Flight: American Airlines – San Francisco to New York
Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA276
Plane: Airbus A321T
Cabin: Flagship Business
This is my review of my flight on American Airlines from San Francisco to New York, which I took with Mrs Neil.
The flight leaves SFO at 22:15 and arrives in JFK at 07:00.
This is a somewhat unique flight as it’s on American Airlines’ A321 Transcon. Often flights going from East to West and vice versa are operated by wide-body aircraft such as the 787 or 777 – but for some ‘premium’ routes, which don’t quite have the footfall – the A321T is rolled out.
The Transcon has a number of Flagship First and Flagship Business seats (not the same as the 787/777). It’s definitely a very comfortable way to get from A to B!
The Transcon operates on the following flights;
- JFK to LAX (and back)
- JFK to SFO (and back)
- JFK to SNA (and back)
- BOS to LAX (and back)
- MIA to LAX (and back)
Checking in San Francisco’s Terminal 1 was a doddle. The check-in staff were super friendly and helpful – and there was no queue when I got there!
Security literally took 30 seconds too, using the TSA pre-check.
I am glad to say I visited SFO’s ‘new’ Admirals Club, and was well-served upon by Eileen, who I write about in my review here.
I am not sure how many A321T’s American have – but they operate on a unique set of routes, which I mention above.
The layout of the aircraft is 10 x Flagship First, 10 x Flagship Business, 72 x Economy (also called Main Cabin).
The Flagship First are single seats, all with aisle access – where as the Flagship Business seats are in pairs. I can see it getting pretty awkward when the person next to you needs to get out, as it’s not an easy feat!
As I was traveling with Mrs Neil, who likes a window seat, she took 6A and I took 6C. You can find my review of that seat here.
General observations of the seat are;
- It’s pretty cosy if you don’t know the person you’re sat next to!
- It’s not as spacious as the more traditional Flagship Business seats.
That said, if I was with someone I knew, I’d happily take the Flagship Business. If I was on my own, I may consider going Flagship First, to avoid the cosyness.
Food and Drink
Upon boarding, Water, Orange Juice or Champagne was served.
Once taken off, drinks were offered with hot nuts – I had the Dos Equis, which I rather like. I personally prefer American’s range of beers to BA’s; American have a wider range (and better selections!).
American tend to have a fairly reasonable selection of wines. As I was having beef, I decided to have a glass of red wine.
American also offered a good selection of spirits, soft drinks, a port, and so forth. The selection is probably more limited than the international flight – but there was still a good range, and I thought it was pretty good.
I always use the pre-ordering function on American Airlines. However inexplicably the order didn’t come through.
On this particular service, dinner was a single-tray service. I usually would complain about this – but the flight was around 5hrs 30mins, and a multi-service dinner would have taken ages. So, in this case, I think it was the right decision.
The meal ‘started with’ a beetroot and goats cheese timbale (whatever a timbale is), and was served with seasonal greens.
The mains on offer were;
- Beef filet
- Chicken cacciatore
- Gain and greens bowl
- Porcini tortellini
I took the beef, which was nice – if not a little chewy!
For desert, I took the ice cream sundae, which as always, was really nice.
Other desert options included the cheese plate or lemon tart.
The menu did offer some light snacks or a yogurt fruit smoothie before landing. There was no formal breakfast offering – and I literally woke up as we began decending.
There were some baskets of crisps carefully balanced on the bulkhead above our screens – but it was fairly stripped back.
I was given an identical Amenities Kit to the previous international flight I’d taken. A pencil case by Shinola. I am told they are good manufacturers – but this looked cheap!
Inside the kit consisted of;
- Eye mask
- Ear plugs
- The world’s smallest pen
- Body lotion
- And a pretty rubbish toothbrush
Wifi was available for purchase at $9 for the whole flight. I planned to sleep, so didn’t use it!
To all intents and purposes, the entertainment is the same as the international flights.
There is a large screen in the seat, and also a hand-held controller for navigating the entertainment system.
The options included movies, television and music.
As always, I tend to watch the Flight Map.
As I write about in the Seat Review, it’s you’re pretty much sharing a screen with the person sitting next to you.
In absolutely fairness, I found this crew to be very good. They were extremely friendly, and very slick.
Sitting in 6C, I could see the galley kitchen, and it was clear the cabin crew were hitting this with maximum efficiency to get everyone the maximum sleep possible – they had a really slick production line going!
Landing in JFK
As always on domestic US flights, landing was very easy. It was a short walk from the gate over to the Flagship Lounge in Terminal 8, where I waited before getting my flight back to London.
This was a great flight, and with the flight time being so short, I was grateful to the crew for getting dinner done with so quickly.
All in all, I slept well during this great flight, and enjoyed my time on it! Well done American Airlines!
Score: 109 out of 121 – or 90%.
The only real let down was the Amenities Kit, but I’ve also de-marked the fact my pre-order of food didn’t make it!