American Airlines A321T Flagship First New York to Los Angeles

A few years ago, America was an excellent place for Tier Point runs because flights under 2000 miles earned 60 tier points and those over 2000 earned 210 tier points. This was in line with First class earnings but the equivalent to business class prices in Europe because American sold their classes as First and Economy as opposed to Business and Economy. This is now changed; those flights earn 40 and 140 tier points, respectively.

There are a couple of exceptions to this, where American fly three class aircraft between city pairs which are over 2000 miles apart. This includes New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco using their Airbus 321 Transcontinental aircraft. They also fly between Miami and Los Angeles on a 777.

If you’re lucky, this can include the 77W variant which includes their international first-class seat shown below (it is usually a 777-300).

I boarded first and was into my seat straight away. Being in 1A, I had the other hundred passengers walk past me as they boarded. There are not many aircraft of the single-aisle variety where you board to be greeted with a 1-1 configuration. I have now flown on this aircraft three times, always in first class, so I have not been able to check out the business class seat, which is 2-2; OK if you are travelling with someone you know, but maybe a bit close if you don’t!

I boarded around 1930, which was 0230 in Bucharest where I had woken up that morning. I was therefore exhausted and keen to get some sleep. Having eaten a superb meal in the lounge, I did not eat on the plane.

American Airlines serve their pre-departure beverages in plastic cups, which I understand for small regional jets, but should be glass on a Flagship service like this. The seat is the same as their international business class seat with flat beds and Bose headphones.

It is very comfortable, and I enjoyed a reasonable doze whilst watching a movie. I found the cabin crew on American an odd mix, partly due to the crew’s regionality, which I don’t notice as much on British Airways, but also their uniform. I honestly cannot think of a flight where every cabin crew member has worn the same uniform – it’s always variations on a theme and similar, but not the same colours.

Being at the front of the plane I was able to be first off, and travelling hand luggage only meant that I was soon out of the terminal looking for the shuttle bus to my hotel.

*Header photo from

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