Review of American Airlines flight New York Los Angeles in First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA300
Class First
Seat 5A
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 06:30
Take-off 03 May 19, 20:00
Arrival at 03 May 19, 23:30
AA   #73 out of 134 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 326 reviews
socalnow
By GOLD 1827
Published on 28th August 2019

Greetings Flight Report community and thanks for stopping by this report. This is the continuation of our trip to Vietnam that became a reality after a Cathay Pacific "mistake" fare that was honored. Feel free to visit the SNA-ORD report for more background on the planning, etc.



Transit and Connections home


photo 20190503_142741

CX seems to park at 47 much of the time, from my observations, and today would be the same. We deplaned through L2 so we were not the first off the aircraft but we were among them. We both have Global Entry so the process of entering the US was painless an quick. There's a lot of walking but it felt really good after a long flight. We have our luggage with us and mobile boarding passes for our next flights so back airside efficiently.
Jennifer was leaving earlier and flying to SNA via DFW. It was the fastest way home and she was keen to see the kids before bed and relieve our child care providers of their duties. Her flight was a simple cash flight. She was in F on the 757 with lie-flats  rippe(with ripped out IFE) to DFW and F on the 737-800 to SNA. She sent me a picture of the 757 interior and the holes where the TVs used to be and captioned it "WTF?" The 16 hours in CX F changes your perception of things.
I intended to get home on points and found the very unusual AA F redemption at the Saver Level for 50,000 AA miles. The catch was an 8 hour layover at JFK and a 23:30 arrival into LAX. There were no J Saver seats that afternoon and routing via AA hubs were also limited. I was up for the experience and went ahead and booked the F seat.


AA Flagship Lounge


By virtue of coming off the CX F flight we were both entitled to use the very good American Flagship Lounge. My seat in Transcon F allowed me to use the excellent Flagship First Dining but did not allow for guesting privileges. Jennifer only had a short layover so I spent some time with her in the Flagship Lounge and walked her to her flight leaving from 44.



The elevator drops you right at the reception desk and we were quickly checked in. I was given the invitation to use the dining room at my leisure.


photo 20190503_143118photo 20190503_134744

We had a look around the lounge.


photo 20190503_132839photo 20190503_132845

There's a buffet with a variety of hot and cold dishes and soups. Neither of us were ready for food. I would wait for the restaurant of course and Jennifer had pre-ordered meals for her flights.



A self service bar.


photo 20190503_133029

The center of the lounge had a wine and Champagne bar as well as a craft cocktail station.


photo 20190503_132801photo 20190503_132819

There's also a quiet room with a few comfortable chairs with ottomans. I spent some of my layover in here napping and found that everyone during my stay honored the quiet label.


photo 20190503_134720photo 20190503_134741

I walked Jennifer to her aircraft and felt a tinge of jealously for her  riding on the 757.


photo 20190503_141647

AA looks to be all 777 for transoceanic flights from JFK, judging from my spotting.


photo 20190503_142752photo 20190503_142829

AA Flagship First Dining JFK


photo 20190503_142957

I walked back to the lounge and visited the Flagship First Dining facility.


photo 20190503_143214photo 20190503_143220

I was shown to a table of my choosing by the friendly, and probably board,  staff. I never saw more than 4 tables occupied. The room is separated into two areas. There is a dining room and a bar area.



The wine selection. The Krug Grand Cuvee is still on the menu.



Cocktails.


photo 20190503_143506

Dessert.


photo 20190503_151111

After dinner drinks.


photo 20190503_151113

They serve food too! Thanks goodness because that drink list looks too good but not on an empty stomach.


photo 20190503_143529photo 20190503_143536

Dining with a 777 view. My kind of restaurant.


photo 20190503_143628

I was in a cocktail mood after enjoying beers in Southeast Asia and beautiful wine on board the airplane. I started with the Spin Move.


photo 20190503_143924

I requested the Tuscan sausage & white bean soup to start. I was very pleased with the wholesome and hearty soup. The portion size was small, which I appreciate. The crouton, however, was inedible and stale.


photo 20190503_144537photo 20190503_144545

A gin basil lemonade was up next and really excellent, balanced, and refreshing.


photo 20190503_151030

Originally I had requested the eggrolls but they were not available so I went with my second choice. The crab stuffed shrimp were nothing like I had imagined. It was more crab under shrimp. Again I appreciate the tasting portion but found the dish not to my liking. The prawns were cooked correctly but the flavor was off and a bit fishy. 


photo 20190503_145108photo 20190503_145113

Overall I was pleased with my appetizers and also the service. The staff were well intentioned and friendly, I said goodbye and mentioned that I was here for another 5 hours do they will see me again to resume the meal!


After dining I was ready for a shower and a nap. The shower rooms are very spacious and were readily available when I sought one out. There is no desk to check in, just locate an open and clean shower room and help yourself.



