Review of American Airlines flight New York Los Angeles in First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA185
Class First
Seat 5A
Aircraft Airbus A321
Flight time 08:05
Take-off 03 Mar 14, 20:30
Arrival at 04 Mar 14, 01:35
AA   #75 out of 142 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 451 reviews
pititom
By GOLD 10239
Published on 12th March 2014
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.

Here is a complete description of the product :

- Economy cabin (by Jetsetpanda)
- Business cabin (coming soon)
- First cabin (you are here)

American flights leave from Terminal 8 in JFK.

photo JFKLAX-01

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.

photo JFKLAX-02

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).

photo JFKLAX-05

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.

photo JFKLAX-06

The lounge displays awards that AA probably had given itself.

photo JFKLAX-07

Because all in all, it's just the regular Admiral's Club.

photo JFKLAX-08

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 ;)

photo JFKLAX-11

Wireless works fine and that was the most important for me : synchronizing emails between two flights.

photo JFKLAX-12

I then headed to the gate and boarding was about to start.

photo JFKLAX-13

This A321 with sharklets is waiting for us :)

photo JFKLAX-14

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.

photo JFKLAX-16

And here is the First class cabin to start with. Two FAs are finishing the setup.

photo JFKLAX-17

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).

photo JFKLAX-18

But to be found in an A321, really makes it First class with a 1-1 layout.

photo JFKLAX-19

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.

photo JFKLAX-20

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.

photo JFKLAX-21

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.

photo JFKLAX-22

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.

photo JFKLAX-23

Back to my seat, this is the view during boarding. Bulkheads are high, guaranteing good privacy.

photo JFKLAX-24

The cool thing is that I won't even have a neighbour so I can shoot across the cabin without being a nuisance.

photo JFKLAX-25

As I said, the F cabin is completed with an amenity kit. Check-out the connectors : USB, video, sound, power outlet…nothing's missing.

photo JFKLAX-26

I was talking about privacy : here's the view you should normally get from your seat.

photo JFKLAX-27

The seat is roomy. There is ample space, storage and it has been prepared with a fluffy pillow and a comforter.

photo JFKLAX-28

Details of the connectors. It's complete but I tried to charge my phone from the USB port and it totally froze my PTV !!

photo JFKLAX-29

Nice screen, but I don't believe it to be larger than the one in Business class.

photo JFKLAX-30

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.

photo JFKLAX-31

Moving maps are just perfect.

photo JFKLAX-32

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 ;)

photo JFKLAX-33

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).

photo JFKLAX-34

Select passengers will receive a welcome directly from the captain. Others will be greeted personnaly as well, but by the chief cabin officer instead.

photo JFKLAX-35

Once ready, we start taxiing.

photo JFKLAX-36

As the cabin light is deemed for departure, the mood lighting offers a great alternative to plain darkness and reading lamps.

photo JFKLAX-37

So here we go on the new A321T !!

photo JFKLAX-38

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 ;)

photo JFKLAX-40

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.

photo JFKLAX-45

Wine selection (average).

photo JFKLAX-46

But I notice that this new plane is equipped with an espresso machine.

photo JFKLAX-47

As I am not enthousiastic about the wine list, I make it simple with a beer. Warm nuts is a must on AA.

photo JFKLAX-48

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.

photo JFKLAX-49

There is also a eBook function on the entertainment system but for the moment, only magazines are loaded.

photo JFKLAX-50

The dining table, large enough and very stable.

photo JFKLAX-51

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.

photo JFKLAX-52

Salad is so-so but skewer is very nice.

photo JFKLAX-53

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 ;)

photo JFKLAX-54

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.

photo JFKLAX-55

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 ^^)

photo JFKLAX-56

My seat in the night with a city below. Perfect set up for a nap ;)

photo JFKLAX-58

The night set doesn't differ on the A321, but it was already nice and comfy, so why bother ?

photo JFKLAX-59

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.

photo JFKLAX-60

Proof is that we have already started our descent toward LAX when I wake up.

photo JFKLAX-61

I must have missed some of the service, but I see some more towels are coming before landing.

photo JFKLAX-62

And they come with the AA signature cookie, quite late in the flight : they have let people sleep, which is very nice.

photo JFKLAX-63

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.

photo JFKLAX-64

Actually, I could work on my report almost until we reach the ground.

photo JFKLAX-65

Thanks for reading and please excuse my English as I'm not a native speaker :)
See more

Verdict

American Airlines

8.8/10
Cabin10.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi10.0
Meal/catering5.0

American Airlines Admirals Club (Concourse B)

7.9/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Services8.0

New York - JFK

8.0/10
Efficiency8.5
Access7.5
Services7.5
Cleanliness8.5

Los Angeles - LAX

5.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access5.0
Services5.0
Cleanliness5.0

Conclusion

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 ;)

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

4 Comments

  • Comment 102011 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thanks for this first report full of details and superb pictures. I was surprised that AA chose an Airbus plane instead of a Boeing one for this new debut.

    For a late night flight I feel that the catering is adequate. On its competitors this can be considered a lunch or dinner.

    Now we have to see for a report on B6 F to see how it compares.

  • Comment 102012 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thanks for this first report full of details and superb pictures. I was surprised that AA chose an Airbus plane instead of a Boeing one for this new debut.

    For a late night flight I feel that the catering is adequate. On its competitors this can be considered a lunch or dinner.

    Now we have to see for a report on B6 F to see how it compares.

    *Your link to my report on top is very much appreciated. Thank you.

  • Comment 102013 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5257 Comments

    Thanks for taking the time to translate this awesome report! It's definitely a great addition to the English-language FR Database! I've already commented on the product so I'll just say it's perfect...except for the catering at that hour! Thanks again.

  • Comment 102085 by
    Chibcha 432 Comments

    Nice report, the Airbus looks great in all three cabins. The front must have felt like a biz jet.

    Thanks for sharing!

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