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AA Flagship Service: LAX-JFK In First Class (pics)  
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3697 posts, RR: 28
Posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 24011 times:

Route: Los Angeles-Int. - New York-John F. Kennedy International
Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA2
Aircraft: Boeing 767-223/ER
Registration: N324AA
Seat: 03J (First Class)
Distance: 2475 miles
Duration: 5hrs 10mins



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Photo © Brian Futterman
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Photo © Frank C. Duarte Jr.



After landing from Sydney on Qantas and being forced landside it was necessary, of course, to go back airside. The main cabin lines looked hellish as we walked down to the far end of the AA departure area and then back up the stairs to security. The TSA agents barking orders at us (welcome to America?!) told us NOT to bother taking our liquids out of our bags. Just when the more irregular travelers were getting the hang of it they change the rules on you. Sigh.

Once that was over with it was on to the Flagship Lounge, the lounge was quite empty but I guessed as more passengers from the Qantas flight came through it would fill up. I got the username and password for the free wi-fi from the ever friendly lounge agents and logged on as I hadn't checked the net in oh about thirteen hours  Wink Despite the lounge being near empty Mr Liev Schreiber from our SYD-LAX flight came and took a seat right next to my wife. I guess it is something about those seats and famous people as a year before we were in the same (empty) lounge and Queen Latifah sat just next to us too...I got a couple of bottles of Evian from the fridge as my wife called a couple of friends and family on the east coast.

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AA/Qantas Flagship Lounge at LAX

As the first boarding call for QF107 was made I broke usual 'seeing famous protocol' and thanked Mr Schreiber for his work and we chatted a little. Usually I don't bother famous people but as Mr Schreiber is one of my favourite actors I felt almost obliged to say something. He was very grateful for my kind words and he said he was heading home after spending almost six months in Australia filming for the next installment in the X-Men series. He certainly had the Wolverine like sideburns to prove it  Wink He wished us a pleasant journey and was on his way  Smile

Our flight was due to leave just five minutes afterwards so we wrapped things up in the lounge and went down to gate 42B. The Flagship Lounge agent recognised me on the way out and said that boarding was well under way for AA2. Nice  thumbsup  I've spoken to some of the staff there and they have said they try to make a conscious effort to remember everyone and which flight they are on  Smile

Once onboard the first thing I noticed was the seats; instead of the dirty beige from my previous flights on the 767-200 they were a deep blue and they did look very recently done. I'd heard the 762s were getting a bit of an overhaul but I thought it included the installation of a tenth seat and the removal of the credenza, neither of which had been done on this aircraft. The second thing I noticed was a man sitting in my wife's seat. I thought it was some screwup with us being moved to the flight just before departure but it seemed he just didn't want to sit next to someone in 3A. After some huffing and puffing he moved his things back to his original seat! The window shades were all closed, even at this early hour, no doubt AAnother cost saving measure but the cabin was still roasting hot!


MyAviation.net photo:
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Photo © Fraser Davidson


The reupholstered First Class seats on the 767-200

Pre-flight drinks were offered by a very pleasant flight attendant. I took a glass of water but for some reason neither of us could fathom, my wife asked for sparkling wine. I told her it would taste nasty, especially after the Dom Perignon on Qantas, and as predicted she took one sip, said it was like acidic apple juice and asked if she could have my water to get rid of the taste  biggrin  Menus were handed out just before we pushed back right on time at 9.30am.  thumbsup  We taxied out to runway 25L and got a great view of Qantas 107 departing, almost rubbing it in that we couldn't get on the flight  Sad Off the ground ten minutes after pushback we tailed the 747, it almost visible for the first ten minutes or so of flight as we headed out over the Pacific and then turned back overland.

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Departing LAX and climbing en-route to the East Coast

When the seatbelt sign was switched off there were explicit instructions as to which toilets passengers could use. I thought this policy was scrapped over a year ago?? The mainscreen film was announced as being 'The Spiderwick Chronicles', not really my cup of tea so I held out for the PEDs.

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Nearing cruise altitude

Hot towels were handed out and breakfast orders subsequently taken, on this flight it was a choice of either omelette, breakfast burrito or cereal and fruit with yoghurt. Despite saying I wasn't a huge fan of breakfast in the air on my Qantas report I chose the omelette asking for extra sauce as I was hungry and it sounded better than the other choices.  Smile

I was asked whether or not I wanted an Archos PED with Bose QC3s. My experience with these is that they are jam packed with content so there is usually some form of audio visual media for my liking, or alternatively, there are always the games  Wink I'd noticed the film 'Mad Money' with the delightful Diane Keaton was loaded on there and as I'd seen a very similar British miniseries a few years ago I thought I'd give it a whirl.

