6 Sectors on American Airlines – positive experience

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  • SwissExPat

    I recently did 6 sectors with American with 2 being transatlantic using PHL as arrival into the USA and return. The 4 other sectors were within USA lasting between 1.5 and 2 hours each.

    The Transatlantic was booked in Y+ but during online check in I was offered a 1 way upgrade to J for $500. I decided to avail of this as the out-bond sector was nudging 8 hours. Despite the 787 starting to show its age via wear and tear, my rearward facing seat (yes there are some configured like this) was fine and I managed some decent sleep after what was a surprisingly decent lunch and a hot pie snack before landing. Immigration in PHL cost me 15 mins max using returning ESTA machines so no JFK nightmares.

    The main thing that I appreciated on the shorter sectors was the IFE. American offer what seems to be the full long-haul IFE offering on their domestic routes. They either have in-seat screen hardware on each plane or if not, you can stream to your wi-fi device. I had no issues using my iPad to view the selection. Being much used to SWISS and BA, the AA IFE is in a different league (i.e. there is some). On one 2 hour sector, I managed to watch CODA plus some TV.
    My BAEC silver membership got me access to the AA Lounges and also advanced seat selection where I secured exit rows on 3 out of 4 domestic sectors. I was routing from ORD and their recently re-opened Flagship lounge was easily the best (General Access, i.e. non FIRST/SENATOR/CCR type) I have been in. It was a 0710 start and there was even a chef present mixing omelettes in addition to the main fare which was extensive (Hot/Cold buffet) plus Heidsieck champagne! Truly an excellent lounge with good views of the apron.

    The Return transatlantic was overnight in Y+ and despite not having a lie flat seat, I managed some sleep between the 2 meal services.

    I have to say that the overall experience with AA was surprisingly good. All punctual departures and arrivals. The IFE was excellent especially on shorter sectors. If one can avoid their standard “Admirals Club” lounges and get to the “Flagship” ones in JFK and ORD then these are excellent. Being Silver or more BAEC does help with the Check and lounge access + seat selection.

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    You have reminded me of some happy experiences!

    I wonder if, on those sectors were AA do not have an F cabin, oneworld emerald members still get free drinks and snacks? I remember going on a flight from Charlotte to somewhere-or-other on a tiny single-class aircraft (I think it was probably an Embraer as I seem to recall that seating was 1-2) and asking for a glass of wine, having already prepared my credit card. The delightful attendant went up to the front, came back with a quarter-bottle of sauvignon blanc, *and* another one saying that they were sitting in dry ice and she was worried it might freeze, said that she saw I was OWE so the drinks were free and would I like some snacks too? And to please let her know if I needed refills of either.

    I was also on one of the earliest AA flights from LHR to the US after they introduced the new Cirrus seat (technically pioneered by US Airways before it merged with AA but they got little publicity about it – the Cirrus seat really hit the headlines when CX selected it and it was broadly lauded as the best J seat in the sky at the time). Anyway, AA had adopted the Cirrus in much the same form as CX and did a significant upgrade of their transatlantic service including a quite extraordinary buffet snack section at the back of the J cabin which would shame many an aircraft lounge, the only letdown being that pre-flight drinks were served in plastic glasses. Which is stupid.

    And, of course, the ice-cream sundaes…

    The AA arrival lounge at LHR was always a highlight for me too, and rare among arrival lounges in serving alcohol (at one time including quarter-bottles of champagne, as I recall, although I think they were dropped because so many people just nicked them – and in fact I caught one of my former colleagues doing just that and ticked her off for filling her handbag with them. I think they still serve Bloody Mary on request)

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