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Transatlantic showdown AA J vs BA F (plus Splash Suite at The Andaz 5th Avenue)

tatl showdown
Back in late 2014, BA had one of their annual sales. The sales are remarkable in that they even offer value when flying ex-LHR! However they can often yield more interesting results, if you elect to commence your journey somewhere further afield.Given that I live not too far from LCY, it is now pretty much standard practice for me to take short hops from there to either ZRH, FRA or DUB. These have become, by extension, my ‘gateway’ airports.When this particular sale started I had never flown a premium cabin on AA or BA but knew that I was soon to experience the AA reverse herringbone seat on the A321T and the BA First Class seat on the 747.You can read that trip report here: Sun, Snow and Sushi – One Week, OneWorld F Round The World (BA F, AA F, JL F-J-Y)We’ve all heard the adage: BA F is the world’s best business class.My experience thus far had shown BA F to have provide distinctly lacklustre service and food, offset by decent beverages. Overall though it was a fantastic experience: you just can’t beat seats 1A and 1K in the nose of a 747. You are enclosed in your own private haven, with zero foot traffic coming past. No business class has that.I deliberately booked us on a BA 777 to see how BA’s most prolific F cabin would stack up.

Similarly, I knew that the reverse herringbone seats in a single aisled cabin of ten; delivered with First Class Service aboard the A321T, could hardly be representative of the business class product in a cabin of 52 seats. If I wanted to get serious about experiencing different products I would need to try the AA reverse herringbone seat in its native environment, aboard the 777-300ER: the pride of the AA fleet.

We bought this as a Business Class fare which we then upgraded to First on the outbound leg, using 20k Avios each. To my mind this is by far the best use of Avios there is. I am still shocked when I hear about people dutifully crediting their flights to BA, only to pay 400k miles plus £700 in taxes for one person LHR-SYD RT in F! People in the UK are similarly shocked when I tell them what it costs for the same route using AA miles aboard Etihad Apartments, Qantas First or even an exciting combo of Cathay First and JAL First

In terms of accommodation, we left it for a while and as February 28th approached, realised that we had two Hyatt DSUs still to use. The paid rates at the Andaz 5th were looking good and at 787sq ft the Splash Suite looked like an awesome value.

And so, we had a trip.

Is BA First really comparable to AA Business? Or does BA’s F product offer something beyond the superficial similarities in the seat design? Read on to find out…

tatl showdown - Transatlantic showdown AA J vs BA F (plus Splash Suite at The Andaz 5th Avenue)
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BA First Class on the 777
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Bryant Park, Manhattan
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AA Business Class on the 777
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Our Splash Suite at the Andaz 5th
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New York Public Library

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