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AA Inaugural JFK-LAX 321

AA Inaugural JFK-LAX 321
The New Transcon First Class Standard
January 2014
American is retiring its 767-200s this year and replacing them with new 3 class A321s including five rows of 1-1 First Class seats. While UA has given up 3 class service, kudos to AA for deciding to not only keep three class F but to up the ante on the most lucrative US routes, JFK-LAX/SFO. Have never been on an inaugural flight and decided what the heck. I used 65,000 AAdvantage miles for an AAnytime First seat on the first JFK-LAX flight. 
My 20 hour day began at DEN early this morning and a beautiful morning it was.
 

Just a little baggage backed up waiting for storm impacted pax.

With a quick stop at the Admirals Club where "champagne" and/or mimosas celebrated the AA/US merger.

Delta 1312
DEN-JFK
737-800
8:05A-1:45P (sked)
8:20A-1:40P (actual)
January 7, 2013

Great $109 DL nonstop flight to JFK with my PM upgrade clearing at the window.
Outstanding crew and a quick 2 hours and 50 minute flight today.

We've had three DL meals in the last four four days and IMO, they have stepped up their game and improved catering. The omelet was excellent and the fruit bowl much larger and fresher than before.

Wow, a 124 MPH tail wind!

On time arrival and a quick Air Train ride, I was at T-8 at 2PM.  My first glimpse of the new combined AA/US Priority signs.

 

PreCheck was empty and I was in the Flagship Lounge at 2:05P where I met Flyertalker amolkold who was on the 4:45P A321. Pics of the Flagship Lounge.

Spartan offerings between lunch and dinner.

amolkold and I headed out to Gate 44 at around T-50 to see if any festivities were planned.

Uh, good luck on that one today.

American 133
JFK-LAX
A321T (32B)
3:45P-7:15P (sked)
3:50P-8:00P (actual)
January 7, 2013

Lots of AA employees at the gate, in the jet bridge and on board.  Boarding commenced with First pax.  With gift bag lining the jet bridge to celebrate the flight.

Wow, pretty sweet for a domestic F cabin with all the bells and whistles. Lots of pics...

IFE is much improved but there are still bugs as my touch screen only worked intermittently. Fortunately, the hand controlled was working.

And our inaugural flight gift bag with a couple of cool things, other than the gratuitous WOLF T-shirt and poster.

OK, I get it that it's a brand new plane and the crew may not be totally familiar, but this crew was challenged from the get go. I kept waiting for PDB and the magic question, will AA finally dump the plastic. Not a good sign when the plastic is lined up ready to go.

The good news was we never saw those. The bad news is that the crew forgot PDBs until the door was closed and brought out the old standby. Yikes.

The F seat takes some getting used to but I really like it... indeed a step up from the 762 F seat.

As we taxied, our FA went to row 5 to take dinner orders. I heard "have you decided what you'd like for your entrée?" followed a few seconds later by "Oh, I forgot the menus". Uh-huh. Tonight's menu, nothing special just a variation of the same old theme. And pathetically, essentially the same options as J.

And the wines? Horrid. Who the hell is Ken Chase and why does he even have a job? Pure swill, one of which sells for $8 (the highest priced is a whopping $14) and none of which have a cellartracker rating higher then 86. The two reds were a choice of cab or cab/merlot... yeah that makes a lot of sense. Who wants a Pinot these days anyway?

After wandering around JFK taxi-ways for half an hour, we finally departed.

My usual G&T to start.

Puny BA sized towel. 

Catering error left too few plates and/or lazy crew delivered both starter and salad at once on a tray.

Another crew failure on the Thai-seasoned chicken starter as they skimped on the best part, the Asian Mint dressing.

A far cry from how it should be served... from DFW-EZE a couple weeks ago.

The chicken was really tasty. 

Time to check our the Business Class cabin... some grainy iphone pics

Back up in the pointy end, more service failures later in the flight as the crew rarely proactively asked whether I needed anything to drink or eat. They did place the snack baskets on the counter tops at the front of the cabin, but never told anyone about them or even made a pass through the cabin offering anything to anyone.

I borrowed the snack basket back to my seat for the photo.

At about T-75, one of the crew announced "champagne" for everyone to celebrate the inaugural. In F, we were offered petit fours.

Perhaps that was in place of the cookies, but there were no cookies (with or without milk) offered by this crew.  All in all, an enjoyable flight despite the challenged crew. And a big improvement over the 762s.

With the one hour delay on my LAX-DEN connector, I was able to finish and post the TR last night before heading off to the miserable gate 44 bus experience and the last leg home.

American 3677
LAX-DEN
CR7
9:10P-12:30A +1 (sked)
10:25P-1:35A +1 (actual)
January 7, 2013

Great AE FA almost made up for the earlier mainline failures. Nothing was too much and she came by every 10 minutes asking if I needed anything.

We finally landed at DIA at 1:35AM and I was home by 2:20A. OK, that was one long but enjoyable day.