.

I had just enough time for a couple of sips of my welcome drink of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A 3 windows
Welcome aboard.

With that, we pushed back right on time at 1 p.m. and the view over LA’s coastline from the 3 windows of seat 1A was a sight to behold.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First view over LA
Bye for now, LA.

On Board American Airlines Boeing 777-300

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t very excited about my flight ahead.

Flagship First Seat

American Airlines’ Boeing 777-300s are the only of its aircraft to be fitted with the unique swivel seat in Flagship First.

I love anything out of the ordinary, so I was curious to see whether I’d be a fan of the quirk.

My first impressions of the 9-year-old cabin and seat were that they felt a little dated for their age.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A on boarding
Seat 1A and my home for the next 4-ish hours.

Waiting for me on my seat were 2 types of pillows and 2 blankets of different thicknesses.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A
The swivel seat in all its glory.

My seat also had the same Shinola amenity kit that is meant for Flagship Business passengers, a set of Bang & Olufson noise-canceling headphones, and the all-important Flagship First menu.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First amenities
I was sure I was going to have a great time.

The view from my seat was of the adjacent seat 1D and I could just about peer into the galley if I craned enough.

As you can see, these first class seats are far from private. In fact, the Flagship Business seats behind offer a touch more privacy if that’s a priority for you when flying.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First view from seat 1A
My view from 1A.

A little release button on the right side of the seat rotated it to face the windows.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A button
The magic button.

Once facing the window, I just needed to fold out 1 of the 2 tray tables, and voilà, my very own office in the sky complete with undisrupted views out across the world.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A as office in the sky
I loved that the seat swiveled to face out the windows.

I was quite literally in my element.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First working from seat 1A
Note the glass of water and the absence of alcohol.

The only downside for me (and I’d guess many an AvGeek), is that due to the wide wood-effect paneling to the left-hand side of the seat, it was hard to get close enough to the windows to see down below.

It was easily solvable by sitting on the opposite side on the smaller seat designed for dining with a travel companion.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A guest seat
The companion seat (complete with seatbelt) for dining.

Like so:

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First sitting in reverse
That’s better.

The seat didn’t just swivel, it also reclined into a fully flat position as you’d expect. I found controls over my right shoulder.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A controls
Seat controls.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A half reclined
Seat recline to about 45 degrees.

I liked the hard shell, as this gave the feeling of more privacy when laying down.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A fully flat 2
Seat in the fully-flat position.

The second narrower pillow, I’m guessing, was to be used for lower back support while seated.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A fully flat
Sweet dreams.

A touch screen could also be used to move the seat into a number of preset positions.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat control presets
Seat preset control panel.

Buttons to turn on the reading light, release the TV screen from its docking station, and release the second tray table could be found underneath the side panel.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A control panel
Button activation.

I only noticed this narrow storage area to my left a couple of hours into the flight.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First storage shelf
My amenity kit and laptop slotted in the small space easily.

There wasn’t much further storage other than this compartment over my left shoulder that housed power outlets and the headphone port. The door doubled as a handy mirror for touch-ups before landing.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First power outlets and mirror
Mirror, mirror on the… plane?

And for stowage of larger carry-on items, overhead bins were reserved exclusively for Flagship First guests, meaning there was more than enough space for everyone.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First overhead stowage
Overhead stowage.

Flagship First Cabin

The cozy Flagship First cabin comprised just 8 seats in a 1-2-1 configuration.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First cabin from front
Looking from the front towards the back of the cabin.

The seats were also slightly staggered, meaning passengers who were seated across the aisle from each other weren’t looking directly at one another.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First cabin from behind
Looking towards the front of the cabin from the back.

If it wasn’t for this feature, these seats would really lack privacy.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seats 1A and 1D
Neighboring seats 1A and 1D.

The middle 2 seats (D and H) are best suited to those traveling as a pair, as the partition can be lowered.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1D
Seat 1D and its partition.

Food and Beverage

I was handed my first ever Flagship First menu just before take-off.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First menu
Flagship First menu.

To start with, I could pick between poached shrimp or a beet poke. Starters would also come accompanied by a butternut squash soup and a summer salad mix.

