Flying on the American A321T had escaped me for quite some time. Last Sunday it was finally time for me to give it a try. American launched this product in early 2014 and has been flying with the 10 First, 20 Business class and 66 Economy seats ever since from SFO and LAX to JFK. Now that United has moved to Newark it competes only with Jetblue’s Mint as a proper First and Business Class on this route. I had flown the United p.s. service from New York to San Francisco in 2013 and I really liked it.
As usual I had the dreaded SSSS printed on my boarding pass but the check-in agent raised no eyebrow. She just gave me the boarding passes (including my onward travel to Kigali on Qatar Airlines). I had to wait 10 minutes at the TSA check-in for my dedicated TSA supervisor. She eventually arrived and was again very friendly and understanding after hearing my Turkey story. I was glad not to be put on standby by the American reservation system – that was my biggest issue with my last flight on Alaska with SSSS.
The pat down and luggage check went through in less than 10 minutes and I was on my way to the Admirals Club just passed the security at SFO’s Terminal 2. The lounge attendant was very empathetic about all those SSSS on my boarding passes (I would also get it for my check-on in JFK).
The Admirals Club recently some basic breakfast options.
Boarding was perfectly on time and the First Class truly looks like a the Cathay Pacific International Business Class. My seat wasn’t clean and lots of crumbs from the inbound ride were still showing. Oh well.
I also took a look into the Business Class which looks surprisingly comfy as well.
After take-off we hit some bumpy weather and service started only about 100 minutes outside of SFO. American serves a proper 2 course brunch.
The yogurt parfait and the fruit were excellent. I also got my much revered espresso (something United just took off the menu in their 787s recently). The entree, a salmon bagel, was fantastic in taste and probably the best food I ever had on any US airline.
The Gogo Internet would not work initially but start p after the flight attendant rebooted it.
In general the service was excellent – friendly, attentive, knowledgeable. Better than most San Francisco restaurants and a leagues above anything I have seen on a domestic flight.
The seat was spacious and the display huge and crisp.
All this comes from a North American Airline that since that very same weekend started to be the world biggest airline. If such a monstrous organizational can come up with such an innovative product and also market it – I’m very impressed. My flight was full in all cabins on a Sunday morning and given has stingy American is with award availability I assume most people have paid for their fare. This product I would absolutely pay for.
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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]
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