Review: American Airlines First Class Buenos Aires – New York JFK

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I arrived at the gate a minute or two after boarding had commenced, and the crowd was descending on the gate.

    american airlines first class review

When I reached the front of the line I was flagged for additional questioning. Perhaps it was that I was in Buenos Aires for just a weekend, or perhaps it was that I didn’t have any checked bags, but I got several inquiries about what I had been doing there and also whether or not I had recently had any of my electronics ‘repaired’.

Once I gave the ‘correct’ answers I was able to move on to the additional baggage screening being done upon entrance to the jetway. Bags were opened and ruffled through looking for water, because sealed water bottles acquired airside represent an existential security threat.

Assured that I was promising to rely on American Airlines flight attendants for my hydration needs over the next 10 hours, I was permitted to board.

I entered the old-style American Airlines Flagship first class cabin probably for the last time, as American has a new first class onboard their 777-300ER aircraft and their 777-200s like this one are being retrofit with a new business class and no first.

American Airlines First Class Review: Seat

    american airlines first class review

    american airlines first class review

    american airlines first class review

The first class cabin is large and open. It’s stylistically dated. But I find the seats comfortable for lounging and for sleeping, and I much like the swivel function where you can angle your seat in a wide variety of directions (which allows for greater privacy from the rest of the cabin, or collaboration with a colleague in the next seat over).

Pillows and blankets were at the seat. An additional pillow and mattress pad were above the seat in the overhead bin. Pajamas and amenity kits were distributed, and I got changed for the overnight flight.

American Airlines First Class Review: Menu

Here’s menu for the flight:

    american airlines first class menu
    (Click to enlarge)

    american airlines first class menu
    (Click to enlarge)

    american airlines first class menu
    (Click to enlarge)

I really do like these night departures for long haul flying, because I’m tired enough to just go to sleep. And Buenos Aires – New York at around 10 hours is along enough for a real night’s sleep if I do it right away. So that was my plan.

I had learned on my previous flight that I had better not ask for American’s registered trademark offering of ‘Dine of Demand’ because they don’t actually do that. So I just asked for the express service. That’s an appetizer and entree on a single tray served quickly so you can go to sleep.

The passenger in front of me wanted her express service right away, and it was explained to her that they were cooking everything in a particular order so she was just going to have to wait. Instead of angering my crew I asked for the express service but didn’t impress on them what express means.

American Airlines First Class Review: Meal

They brought out the amuse bouche, the start of a single shrimp.

    american airlines first class meal

And then they brought out my appetizer choice as a separate course, instead of with my entree. The smoked salmon was actually quite good.

    american airlines first class meal

It occurred to me at this time that if they can do smoked salmon, why can’t they do it on a bagel, at least on flights to and from New York? Then breakfast could be a bit more varied than an overcooked omelette and some yogurt and fruit. They could do some sort of brunch service in first class, really upgrade the food offering, and do so with the sort of items they’re already prepared to board on the aircraft.

The other appetizer choice was prosciutto.

    american airlines first class meal

Since I wasn’t in the mood for steak and the other entrees didn’t especially appeal, I chose the ‘make your own pasta’ selection and chose salmon for my protein accompaniment.

    american airlines first class meal

Here was the coq au vin.

Since they had already served me in courses, over the course of the full meal (I opted to skip the soup and salad, originally figuring I could go to sleep more quickly) I decided to have an ice cream sundae and a Bailey’s prior to bed.

American Airlines First Class Review: Conclusion

As soon as I had eaten about a third of my ice cream, I managed to flag down a flight attendant to take it away and I made my bed and headed off to sleep. I slept for a solid seven hours, and the flight attendants followed my request not to wake me for breakfast (it wasn’t going to be that good, and I could eat in the Flagship Lounge prior to my connecting flight).

I also knew not to accept the Bose headset, because American flight attendants will wake you to collect those between 45 minutes and an hour prior to landing.

I woke up about 45 minutes out, changed back into my street clothes, and we were shortly on the ground.

I received chocolates prior to landing.

While service and food could have been better, I really have zero complaints at all about the flight overall, because I slept and that’s really the single most important thing for a premium cabin flight.. the advantage of comfort and sleep.

I’ll miss the old Flagship First Class seat. The new business class is very good, and very comfortable, but these seats are spacious. May they rest in peace as the conversions progress..


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary ┬╗

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Comments

  1. Regarding the Bose Headsets – do you know why they have to collect them so early? It’s annoying for both passengers and FAs.

    Actually, why collect them at all? On other airlines the headsets are there before you board and you just leave them where you found them.

  2. To the point above I’ve also taken to not accepting Bose on overnight flights on the chance I will sleep through the pickup (one can hope).

  3. Just curious as i have never burned miles on biz or first class…If you like several of the menu appetizers or main meals, can you request 2 appetizers or two mains? Is that considered “pushing it”?

  4. @LR: Because then you have to schlep them around. I’ve reluctantly given up bringing mine because they take up so much room.

  5. Those are nice seats. Love to swivel to look out the window. It seems u might be traveling w / another. That’s nice too

  6. Last week in J on CDG-ORD the FAs could not find one of the pairs and alerted the whole plane while giving a speech about how they are personally responsible for all headsets. Was a nice wake up call ­čśë

  7. @LR @Susan B precisely, why carry my own around when I’m paying for the use of one with my business/first class fare?

    Other international carriers don’t hand them out or pick them up 1 hr before arrival, so I’m not sure why AA does.

  8. WOW, have to say the menu did look good, and I agree with you about the Smoke Salmon not being offered as a breakfast item, BTW, that was a lot of Salmon for an appitizer!! Just wish AA would open more awards seats to EZE..

  9. Regarding the questions you had to ask, they have been part of “security rules” for any flight to US departing from some other countries for a couple of years. I’ve answered those questions at least 25 times in the last 4 years. They asked the same questions to every passenger boarding every flight.

    First, they asked some questions during checkin about your checked baggages (who organized them, when and if you’ve received anything from anyone). At the boarding gate, they asked similar questions about your carry on and they verify it for liquids. Randomly, you can also be selected for a personal additional screening also.

    From other countries it’s even worse, such as from Colombia, where boarding starts 1 hour before because they do a personal additional screening and they take out everything from your carry on.

  10. Would somebody tell Americsn that collecting the headsets 45-60 minutes to landing is asinine and goes against everything a premium experience is supposed to be?

    “Oh you’re at the climax in your movie, I’ll take your headset now so you miss it and can stare silently outside for the next hour. We’re glad you’re here.”

  11. What truly despicable service for a flight that AA asks between $4,847 and $6,867 (depending on availability and advance purchase) — one-way.

    The staff and management responsible for it should be fired on the spot for not providing the service promised (with express food) and not even making your bed given the ticket prices.

    At those prices, they need to benchmark the service to NetJets (and deliver on it), not Ryan Air, otherwise they’ll get nothing but low-yielding upgraders and mileage junkies and go bankrupt again.

    Did you email these posts to AA?

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