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The Archos PED with the menu

The power lead for the PED went into the left side and the DC power supply was on the, yes you've guessed it, the right side and the telephone-like power cord didn't want to be stretched far. AA have handy little tables for PEDs/DVD players and the like so I'd plenty of room to eat and watch as long as the battery was alive  Smile

Breakfast began with a fruit plate which I nibbled on a little but I'm not the world's biggest fan of them so had the bagel instead. The omelette was dare I say it, actually not bad! Maybe it was because I doubled up on the sauce but it was quite tasty and it wasn't just because I was hungry!  Wink

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Three cheese omelette enhanced by a Poblano Cream Sauce served with Basil Pesto Potatoes and fire-roasted Turkey Sausage, garnished with roasted Tomatoes

After the film was over I watched a couple of episodes of 'The Office', I'd seen them before but they were classic episodes (Phyllis's Wedding and when Jim ordered the Ben Franklin impersonator/stripper) so that was most enjoyable. However, you can have too much of a good thing and after three episodes I called it a day and played a few rounds (read a hundred or so!) of Blackjack. In between rounds I peered out of the window and enjoyed our rather northerly routing which took us out over Wisconsin and Lake Michigan, then Toronto and Southern Ontario. Unfortunately the cloud obscured any view  Sad

http://img75.imageshack.us/img75/8002/dsc07843cn9.jpg

Pictures from the cruise portion of the flight:
1) Coming over the Rockies
2) The Great Lakes


Around an hour before landing the smell of cookies permeated throughout the cabin, maybe it is just me but isn't it one of the best smells?  biggrin  A few minutes later the cookies appeared however by the time they reached my wife and I only oatmeal raisin ones were left. No chocolate chip  Sad However, Kristine, our motherly purser could read the disappointment on my face and a couple of minutes later appeared with my preference to go with my oatmeal and glass of milk  biggrin 

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Cookies, milk and Blackjack

At 5.20pm local time I could feel the aircraft begin a slow descent into the New York Area, however due to thick cloud cover there wasn't too much to see. Eventually the distinctive Fingerlakes came into view and very quickly the Hudson and Manhattan itself. It was quite hazy but the view of New York City's five boroughs was quite special. As we descended further we passed right over JFK itself and then out over the sea, before turning back and coming in over Floyd Bennett Field as part of the renowned Canarsie Approach onto 13L.



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Approach and landing a JFK:
1) Manhattan, Brooklyn and part Long Island City
2) A slightly better view of LI City & Astoria - I blame AA for the really bad windows, and mankind for the haze  Wink
3) A nice bird's eye view of JFK
4) Got to have an CF6 pic in here somewhere
5) Floyd Bennett Field


As the crew thanked us for flying with them they mentioned they were a New York & St Louis based flight crew. Maybe it's just me but it seemed quite bizarre some were from St Louis since, as far as I know, AA don't fly the 767 there in either -200 or -300 form.

We pulled up at gate 3 and had a fairly short walk down to the baggage claim area. A few meeters and greeters were down there and we just stood to one side waiting for the thing to fire into life. Whilst we did I reflected on how incredible modern air travel is. In one day I'd flown just shy of 10,000 miles like it was nothing; despite it being utterly unremarkable it was nigh on miraculous. People took months to sail such distances by sea and yet it is something we just take for granted. Thank you Sir Frank Whittle!  bigthumbsup  I really did have some time to ponder this before our bags came through, perhaps thirty minutes when the trickle began...no Priority tags to be seen. Sigh  Sad Several of those left in the baggage area when there were perhaps two dozen of us left were those I recognised from the First Class cabin. Then after a pause of perhaps ten more minutes a gaggle of bags with Priority tags came down the chute from the ceiling...

Our friends from the city were running late (and they had about 0.1% of the distance I had to travel to meet them  Wink) so we took the AirTrain round to the general stop for hotel shuttles and went to the Doubletree to drop our bags off.

Verdict: Whilst an obvious come down from Qantas 107, and a pity we couldn't continue with the flight to JFK this wasn't all bad. The Flagship Lounge at LAX is certainly one of the better AA lounges in the network and the staff are always great  thumbsup 

Onboard whilst the seat isn't amazing it is really comfortable for a day flight of this length, especially when the people in front forget to recline! The reupholstering of the seats did make the cabin feel a little more up to date. The Media Players with QC3s are great with plenty of content so no complaints on that front here.

