I include this image not because it is the plane that took me from JFK to Los Angeles but rather because the clouds in the distance should have warned me about problems ahead.
I was travelling, as were a good half dozen of my fellow passengers from BA1, to Los Angeles. A number of them were going on to Honolulu – just in time for their recent storms. I was stopping short by getting off at LAX which was lucky as it happened.
The food had been indifferent on the flight from London so I enjoyed a hearty lunch in the Flagship Lounge at JFK, where they seem to have added some decent new options:
Who can not love a lounge with Macaroni Cheese?
The lounge was getting busy but soon it was boarding time and with a 10-15 minute to the gate I left in plenty of time. American is famous for boarding earlier than the time shown on the boarding pass and so it was this time. A good ten minutes before we were supposed to be boarding, they were doing the announcement. The A321, three class plane to LAX is super but has relatively few passengers. Anyway, AA actually boarding First Class separately from elite members and Business Class passengers.
The 10 seat First Class cabin was full, although some passengers boarded right at the last moment. The crew were not terribly pleasant. The last flight I had taken on this plane, had wonderful crew. The contrast was stark.
After everyone was on, and bags stowed, we pushed back and then waited. And waited. And waited.
It was the start of what turned out to be a 100 minute weather related delay.
After we stopped on the jet way for about 20 minutes I thought something odd was going on. We then started to pull forwards, yipee! Stopping at the point where we met other planes trying to get to the runway. The pilot then explained that there likely to be a delay because of a range of storms approaching New York causing all planes to have to book new flight plans. It was then that we joined the line of planes – there were two it seemed, those going somewhere and those that weren’t. We were in the latter queue. 100 minutes after we pulled back from the gate we were finally airborne on the way to LAX.
The grumpy queue finally stopped telling people to go back to the seats as they tried to use the loo. They passed out the Bose headsets to First and Business and even brought around drinks. We were allowed to pop out our video screens for the duration of the delay.
The food was OK – I had the starter on my previous flight on this service and so knew it would be good.
The salad was OK – not as good as the last flight:
The chicken with lime was fine, but not superb – if I can put it that way.
It was the ice cream or cheese options for the dessert and I skipped it in preference to a little nap before landing.
The sun set as we headed west. Late only about an hour, I think most people’s connections were OK and although there was a little wait after landing for access to the gate, it wasn’t as bad it initially seemed to be.
So, a perfectly good flight on the A321 with American.
I won’t be taking this again until November and then I am consigned to ‘only’ Business Class, in truth a perfect alternative to First as the food is the same and I think the seating a little nicer.