Hello and welcome to my first flight report! This also chronicles my first time in a first class cabin while awake, so I apologize for any annoyance my excessive enthusiasm may cause.
I needed a cheap way to get from LAX to PHL for my college reunion. As a young graduate, transcontinental revenue airfare is totally out of my budget. However, I'd flown between the two cities often enough during college to rack up a good number of US Airways miles. Thanks to the inconsistencies in award pricing, it turned out to be cheaper (in miles) to book the flight in first class than in economy. I got off the first class flight only to spend the weekend sleeping in dorm beds and pullout sofas!
The first class was a redeye and I took no pictures, so I will do the return only.
I walked into PHL Terminal B from the Airport Marriott, which has a nice lobby that can serve as a free pre-security lounge for those of us without status. The security screening on Monday afternoon was the quickest I've ever experienced in a US airport post-9/11. I was in there for fewer than three minutes. Good job, PHL.
PHL is quite spotter friendly, though Terminal B/C is pretty monotonous and with the US/AA merger it's bound to get even more so.
This flight boarded from Terminal C. On my way to Philly I landed in Terminal A, which pre-merger US Airways did not use.
In case you needed to show your pride in AMERICA!, Terminal B/C has you covered.
I was among the first to board. I sat down in 2C, the aisle seat on the left. There are 16 first class seats on this A321. The seat back pocket is on the bottom half of the seat in front. This is different from the A321 from the inbound, which had the seat back pocket at eye level. US Airways domestic flights have no IFE, which I prefer over having to deal with the flashing ads on United's for-fee IFE screens. The pitch was fine, but I'm 5'1/155cm tall so your mileage will most likely vary ;)
The first class flight attendant offered pre-departure drinks. I asked for Chardonnay, if only because the idea of drinking alcohol on a US domestic flight was a novelty. He suggested that I get something else instead since the wine hadn't had a chance to chill. I got seltzer instead, served in a plastic cup.
The first hour and a half of the flight was very turbulent. The flight attended knelt down and took our orders about 30 minutes into the flight, as the initial turbulence had subsided a bit. It got much worse in the middle of the meal service.
The options were chicken tikka masala and cheese lasagna. Having indulged a bit much over the weekend (ahem) I figured that the chicken would be a healthier, less heavy option. Having flown this flight so often in economy, my expectations for the food were very low. I was expecting something on par with Air China's crappy long-haul economy catering. I was pleasantly surprised that the tikka sauce was decent and the meat wasn't too overcooked. The mostly-iceberg salad came with ranch dressing (because AMERICA!). The flight attendant had remembered my wish for white wine and served it in a small US Airways glass that nearly tipped over in the turbulence.
Next up was a top-up of the wine glass and chocolate cheesecake for dessert. The cheesecake far exceeded expectations. I would be happy to get it on the ground.
After the meal service the turbulence died down and the flight to LAX was uneventful. We landed on time, and I went out to face the mess that is LAX traffic.
Philadelphia - PHL
Los Angeles - LAX
Quite a pleasant flight on a generally unpleasant carrier. Having done my duty in economy for a number of years I'm glad to have had the opportunity to take my last US Airways domestic flight in the front of the plane.
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