Flight 9 of 10. UPGRADED! AA Trans Con, #NMCLaborDay

As part of our SEA-SFO-LAX… ok you know the trip by now, we booked our way back from LAX-JFK in business class on board the new A321T, but when we exited the airplane, we noticed how freaking awesome the first class cabin looked.  We decided that it would be pretty awesome to get ourselves into those seats!

A quick call to to the Platinum line and 15,000 miles later, before you knew it, we were sitting up front!  What a difference a cabin makes…

As part of the First Class trans con experience, you’re allowed to use both the flagship lounge and the flagship check-in areas at the airport.  We wanted to make sure that we were taking full advantage of such an exclusive opportunity, so we got to the airport just a little bit earlier than we would have wanted to, but enough time to make sure to see it all.

American Flagship Check-in

American Flagship Check-in

The Flagship check-in area is gorgeous, and also empty.  I think it’s probably because most people have done the work themselves online, and only if they have bags would they have to talk to someone in the airport.  Also, it was 10am on Labor Day and not a busy travel time for the airport.

American Flagship Check in

American Flagship Check in

The check in as at the very far right of the terminal 8 building with a large sign identifying it.

American Flagship Check in

American Flagship Check in

When we approached she said “Concierge Key?”  I didn’t know what that was or what she said, so I just said “First Class,” and started walking through.  She stopped me and said, “Transcontinental only,” to which I said “Yes, I know.” she she let us in 🙂  They’re quite serious about only letting a certain number of people in.  I mean I know I must look tired after a long weekend of traveling but still!

American Flagship Check in

American Flagship Check in

American Flagship Check in

American Flagship Check in

There’s a seating area in case for some reason it got packed, and since we were the only ones there, the gate agent quickly printed our boarding passes for us and we were on our way.

American Flagship Check in

American Flagship Check in

At the end of the hallway there was another sign apologizing for the club renovations.  I can’t wait to see them next year when it’s all finished.

American Flagship Check in

American Flagship Check in

One really cool feature of this check in is that it dumps out into the Precheck facility.  I would imagine it’s because they assume everyone flying in this service would also be smart enough to get TSAPrecheck.

American Flagship Check in

American Flagship Check in

Once through security we headed right to the lounge!  We’ll save that for it’s own post and get to the good stuff… FIRST CLASS on the new A321 🙂

We were greeted at door 1L by Jonathan, the purser for the flight.  We were directed to our seats, 3A and 3F, and immediately started playing around with the seat.

It’s big, comfy, and looks new.  It’s also angled towards the window so it offers some great privacy.

Wide Aisle

Wide Aisle

Our seats!

Our seats!

Seats on the A321

Seats on the A321

Waiting at our seats for us was a big blanket and pillow, comfortable enough for a long transcon flight.

Comforter and Pillow

Comforter and Pillow

Also ready to go at each seat was a bottle of water and your amenity kit.

Water and Amenity Kit

Water and Amenity Kit

Big, wide comfy seat

Big, wide comfy seat

Just over your shoulder you’ve got tons of controls to make the flight more comfortable.

Light, charging, remote and seat controls

Light, charging, remote and seat controls

The armrest lowers and raises with the push of the button.  You’ve got to have the armrest DOWN when you want to get out of the seat, otherwise you’re trapped.  The leg room is non existent.

Armrest

Armrest

Leg Room

Leg Room

Lastly, the monitor is quite large and pops out for easy viewing.  It doesn’t adjust up or down however, so if you’re reclining it might be hard to see.

Pop out monitor

Pop out monitor

Menus were waiting at our seats for us, and I managed to get a shot of each of the pages.

Menu A321 Menu A321 Menu A321 Menu A321 Menu A321

Champagne was offered pre-departure, and notice the glass and not a plastic cup 🙂

A321 Champagne

A321 Champagne

I also like that the seats get two windows each, except for row 1.

A321 Windows

Before you knew it, we were pushing back and taking off from JFK!  The airport always offers awesome views on take off.

Take off from JFK Take off from JFK

A321 Views A321 Views

Once we leveled off a hot towel was given to each passenger,

Hot Towels

Hot Towels

And then hot nuts, water, and beverage of choice.  For me, a cappuccino!

Post take off

Post take off

A proper table cloth was distributed and the place settings were all set up

Place settings

Place settings

For appetizers, I ordered the Spicy Crab and Ben got the Edamame Hummus.  Both were beyond delicious

Spicy Crab

Spicy Crab

Edamame Hummus

Edamame Hummus

Shortly after the main came out, I had the snapper and Ben had the quesadilla.  Both were accompanied by a beetroot salad.  I can’t stand beetroot, but something about the way they prepared this was unbelievable.  I’ve not eaten like this domestically ever before.

A321 Service A321 Service A321 Service

Just after dinner we got the dessert.  This was a no brainer.  SUNDAES PLEASE!  I asked to wait about 45 minutes until the rest of the food worked its way down though.  The food was so rich and so tasty!

SUNDAES!

SUNDAES!

At this point we kicked back and fired up the GoGo service, which was surprisingly fast.  Since the plane has significantly less people onboard than most, you’re sharing the bandwidth with a lot less people, so I think that’s a good thing.

I would say that I think one thing that American Airlines could do for its first class passengers, however, is give out free WiFi codes.  It seems like it would truly make the experience feel much more, special.

After watching two movies, and drinking a full bottle of the port they had on offer, John came back and asked if we’d like a chocolate chip cookie and some milk.  It was a nice touch with about an hour left in our flight.

Here’s the bottom line

This A321 service was amazing.  As you probably remember from reading the post where we flew in Business, the seats were comfy and the service was great.  The food was also the best we’d had on-board up to that point.  Well, then we flew on this flight and were wowed once again by the catering.  In fact, I was really surprised that the food was amazing as it was.  Airplane food isn’t known for its 5 star top notch quality, but American has done something recently.  I don’t know what, and I don’t know how, but they made the change and it’s really noticeable, especially after 7 different American Airlines flights.  Kudos to them.

Was the upgrade to First Class worth it?  Well, business would have been nice, and I think if your intent is comfort and watching movies/TV, business class is fine.  But if you want more room to stretch out and work, and have a closer attention from your purser, than First is the way to go!

We made a quick connection in SFO and we headed to our last flight of the weekend.  #NMCLaborDay is almost over!

Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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7 Comments

  1. 15K miles + a copay since you’re not Concierge Key, no?

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  2. Exactly!! Its not just 15k. For the two of you, it was 30K miles + $350! You should amend the article to state that.

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    • Well, yes. It was 15k miles each, but there’s a little bit more of the story to the other 15k miles. Stay tuned to a future blog post for more information 🙂

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  3. When going between the two best cities in the country for food , how can you say you’ve never eaten like this domestically before. I eat better than that for $20 on the ground

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    • I was referring to domestically on an airplane. Internationally the food is usually head and shoulders above. Shoot, I’ve had better food on the ground in a lot of American cities, but nothing compares to , when we visited Spain 🙂

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  4. Wait a minute..wasn’t this a mileage run but yet you shelled out 15k for upgrade? Seems pointless….pun intended

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    • Sure, but not all mileage runs are to accrue redeemable miles. Especially nowadays on American. Instead they are used to get qualifying miles. Besides, We’ve got so many redeemable miles right now on American that I don’t mind spending some for us to experience an awesome product!

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