A short hop, LAX to Miami, American Airlines First class

Having booked a trip several months ago I have come to realise that schedule changes can work to your advantage. All you need is a plan, and an agent that doesn’t quite know all the rules.

The rule that should have prevented me securing the three class First cabin on my flight from LA to Miami is that when you buy a so called ‘-UP’ fare (called this as they give and UPgrade and often have UP in the fare code), you should sit in Business on a three-class plane. However, after several time changes – later, then earlier, on my flight I finally organised AA moving my flight to their 777-200 service from Miami to LA. The agent made an error in booking in the same class as on my original flight, First.

As an aside, BA worked out what had happened and only credited the Business Class Tier Points and Avios:

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The American Airlines 777-200’s are due to be refitted in to a 2 class configuration so it was nice to be able to have one last trip on their swivel seats.

BOARDING
Boarding was a shambles! Whilst the gate agents did try to board First Class before Business it turned in to a general free-for-all fairly quickly. There was no lack of overhead space in First as each seat has about 1.5 bins each. I had secured a single window seat in the 1-2-1 configuration.

SEAT
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The seats are showing their age. There is a fair amount of tape holding them together but they remain fairly comfortable. There is no privacy however, and I did miss that when I wanted a nap.

SERVICE
The crew were fine, despite dealing with some remarkably demanding passengers. I tend to just get on with the flight but we had people fussing, up and out of the seats during taxi, wanting more wine all the time, and generally it was a flight in which I didn’t feel rested. It’s odd to say why other passengers actions have an impact on your sense of pleasure, but it does.

FOOD
I booked my entrée in advance and there was pretty much nothing that appealed. The least worst option was selected – see below.

The starter (Spicy Shrimp) was pretty nice, and the tiny salad felt more like an international coach offering than domestic-US first.

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The lasagne was hot, but not very tasty:

There was an ice-cream offering for dessert which I passed on having as I had already eaten enough ice-cream on this trip.

ENTERTAINMENT
The choice on this aircraft is pretty slim and having come in one the American A321 has seen most of the movies. As you can see from the picture further up the page, the screens are pretty small.

LANDING AND ARRIVAL
I was staying in Miami that night but the gate where the plane parked was two stops away from the baggage claim and exit so it took probably 20 minutes to taxi to the gate and then 20 minutes to get out of MIA. I sometimes forget how big that airport is on foot.

OVERALL
Not a bad way to say good-bye to a plane that once was seen as the height of luxury.

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