What it’s Like to Fly Business Class with American Airlines
If one thing’s for sure in these pandemic times, we all need a little space. Enter: Business Class. If you’re a big social distancing advocate, now – more than ever before – is the perfect time to treat yourself to that upgrade you’ve been holding out for. And, if you’re heading across the pond, who better to do it with than American Airlines?
Following a recent trip to New York City, I had the pleasure of experiencing American’s Flagship® Business offering on my return journey to London. Here’s what it was like:
Me onboard American Airlines' flight from JFK to London - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
Me onboard American Airlines' flight from JFK to London(image: Alexandra Cronin)
At the airport
Checking in and getting my boarding pass was a breeze. American Airlines has actually partnered with the VeriFLY app, making it easy to upload all your documents – from vaccination proof to test results – in one secure place. It also tells you everything you need to travel, which is especially crucial when travelling somewhere like the States. Do this in advance of your flight, and you’re able to check-in online 24 hours before you depart. And don’t worry about missing out on your perfect seat either – you can select this online for free before you’ve even checked in, which was an added bonus! If you’d rather check-in at the airport or need to check any luggage, your Flagship® Business ticket means you’ll be able to use dedicated check-in desks too – saving precious time in the terminal.
Entrance to the Flagship® American Airlines lounge at JFK - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
Entrance to the Flagship® American Airlines lounge at JFK(image: Alexandra Cronin)
In the lounge
And ‘why is that terminal time so precious?’, I hear you cry! Well, the less time you spend checking-in and getting through security, the more time you’ll have in the lounge. It’s honestly one of my favourite things about travelling Business: delicious food and drinks, plenty of comfy seats, free Wi-Fi, charging points aplenty and – if you’re lucky – showers. I practically sprinted for the Flagship® American Airlines lounge at JFK once I’d cleared security, and was delighted to be handed a glass of bubbles when I walked through the doors – just what I needed.
Bar island inside the Flagship® American Airlines lounge at JFK - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
Bar island inside the Flagship® American Airlines lounge at JFK(image: Alexandra Cronin)
Stepping into the lounge, I was greeted by a vast space, with a regularly replenished food station (including some exceptional sushi) and a whole island filled with more fizz. I was in heaven. I set up camp in an individual corner seat (complete with USB charging points, of course), and made a beeline for the buffet. Knowing I’d also be eating dinner on my flight, I used every ounce of restraint I had to keep it simple, opting for some sushi, some tasty pasta and a fresh tomato, basil and mozzarella salad.
A delicious buffet in the Flagship® American Airlines lounge at JFK - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
A delicious buffet in the Flagship® American Airlines lounge at JFK(image: Alexandra Cronin)
As I’d showered a couple of hours before, I didn’t use the showers this time around, but vast suites were available – had the mood taken me. What I really loved, though, were a collection of single booths to the side of the lounge, ideal if you’re travelling solo and need to get some work done before your flight. Ensconced in wood cladding and complete with table and comfy chair, they were the perfect addition.
My seat in the AA lounge - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
My seat in the AA lounge(image: Alexandra Cronin)
Onboard: entertainment & amenities
When the time to board my flight came, there’s no denying I was sad to leave the lounge behind. I’d almost forgotten I was in an airport! But deep down I knew that more comfort and delicious treats lay ahead, and this thought fuelled me on my short stroll to the gate.
American’s Flagship® Business seats offer direct-aisle access, lie-flat capabilities and huge seatback screens. As I boarded the plane, I was able to easily locate my spot to the right-hand side of the aircraft. And, no sooner had I popped my bag in the overhead locker, a member of the cabin crew appeared, offering me a glass of juice or sparkling wine. I opted for both (I’m a very thirsty flyer!).
The seatback screen in American Airlines' Flagship® Business - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
The seatback screen in American Airlines' Flagship® Business(image: Alexandra Cronin)
Because I had plans to spend most of my flight “resting my eyes”, I dedicated the time before the meal service to exploring what extras came with my seat. For starters, there’s the previously mentioned TV screen. An ample 15.4 inches, the monitor is touchscreen but can also be controlled by remote, and offers hundreds of movies, TV showers, albums and even radio channels, right at your fingertips. There are also power outlets and USB ports within the seat area, not to mention a socket for the blissfully noise-cancelling Bang & Olufsen headphones, provided for the flight’s duration.
As for the Shinola amenity kit, I was pleased to discover all the staples within – eye mask, earplugs, socks, toothbrush, toothpaste and hand cream. Now all I had to do was set them aside, in preparation for some relaxation later in the flight…
Amazing Bang & Olufsen headphones supplied onboard - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
Amazing Bang & Olufsen headphones supplied onboard(image: Alexandra Cronin)
Eating the food
There was a fantastic selection for my main meal onboard: Latin-spiced chicken breadt, mezzi rigatoni, miso saba roasted sea bass, and horseradish beef short rib. I opted for the latter, and was so pleased I did.
Snacks in AA's Flagship® Business - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
Snacks in AA's Flagship® Business(image: Alexandra Cronin)
Following a snack of nuts and wine, the meal came out swiftly, complete with real cutlery and crockery, and an array of side dishes, including a salad and cheesecake for dessert. I hurriedly ate it all in preparation for some sleep, but had to slow down to let my tastebuds soak up the delectable flavour and softness of the short rib. No matter how many times I take to the skies, it always astounds me how the crew craft such tasty meals at high altitude. How was this piece of beef so tender, so melt-in-the-mouth?
Delicious short rib... - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
Delicious short rib...(image: Alexandra Cronin)
I ordered my breakfast after finishing my dinner (which felt a little strange as I was still rather full), and, once again, was impressed with the variety on offer, from hot omelettes and warm pastries to a fresh fruit bowl. The crew really were keeping me well-fed and watered!
My Flagship® Business seat - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
My Flagship® Business seat(image: Alexandra Cronin)
Sinking into the seat
Storage abounds in American Airlines’ Flagship® Business seats. From the compartment beneath the armrest, to the ones by my feet and the window, I had plenty of nooks and crannies in which to stow my hand luggage items. This meant I already had everything safely packed away when I decided it was time to deploy my seat. As I was on a night flight and knew I would have to get some work done the next day, it wasn’t long before I took the plunge. As soon as my plate was cleared and I’d eagerly raided my amenity kit, it was time to unravel my mattress.
Lie-flat bed controls in my Flagship® Business seat - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
Lie-flat bed controls in my Flagship® Business seat(image: Alexandra Cronin)
American supplies Casper sleeping products, in the form of two (yes, two!) plump pillows, an ultra-thick mattress and sumptuous duvet. The mattress – supplied in a hygienically sealed bag – helpfully hooks over the chair’s headrest to avoid any slipping or movement while trying to get some rest.
Casper bedding in AA Flagship® Business - (image: Alexandra Cronin)
Casper bedding in AA Flagship® Business(image: Alexandra Cronin)
But, honestly, the designers needn’t have worried. With a mattress that comfortable, I wasn’t planning on moving for hours. It was, quite undoubtedly, the most bed-like lie-flat I’ve experienced yet. And, thanks to the plethora of pillows, I literally sank into it. I popped in my earplugs, dropped my eyeshade, and soon enough I was enveloped by relaxation – fresh and ready for the day ahead when I landed…
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