This is a translation of a previously posted flight report. I had the chance of flying the new A321T by American Airlines, and I believe that reviewing it in English may be of interest for (I hope the many) American readers out there.
I was a bit in a hurry so I didn't take pictures of the checkin and security areas. Anyway, it remains the same whether you're flying the A321 or another plane on a flagship line : you have a separate checkin area with lots of booths and a priority lane which seems always overcrowded.
I headed to the lounge located right in front of my gate. But there is a much nicer lounge in the main area (which includes a First class section, whereas the lounge at the gate doesn't).
I originally purchased a J ticket but I was upgraded to F thanks to my British Airways status (equivalent to oneworld Emerald) but Aadvantage Executive Platinum of course get a higher priority on upgrades.
The lounge displays awards that AA probably had given itself.
Because all in all, it's just the regular Admiral's Club.
I have been given one coupon for premium drinks, but of course if you've purchased a First class ticket, you're better off with the open bar in the Flagship lounge ;)
Wireless works fine and that was the most important for me : synchronizing emails between two flights.
I then headed to the gate and boarding was about to start.
This A321 with sharklets is waiting for us :)
I board among the first passengers because I'm anxious to discover this new layout and I'd like to take back with me a few shots without too many people crowding the aisle.
And here is the First class cabin to start with. Two FAs are finishing the setup.
5A will be my seat. It's a Cirrus seat from Zodiac Aerospace, which suits better a good Business class (like the one on AA's new B77W aircrafts).
But to be found in an A321, really makes it First class with a 1-1 layout.
But I don't stop at my seat and keep walking toward the Business class cabin. It is equipped with Diamond seats from B/E Aerospace, a leading product featured by premium airlines such as Qatar Airways.
Seats come with a bottle of water and a Bose headset. It's a new generation, but the previous version was already a market benchmark. Note that there is no amenity kit, while it is offered in P.
PTV are widescreen and seats are roomy. At the first glance, I like this business class and I wouldn't have minded not being upgraded.
Last but not least, the Economy cabin. Of course, it doesn't match the front cabins, but check-out the FR by Jetsetpanda : it really is a nice Y product.
Back to my seat, this is the view during boarding. Bulkheads are high, guaranteing good privacy.
The cool thing is that I won't even have a neighbour so I can shoot across the cabin without being a nuisance.
As I said, the F cabin is completed with an amenity kit. Check-out the connectors : USB, video, sound, power outlet…nothing's missing.
I was talking about privacy : here's the view you should normally get from your seat.
The seat is roomy. There is ample space, storage and it has been prepared with a fluffy pillow and a comforter.
Details of the connectors. It's complete but I tried to charge my phone from the USB port and it totally froze my PTV !!
Nice screen, but I don't believe it to be larger than the one in Business class.
The remote control is inspired by smartphones, with a sensitive screen. It makes it a cool device but a nightmare for maintenance in my opinion.
Moving maps are just perfect.
As I said, there is a lot of storage, including a large tablet which is nice but takes you away from the windows :( As the amenity kit is there, let's check it out ;)
It's the usual AA set you would find on long-haul flights. Actually a good choice, as nothing's missing (even if I miss the Burt Bee's products).
Select passengers will receive a welcome directly from the captain. Others will be greeted personnaly as well, but by the chief cabin officer instead.
Once ready, we start taxiing.
As the cabin light is deemed for departure, the mood lighting offers a great alternative to plain darkness and reading lamps.
So here we go on the new A321T !!
Screens must be locked during take-off. So at this point, it's more confortable in Business class where you can keep an eye on both window and screen ;)
Los Angeles, here I come :)
As soon as they're set free, FAs hand out hot towels, menus and inquire for drinks. Unfortunately, it's only a late-night snack offered at this hour.
Wine selection (average).
But I notice that this new plane is equipped with an espresso machine.
As I am not enthousiastic about the wine list, I make it simple with a beer. Warm nuts is a must on AA.
Internet access is offered at just $10 an hour. Compared to the price of the ticket, it would be nice gesture to offer it for free in premium cabins.
There is also a eBook function on the entertainment system but for the moment, only magazines are loaded.
The dining table, large enough and very stable.
As it's a late snack, I am disappointed by the catering. It's indeed a night flight, but the offering at the lounge wasn't enough for dinner : so I expect a proper dinner onboard.
Salad is so-so but skewer is very nice.
The soup was extremely spicy. Which I love, so I haven't left a drop. But I know people who would have died by just smelling it ;)
The small platter is quickly gone and I will check-out the movie selection untill I fall asleep. The headset is now powered by the seat, which means no more disruptions due to low batteries.
I will watch a Metallica concert (that's a great idea to load music videos on the IFE !) with another Bud Light and soon fall asleep (yes, I can sleep with metal playing ^^)
My seat in the night with a city below. Perfect set up for a nap ;)
The night set doesn't differ on the A321, but it was already nice and comfy, so why bother ?
The seat is great in bed mode. I'm 61 and I don't feel cramped at all. I will have a very good sleep.
Proof is that we have already started our descent toward LAX when I wake up.
I must have missed some of the service, but I see some more towels are coming before landing.
And they come with the AA signature cookie, quite late in the flight : they have let people sleep, which is very nice.
We're now flying over San Bernardino. Too late for the FA to serve me in a real glass, but she will kindly refill me water untill the end, in a plastic cup for security. And she will ask me to switch off my computer at the very end of the descent.
Actually, I could work on my report almost until we reach the ground.
Thanks for reading and please excuse my English as I'm not a native speaker :)
American Airlines Admirals Club (Concourse B)
New York - JFK
Los Angeles - LAX
It's not perfect, but it's coming close.
Sure, it's a transcontinental flight lasting over 6 hours and costing extra, so a good product is expected. But I think AA does more than delivering it : they are making a bet on a market for a premium product. And I am glad for it...competition has brought the prices down, but did the customer really win with quality dropping maybe even faster than prices ?
Maybe it's time to make a positive change, and I'm thankful to AA for making it. I hope they will be recognized for that, but competition will not be softer. JetBlue is also coming with a premium product that may be offered at a lower price...
So I wish AA best luck...but maybe will request a better catering next time, even if the flight takes off late ;)
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