My evening flight from New York to Los Angeles on American Airlines was a nice change of pace from my usual United flight.
I generally don’t stray from United Airlines domestically, but United was sold out in business class and American had space—it was an easy choice for this trip. After a meeting in Long Island, we arrived at JFK a few hours before our flight.
Premium transcontinental passengers on American Airlines receive complimentary access to AA’s Flagship Lounge, which I’ve previously reviewed here. I spent my time on the Flagship Bridge, which offers a more tranquil environment than the bustling lounge.
Boarding began only 30 minutes prior to scheduled departure but we still left on-time.
American Airlines 302
New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Friday, November 30
Depart: 06:00 PM
Arrive: 09:42 PM
Duration: 6hr, 42min
Seat: 8F (Business Class)
We entered through Door 1L, meaning I first walked through first class, a 10-seat cabin arranged in a 1-1 layout with reverse herringbone seats. I’ve reviewed first class before…you can read it here. Today I was flying business class.
American Airlines A321T Business Class Seat
The business class cabin, behind door 2L, contains five rows of seats in a 2-2 configuration. The seats are identical to what United offers on its 757-200 premium transcontinental product. Seats can be adjusted and power and USB charging ports are within reach.
As I settled into my seat, I took notice of American’s new Casper bedding. I’ve got to admit, the blanket felt scratchy…both United and Delta offer better bedding. The pillow was very plush, though.
I had work to do on the flight and did not sleep, but I find this bed quite comfortable in the lie-flat mode. Yes, your feet are slightly constrained in the footwell, but I have no trouble sleeping on my side. The cabin was very warm during the flight, which was fine as I sat working but would have been problematic had I tried to sleep. Then again, my business partner John ended up sleeping the entire flight, literally from takeoff to final approach into LA.
American Airlines A321T Business Class Dining
Menus were handed out prior to takeoff along with a choice of orange juice, sparkling wine, or water.
I really appreciate that American lets you pre-order meals in business and first class. I had browsed the menu a couple days in advance and ordered the potato-crusted salmon for my main course. American offers a nice selection of wines and is far more specific than United’s vague drink menu.
The meal began with a hot towel, mixed nuts, not warmed, and a choice of beverage. I had sparkling water. A FA offered me either a lemon or lime wedge with it.
The appetizer included a green salad with ranch dressing, tomato goat cheese strada, and a choice of hot bread. I love the cheese bread on AA. Overall, I thought the appetizer was excellent. One small suggestion, perhaps just a personal pet peeve: the little plastic container on the appetizer dish detracts form the premium appearance of the meal. Why not use reusable a little ceramic ramekin instead?
Anyway, the main course soon arrived and the hash brown topping was a big flop. That said, the tangy tomato sauce was excellent and the salmon itself moist and flavorful. Overall, a very good meal.
Dinner continued with a nice cheese course followed by an ice cream sundae topped with nuts, chocolate, and whipped cream. Overall, an excellent meal.
While first class offers cappuccino, business class only had coffee.
A snack basket was available after the meal with items like granola bars, fig bars, and almonds.
About an hour prior to landing, warm cookies were served, with a choice between chocolate chip or snickerdoodles. Sparking water was served with cookies, followed by butter mints.
American Airlines A321T High-Speed Internet
I stayed very productive on the flight and credit that largely to the excellent internet onboard. AA’s new ViaSat system was both reasonable and fast. What a difference fast internet makes! I paid only $16 for a flight pass and enjoyed virtually uninterrupted connectivity throughout the flight. Honestly, I could see myself flying AA on a much more regular basis just for this internet. I’m wondering if I only paid $16 because the “time to destination” showed about three hours, rather than six hours, after takeoff?
American Airlines A321T Business Class In-Flight Entertainment
Not only was the IFE system easy to use, the assortment of movies, TV shows, music, and games was excellent. I watched a movie called Beriut, which was riveting. For most of the flight, though, I left the moving map on.
I love that AA offers Bose noise-cancelling headphones, but I HATE that FAs collect them 45 minutes prior to landing. I understand why…they make nice flight souvenirs…but probably best to go with a cheaper alternative and avoid the annoying interruption.
American Airlines A321T Business Class Amenity Kit
Waiting in each business class seat was an amenity kit from Cole Hahn. It included socks, an eyeshade, dental kits, earplugs, moisturizer from Bigelow, and a $100 discount coupon for Casper.
American Airlines A321T Business Class Lavatory
I used the lavatory once prior to landing — it was still clean and odorless. There were zero additional amenities available.
American Airlines A321T Business Class Service
Finally, let me commend the crew onboard for providing excellent service. The FA working may side of the aisle must have been reserve because she was very young, but provided friendly and attentive service during the flight. Passengers were not addressed by last name—I maintain that is a nice touch—but service was very well-intentioned and executed well.
We departed on time, landed in Los Angeles on time, and quickly pulled into a gate. I know AA receives a lot of flak for it poor operational reliability this year, but I was thankful to enjoy a relatively smooth flight.
It’s nice to try the competition once in a while and I enjoyed my flight on American Airlines. Most of all, though, I enjoyed the relatively fast and stable wi-fi. What a treat that was!