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Please may I ask those knowledgable regarding air travel in the USA?
I am thinking of planning a trip from the UK to the US later this year (if covid restrictions allow by then) mainly to use up a BA companion voucher and avios that are due to expire.
If I choose to travel domestically in first class from JFK to MIA, do the American carriers allow lounge access for domestic first class on that route (I don’t have any airline status other than BAEC Bronze). From what I can see they don’t so I don’t think its worth the money as I am sure the food its not that good.
Also, if I choose AA from MIA to JFK and connecting same day in JFK to a BA Business Class flight to LHR would they check me right though even if not on the same booking code? Also, would they let me use the lounge in MIA?
Grateful for any advice.
David10 Jun 2021
A while ago I made some quite long first class flights (domestic) in the US on American Airlines. There was no lounge access. The food was pretty good. The seats were not great compared with economy – it reminded me of BA’s Club Europe, but without the empty seat next to each passenger.10 Jun 2021
Hi David, if you are buying a simple JFK – MIA F ticket, then you would not get access to the AA lounges (as a Bronze).
I think this is what you were asking as I’m guessing the BA Avios is just covering the LON – NYC section.
From memory I don’t think there is alternative lounge options in JFK T8.
However, it is not that bad a terminal to wait pre-flight.
I quite like AA F – a month out you can order your meal.
Seats are similar to BA WTP, though leather. 2 x 2, no empty middle seat.
Some of the newer 737 aircraft have AVOD on a good sized screen which F pax aren’t charged for.
Occasionally they roster a larger aircraft on this route (not LGA-MIA), so you could end up with fully flat seat.
As for your last question, they might check you through, but I wouldn’t work on the basis they definitely will.
I suspect no to AA lounge access, though if you have one, there is an Amex lounge at MIA.10 Jun 2021
Typically you will not get lounge access with AA unless you have the right Oneworld tier or are an Admirals club member, even if flying domestic first, unless Transcon, in which case you will.
Seat types vary enormously across the fleet, but will typically give you extra width, recline and pitch when compared with coach.
Inflight F&B depends entirely on time of day and sector length.
Good luck10 Jun 2021
Couple of years ago I travelled round the world business class on a Qantas ticket. I flew a mix of BA, AA, Qantas and Cathay. I was also BA Bronze at the time. Everywhere I went, I had lounge access except in Honolulu where I was travelling American to Los Angeles. I was pretty miffed about this. I had to be silver or above.
The on board service was none to brilliant either. An ageing 757, with recliner seats in a 2-2 configuration. No personal in flight entertainment.
The food was dismal – a hot breakfast OR cereal!! By the time they appeared in my row 4 (the last one) they had naturally run out of hot breakfasts.
Not recommended – spend your money elsewhere on your short flight to Miami10 Jun 2021
esselle, above, has it right.
No lounge unless you’re connecting on to an international in business or first. As in my SNA-PHX-LHR flights.
AA’s Admiral Lounges aren’t much cop, anyway.
Their Flagship Lounges, as at MIA and JFK, on the other hand, are excellent. Booked international in J or F, even on BA, you’d get in there.
Unless finances restrict, it’s always best to fly first domestic in the US anyway. Better that than risk sharing a main cabin row with one of those 20 stone porkers.
Plus you get free “adult beverages”, always a great comfort when airborne!10 Jun 2021
Flew JFK MIA in AA First (in a 772) a few weeks ago having connected from DOH with QR. Flagship Lounge (I’m OW Emerald) is fine but restricted space when I was there and so very crowded and no showers. Staff are really cheery and accommodating though (in that NYC way).
In flight product is J seats with sub-J service (at least on my short hop down to Miami). Food was a turkey and cheese sandwich- as a vegetarian I was advised that I could remove the turkey from the sandwich and they’d bring me a second one so I had a ‘large cheese sandwich’. Crew were very pleasant about it and we had a good laugh – not sure I’d be quite so jokey on a transcontinental but it wasn’t his fault. Wine was served in a pristine plastic cup.
What I found the most creepy was how quiet (eerily so) everywhere other than the lounge at JFK was….hopefully this beastly pandemic will soon be behind us and we can start moaning about moons security lines again!11 Jun 2021
And in terms of checking bag all the way through to LHR….you certainly used to be able to and I think it’s still technically possible. It depends on current policy and check in agent – more seasoned US members will be better able to advise.
But you might have to retrieve your bag and recheck it (even with the tag through to LHR printed) as your transferring from domestic to international (you certainly have to when doing it the other way around)11 Jun 2021
Yes, no lounge access for domestic AA First flights if you don’t have FF status.
There are some exceptions though just to complicate things – flights JFK-LAX/SFO and vice versa do get lounge access either end. Also, MIA – MIA.
International flights from the US to Canada, Mexico and Caribbean are also excluded. Although AA.com does say right now ‘For a limited time: Starting April 1, 2021, qualifying international flights will include flights between the U.S. and Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico.’
If I were you, I would rock up at the lounge oblivious to the requirement and try your luck. What’s the worst that could happen? They say no? You might get lucky and they could let you in. It’s one thing I appreciate flying with AA – I find their employees tend to have a little more flexibility to bend the rules than say the asian or Middle Eastern airlines.
All the info is here:
https://www.aa.com/i18n/travel-info/clubs/admirals-club-access.jsp11 Jun 2021
MIA-MIA sounds like a short sector 😉
Agree with the comment re: AA lounge employee / front desk staff. I’ve always found them excellent in trying to help, especially with winter travel issues at their JFK & ORD locations.
If you are looking for a competitive price for F on this sector, I’ve often found DL come in cheaper than AA. (Pre pandemic).
Also, if you have an Amex Plat card you can use their lounges.11 Jun 2021
AA has ramped up its 777 service on JFK-MIA route. Might be worth the splurge to have lie-flat on a 3-hour ride. You won’t have Admirals Club access, but you can go to the Centurion Lounge at T4. You just have to clear security twice. I’m NYC-based and passenger numbers have ticked up inside T8. Not all shops and restaurants have opened, but certainly more since Mar 2021.11 Jun 2021