Review of American Airlines flight Las Vegas Los Angeles in Domestic First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA1899
Seat --
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 01:20
Take-off 30 Nov 19, 13:50
Arrival at 30 Nov 19, 15:10
AA   #55 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 364 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 867
Published on 11th November 2020

introduction


Hello and welcome to the last segment in this this short series of American Airlines domestic First class reviews. Note that these reviews are pre-Covid, with the flights taking place over the Thanksgiving Holiday week in November 2019–the current extended grounding having allowed me to catch up a bit on previously unpublished reviews. 

Obviously, airline service protocols within the US have temporarily changed in the Covid-era, with greatly reduced food and beverage availability on board.  The current measures are primarily meant to be precautionary in order to avoid physical contact. Hopefully service levels will return to pre-Covid levels once the crisis has been contained.

________________________________________

As I'd mentioned above, these flights took place over Thanksgiving week, which is traditionally the busiest period of the year for domestic travel in the US. Normally, we avoid domestic US travel like the plague over Thanksgiving and have taken advantage of flight deals to far-away destinations each year for the past decade, including Brazil, Greece, and Peru just the previous three years. You'll find those flight reviews, and many more, on my profile page.

Having a kid changes everything of course, so this time domestic travel was finally in the cards over the dreaded Thanksgiving period. As we'd just moved to Southern California a few months prior, we headed back to DC to spend the holiday with family. Though flying domestically with a 10-month-old over the a busy travel week isn't ideal, having TSA pre-check and flying in a premium cabin help to make the experience a bit less stressful.  

This review will cover the second and final leg of the return trip. The best prices between LAX and WAS had us connecting in Las Vegas for the return–the savings were significant enough to choose the connecting itinerary over the non-stop flight. 

In case you missed the previous review, you'll find a link below.


Routing


Reviews in this series:



photo 1-routing

pre-flight & lounge


Welcome to Las Vegas! Having been to Vegas several times, it felt odd to be connecting at McCarran and not actually going into town. But alas, SoCal was calling and Vegas with a baby doesn't sound like any fun.


photo img_7298

As we had some time to kill before the flight we headed to The Club LAS, a Priority Pass lounge conveniently located near our departure gate.


photo img_7299

The lounge was on the small side and it was a bit crowded, as are most US Priority Pass lounges in my experience, but it was a decent overall experience by domestic lounge standards. 


photo img_7301photo img_7306

The food offering was slightly above average for a US domestic lounge with several fresh options, but no hot dishes. 


photo img_7302photo img_7303photo img_7304

boarding


We headed to the gate a few minutes before boarding was due to begin. The gate area was on the empty side, which was surprising for the busy Thanksgiving travel week.


photo img_7309

Unlike our previous boarding experience in DC, we were able to pre-board with our infant without any problems.

View of our Legacy-AA A321 with Sharklets on boarding.


photo img_7308

The LAA A321 First class cabins are the same as those found on the 737-800s with Sky Interior and IFE. 


photo img_7311

The seats are spacious and wide with plush leather and a generous 40" pitch.


photo img_7312

The Legacy-AA A321s all feature personal monitors with on-demand entertainment as well as individual power outlets and USB ports, unlike the Legacy-US Airways A321s, which don't offer in-seat entertainment and have just recently begun being fitted with in-seat power. 


photo img_7314photo img_7315

Speaking of LUS A321s, there's one right out the window. Not surprising to see pre-merger US Airways metal in this former US Airways/America West Hub.


photo img_7316

The AA livery looks great on sunny days like this.


photo img_7317

Shortly after settling in, pre-departure drinks were offered with a full choice from the bar, which used to be a rare event on Legacy AA metal. I had a gin & tonic. 


photo img_7318

the flight


Though the flight was full in First class, the Economy load was lighter, which allowed for boarding to be completed early,


photo img_7319

The safety video played on the seat-back screens as the cabin was readied for pushback.



We pushed back from the gate on time.


photo img_7324photo img_7325photo img_7327

Some beautiful desert colours as we taxied to the runway.


photo img_7328

#AvGeek moment - 767-200s are a rare site these days!


photo img_7329

Double-AvGeek moment with an El Al 787 in retro livery as we taxied by.


photo img_7330

Sunset colours over the mountains as we take off. 


photo img_7331photo img_7332photo img_7333

Flying out west on a clear day is always a treat with gorgeous landscapes. I especially love winter with snow-capped mountains.


photo img_7334photo img_7335photo img_7336

FAs served drinks in the cabin as soon as we levelled out followed by a pass of the snack basket. 


photo img_7338photo img_7339

With scenery like this, I obviously made no use of the IFE…except for the moving map. Because nerd.


photo img_7337

Last snowy views as we approach the L.A. basin.


photo img_7340

And here we are…endless suburban hell 😉


photo img_7341

Ontario Airport (ONT)


photo img_7342

No views of downtown L.A. from this side of the aircraft, but a peek of the Pacific Ocean on landing.


