American A321 Business Class In 10 Pictures

Yesterday I took the 2:30PM American flight from Los Angeles to New York in business class. I won’t be writing a full review of the flight, given that I’ve reviewed American’s A321 first class and A321 business class in the market before, and not that much has changed.

However, it has been a while, so I figured I’d do a quick “10 pictures” post sharing my thoughts on the flight.

American has 20 business class seats on their A321s, and there’s not much differentiation in the market in terms of the quality of those. American, Delta, and United, all have the same B/E Aerospace Diamond seats.

However, I think American’s bedding has seen better days, and they really could use an update there. Both Delta and United have way surpassed American when it comes to this.

On the plus side, the amenity kit is quite nice, and has both Cole Haan and CO Bigelow amenities. Personally I think it’s sort of unnecessary that they give these out on daytime flights, though I suppose it’s a nice gesture. Some will appreciate that you can get discounts on Cole Haan and CO Bigelow products through the vouchers in the kit.

Another area where American excels is with headphones. They offer all first and business class passengers Bose headphones, while many of the world’s top carriers don’t even offer that in first class.

American’s food lately has been abysmal, in my experience, though I have to say this was one of the better meals I’ve had on American in a while. As usual, it started with warm mixed nuts (I just stuck to sparkling water on this flight — speaking of which, I wish they’d serve San Pellegrino).

The appetizer consisted of beef carpaccio with lentil salad and roasted baby peppers. It was served with a side salad that had hearts of palm and strawberries. There was also a selection of bread, and of course I chose American’s awesome pretzel bread. This is probably the best appetizer and salad combo I’ve had on American in a very long time.

For the main course I ordered pan seared crab cakes with jicama slaw and tomatillo poblano cream sauce. I was pleasantly surprised. The funny thing is that I recall enjoying the meal, but now when I think back to it, I sort of think I would have been really sad to have been served this in a restaurant. I guess I had sufficiently adjusted my expectations at the time to realize that these pan seared crab cakes had probably been “pan seared” about 24 hours ago.

Then for dessert there was an ice cream sundae. I just asked for the ice cream with the berry sauce and nuts, though.

There were snack baskets available throughout the flight, and then about 30 minutes before landing the crew brought out warm cookies.

While I didn’t drink anything on this flight (I’m saving my thirst for my upcoming Saudia first class flight), here’s the wine list, for anyone who is interested:

One other thing that impressed me about the flight was the crew. They were genuinely friendly and proactive with the service. I’m not flying American enough nowadays to know with certainty whether anything is changing for the better, but at least this crew was excellent. I pushed the call button once to ask for some more water, and the flight attendant (non-sarcastically) apologized that I had to push the button.

So yeah, this was one of my better American flights recently — the food was solid and the service excellent.

Comments

  1. Did you pay for your seat? Availability is (and has been for a while) nonexistent for transcon SAAver availability in the front of the plane.

  2. @ J&BP — I booked an economy ticket and last minute used a Business Extra certificate to upgrade when one confirmable upgrade seat became available. No way I would have cleared otherwise.

  3. I recently flew NYC- LA on a morning flight , in business class , and no amenity kit was offered .
    The nuts were delicious !!!!!

  4. Interesting comment when you compared the crab cakes in the air to what you’d get in a restaurant. I find that’s always the case when flying premium. I’ve never had anything in the air that you couldn’t do better with at a chain like Cheesecake Factory.

  5. In my opinion AA has recently stepped up the catering. It’s not restaurant quality, but for airplane food it’s usually pretty good. I had a teriyaki chicken salad on a PHL-MSP flight earlier this week that was actually excellent. In fact, I usually order the cold plate when it’s available as I find them to consistently be the better option.

  6. I agree with Gregg that American has definitely stepped up their catering. I had on a PHL-LAS flight recently a chicken dish with risotto and mushrooms that was quite good. I even remarked to my seat mate while we were talking that this was the best meal I can remember having on an American airlines domestic flight. They also served strawberry ice cream for dessert which was absolutely delicious but they did not serve any toppings such as fudge or nuts which I thought they used to. If this is Americans new catering then call me impressed as even the lettuce leaves were crisp.

  7. Amazed that AA refuses to still serve a decent craft brew or coffee brand…it has gone a long way on UA

  8. Loving the Instagram stories Ben! You’re hilarious and theyre informative-keep them up! Curious to see Riyadih airport

  9. Ben nothing has changed. I was on a paid First Class ticket SFO to JFK and the seat did not recline, the service was nonexistent, and the food was one step up from cat food.

  10. Their catering has been pretty good as of late and the service has been on point. On MIA to LA I had a beef curry dish and it was really good. It evens seems they been more efficient since the swap at LAX

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