I really need to stop thinking American Airlines is somehow sub par as an airline on transatlantic routes. Each time I have flown AA this year I have been pleasantly surprised by the experience. Now I have finally tried their very good Premium Economy class and I’m here to tell you about it.
Tickets were booked for a flight from Dublin to Philadelphia and I arrived at the airport nice and early. In actual fact a few minutes before the check-in desks opened, so I had a short wait before being seen. It was then off through security and then US Preclearance security and immigration before heading to the lounge.
Dublin’s 51st & Green Lounge
The 51st & Green Lounge is the only one available after passing the US formalities. You can pay in for €35 (US$37) online or €39 (US$41) at the door. If you have frequent flyer status with lounge access or are flying business class, you will gain access for free.
There is a Barista doing coffee, plus a nice array of hot food options to satisfy your appetite. A tended bar with a few cocktails is also available. I wrote up a more comprehensive review in October 2022, so check that out if you’re interested.
Near boarding time, I went upstairs to the gate and had a short wait until the first groups were called. I was in Group 2, so there was not much of a wait before it was my turn. People who were trying to board at the wrong time were being politely turned away.
AA723 – Dublin to Philadelphia (DUB-PHL)
3 December 2022
Boeing 787-8 – N879BH
Seat: Premium Economy 6L
Departure: 10:40 Arrival: 13:08
Once on board, I found my seat in the first row of Premium Economy, which you can see on the seat map here. As I was in the bulkhead row, I had plenty of room.
At each seat was a plastic pack featuring a pillow and blanket as well as the all important headphones. Once boarding was complete, we were played the video safety demonstration and headed off on our way to Philadelphia.
Premium Economy Lunch
American Airlines allow you to choose a meal before you fly in certain classes and I did that here. The choices were beef or pasta and I preordered the beef dish. Not long after take-off, a bottle of water was provided with lunch coming a little bit later.
Lunch featured a salad starter, the beef with mash, one brussels spout and some vegetables, a caramel slice for dessert and cheese to finish. All in all, quite a decent offering.
It should be noted here that the main dish appears to be the same as offered in business class. This is typical in good Premium Economy offerings and I quite like it.
Everything was utterly delicious, well cooked, nicely presented and fresh. The only bad point was the top of the caramel slice, which was incredibly hard making it a bit of a mission to bite through. I still managed though, as if I’d ever miss out on something sweet!
Flight attendants can control the electrically dimming windows on the Boeing 787, which I really hate. This was a day flight and after the meal we were plunged into pitch darkness for most of the rest of the flight.
That is really good for watching movies, but alas nothing much in the selection stood out for me (I’d already seen Top Gun: Maverick twice!). Mid-way through the flight ice cream was brought around, so I had that and went back to listening to music from my phone.
A Very Good Premium Economy Second Meal
About an hour and a half before landing, the lights came back up (hooray!) and we could see out the windows again. This meant it was time for the pre-landing meal. I had low expectations of this, as I expected it to be something simple, but it turns out I was wrong.
Bread sticks, fruit, a Mediterranean salad and a chocolate pot for dessert… now this was a good Premium Economy second service! The food was utterly delicious, with the only bad point being the vinaigrette was frozen solid and therefore useless. Even so I was thoroughly impressed and cleaned my plates. Soon after, everything was cleared away and we landed in Philadelphia on time, safe and sound.
Well, I am glad I didn’t take the US$500 upgrade to business class on this flight. I would have missed out on a very good Premium Economy experience across the Atlantic. The oneworld alliance carrier certainly gets this class of travel right.
A comfortable seat, nice pillow and blanket, decent headphones, great food and plenty of it, plus some nice extras like the ice cream made for a pleasant flight. The only major downside for me was sitting in the dark for an entire flight during the day, but I suppose that’s just me, as some might like to sleep.
What do you think of American Airlines’ Premium Economy? How does it compare to other airlines? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.