After a very refreshing shower and armed with some boxed water I sought out a seat in the quiet room for a nap. The seats where you can put your feet up on an ottoman are quite few but I did locate one and was able to put my head back and nap for about 90 minutes.


With about 3 hours remaining until departure I popped back into the dining room and was welcomed back with no need for credentials. That's a good thing as they take your invitation on the initial visit. The woman I encountered first offered to show me to "your table" and sat me at the table I previously occupied. These little service marks sure add to the overall experience of spending time in the lounge.


photo 20190503_182716

My drink order was taken, gin martini up with olives, and I was offered bread. She mentioned it was fresh baked and smells very good in the kitchen. How could I decline that? She was right, the bread assortment was warm and seemingly fresh from an oven.


photo 20190503_183429photo 20190503_183613

To resume the meal I asked for the beet and burrata salad. I know it's almost cliché to have one of these on a menu these days but there's a reason, it's good!


photo 20190503_184102

I skipped the main and went on to my favorite treat, a bit of cheese. I couldn't decide on a pairing so I opted for the Pagodes de Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux and the Quinta do Noval 10 year Tawny. The Bordeaux is on the list that is exclusive to the FFD facility. The other wines on the list are in both the Flagship Lounge and FFD.


photo 20190503_191034

An espresso to finish.


photo 20190503_192259

The QR A350-1K wandered past while I was enjoying the espresso and the water from the puddles made the hot brakes steam.



I enjoyed my stay in the lounge and found the service made up for some of the misses food wise. There was genuine effort from the staff and a desire to make guests comfortable and provide a good experience. I thanked them each for their care, I'd been there much of the day after all, and left to board the flight.


AA300 JFK-LAX


Boarding was underway when I arrived at the gate and I was able to tag on the end of the Group 1 line.


photo 20190503_194723photo 20190503_195243

I selected 5A, the last window seat on the port side,  for this flight and the 10 seat F cabin would go out full, as I'm sure it almost always does.  You can see 5A is missing the window that would be closest to the seat.


photo 20190503_193938photo 20190503_193929

The menu, headphones, and amenity kit are at the seat as I arrive.



Ample storage around the seat .



Casper pillow and blanket provisioned.


photo 20190503_201548photo 20190503_201556

Kit contents.


photo 20190503_201703photo 20190503_201816

I was greeted the purser Ramona and she had an immediately friendly and lovely way about her. This didn't translate into excellent service but she was lovely and engaging. Case in point I had to ask for something to drink before we departed where at least some others were offered a beverage of their choice. I'm sure just a case of getting sidetracked and forgetting.


photo 20190503_194814

A  look at the menu. I had pre-ordered the beef Bolognese.



Can you ride on an airplane without a dog these days?


photo 20190503_202024

Cabin lighting was dimmed for taxi and takeoff.


photo 20190503_200841photo 20190503_201453

Headphones and IFE are both excellent.



Just getting started.


photo 20190503_202407photo 20190503_202429

Service started with a warm towel and offer of beverage.


photo 20190503_203445

I requested the Castelnau and it was served with some olives and a cubic meter of warm nut mix.


photo 20190503_204524photo 20190503_204540

The table was nicely laid.



To my surprise the soup arrived first as Ramona had forgotten the burrata small plate I had ordered. It doesn't make a difference to me. The mushroom soup as very rich and creamy. Not as earthy as the mushroom soup on the CX flight earlier today.


photo 20190503_205934photo 20190503_205937

Eventually a roll was offered from a basket.


photo 20190503_210052

The burrata was served next and it was anything but a "small plate". There was a baseball size hunk of cheese. I found it odd that the cheese and tomato were undressed. I asked if there was a dressing or some olive oil and was given a small bottle of olive oil mixed with balsamic.  The dish was fine but I only tried a couple of bites, it was a huge portion.



The salad came next and was also massive. So much so that I asked Ramona to skip the main pasta dish. The salad was OK. Seemingly boring but if you dig around you can find some green beans.



Dressing was served on the side.


photo 20190503_211442

A Woodford on the rocks for dessert.


photo 20190503_214510

The F lav is a standard A32x size with zero amenities.


photo 20190503_221621photo 20190503_221631

I setup the bed after dinner.


photo 20190503_222012photo 20190503_222017

I woke as announcements were made to prepare the cabin for arrival.


photo 20190503_225346

Despite the long taxi from the north complex we arrived on the gate early. Oh, and there was a gate, which is a bit of a story if you're familiar with AA ops at LAX…


photo 20190503_230200photo 20190503_230237

AA Flagship first dining lax


Now any sane person would jump in the Uber and head home. Nobody has ever accused me of sanity. Everyone is asleep at home anyway so I went to see what's cooking at the LAX FFD of course!


photo 20190503_233126

At LAX the initial check in is downstairs. Upstairs you show your invitation to another set of of staff and then you are escorted to the FFD room. The hallway leading to FFD has some wonderful AA nostalgia with an LA emphasis.



