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