For the main course, I had the option of a beef filet, cumin-rubbed, pan-roasted chicken, a grain and greens bowl, or a spinach and ricotta rotolo pasta dish.

And finally, for dessert, options were the classic American Airlines ice cream sundae, a gourmet cheese board, or a caramel apple butter cake.

I completely forgot that Flagship Business and First guests can preorder, but this wasn’t a problem. Even with the 8 seats of the cabin occupied, I was able to have my first choice of chicken.

A little snack of 5 olives was served along with the first drink.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First FB olives
Pre-meal olives.

Then my tray table was set, complete with a mini table cloth.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First table setting service
Leveling up.

My shrimp starter, salad, and butternut squash soup were then served all at the same time. I did not appreciate that both the salad and the shrimp starter were wrapped in cellophane.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First FB starter of soup and salads
Soup, starter, and salad.

I was surprised by the strong flavors of the soup. As for the starter — I thoroughly enjoyed each bite of the 3 super juicy shrimp.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First FB juicy shrimp
Quite possibly one of the juiciest shrimp I’ve ever tasted.

At this point, I was thoroughly enjoying my Flagship First dining experience.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First happy as a boy in Flagship First for the first time
All smiles… so far.

My favorite meal of all is a quintessential British Sunday roast dinner. When my main course was set in front of me, it reminded me a little of that — albeit lacking in Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes.

Sadly, I should not have judged this book by its cover. My first bite of the chicken was salty and dry. I ate the broccoli and a couple of bites of the mashed potatoes and left almost all of the chicken.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First FB chicken main course
What a disappointment.

As the flight was short, this would be the only full meal service.

Shortly before landing, however, we were offered the infamous American Airlines cookie.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First FB cookie
It wouldn’t be a premium American Airlines flight without a cookie.

A snack basket with a variety of sweet and savory treats was on display for Flagship First guests in the front galley throughout the flight.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First FB snack bar
Snack basket.

As a coffee addict/lover/aficionado, I was ecstatic to find out that my aircraft had an espresso machine. I usually avoid the airplane coffee you get served out of a hot jug, but this, even though it was early evening and past my caffeine intake cut-off time, I just had to try.

I can confirm that the small sip of American Airlines’ espresso coffee passed my test with flying colors.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First FB espresso
You’ve got to love an espresso at 30,000+ feet.

As for the alcoholic beverages on offer; I had the option of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, BACARDÍ Rum, Aviation American Gin, no less than 4 types of whiskey, 4 beer options, Truly Hard Seltzer, Baileys Irish Cream, and Disaronno Originale Amaretto.

To summarize, the bar was well-stocked.

I settled for a couple of glasses of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne — the same that I was served on arrival at the Flagship Lounge.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First cheers from seat 1A
Happiest when drinking bubbles in 1A.

Amenities

Amenities were plentiful for this short 4-hour flight across the continent.

The IFE screen was sizeable, if not quite a distance from the seat, meaning that using the remote was necessary without straining to reach.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A footrest
The IFE screen.

The tactility of the remote wasn’t up to speed either, which meant navigating the system was a bit clunky.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First IFE remote control
IFE remote.

Before pushing back from the gate, American used the IFE screen to advertise 1 of its co-branded credit cards.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First credit card plug
Credit card plug.

Hot Tip: American Airlines offers several credit cards that boast a wealth of benefits geared towards American Airlines frequent flyers. Check out our guide to see which American Airlines credit card might be the best for you.

As usual, I was more interested in the moving map than the many films and shows that were available.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First IFE Voyager 3D moving maps
The Airshow Voyager 3D moving map.

I was glued to it for most of the flight, even though it wasn’t the most modern moving map software out there.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First moving map
Just 4 minutes to landing.

After releasing the screen from its dock, the casing came detached from the screen when I went to alter the angle.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First IFE screen damage
Repairs needed.

A huge bonus of this seat was the sheer number of power outlets. I could simultaneously charge my laptop, phone, and AirPod case.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First ample charging capability
You’ll never run out of charge in this seat.

The Shinola amenity kit was comprised of a dental kit, eye mask, earplugs, flight socks, and a tiny pen.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First amenity kit
Shinola amenity kit.

