My Return to AA First Class Including Shockingly Good Service, Stiff Seats & One Letdown!

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American Airlines First Class Flight Review
American Airlines planes lined up at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

American Airlines First Class Flight Review 2020

Last week I wrote about how my “gifted from Hyatt” American Airlines Executive Platinum status already paid off. Specifically I was able to book a last minute standard award JFK-PHX-LAS and get an upgrade to First Class on the long JFK-PHX segment. Admittedly since losing my AA status a couple of years ago I haven’t flown the airline often. It has also been a few years since I have flown AA up front. Here is a quick American Airlines First Class flight review including their new seats!

American Airlines Inconsistency Has Been a Problem

One of my biggest issues with the airline in the past has been inconsistency. They are inconsistent when they announce delays, gate agents are inconsistent with how they do their jobs and on board service is inconsistent, especially in First Class. Thankfully in all but one department American Airlines actually did very well on this trip.

American Airlines First Class Flight Review
Taking off out of JFK.

On-Time Flights

Both of my flights JFK-PHX and PHX-LAS were completely on time with boarding starting exactly as scheduled. I also noticed the gate agents in JFK and PHX being overly helpful towards guests. In other words, everything on the ground with American Airlines was arguably as good as you could expect and certainly better than I have experienced on dozens of flights before.

American Airlines New Oasis First Class Seats

American Airlines has made some questionable decisions these past few years when it comes to on board product. Specifically they have opted to widdle away as much padding and leg room as possible in order to fit in as many seats as they can. This has resulted in somewhat uncomfortable seats across the plane including First Class.

The new American Airlines First Class seats are cramped and have no bulkhead between First Class and economy class. Still better than flying coach!

American Airlines First Class Flight Review
I am 6’2″ and my knees almost touch the seat in front in American’s new First Class cabin.

While I had flown on a new “Oasis” configuration before, I had never done it in First Class. All I can say is the legroom is definitely…..less than it was before and the seat was stiff and not very comfortable. I also miss the bulkhead between First Class and coach because of the noise reduction, but admittedly that is the least of my worries. In the photo above you can see how my legs almost touch the seat in front in American Airlines’ new First Class.

On Board Service

Once again I have to compliment American Airlines because the service was great on both flights. For PHX-LAS I was in an exit row, but the flight attendants served the cabin quickly on the short flight and everyone was able to get what they wanted. On my longer JFK-PHX flight I had some of the best service I have ever encountered on an AA flight.

The flight attendant served pre-departure beverages, she was attentive the entire flight and she smiled! That is not something I encounter every time I fly American. There was one issue during my flight though. The meal.

The Food

American Airlines First Class Flight Review
My First Class “Cobb Salad” on American Airlines. It was alright, but the lettuce was starting to turn brown and the pasta was a bit strange.

My choices on this flight were some sort of ravioli or a “Cobb Salad” with chicken. I opted for the salad and while the ingredients were fine (although pasta in a Cobb Salad is a new one for me), the lettuce was old and somewhat wilted. I did eat some of it and it wasn’t too bad, but it was far from fresh. A minor complaint about an otherwise great flight.

American Airlines First Class Flight Review – Bottom Line

My first flight back in First Class on American Airlines was a success. The food wasn’t the highlight (it never is on a plane), but the service was great and most importantly they got me there on time. While the amount of space and comfort in First Class has been reduced on these newly configured planes, the ability to get upgrades on award tickets is huge and I suspect I’ll be on AA planes quite often during this next year with my gifted Executive Platinum status.

Have you flown the newly reconfigured American Airlines planes lately? Share your American Airlines first class flight review below!

Shawn Coomer
Since 2007 Shawn Coomer has been circling the globe with his family for pennies on the dollar. He uses that first-hand knowledge and experience to teach others how to achieve their travel dreams for the least amount of money possible.

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  1. Like you, I was recently gifted AA EXP from Hyatt, and just flew them for the first time in quite a while. On my outbound trip, we were in F, and completely underwhelmed by the new seats, service, and food. On the way home (both legs) we were in economy and experienced pretty good service. Better yet, we were in exit-row seats 10A & 10C (empty 10B!) on an A321 … which (shhhhh, don’t tell anyone) is an amazing row with a solid 3-4 feet of leg room. The only downside is hard-sided exit row seats (with tray tables), but I don’t think the seats/padding are any less comfortable than any of the other economy seats.


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