Review American Airlines new First Class in the A321T (transcon) – brand new aircraft in the fleet
After having the pleasure to travel with the long distance first class by American Airlines from London to New York, today after a short night stay I went on from East to West Coast.
Flying domestically was a “necessary pain” so far, because on short distance flights airlines used weak products, which cannot really be compared to business or first class products.
Luckily this has changed, because American Airlines decided to promote the new A3211T plane, that comes with a three class seating (uncommon for domestic American flights).
Lounges in New York
Flights to L.A. (and most American domestic flights) fly from New York JFK Terminal 8. Besdies the big check-in area there is a special Premium Checkin that’s reserved for passengers with suitable status and first or business class ticket. After entering the terminal, I went to this area, preceded check-in fast and friendly and took care of changing the seat of my company without any problems. We passed security control for premium clients and went to the lounge
American Airlines offers two different lounges: one behind security control, the other one in the area of gate 40 and higher.
The difference between the two is that for the one before security control there is an Admirals Club (lounge for passengers with suitable pass) and first class lounge, which are called “Flagship Lounges” at American.
If you have OneWorld Emerald-Status you can use these lounges on domestic flights. Furthermore first class passengers have to follow the rules of Admiral Clubs.
But there is no time for that today; I had to stick to a Coke and a short stay in the seat. If you have some more time you can eat something, use the offer of beverages or use one of the showers. When it became time for us to get to the gate, we just had to go to the other side.
Airplane and seat
If you have taken an A320 or A321 in Europe once, you know the 3-3 seating being the difference between business and first class, with the middle seat being unused. This was different from New York to Los Angeles. American Airlines uses the newest airplane, which will be used in the future on flights between East and West Coast.
Equipped with three classes, you find the exact plan here. As you can well see, the cabin is divided into four parts.
In the front seats are arranged in a 1-1 constellation in row 1 to 5, so every seat has more space and a connection to the corridor. After kitchen follow rows 6 to 10 with a 2-2 order. Here you get a good glimpse about how much space you must have in first class, because the cabin is constantly wide. But seats are also flat beds here, with every second seat having a connection to the corridor. In the back area of the plane you find economy class, which consists of 36 seats with more space, and 36 more with normal seating. They are all placed in a 3-3 arrangement.
The seat in first class of the A3211T is (almost) the same as in the Boeing 777, just used on long distance flights. An extensive review can be read in my article “New business class in the American Airlines Boeing 777”.
The arrangement of seats is surely interesting in first class and it’s somehow a special feeling to fly in such a big class in such a small plane.
The seats are placed in a “fishbone” pattern and therefore skewed. The side arm rest towards the corridor can be steered via button, so that when you transform your seat into a bed, you have more space. Besides lots of storage around the seating area, it comes with a foot rest that extends when transforming the seat. They also though about socket for your devices, such as USB, audio and headphones.
The table can be extended in two different ways, so you can stand up at any time. I personally really liked the big shelves, which are a kind of second table and placed under the windows.
All together you have to acknowledge the seat’s beauty and sophistication. In Europe you wouldn’t find something like this, also due to missing tracks for the A321T. Europe is simply not suited geographically with the longest distance of 6 hours flight time.
Amenity kit, blanket and pillow
Already when I entered I found the Amernity kit, which is identical to the one on long distance flights. It contains are necessary utensils for a long flight. Whether they had pajamas I cannot tell, because it was a day flight and I therefore didn’t ask.
Sheets and pillows are – as always with American Airlines – very nice, comfortable and soft. They provide relaxed travelling for 6 hour flights.
That’s why I love flying.
As soon as we sat down, stewardesses came to offer something to drink. There was no board with prepared water, orange juice or Champaign but they brought it individually. Therefore my choice of Coke is no surprise to anyone.
Shortly after takeoff we got the menu. My friend and me chose the same main course, therefore just one picture today.
As starter we got a little “greeting from the kitchen”: some antipasti with Mozzarella and warm nuts. Shortly after the food wagon went through the cabin to offer salad and a selection of dressing, coming with bread and butter. Due to the fact that we were eating for two days straight, I just tried the salads and continued with the main course quickly. The “chicken pot pie” doesn’t only look nicely but also tasted really really good. But to leave some room for desert I couldn’t eat it all.
As always with American Airlines they offered Ice Cream Sundae. I took vanilla ice cream with strawberries, a cappuccino and that was it. They also brought sweets, popcorn, chips and some fresh fruit.
During the flight they baked fresh cookies, serving them with a glas of milk. They had chocolate, nut or pure. They could have left the whole bunch at my place. ☺
Inflight Entertainment und WLAN
To not be bored during the (for my terms) short flight, they offered an extensive choice of movies, games, audio pieces or music. Everyone should find something suitable to do.
But If you like to work, American Airlines offers Wi-Fi in partnership with GoGo during the flight. The first 30 minutes are free, then you can buy several day tickets. Since I will travel several times in the next week, I got a day pass for 40$. You can then surf online with any device.
If you get a 24h pass, you cannot use it with the notebook, which I unfortunately had to find out after booking it, so I went to the live Chat of the host, who uncomplicatedly changed the booking. What a nice customer service they have.
Internet was fast, so I could upload this post and all the pictures.
With the new airplane and the triple seating American Airlines sets new standards on transcontinental flight from East to West Coast. You must realize that the flight time of 6 hours can be compared to long distance flights in Europe. London to New York isn’t much longer than this connection.
I was impressed by the super nice crew, especially Jennifer who obviously enjoys her job. The same account for her colleague who introduced himself with the words “on this flight I’m your cook, baker and sommelier”. I was happy to not hear he’s the pilot, too ;-).
So if you want to travel from one side of America to the other, I recommend AA. Be careful, because partly they use the Boeing 767, which is a huge different in quality.
I continue to Hawaii. Aloha ☺