Hello from Milan!!! I’m here (well, in Europe) for a week visiting my sister, and for the first time, I booked all of my travel into premium cabins! I’m not usually one for trip reports (here was my first admittedly pathetic attempt at one), but I want to say that’s mostly because no one wants to hear me talk about how comfortable my economy class seat was or how the person next to me had bad body odor (hey, I call it as I smell it). Anyway, here goes:
For those of you who are unfamiliar, the AA 321T is American Airlines’s premium transcontinental offering meant to compete (or exceed, depending on who you ask) with Delta One domestic service and United p.s.. Roughly, they offer lie-flat seats on lucrative routes like SFO-NYC and LAX-NYC which attract contracted (cough Hollywood cough Silicon Valley) business travelers whose companies will pay a premium for their fares. For a good set of reviews and comparisons, see Eric Boromisa’s head-to-head reviews here.
American is the only carrier to offer a full three-class premium plane, meaning it has fully differentiated Economy, Business, and First class cabins. I’ll be flying Business class in July for my birthday, so you’ll get a review of that then, but for this trip, I got to fly First class.
Check-in was easy (well, I did it online), but there is a dedicated check-in line for premium cabins at SFO. Security too was straightforward, as I have TSA Precheck. Once I got through, I headed to the Admiral’s Club in Terminal 2 (unfortunately, the Centurion Lounge is inaccessible without first exiting security for American Airlines departures), which pleasantly surprised. It was clean and fresh, which I guess I should expect from the U.S. carrier lounges in S.F.O., as most of them have been recently redesigned or renovated.
Breakfast comprised granola, yogurt, cereal, and some baked goods, as well as your standard selection of drinks. However, I was saving my appetite for the plane (yes, I was actually excited for plane food), so I just stuck with some coffee and a yogurt.
Boarding commenced sharply at 8:20, and I was second to board the plane. The First Class cabin consists of twelve, reverse herringbone seats (meaning they sit at a diagonal, feet facing the window) in a 1-1 configuration. They look like this:
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about reverse herringbone configuration, since despite all the surface area, most of it is just too far to reach comfortably from the seat. But that’s just a nitpick, since it’s SUPER spacious, both for the general seat as well as in the foot cubby, which comfortably fit my backpack and the provided pillow and blanket.
I initially laughed that they gave us pillows and blankets for a daytime flight, but I actually ended up taking advantage of the opportunity lie flat and take a nap (I had not slept much the previous night). They also provide Bose noise-cancelling headphones as well as a nice amenity kit, although I didn’t have a need for either on my flight.
Breakfast was served about thirty minutes after departure, having been preceded by (non-alcoholic) drink service on the ground. Everything was actually delicious! I had a yogurt parfait and a bagel with lox and cream cheese. Not the best bagel or lox I’ve ever had (I’m a New Yorker, after all), but for a plane, it was great.
The two courses were followed by a dessert plate, with various chocolates and sundries:
Because I was so tired, I didn’t make it long enough to have my sparkling wine ???? . Instead, I reclined my seat into its fully lie-flat position and promptly, as they say, PTFOed.
Two hours later, I woke up, and on his next pass through they cabin, my flight attendant told me, “Welcome back!” before offering me some coffee (+++++) and snacks. I took a black, drip coffee, although they make espressos and cappuccinos if you so desire. I also got a warm chocolate cookie for my troubles 😛
I spent most of the rest of the flight in the same way I had spent the beginning,
eating working and catching up on email. The internet was solid throughout and outlets were plentiful, so I didn’t have to worry about running out of charge on my phone or laptop.
And then we landed. Well, some other things happened before that (for example, we descended 30,000 feet, the pilot put on landing gear, etc, etc), but they weren’t particularly notable.
All in all, it was a great flight, and a really cool opportunity to try out a product that I (probably) won’t make a habit of flying, as six hours is within my range of flights for which it isn’t worth it to pay extra for a premium cabin. That said, I could see myself flying it again if I were to take an Eastbound redeye, since I actually haven’t taken one in a few years because of how poorly I tend to sleep in Economy.
Hope you enjoyed!