To the left of the footrest was a net pouch where a pair of slippers could be found. I appreciated the amenity, but this pair was far inferior in quality to those I was given in JetBlue’s Mint (business class) on a previous flight from London (LHR) to New York (JFK).

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First slippers
Slippers are always welcome.

The Casper bedding was of great quality and I liked that I had the option of a thick or thin blanket and extra lumbar support while seated.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First Casper bedding
Casper bedding.

I was happy to see that Wi-Fi was available. Given that I planned on working the whole flight, I paid the $29. However, I was very unhappy to find that the Wi-Fi barely worked. The man seated across from me had similar issues with emails barely being able to load.

Signing up for American Airlines inflight Wi-Fi
$29 for nothing.

Cleanliness

In general, the area around my seat and the cabin seemed perfectly clean. That was until I flipped open my table to reveal a strange crusty white film.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First seat 1A shoddy cleaning
Nasty.

Bathroom

There were 2 lavatories up front. I visited the larger of the 2 to the left of the cockpit door.

Nothing was untoward here other than the shelving unit reminiscent of where extra amenities may have been on offer in the pre-COVID travel era.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First bathroom
1 of the 2 bathrooms for Flagship First guests.

A softly-padded shelf could be released and rested on the toilet for baby changing purposes.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First bathroom changing area
Baby changing facilities.

COVID-19 Protocols

Masks were still mandatory onboard my flight when not eating or drinking.

Service

As soon as I boarded the aircraft, Pamela, the lovely purser, came straight over to me and introduced herself.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First welcome Champagne
Thank you for being great, Pamela.

Within seconds of accepting her offer of a welcome drink, she was back with a glass of Champagne.

When she saw me snapping lots of photos, she asked if I’d like her to take one for me. She didn’t do a bad job either.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First sitting in seat 1A
Purser Pamela, the photographer.

In my experience of flying on airlines in America, I’ve often found the service to be rather transactional and stale. Not on this flight. Every interaction with Pamela (and other crew members for that matter) was personable and professional. I honestly couldn’t fault the service.

I must note 1 more thing as I’d never seen this before. To allow for flight crew to take bathroom breaks, the crew would place a service cart in the thoroughfare to the galley to stop potential trespassers from accessing the flight deck.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First galley blockade
Safety first.

Arrival

We landed ahead of schedule at 8:21 p.m. into a very hot and humid Miami International (MIA) that had just seen a deluge of rain. The walk from the aircraft to the baggage carousel seemed long and we waited well over half an hour for our bags to be delivered in what was a sweaty and jam-packed baggage claim area.

Getting an Uber was also a nightmare, but this has absolutely nothing to do with American, of course.

Final Thoughts

From start to finish, I was genuinely thrilled to be experiencing Flagship First for the first time.

American Airlines Boeing 777 300 Flagship First wahoo
Having a jolly good time.

However, the lack of Flagship First Dining at LAX, the terrible main course, and the lack of reliable Wi-Fi did take the shine off for me a little.

I loved the space and the seat itself — if I flew this route again, I’d definitely go for this rather than another aircraft. The crew were also fantastic.

Would I consider paying the regular cash price of upwards of $2,000 for this flight? Absolutely not.

I would, however, consider the amount that I paid as value for the money only if I was certain to have the Flagship First Dining experience included, too.

Thank you, American, for this memorable flight and for the 210 Tier Points that I needed to reach British Airways Executive Club Gold.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Flagship First Dining open at LAX?

Flagship First Dining is temporarily suspended at LAX with no scheduled restart date.

What is Flagship First on American?

Flagship First is an exclusive travel class found only on Boeing 777-300 and Airbus A321T on the following routes: JFK to Orange County, LA to Boston, LA to JFK, LA to Miami, and San Francisco to JFK.

Is American Airlines serving drinks in first class?

Yes, a full drink service is available in American Airlines first class.

Which is best, the Flagship Lounge or Admirals Club?

Flagship Lounges are American Airlines’ most premium lounge offerings.

Daniel Ross's image

About Daniel Ross

Daniel has loved aviation and travel his entire life. He earned a Master of Science in Air Transport Management and has written about travel and aviation in publications like Simple Flying, The Points Guy, and more.

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