There was only one other table occupied when I arrived and I was quickly shown to my favorite table. The window ramp views are excellent.



The "Flagship First Dining Collection" wines were the same as on offer at JFK. I didn't look closely enough at the rest of the list to see if it matches.



The Cocktails take on a local flare and were all different than JFK.


photo 20190503_233606

To dine.


photo 20190503_233652photo 20190503_233657

I started with the Scofflaw cocktail and it must have impaired my judgement as I also ordered raw oysters in an American Airlines airport lounge. Nothing good can become of this. I asked for the pork belly lettuce wraps too.


photo 20190503_234810photo 20190503_234816

The roasted tomato was a bit overpowering for a subtle oyster but I'm happy to report freshness and food safety wise there were no ill effects.


photo 20190503_234821

The lettuce wraps were really quite nice.


photo 20190503_234842

I had a go at the Far Eastside too, a well balanced and tasty cocktail.


photo 20190503_235942

I poked around the Flagship Lounge on the way out. It was very quiet at this hour, just before closing.



See more

Verdict

American Airlines

7.4/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew6.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Meal/catering7.0

American Airlines Flagship First Lounge

8.5/10
Comfort9.0
Meal/catering8.5
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.5

New York - JFK

7.6/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.0

Los Angeles - LAX

7.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access6.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

The Ground Service: We were through quickly with our carry on baggage and mobile boarding passes. I suppose we could have gone through he Flagship First check in area for a more posh experience but it didn't occur to me at the time.

The Lounge: There are several lounges involved here. The AA Flagship lounges ae great Business Class lounges. Heck the one in JFK has an a la carte, prepared to order, menu is you sit on"the bridge" side, in the opposite direction of the main lounge. Then there's the AA Flagship First Dining which is really quite good. The food is not extraordinary but there is generally something to enjoy, The cocktails are quite fun and interesting too. It's the quiet surroundings, personal service, and fantastic views that really set the FFD apart. Kudos to AA.

The Cabin: It's as good as domestic F cabins get in the US. Direct aisle access, spacious aisle, good privacy, and flat bed are all fantastic features for a transcon flight.

The Crew: Ramona was well intentioned and kind. Polished and attentive she was not.

The Food and Beverage: There sure is a lot of it on offer. I don't' understand the portion sizes. Doesn't the crew give feedback that much of the food is still on the plate when cleared? Bottom line is eat in the lounge.* (*unless you're an avgeek and like to document EVERYTHING)

Overall: The FFD lounges are a hit and well worth spending some time in. The rest of the experience is only slightly ahead of Business Class.

Information on the route New York (JFK) Los Angeles (LAX)

12 Comments

  • Comment 519225 by
    757Fan 559 Comments

    Looks like a great report. AA dining looks awesome - thank you for sharing!

  • Comment 519231 by
    atco SILVER 127 Comments

    Thanks for sharing the final leg of your adventure Socalnow!

    I must admit the AA A321T in First looks like a pretty decent product. The thing that always scares me about US airlines is the crews. I read a thread on Flyertalk recently about a purser in AA First on a HKG-DFW flight that is absolutely horrific.

    Nice to see some shots of the Flagship lounge at JFK, where I got to spend about 4 minutes during our CX disaster. Looks like a not bad lounge.
    Flagship First Dining was to be one of the highlights of our flight which of course ended up being dashed. It looks like a private and very nice place to be, so now I'm even more annoyed lol. The fact they serve Krug too has about shred my last good nerve!
    Joking of course, very glad that you had a wonderful experience there, and nice that they remembered you and gave you a high level of personal service. That kind of treatment is not normally synonymous with the US3.

    That looked like an absolute boatload of food inflight, holy cow!

    I absolutely love that you went into the FFD lounge on arrival too! Amazing commitment to avgeekery at its finest. I love that we can be around other like minded and somewhat insane enthusiasts here. Its like group therapy!

    Looks overall like a memorable trip, thank you for sharing it all with us. A delight to read from the first sentence of the first leg to the last one of the last leg.

    • Comment 519439 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Greetings Atco and thank you for sharing your comments here.

      The thing that always scares me about US airlines is the crews.

      -It's crew roulette all the way. When they're good it's a very nice experience even if a bit informal. Unfortunately bad to indifferent is more common.

      It looks like a private and very nice place to be, so now I'm even more annoyed lol. The fact they serve Krug too has about shred my last good nerve!

      -Yes, it's actually quite good. Leave it to me to open old wounds.

      I absolutely love that you went into the FFD lounge on arrival too!

