In the world of First Class flying, both major and minor airlines work hard to establish a reputation for luxury and excellence. According to one American Airlines survey, the two things that are most important to First Class passengers are:
- the Flight Attendant knows your name from the time you board the plane
- you are served a drink promptly after being seated
This shows that how you are treated is a more critical factor in assessing customer satisfaction after paying First Class airfares. What you can expect is to have seats that recline all the way back, with the added comfort of a warm blanket – both standard on First Class flights.
As for American Airlines specifically, you will want to check to see the type of aircraft that has been assigned to your flight. The Airbus A319 for our tour here had only has 8 First Class seats available, which means that you are far more likely to get personalized and individualized service than another type of aircraft that may have as many as 26 First Class seats. Some seats don’t recline all the way back, so you need to do your homework on what you’re getting for your First Class dollar.
You will find much wider seats with more legroom as part of your in-flight experience. On longer trips this is not just a convenience, it is a necessity. You are then offered drinks and are served warm nuts instead of the cellophane wrapped packages in economy that look like something they throw you in a baseball park. There are at least two choices of wine you can expect, and there is an array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to choose from. Oddly, though the hot towel offered seemed to be over the top in pampering, it was a welcome feeling after going through the pre-flight hassle of travel and waiting in lines.
The pre-meal snack comes with either something healthy such as a fruit and cheese plate or something a bit less healthy such as a cookie! People rave about the warm cookies offered on American. But here’s the thing about the cookie. The Flight Attendant will notice that a cookie is just what you need to make your flight more enjoyable. This connects to what was mentioned at the beginning, that personal service is a top concern for First Class passengers.
According to the American Airlines website, the First Class main course meals are specially prepared by Chef Julian Barsotti. Depending on the flight you can expect anything from Italian Lasagna to Grilled Chicken as choices. If you have a specific need such as having a specific food allergy, you can contact the airline ahead of time and they will accommodate your specific dietary situation.
If this tour seems to be focused on food so far it is because being hungry at 35,000 feet in the air can be annoying, to say the least. But there is much more to be had in your First Class experience.
Movies and in-flight entertainment aren’t far behind in the satisfaction surveys. As long as your flight has Wi-Fi you can watch movies from anywhere, whether it is in your seat or if you move around and are watching it on a mobile device. The best thing of all is all the entertainment is free. Drop in at their website and you can find what movies will be playing at the time of your departure.
Now back to food! It is generally a good idea to pay for First Class on the longer trips because that is when the added comfort and features are most appreciated. On American, longer domestic flights will have you being offered ice cream. This not the Klondike bar experience but they will show you a cart of ice cream and fixings so you can make your own ice cream dessert specialty. This nice touch towards the end of the flight is similar to the hot towel experience just after boarding – unexpected and refreshing.
These are the special features of flying American Airlines First Class. Most airlines will include preferred check-in and priority boarding (you get on and off the plane first). High quality Wi-Fi is almost required now for the service to be considered First Class. Trays in your seating area are usually two or three times the size of the economy classes, making it easy to use as a place for your laptop or a mini-desk.
You may think the price of an American Airlines First Class ticket is high, but when you actually experience the service, especially on the longer flights, you become convinced it was the best choice to make. Just remember that all First Class seating is the same as it depends on the type of aircraft and the number of available seats. Other than that, sit back, relax, and enjoy your few hours of luxury and pampering.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker