To follow up on BusinessTraveller’s recent praise of AA’s First, I took AA1520 LAX-MIA. I thought it somewhat unfair to denigrate US Domestic First when domestic First almost anywhere else is non-existent.
A competetive international business fare onwards to EZE got me a seat in First for connecting flight to Miami. On-line check was easy, and a carry-on only policy got me through the dedicated TSA security in short order.
The Admiral’s Lounge, although easily missed as you start down the hall, was bright, spacious and uncrowded. Unlike the BA lounge at LAX, it has a splendid view of the field. But I think it’s unfair to describe the complimentary food offerings as mediocre : a better description would be laughable, as they were limited to cookies (biscuits) and miniature muffins. Proper tucker was available at the bar, but it was not cheap.
No free booze, either.
To be fair, such things, to match the BA Lounge offerings, are complimentary in the adjacent Flagship Lounge, but AA is quite restrictive about granting entry therein. Full fare First only, and then on certain flights only. Business Class hoi-polloi not permitted.
I missed the call for First boarding at the gate, and had to line up with the riff-raff, but, once aboard, seating and service proceeded smoothly. Champagne spritzers or Mimosas were passed out. First seats are very spacious and comfortable, and, I feel, rather better than Club World. They adjusted easily into a plethora of positions, that can be held with a Memory lock. A big improvement over Club World was the integral footrest – none of that wearying jerking away at that little footstool.
This was a daytime flight, so I didn’t try the sleeping mode.
On board service was friendly and attentive, despite there being a couple of crew who looked damn near as old as me, and I remember riding steam trains to school on the Oxted line.
But it was delayed by the Captain’s gripping onto the Fasten Seat Belts sign. Indeed, it was well past the Colorado River that hot towels and aperitifs were handed out, so that by the time I got to Phoenix, I was thirsty.
But the meal choice was agreeable, and the wine selection excellent, and desserts, coffee and wide choice of fine spirits promptly followed.
IFE for me is usually the latest Economist, so I did not avail meself, but it seemed to be acceptable, though not a varied as BA’s transoceanic selection. It came in the form of a laptop sized package that was plugged into the forward seat back.
There’s plenty of room to move in and out of seats, and strict class separation was enforced, and well as admirable and logical control of baggage storage. Not always the case with the Plus crowd on BA main cabins..
Fresh baked bikkies were brought around before landing, and all drinks were available throughout the cruise.
The menu indicated that meals could be taken other than during the normal service, which might suit some people on such a five hour flight.
First passengers were allowed off, well, first, but I couldn’t comment about baggage collection as I had none.
All in all, a positive experience. Slick terminals, clean cabin, on time, well pleased.