I have to say the food wasn't dreadful, ordering the extra sauce was definitely a good plan  Wink It's a pity though that at almost $2500 per person one way AA can't make the food/meal service more like that of an international business class product. You really are in that price bracket...Cookies are definitely good though  bigthumbsup 

The one real letdown on this flight was the 'priority' handling. Waiting thirty minutes for bags was annoying enough but a further fifteen minutes for priority to come through was ridiculous. My previous JAL, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and even BA (who usually cockup priority bags) where our bags were ALWAYS in the first group have me spoiled I guess...


"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
10 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCOERJ145 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1421 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 23921 times:

Great trip report!!

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
As the crew thanked us for flying with them they mentioned they were a New York & St Louis based flight crew. Maybe it's just me but it seemed quite bizarre some were from St Louis since, as far as I know, AA don't fly the 767 there in either -200 or -300 form.

Possibly the flight crew was rated to fly in the 757 and the 767, transitioning between the two requires minimal training AFIAK. AA flies the 757 into STL.


User currently offlineAirxliban From Lebanon, joined Oct 2003, 4506 posts, RR: 54
Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 23720 times:

Sounds like you ought to ask AA for the recipe for that sauce  Wink Great report, love the style as always.

I keep on telling myself that on my next occasion to fly from the New York area to LAX that I'll try AA in F but I keep on never having the chance to do so.

Incidentally, did you consider taking the QF flight that goes on to JFK from LAX? Perhaps it didn't operate on the day that you chose to travel. Rare opportunity to have proper F class service on a domestic flight in the US nonetheless.



PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3697 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 23623 times:



Quoting Airxliban (Reply 2):
Incidentally, did you consider taking the QF flight that goes on to JFK from LAX? Perhaps it didn't operate on the day that you chose to travel. Rare opportunity to have proper F class service on a domestic flight in the US nonetheless.

I did, several times, for some reason when we booked the tickets I tried to get us right through from SYD-JFK on QF, however, for some reason despite there being availability on the SYD-LAX flight in F, there wasn't on the LAX-JFK flight. My impression was that you can only fly LAX-JFK on QF if you've arrived from SYD that day.

When we got to LAX I asked the staff if it was possible to move onto the QF flight, alas no, we'd have to continue on AA. Disappointing, but as domestic travels go F on the 762 is about as good as it gets...and at least we didn't get subbed to 757  Wink

Quoting COERJ145 (Reply 1):
Possibly the flight crew was rated to fly in the 757 and the 767, transitioning between the two requires minimal training AFIAK.

Didn't know that. I'm surprised moving from a narrowbody to widebody is that easy!



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8466 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 23571 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pix, I guess this is the final installment now, shame, had been enjoying the travels.

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
told us NOT to bother taking our liquids out of our bags. Just when the more irregular travelers were getting the hang of it they change the rules on you. Sigh.

- Really? - When did this change??

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
A few minutes later the cookies appeared however by the time they reached my wife and I only oatmeal raisin ones were left. No chocolate chip However, Kristine, our motherly purser could read the disappointment on my face and a couple of minutes later appeared with my preference to go with my oatmeal and glass of milk

- That's pretty good service, I am impressed they bothered!

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
It's a pity though that at almost $2500 per person one way AA can't make the food/meal service more like that of an international business class product. You really are in that price bracket

- Agreed, I'd not fork out this kind of $ for this service, really not woth it.

Regards

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3697 posts, RR: 28
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 23260 times:

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 4):
I guess this is the final installment now, shame, had been enjoying the travels.

Nope, I've got another five sectors to write up. They are all AA domestic F though, and not quite as 'interesting' as the previous ones.

Thanks for your kind words  Smile

Quoting BA319-131 (Reply 4):
Really? - When did this change??

It hasn't...seems to be an LAX thing. Since this flight I've flown through five other US airports and they all required you to have liquids out.

[Edited 2008-07-26 17:16:13]


"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3204 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 22842 times:



Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 3):
When we got to LAX I asked the staff if it was possible to move onto the QF flight, alas no, we'd have to continue on AA. Disappointing, but as domestic travels go F on the 762 is about as good as it gets...and at least we didn't get subbed to 757

Firstly great report.... BUT... a 'downgrade' to business class on QF and getting on the skybed would have still been superior to AA's First class product on the 762. The catering would have been a true international business class, you'd get champas (although proabably not DOM in business but still... a cut above what it appears you were offered). I know it says 'first' on one and 'business' on the other but surely if the product is better that hardly matters? I think i would have told the agent to let me fly in Business instead then given first was full.

Also it is possible to get on that flight if you came in on the flights from Melbourne or Brisbane as well as the flight from Sydney. That would have been the reason First Class was full.

