American Airlines’ premium transcontinental service onboard the Airbus A321T offers additional amenities over AA’s other domestic economy class flights and proved an efficient way to travel from New York to Los Angeles in Main Cabin Extra with a bit of extra legroom.
American Airlines A321T Main Cabin Extra Review (JFK-LAX)
After arriving from Doha with less than one hour until my connecting flight departed, I high-tailed it through passport control. Thanks to Global Entry, I made it through in a few minutes, quickly cleared security in JFK Terminal 8 (despite the lack of Clear), made my way via the underground tunnel to my gate, and reached it just as boarding was commencing.
My upgrade did not clear from New York to Los Angeles, which gave me the chance to review economy class on the A321T, AA’s specially-configured Airbus A321 designed for coast-to-coast travel between key markets.
AA prioritizes upgrades by status first, so an AAdvantage Platinum seeking a complimentary space-available upgrade would be above me, an AAdvatnage Gold, using miles + co-pay. I think that is a bad system (United MileagePlus will prioritize “paid” upgrades over complimentary upgrades), but it is what it is. After a 15-hour flight from Doha to New York that I spent 2/3 of sleeping, I certainly did not need any more sleep.
American Airlines (AA) 255
New York (JFK) – Los Angeles (LAX)
Wednesday, October 12
Depart: 10:30 AM
Arrive: 01:30 PM
Duration: 06 hr, 00 min
Distance: 2,475 miles
Aircraft: Airbus A321T
Seat: 14A (Main Cabin Extra)
I was first onboard and flight attendants did not offer a greeting; they still appeared to be prepping the cabin for the flight.
Stepping onboard through door 1, I walked through first class and business class before finding my seat in 14A. Main Cabin Extra, which includes four extra inches of legroom, spans rows 11-16.
Due to the premium-heavy of the aircraft, the entire economy class cabin is only 72 seats. The 3-3 configuration a width of 17.7 inches, legroom of 35 inches, and an adjustable headrest.
The power power is located directly in front of you just below the literature pocket, which is much easier to plug in electronic devices than trying to find the plug under or between the seats.
Each seat has an individual air nozzle in the passenger service unit above.
Eventually, the flight filled up (every seat appeared full). A very loud family of five occupied the row behind me, with one of the kids using an electronic device (doing “homework” according to his mother) without headphones. Thankfully, complimentary headphones were distributed to all economy class passengers and the kid used them.
We pushed back on time and the captain announced a flying time of five hours and 25 minutes.
Food + Drink
American Airlines serves complimentary meals on domestic routes longer than 2,200 miles. A choice of beverage was offered after takeoff, followed by a choice of brekfast:
- Fruit + Cheese Plate
- Plain bagel + yogurt (Chobani blended)
- Overnight Oats + Blueberries
I chose the fruit and cheese plate, which included:
- Cream crackers
- Cheddar cheese
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Gouda cheese
No complaints – this was a very nice snack.
90 minutes before landing, flight attendants offered a second beverage service with a small bag of pretzels.
I quite appreciate the complimentary meal service and enjoyed the fruit and cheese plate (not that I was all that hungry after two breakfasts just a couple hours earlier…)
IFE + Wi-Fi
A Wi-Fi pass on the flight was $35 (or $29 for a two hour pass) —I passed on it. If I had work to complete, I would have paid it, but one reason I worked so hard the previous day was so that I could unplug on the flights home.
Seatback monitors provided in-flight-entertainment including a section of music, games, TV programs, and movies. Apple TV+ is available as well and I do enjoy Jon Stewart’s program on that channel.
Streaming entertainment from handheld devices was also complimentary over the aircraft’s intranet system.
As I mentioned above, complimentary handsets were provided.
I spent most of the flight writing, but did not need internet for it.
Nothing stood out to me in terms of exemplary service on this flight, though flight attendants were efficient in performing their beverage services and did come through the cabin at a couple points in between with water.
My seatmates did not get up once during the flight, so I did not either…However, here’s a picture of the economy class lavatory from a previous flight on this aircraft:
We landed on-time in LA and I was able to get home in 30 minutes after walking to my car, beating the heavy afternoon traffic.
I’m a United Airlines guy…it’s just who I am. That simply will not change. Even so, I quite appreciated traveling Delta earlier this year and for this trip on American Airlines.
AA does a lot of things right and I appreciated the easy-to-reach power port, complimentary breakfast, and friendly service on this flight.