I take the opportunity of a Flight-Report gathering in New York City, for whose Jetsetpanda and myself had the opportunity to fly the new A321 transcontinental from American Airlines, to publish a comprehensive report of the three cabins.
Clicking on the following links, you can get a complete description of the 3 cabins :
This report is about the Business Class cabin and starts in Los Angeles.
LAX airport is famous for its many spotting opportunities, from car parks, burger joints or surrounding hotels. I've taken a few shots of the traffic from my hotel room but I'm not very good at it, sorry about that :)
The hotel shuttle dropped me at Terminal 2, where AA flights fly from. There is a Premium section clearly indicated from the curb.
A notice reminds the passengers that the AA/US merger may take some time before it's complete.
Individual checkin booths welcome passengers of the respective booking classes. I am flying Business class today, but as a oneworld Emerald status holder, I can use the First class lane.
There is a direct access by stairs and elevator from the premium checkin zone to a separate security lane. Nevertheless, the line didn't move quickly for me due to a cut for TSA Precheck passengers.
There are two flights to JFK in just 90 minutes, which certainly means the connection is profitable. And I hope so, as AA reduced the number of seats with this new aircraft and layout.
The terminal in itself has nothing to write about so I head directly to the lounge.
Dividend Miles members are welcome to use the AA lounges (providing they're flying with a oneworld carrier if they are wandering in this terminal).
As a oneworld Emerald status holder, I am invited to use the First class facilities. They are not much more different from the Business class ones, but there are much fewer passengers, which makes it more comfortable and intimate.
There are floor-to-ceiling windows facing terminal 1 and bringing lots of natural light inside the lounge.
There's of course an IT zone with a nice feature to email documents to the printers, so any laptop or even phone connected to the free wifi provided can use the printers. The not-so-nice feature on the other hand is the lack of power outlets.
The offering is not exceptionnal (for a First class lounge) but I consider it to be far better than the usual one to be found in Admirals Clubs.
The liquors are especially good quality ones for self-service.
I arrived at the end of breakfast offering. So this is a remaining from it, and later pics are the lunch offering.
Chicken in cream sauce with some kind of risotto.
Soup and cold cuts.
Chips, crackers and various sandwiches.
I tried the sparking wine which was very decent. The salad was fresh and that's all I needed on that time of day.
I'm browsing for new reports to read when I see my A321 arriving.
No doubt, it's the new A321. N101NN is just 4 months old.
Flight documents for today. The plastic card is used to enter the First class section, separated from the main lounge by a coded door.
I check my booking a last time before boarding, and I see that I should not expect an upgrade on this flight. Actually, I didn't want one, as I wanted to get a chance to compare P and J products.
After finishing some emails, I head to the boarding gate. I arrive just at the end of my group and head directly to the plane.
So I am back in this cabin :)
But this time, I keep walking and will find my seat in the Business class section.
Food is warming up in the galley, which has to be crossed by all passengers. The smell will probably boost the sales in Economy cabin ;)
And here is my seat : 6A.
Boarding continues smoothly : due to the restricted number of seats, there is plenty of storage for the carry-ons.
The IFE looks great, but my both flights will prove it to be still very buggy.
Also, the seat is slightly angled toward the window. Although the screen follows the same inclinaison, I am naturally brought to seat alongside the cabin and thus, a thus feel the screen is not perfectly in front of me.
The seat commands (with the bed pictogram, as it's a flat bed seat) and the remote control (which is designed like a smartphone).
Lots of connectors, and an international power outlet, which can be used during boarding.
As someone commented in the French version of my report, my neighbours could just be posing for the perfect advertisment for this cabin :)
Through my window, a B757 reminds us how transcontinental flights used to be (well, they still are on non-Flagship connections).
Once the boarding is complete, predrinks can be prepared in the galley (and not easily before as all passengers have to cross it).
I go for a sparking wine which is served ice-cold, making it difficult for me to estimate its quality. It's unfortunately but not surprisingly served in a plastic glass.
And menu for today !
Nothing amazing but it's a solid value that will please most palates.
And a local selection of wines to pair with it.
We pushback on time and the captain announces that we may even arrive a bit early on schedule.
One of the bugs of the IFE is that mine wasn't locked during the mandatory programs (like safety videos) and announces. I didn't mind being uninterrupted for the whole flight ;)
Mood lightning is turned on during take-off, but there is so much light entering the cabin that it is hardly seen.
Here I am on my way to New York City !
We took off westbound and turned around over the ocean.
Flying over Los Angeles…
The inflight magazine covers this cabin as well. It may take time to revamp all the planes promised with the new cabin, but it will be worth the time. I think AA is making a big move.
When we are airborne, flight attendants start the service by providing Bose headseats. They have a trolley for that and keep a strict inventory.
Then, drinks orders are taken. The tablet can be deployed in half for the drinks, or full for the meal and work.
I finish reading a Flight Report and in the meantime, a hot towel is provided.
Whisky and Coke, a classic for me, with warm nuts.
The service in this cabin involves the use of trolleys, whereas everything was brought to one's seat in First class.
Indicated time is just another bug of the system but flight duration is accurate.
FAs are all very nice and I'm offered another drink with such a smile that I couldn't refuse ^^
We keep flying and temperatures on the ground keep falling…
Then, the meal is served. It doesn't look good (in terms of setup and choice of colors) but it really tasted good.
Salmon was so-so but tuna was delicious.
The stuffed chicken breast was excellent. The wine I chose to pair with it didn't leave me any memories.
There was a choice of warm breads from the basket. The protocol on this flight is more or less the same as the international Business class cabins on long hauls.
This is a kind of photography that says : It was very good ! ;)
There was a break between main course and dessert. I don't know why but it was actually welcomed. I entertained myself between the window and the screen, before the dessert arrived.
Sunday, nuts and hot fudge.
After all this food, I could use a walk across the cabins. Very few passengers seem to take advantage of the flat-bed for a nap.
Economy cabin, also reported
While I was walking, a new service began : the signature cookie with milk (that I replaced for sparkling water as I'm not fond of milk).
The closer we get to the destination, the colder it looks. Brrr….
As we are finishing our descend, the night has come over New York City.
As promised, we landed a bit early and as I didn't have any checked bags, I was quickly out, ready to join the FR gathering !
Thanks for readin ! I hope this piece of information will be usefull :)
American Airlines Flagship Lounge - 4
Los Angeles - LAX
New York - JFK
The very good impression from the inbound flight is confirmed. Both cabins are great and unless you're seeking for privacy, there is no reason to prefer the First class cabin.
Of course, FA are more attentive there, but they did a great job this time too. Food was very nice and the lounge provided a nice environnement to wait.
All in all, AA does a great job there and keeps its promises.
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Thank you for yet another wonderful report covering AA's new premium product on the A321T.
In terms of catering a third option is a welcome addition. However, I find that offering a light option consisting of salad and a soup seems a bit cheap. Looking at your menu, there was 1 vegetarian, 1 protein and 1 soup + salad. For a transcon premium flight I think there should be 2 proteins (a beef or lamb plus another seafood) and 1 vegetarian.
Also, I find the new printed menus to be a bit disappointing. The size is definitely smaller, but the cover is a lackluster. The ones of the old American using the artwork of its employees was a far more engaging idea.
Did you notice a snack basket after the meal service in your cabin? When I flew on the return JFK-SFO in F on the 2-class 763, there were a total of 4 baskets with fruits and packaged snacks available in the galley. Before arrival we were offered two kinds of freshly baked cookies.
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