      -Well, yeah. Wouldn't you? ;)

      I love that we can be around other like minded and somewhat insane enthusiasts here.

      -Me too, it's not a strange conversation among us. Among others it gets some strange reactions...

      Thank you again for taking the time to comment and for your kind sentiments. Happy flying.

  • Comment 519383 by
    DiegoSS02 70 Comments

    Great report! It looks like the only real competitor to AA's transcontinental F service is B6's Mint class. It seems like a pleasant product, both hard and soft.

    • Comment 519440 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Greetings DiegoSS02 and thank you for the feedback.

      It looks like the only real competitor to AA's transcontinental F service is B6's Mint class.

      -I'm very eager to try Mint. It's hard to say it's in the same league though as there are no lounges and that's what makes the AA experience, for me.

      Thanks again and happy flying.

  • Comment 519687 by
    YGeorgeW SILVER 92 Comments

    Thanks for the flight report Socalnow!

    I requested the Tuscan sausage & white bean soup to start. I was very pleased with the wholesome and hearty soup. The portion size was small, which I appreciate. The crouton, however, was inedible and stale.

    I can’t say that looks particularly appetizing, but appearances are often deceiving.

    Originally I had requested the eggrolls but they were not available so I went with my second choice. The crab stuffed shrimp were nothing like I had imagined. It was more crab under shrimp. Again I appreciate the tasting portion but found the dish not to my liking. The prawns were cooked correctly but the flavor was off and a bit fishy.

    This dish looked a bit disappointing, I was imagining something looking more like mini crab cakes.

    After a very refreshing shower and armed with some boxed water I sought out a seat in the quiet room for a nap. The seats where you can put your feet up on an ottoman are quite few but I did locate one and was able to put my head back and nap for about 90 minutes.

    No day beds anywhere?

    It's as good as domestic F cabins get in the US.

    Doesn’t Delta fly their Delta One suite on a single route domestically?

    Flagship First Dining looked to be excellent – the best part of AA I would say. The A321T is also a fun experience given its uniqueness. Thanks for the overall trip and looking forward to the next one.

    • Comment 520571 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Thanks for the note YGeorgeW, always appreciated.

      I can’t say that looks particularly appetizing, but appearances are often deceiving.

      -It is more of a home style soup than a fancy pureed creamy soup found on board and that's what drew me to it.

      This dish looked a bit disappointing, I was imagining something looking more like mini crab cakes.

      -Totally, I was expecting the same.

      No day beds anywhere?

      -None that I could find, unfortunately.

      Doesn’t Delta fly their Delta One suite on a single route domestically?

      -Perhaps they do on the 777 from ATL-LAX? I don't know for sure.

      Flagship First Dining looked to be excellent – the best part of AA I would say. The A321T is also a fun experience given its uniqueness.

      -I concur with both points. FFD really is an anomaly in the AA ecosystem.

      Thanks again for the feedback and happy flying.

  • Comment 519826 by
    Rewardflying GOLD 466 Comments

    Hi Christian,

    I constantly admire your ability to sample the maximum on all of your adventures. Good for you

    AA looks to be all 777 for transoceanic flights from JFK, judging from my spotting.

    Yes sir, and ORD IS 787 exclusive I believe

    The burrata was served next and it was anything but a "small plate". There was a baseball size hunk of cheese.

    Looks like AA got flight catering and lounge catering combined for a volume discount !

    Now any sane person would jump in the Uber and head home. Nobody has ever accused me of sanity. Everyone is asleep at home anyway so I went to see what's cooking at the LAX FFD of course!

    Still marveling at this.

    • Comment 520572 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Greetings Mark and thanks for leaving a note. It's great to have Rewardflying make and appearance on FR.com.

      I constantly admire your ability to sample the maximum on all of your adventures.

      -I'm not sure it's admirable but it is how I enjoy these experiences.

      Still marveling at this.

      -It's a pretty darn nice arrivals lounge, don't you think? ;)

      Thanks again for the note Mark and happy flying.

  • Comment 520201 by
    Harry_He SILVER 55 Comments

    Now any sane person would jump in the Uber and head home. Nobody has ever accused me of sanity. Everyone is asleep at home anyway so I went to see what's cooking at the LAX FFD of course!

    Haha. That's exactly what I would do, too! I once saw this flight in J class available for only 25K Mileage Plan miles somehow. I still regret to this day that I didn't take the opportunity and try AA's transcon service.

    Awesome report!

    ---Harry

    • Comment 520573 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Thanks for the note Harry, I enjoy the feedback.

      I once saw this flight in J class available for only 25K Mileage Plan miles somehow.

      -I suppose you saw a unicorn too? ;) It is a very rare event to see the J cabin available on miles, especially with a partner. I occasionally see SFO but now that schedule is reduced I'm sure it will become even more rare.

      Thanks again and happy flying.

Login to post a comment.