photo img_7344

Crossing over the L.A. River


photo img_7345

I-405 at I-105


photo img_7346photo img_7347

The Proud Bird restaurant. Can't believe I've still never been…will have to check it out once I'm back in CA. 


photo img_7348photo img_7349

Taxiing past the Tom Bradley International Terminal.


photo img_7350

R.I.P. Air France and Lufthansa A380s 


photo img_7351

R.I.P  British Airways 747


photo img_7352

Crazy to think this was just a year ago… 😥


photo img_7353

We arrived at the gate a few minutes early, where we parked next to a yellow school bus that won't be retired anytime soon.


photo img_7355

And with that, I'm finally caught up on older unpublished reviews.

Thanks for reading and hopefully see you soon for some more recent reviews. After over 9 months without flying, I'm due to fly for the first time in just over a week…that is, if all goes as planned. 

See more

Verdict

American Airlines

7.5/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew7.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering6.0

The Club at LAS

7.0/10
Comfort6.5
Meal/catering6.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services7.5

Las Vegas - LAS

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Los Angeles - LAX

7.6/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

A pleasant and scenic short flight on the very busy Vegas to L.A. route (at least before Covid). Cabin crew were friendly and efficient, the seats are cushy, wide, and overall spacious--above average by US domestic First/Business standards, IFE system and content were very good, and food and beverage offerings were typical for short flights.

In my past 5 years as an AA frequent flyer, this was the first time where I'd gotten an IFE-equipped aircraft on every flight of an itinerary, both ways. I've said it before and I'll say it again, it's a huge shame that AA is removing IFE from domestic subfleets. Once these interiors are gone, the Delta domestic fleet will consistently offer the best domestic passenger experience of the big 3 US carriers.

Information on the route Las Vegas (LAS) Los Angeles (LAX)

8 Comments

  • Comment 566474 by
    757Fan 594 Comments

    Agree in this comment, Kevin. "Once these interiors are gone, the Delta domestic fleet will consistently offer the best domestic passenger experience of the big 3 US carriers."

    I don't know why AA is so quickly removing IFE from their domestic fleet. It's awesome to have this when flying Delta flights on almost every type of aircraft in their fleet (outside of a few older A320's that don't offer it and the 717's) it's great to fly so many flights with them where this is available.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 567146 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! Especially now with DL extending their blocked seats through March 30, 2021, they really are trying to stand out in the crowd. We'll see if this will bring DL a revenue premium over the other US carriers....I suspect it will a little. Maybe not by huge margins, but enough to make it worth blocking seats, especially in these times where so many seats go empty anyway, or prices have to be rock bottom to fill planes. Either way, I'm very impressed with DL actually caring about the passenger experience.

  • Comment 566519 by
    emyrrs SILVER 101 Comments

    Great report KevinDC!

    Thanks for sharing it with us!
    Ugh, I bet the flying situation so different from back then and now due to COVID-19 all around the world. Hopefully you're sound and safe with your loves one.

    The AA livery looks great on sunny days like this.

    Yes! It does looks great!

  • Comment 566681 by
    KL651 TEAM 4501 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    Wow, just seeing passengers without facemasks and airports full of functioning planes makes me nostalgic, and think it was only a year ago.
    For once European airlines do offer a much better soft product on a 60 minute flight compared to this snack basket.
    Beautiful views from LAS airport, I had no idea you could see the city AND te mountain.

    • Comment 567148 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      That's the one thing EU carrier do better than US carriers on short-haul J...the catering. As far as the seat, I'd much rather have a big US carrier recliner than Euro-J blocked middle seat...especially in times of Covid when flights are mostly empty anyway and many lounges are closed, so Y experience is not very different from J these days within Europe.

  • Comment 566812 by
    indianocean GOLD 6903 Comments

    Hi Kevin. What's up?

    As an American Express Platinum member, Priority Pass card is complimentary. But you are also entitled to get into the Amex lounge in Las Vegas.
    IMO, catering is quite the same but Amex lounge is definitely bigger.

    One hour and 20 minutes flight is more than enough to provide a better catering. And healthy food as well ;-)

    Thank you for sharing

    • Comment 567149 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      Hey Indianocean, Thanks so much for your comments!

      As an American Express Platinum member, Priority Pass card is complimentary. But you are also entitled to get into the Amex lounge in Las Vegas.

      Indeed, though I have my Priority Pass through my Chase Sapphire Reserve so no Amex lounge access. However, the PP membership through CSR is a bit better than the Amex offering as all access is free with unlimited guests (usually), whereas I believe the Amex PP deal is more restrictive.

      One hour and 20 minutes flight is more than enough to provide a better catering. And healthy food as well ;-)

      It is...anywhere but America, haha!

      Thanks for stopping by :-)

Login to post a comment.