American Airlines | First Class
Photo: © TONY BOSSE | DREAMSTIME.COM
PHILADELPHIA (PHL) TO MIAMI (MIA) TO BOGOTÁ (BOG)
On the Ground: As one of American Airlines’ hubs and my own home base, flying AA through Philadelphia International Airport is my ideal situation — especially for an early-morning international flight. Breezing through an empty TSA checkpoint, I sat at my gate in the near-ghost town of Terminal C. The Airbus A321 arrived, and I soon boarded for my nearly three-hour flight to Miami, en route to Bogotá, Colombia.
Pre-Flight: As the American Airlines Airbus A321 is used primarily for U.S. domestic routes, the first-class cabin featured just 16 reclining seats in a 2-2 configuration, with the remaining 165 seats in economy class. The first-class section was cozy, comfortably quiet and perfect for a quick flight. The friendly and attentive flight attendants came through asking if they could hang my jacket and get me anything to drink. As it was 5:10 a.m., at this point I opted for an easy water and coffee combo and looked out over the Philadelphia lights as we took off.
In-Flight: A flight attendant came back around, dispersing Bose headphones and taking breakfast orders. With a choice of oatmeal or an omelet, I opted for a generous helping of mixed nuts to snack on instead. I played around with my seat for a bit, seeing how far back I could lie, bending my headrest and enjoying the ample legroom in front. I fumbled around with the headphones, trying to get them into the port to watch a movie on the built-in, touch-screen television, but either the headphones or my early-morning brain didn’t work, so I stuck with my own personal pair.
We landed in Miami alongside a truly stunning sunrise. I quickly hopped on an Airbus A319 narrow-body jet to Bogotá, with just eight reclining seats in a 2-2 configuration. On board, attendants offered passengers a lunch of chicken or mozzarella-stuffed jalapeño peppers over Spanish rice. My choice, the jalapeños, arrived soon with some shrimp cocktail, a small salad and a large (crumbly) cookie. After I made a mess of the cookie, the observant and thoughtful flight attendant discretely brought over a few napkins and another coffee.
All of the AA crew and attendants I encountered on my flights were exceptionally kind and attentive, but I was especially impressed on my return flight from Bogotá. The service was fantastic as our flight attendant eased from Spanish to perfect English, from guest to guest, referring to everyone by name. Two individuals on my flight — one seated in first and one in economy — seemed to know the flight attendant, as they greeted each other excitedly. They could easily have been frequent flyers, as this flight attendant was just that good.
◆ AA service was personalized, warm and attentive without being overbearing.
◆ It’s always fun to see a non-pasta vegetarian option!