Despite the fact that American Airlines was the first airline to fly between JFK and LAX and have been flying the route for over 50 years, 4/24/2012 was the first time I ever stepped onto American Airline’s Flagship service between the two airports and the first time I ever flew Business class on AA. After a few hiccups using my system wide upgrade that a good friend provided me, my upgrade was confirmed before arriving at the airport and my seat was assigned in the Biz Cabin, which is always a nice upgrade from coach.
Being a savvy traveler I checked in online and used my mobile app boarding pass which allowed me to not worry about lines at LAX–for no one enjoys time wasted waiting to get a boarding pass. Wanting to see how busy check-in would be, I walked through the bright and airy lobby to find almost no one in sight! Either it was slow due to the mid-afternoon departure time, or AA is really going under! With barely a soul in site, I headed towards the Priority Access Security line. The line moved slowly, but this was because there is only 1 security check point, scanner, and Xray. However my boarding was scanned and double beeped and I was able to speed through with the help of TSA Precheck. Shoes on, computer in the bag, jacket still over my shoulders I was through security in a breeze and on my way to peruse LAX Terminal 4.
Terminal 4 is nothing spectacular but is a nice upgrade compared to some other terminals at LAX. Dining options and entertainment options are few and far between, but nonetheless sufficient. This is not an airport I would want to spend a large amount of time in during an extended layover, but for a quick departure it’s sufficient. There’s an admirals club located near security, however due to my “lower fare class” I was not able to gain access. Normally premium passengers on the JFK-LAX route are allowed access. The representative at the club was friendly and polite and was sincerely apologetic for having to reject me.
Boarding started promptly at 3:45 and started with First Class and was followed by Business Class. I was one of the first to attempt to board the plane, but then due to a malfunction on my cell phone and my “handy” mobile boarding pass, I ended up being the last of the business class passengers to board before Priority Access and General Boarding was called. This saddened me for I was hoping to get a few pictures of the cabin before it filled up.
I worked my way to my seat and started to explore it immediately. The seat controllers were odd. Not electric but instead it had 4 levers for 4 different functions. None very intuitive and they didn’t work very well. The recline was decent and very comfortable when fully laid back, however when sitting up or only partly reclined the lumbar support was lacking. Furthermore the seat felt very narrow compared to the Delta Business Class Seats. Also when the seat in front of you reclined it made it difficult to get out of your own seat or crawl out from the window seat. Finally the power on the 767 is an old car cigarette outlet and with this being 2012 and only owning a motorcycle I recently moved from my storage using the Cheap Motorcycle Shipping website – I don’t have a single DC power cord! Epic Fail!
Boarding commenced and then right before they closed the door, a FA appeared in the aisles with little plastic wine cups full of water, orange juice or Champagne. This was a nice touch, but I’m not sure if I like these three options (as if it’s an international flight) or the more general approach other airlines take where they just serve you whatever you ask for during the boarding process.
We were soon underway and after about 45 minutes into flight the FA appeared in the aisles with their big bulky carts! I was shocked to see these in a business class cabin, for I feel like most airlines avoid using these carts in Biz class and reserve them for coach. My FA took my dinner order and offered me a Samsung Tablet which allowed me access to a number of movies, music and TV shows. The Tablets was nice, but also got in the way a lot. The Table came with Boise Noise Canceling Ear phones, but honestly my non-noise canceling Boise ear phones were better and more comfortable–and they canceled more noise despite not being noise canceling–imagine that!
Next drinks and warm nuts were served. But again that bulky silver and red cart was in the aisle! I understand that AA offers more drink options than most airlines, having both Pepsi and Coke on board along with a number of scotches, two reds wines, two whites wines, etc, however AA could class it up and use the nicer foldaway carts to hold their beverages. Or honestly walk back and forth with trays. The galley is not that far! Drink service was prompt and when I asked for scotch on the rocks I was given a double, which was a nice treat! After 1 rounds of drinks was done, a 2nd round was served and our warn nuts were refilled upon request. Soon after dinner started to arrive.
Overall dinner was delicious! By far the best I had while flying domestically in the US. The only problem was when dinner arrived I no longer had a place to rest the Samsung Tablet. The seat back pocket in front of me provided a weird angle making it difficult to see and my dinner tray took up the entire tray. Being that I had an aisle seat, and couldn’t angel it on my arm rest like my seat mate, I ended up placing it on my lap and instead focused on eating my dinner and just listened to music. The movie needed to wait.
The first course of dinner consisted of salad, bread and prosciutto and it was absolutely delicious. I’m not a meat eater so I did not eat the prosciutto; however for a cured meat fan I could see it being very tempting! Yet for a none meat eater, the giant clump of salty meat was a turn off, and I wondered why anyone would want to eat a lump of fat and salt! I could have asked them not to bring it out, however I had forgotten so it was my own fault.
Once I finished my salad and bread, a hot bowl of yummy tortellini was delivered. I am normally not a fan of pasta while flying but today AA changed that. The Pasta was cooked perfectly! Al dente with a very flavorful sauce and just the right amount of cheese and flavor! Everything about it was perfect! I actually ate my entire meal and was in a state of bliss! Who know airplane food from a US airliner could be this good!
Once my dinner tray was taken away I went back to resting and watching my movie. As I was sitting there resting about ½ through the flight at this point, the clumpy silver and read meal cart showed up in the aisle again, but this time the FA were offering Ice Cream Sundaes or cheese plates. I honestly should have opted for the cheese plate, but my sweet tooth was calling my name and an ice cream sundae at 32k feet sounded delicious. I loaded up on my carbs and sugar and had myself a cup of black coffee with a Ben and Jerry’s Vanilla ice cream sundae with hot fudge, nuts and strawberries! This was a Delicious DoubleWide Delight!
The flight continued, uneventful and the flight attendants were nowhere
to be seen. Some people prefer it this way; however I found it strange that they weren’t check on drinks or offering water to their premium cabins. Then about 2 hours before landing in NYC, the aroma of fresh baked cookies aroused my senses and I soon found out that although Frontier Airlines stole the cookie from the Cookie jar, AA was giving it back! I found on my plate minutes later a fresh chocolate chip cookie and a cup of milk! Another DoubleWide Delight! The cookie melted in my mouth and the milk washed it down briskly. Being on a sugar rush I was in need of some serious coffee to balance out the sweetness. I thought this would be an easy request, yet to my surprise no coffee was brewed and I would have to wait.
As we got closer to New York our tablets were collected and the cabin was prepared for our arrival. The in flight entertainment was nice, but also lacking in some aspects. Due to the early collection of the tablets and the fact they were not provided until about 45 minutes into the flight, a large part of the flight leaves fliers in the Business Class cabin without entertainment devices. Individual in the seat entertainment would be a better option, however the old B767 AA flies between JFK and LAX are in dire need of refurbishment or retirement.
AA has done a great job on this route. The 767 is a nice improvement vs the 757s both United and Delta fly on this route. However, I must say that AA has not completely won me over today, but they sure have started! I give AA a +1 over Delta on Food and Drink options, however seat comfort, functionality, and entertainment options goes to Delta. But it’s a tie for service and helpfulness. IF AA upgrades their planes/seats and offer a regular power outlet on their planes, I think AA will easily blow their competition out of the water!