First Class: American Airlines, Los Angeles to Philadelphia in an Airbus A321 (LAX-PHL)

Coast to coast flights (or indeed other flights of durations around 5-6hrs) are a strange thing Stateside – in Europe you would expect a flatbed in First or Business – in the US though it is only offered by a few airlines. In my opinion the first airline to really understand the best product to offer is American. Yet they only offer it on a few routes, sure if you are flying LAX-JFK or SFO-JFK or MIA then you will find a gorgeous cabin with flatbeds. But other routes of equal distance such as Hawaii, Boston and Phildelphia are left with spacious and sometimes comfortable recliner seats akin to lazyboys that don’t go back as far. I’m sure as things develop post merger with US and AA the better flights will be offered on more routes.

Anyway…today I would be flying from Los Angeles to Philadelphia on an ex- US Airways A321, no bed…just a very wide leather seat that reclines – ‘poor you’ I hear you say.

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US Airways operated from Terminal 6 at LAX and most of their routes still do. As such none of the flagship service at AA’s main terminal. Not a massive problem and while that Terminal is still being renovated airline Elites and those travelling on international itineraries are offered the Alaska Boardroom as a lounge.

I thought the lounge was actually quite pleasant, ordered the pizza and it was very good. I caught up with my Wife on the phone, she was heading out to do some retail therapy as our children were spending the night at their Grandparents. Overall nice environment with reasonable food (as with Admirals clubs cash bar for premium liquor).

Boarding was on time and I took my seat 1C, some people don’t like front row, but for me it is essential.

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I dislike any seat in front of me and I enjoy the sense of ‘body & face space’ a bulkhead offers, with plenty of legroom.

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After take off the crew were keen to begin lunch service as soon as possible. I opted for Blackened Shrimp & Grits, with a salad and another salad?. It hit the spot.

AA LAX

Then faced with not much to do for 4 hours I decided to have a few Bacardi & Cokes and chat with the passenger next to me. She was a wedding planner and it was one of the weirdest conversations ever…but fun nonetheless.

There were some great views along the way and I asked my fellow passenger to snap one for me as she had control of the window blind.

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After chatting with the wedding planner for a while I then listened to some music for an hour or so and yet I still had 2 hrs or so to kill….hmmmm.

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I was getting a little peckish and food always helps me pass the time, so I opted for a cheese plate and then decided to watch Beverly Hills Cop on my Ipad….seriously no IFE in 2016 on a 5 1/2 hour flight….tut..tut AA.

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As the movie finished we were starting our approach to Philadlephia, it wasn’t a bad flight by any stretch – in fact I rather enjoyed it. But it wasn’t good enough for Domestic First Class in 2016. Flatbed please on all 5 hr plus routes. Oh and the crew were pretty good today too.

So on reflection, whilst it wasn’t up to scratch in terms of equipment the service was there. I would still rather fly up front in this aged aircraft than down the back in a brand new one, ultimately that is one of the reasons AA can still fill a First cabin.

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