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Review of Business Class on American Airlines’ Transcon A321

Discussion in 'Trip Experiences' started by vegli, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. vegli

    vegli Hangar Gold Member I

    Oct 12, 2012
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    United States United States
    Business Class on the American A321 – Photo: SouthpawCapture

    I live in the Dallas area, and don’t often fly transcon flights. However, I recently needed to go to both LA and New York close to the same time, and I thought it would be fun to try American’s new Airbus A321”T” they are flying between JFK and both LAX and San Francisco.

    I am an Executive Platinum AAdvantage member (American’s top-tier elite for the unitiated) so I can often, but not always, upgrade on a regular coach fare. I looked for the flight with the most available seats in business class, reasonably figuring that this would give me the best chance of upgrading. It was a midweek flight leaving LAX at 1 PM, arriving at JFK at around 10 PM local time.

    If it’s not obvious, I am a typical top-tier elite member – very spoiled. Sitting in the back of the bus is for the great unwashed, not I. Seriously, no, I am not above sitting back there, and as I make lots of last-minute changes, I often wind up squashed in with everybody else. Plus since I own my business, travel costs come out of my pocket. No high-end business class fares for me.

    American’s A321 in flight – Photo: SouthpawCapture

    So when you have the opportunity to take “AAdvantage” of the few perks you get with business travel these days, you grab it. Considering this was a five-hour flight and I was already very tired, I was REALLY hoping for the upgrade, to say the least.

    When I got to LAX, the upgrade still wasn’t there, and I was pouting. To make things worse, the flight was listed an hour late due to weather in JFK. But about 45 minutes before the flight left the gate, the clouds parted, the sun shone, and the upgrade gods smiled on me. Business class it was, Seat 8F on the new A321.

    The Main Cabin (aka Economy) is not very big – Photo: SouthpawCapture

    American flies two different configurations of the 321 on AA flights (US Airways’ 321s are still separate). The “321T” is a three-class airplane that is used only for JFK to LAX or San Francisco, and they recently announced a two-class 321 for LAX to Miami and a few other transcon routes. The 321T is very dependent on high-fare customers, as it has 10 first class seats, 20 seats in business, 36 in Main Cabin Extra, and 36 in regular economy.

    This is in contrast to the regular A321 that AA is starting to fly out of LAX, with 16 seats total in first, no business, and 36/136 in Main Cabin Extra and Coach, respectively. The regular A321 has 80 more seats on it than the 321T.

    My seat during the flight – Photo: Peter Williams

    The business class configuration is a standard 2×2. According to SeatGuru, the width is 19” and the pitch is 75” to 78”. It was reasonably comfortable, and I was excited for the trip. I didn’t even mind what became a 90-minute ATC delay. We only spent about 25 minutes of that on the tarmac, as we delayed boarding.

    Before boarding, the flight attendants came by with water, orange juice, or champagne. No offer of snacks or other drinks, but the delay wasn’t all that long. No amenity package in business; I’m not sure if there was one in first. Finally, it was our turn to go, and off we went.

    After we settled into cruise, the flight attendants (two; I’m not sure if they were only for the business class cabin), came around with drinks and a menu. Pictures of the menu are shown below.

    The business class menu on the A321T – Photo: Peter Williams

    The food service consisted of a bowl of warm mixed nuts, a starter course, a choice of three entrees, and a dessert. There was also a light snack of fruits, packaged snacks, or a fresh-baked cookie at the end of the flight.

    The warm nuts are one of my favorite things about AA’s premium class, and I really hope they keep them at the end of the merger. After the nuts, they brought the starter course, which was a slice of cold beef sirloin topped with a corn chowder. Tasty!

    Appetizer served – Photo: Peter Williams

    Next was a salad, with spinach and romaine lettuce and hearts of palm, strawberries, and pecans. I have taken a strict vow against eating green leafy vegetables and other healthy items, so I passed on it, but it looked good.

    The main meal of the flight – Photo: Peter Williams

    Next up, the main course. I chose the crusted chicken breast with mashed sweet potatoes. I must say the colors don’t really make your mouth water, all bland earth tones, but the chicken was quite tasty. The topping was crisp but not hard, and the chicken itself was tender enough to be cut with a fork.

    The sweet potatoes were bland, but they were sweet potatoes, so it kind of goes with the territory. And the portion size was nice for an airplane. Plenty there to eat, even for a growing boy like me.

    After they cleared away the main course, the flight attendants brought out a cart with desert – vanilla ice cream sundaes with choice of toppings plus whipped cream and nuts. I’m a classic kind of guy, and I had a chocolate sundae with the works. Really yummy.

    Midway737 likes this.
  2. Midway737

    Midway737 Hangar Associate Member II

    May 26, 2013
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    United States United States
    Nice report... I may someday will try to get on if i ever fly from New York to LAX

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