AA JFK-LAX-JFK, First Class – apparently worth $8,000!

$8,000 ! Really? Who knew I was flying in a seat worth that much.

An interview with American Airlines recently indicated that seats on my flights can go for as much as $8,000. Little did I know this as I arrived at JFK for my trip to Cabo.

A recent fare sale in First Class on AA, when using the early departures (6am), to and from Cabo gave a fare of about $900 but allowed access to their new(ish) First Class Cabin on their new(ish) A321 3-class aircraft.

Scroll forward to about a month ago and AA made a number of schedule changes to the Cabo flights meaning that I had to be rebooked a day earlier, and snagged the 4pm departure and had a night in LA at my expense.

Check-In
As a passenger on a 3-class plane I was able to use the Flagship Check-in at JFK. After the agent at the entrance checked me on her PDA I was through to collect my boarding passes. The only passenger in the area I received person attention, including boarding pass to for the connection to Cabo.

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Security
When you exit the Flagship Check-in you arrive directly at Security. Have managed to secure TSAPre the AA agent moved me to the front of the Pre queue! A little embarrassed, but through security in 30 seconds.

Flagship Lounge
As a passenger in F on a 3-class aircraft you can secure access to the Flagship Lounge at JFK (and LA for the return).
The lounge has been reviewed endlessly and is pretty nice. However, at the time I was there it was pretty busy.

Lounge Food offerings:


Aircraft and Boarding
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The plane pulled in to a gate near the lounge which made the walk much shorter. Boarding started a little early with First Class being offered a chance to board. All passengers through Door 1 and so walk through the First and Business Class cabins.

The plane filled quickly as it is relatively low density and we were soon ready to leave. However, the last passengers to board were a mother and teenage son – one in Business and the other in First. The son chose First and Mum went down the aisle.

The Seat
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The seats are arranged 1-1 in First Class (and 2-2 in Business). I had Row 2 on the right hand window.

It is a little hard to capture the seat but these images may help:

It faces in to the window, with the back of the seat in front holding the entertainment monitor:
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There are various storage areas on the side of the seat as well as the seat  and video control, and the amenity kit that AA gives out on these flights and a bottle of water.

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An interloper!

Shortly after take off the crew took pity on the late-boarding mother seated in Business. Clearly being separated from her teenager for 6 hours was just too much to ask and upgraded her to the remaining First Class seat – in Row 1 just in front of me.

This wouldn’t have been too bad, but most of the flight was then spent with them shouting to each other across the aisle. Sigh! A nice gesture from the Flight Attendants that backfired and caused the whole cabin to lose its air of peace. Not sure who the mother/son were but I wonder if they were standbys as they boarded last.

Food / Drink
Shortly after take off the flight attendant came around to take food orders from the Menu.
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Starter:
Smoked Salmon and Seared Tuna
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Salad
Spinach and Romaine Mix with Hearts of Palm, Strawberries and Pecans

Entree
Gorgonzola Crusted Beef Filet with Red Wine Sauce, roasted potatoes and broccolini

I had pre-ordered my entree but other options were:
Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
Wild Rice and vegetable stuffed Portobello Mushroom

Dessert
Speciality Sundae – vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce and praline pecans
Gourmet Cheese Plate
Grand Marnier Fruit Salad
Traditional Ice cream Sundae

No pictures mean that I was good and passed on dessert, trying to get a couple of hours sleep over the noise of the folks in Row 1.

Snacks were available during the flight, although primarily consumed by the Flight Attendants it appeared.

Wine
A lot has been written about how AA have reduced the quality of the wine on this service. I offer you this list so that you can do your own research if this is an area of interest.

  • Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Carneros Brut
  • Project Paso Chardonnay
  • Ceibo Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Graham’s Six Grapes Port NV. Duro

Crew
The crew were lack-luster in truth. They were hardly ever in the cabin except during specific meal service and if you needed anything you had to search them out. The old crews on the 767-200’s seemed to make a real effort, and oddly made it feel like the old days of flying. Not sure if the crews dislike the plane, the service or the passengers, but there is a big difference in the tone of the service.

We arrived on time at LA and were off the plane and out the terminal in quick time as I had my connection to Cabo the next morning.

Had I known that I was sitting in an $8,000 seat I might have been a bit more demanding.

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Comments

  1. I think $8000 is just the full fare F price that pretty much no one pays unless it’s some millionaire with no access to corporate discount but has to buy last F seat onboard

    Typically I see F and J on the 321T quoted with a very small price differential

  2. If I fly from jfk to lax in 1st class, will I have access to both lounges at jfk and lax? I have a long layover there? Can my husband check in together with me even though he is sitting in coach? thx

  3. Well, full fare (F bucket, no advance purchase restriction) starts at 2k one way (F6U). 4k is the cost for the most expensive AA F fare (FA3AA). The only more expensive fares are the single letter ones Y/J/F, but then it’s only 7500 for the coach seat!

  4. I’ve had no problems at the JFK or LAX FLs guesting in pax (family or otherwise) in lower classes of service, when I’m in front.

    I recall the rules are moderately strict, but in function, I’ve consistently experienced AA allowing the strongest ticket/elite to govern the entire party.

    Same goes for flagship checkin on both sides.

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