I highly recommend getting on the Qantas leg though, because they pull you out of the line at customs if you're delayed to make sure you get through on time to connect with the JFK flight.
And of course, its a 744... and I'm guessing in the near future may end up an A380.

Once again great trip report.
Just curious though, why don't you do a United PS flight one day and give us your opinion on the difference? I'm sure you're expert trip report skills would be one of the better comparisons!


User currently offlineDavico68 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 30 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 22643 times:

Quote:
. Whilst we did I reflected on how incredible modern air travel is. In one day I'd flown just shy of 10,000 miles like it was nothing; despite it being utterly unremarkable it was nigh on miraculous

Yes I can agree! Perhaps I am an old soul and flying is still relatively new to man but I feel the same way every time that I fly on a long haul or even when I fly in general. It truly is amazing and many people take it for granted never even looking out the window at the splendor all around. No matter how many times I fly I try to be thankful that man has come this point in history that flight is possible. Thanks for the articles as I have yet to fly the LAX SYD but can't wait. Hopefully it will be on the A380, the next achievement in aviation history.

[Edited 2008-07-27 02:15:48]

[Edited 2008-07-27 02:16:27]

User currently offlineUAL757 From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 806 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 22558 times:

Nice!

You write the best trip reports. You deserve an award.

I really like the dark blue F seat covers than the brown, the brown are so tacky.

Thanks for sharing (I know it is a lot of work to write these!)

-UAL


User currently offlineAA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 5721 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 22485 times:



Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
I have to say the food wasn't dreadful, ordering the extra sauce was definitely a good plan   It's a pity though that at almost $2500 per person one way AA can't make the food/meal service more like that of an international business class product. You really are in that price bracket...

I was just going to say something similar. That fruit plate looks like HALF of something that Safeway would put together. Five slices of honeydew, three orange slices, and two blackberries? I can but a whole tub of ORGANIC blueberries for $7, and that's in Alaska.
The omelette looked nice, but not worth of first class. Too little food, and too basic at that.
It looks like great fare for business class. But I've had nicer food than that on CO domestic first flights, such as IAH-SEA, which isn't nearly as prestigious as LAX-JFK!!!

Aside from that, though, it sounds like your cabin crew was very good.

Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 6):
Just curious though, why don't you do a United PS flight one day and give us your opinion on the difference?

I suspect he doesn't do that because he's OneWorld, rather than Star. I too, however, would like you to compare United's PS to this AA First.


User currently offlineFbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3697 posts, RR: 28
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 22186 times:



Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 6):
BUT... a 'downgrade' to business class on QF and getting on the skybed would have still been superior to AA's First class product on the 762. The catering would have been a true international business class, you'd get champas (although proabably not DOM in business but still... a cut above what it appears you were offered). I know it says 'first' on one and 'business' on the other but surely if the product is better that hardly matters? I think i would have told the agent to let me fly in Business instead then given first was full.

When we got to LAX, after customs and immigration, we went to get the boarding passes for our AA flight and get our bags forwarded on AA. I did ask the agent whether it was possible to go on QF107 instead and they said I'd have to fly AA to JFK on this ticket.

Didn't think to ask about J but I got the impression it wouldn't have mattered anyway. To be honest, sure it isn't as good as QF's product but to break it down simply it wasn't far off from what I was looking for on the flight.
-I had a big comfortable seat with plenty of room.
-I essentially had AVOD IFE to keep me entertained for the 5hrs or so.
-Very good service.
-Food - now my wife had breakfast before landing in LA on Qantas, and also had the omelette on AA and said she did prefer the taste of AA's offering! Although having the Qantas snack options would have been great. One of the steak sandwiches just before landing would have been the business  Wink

Didn't know/think that MEL/BNE originating passengers could get on the LAX-JFK sector. Thanks for the explanation  thumbsup 

Quoting Lufthansa (Reply 6):
Just curious though, why don't you do a United PS flight one day and give us your opinion on the difference? I'm sure you're expert trip report skills would be one of the better comparisons!



Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 9):
I suspect he doesn't do that because he's OneWorld, rather than Star. I too, however, would like you to compare United's PS to this AA First.

I am also a Star Alliance flyer (have *A Gold) and have been meaning to take a PS flight for some time but the proper opportunity has never arisen. In this instance the flight was part of a oneworld explorer ticket (so that rules out UA!) and the other times I've snaffled these AA transcon flights was when the price was much more competitive than UA. Where I live for trips to the west coast it is much more convenient to go UA via IAD/ORD.

Quoting UAL757 (Reply 8):
You write the best trip reports. You deserve an award.

Thanks for your kind words  Smile



"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
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