A couple of weeks ago I shared my experience flying American’s brand new A321 first class between New York and Los Angeles.
This product is virtually identical to the business class product on American’s brand new 777-300ERs, and is hands down the best premium cabin product flying between New York and Los Angeles. The first class cabin is in a 1-1 configuration with just a total of 10 seats, so it’s one of the most private feeling narrowbody products out there.
American A321T first class seat
Anyway, I’m a cappuccino-holic, to put it mildly, so one of my favorite features of American’s new 777-300ERs is that they have an onboard cappuccino machine. What’s interesting is that it’s listed on the business class menu even though it’s apparently only intended for first class passengers. By asking nicely I’ve always been able to get one in business class as well, though.
I didn’t initially think American’s new A321s had cappuccino machines. Actually, when JetBlue announced their new transcon “Mint” product, they hyped in their press release how they will be the first airline to offer an onboard cappuccino machine domestically:
Fresh cappuccino and espresso made from the first purposely built cappuccino machine for a U.S. airline will be available throughout the flight.
Well, I’m happy to report that American actually has cappuccino machines for first class passengers on their A321s! They don’t advertise it or even mention it on the menu, but they’re there.
I’ve taken a few flights on the A321. The first flight attendant proactively mentioned the cappuccino machine, and when I requested it on subsequent flights the flight attendants looked at me really confused and said “but… how did you know we had that?” Something tells me they’re keeping it a secret as long as they can so they can have all the cappuccinos. 😉
PS: Literally the only picture I have of the cappuccino also has the book with it. Yes, I read 50 Shades of Grey. Yes, someone talked me into it and I figured I should read it for social context. Yes, I read it over two weekends of flying. Yes, I read it exclusively on planes. Yes, it was oddly… odd. Yes, I get weird looks from people, including flight attendants. Yes, flight attendants asked mid-flight if I wanted an extra hot towel. No, I won’t be reading the sequels. Okay, maybe I will be.
Fine, I’m actually actively looking for a mileage run that involves a couple of 15 hour flights without Wi-Fi so I can knock them out.
P.S. I am sorry, but denying J pax a cappuccino is beyond lame. That's not exactly going to bankrupt the company!
@ Lucky -- since you already have an iPad, if I recall, just load Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook apps on it and read whatever you like without buying a separate device and without weird looks. I love physical books but e-reader apps are very nifty as you can do dictionary lookups (usually, just by touching a word and without Internet connection), change font/margins/spacing/background color (I prefer white text on black background), etc. Heck, a...
@ Lucky -- since you already have an iPad, if I recall, just load Amazon Kindle and B&N Nook apps on it and read whatever you like without buying a separate device and without weird looks. I love physical books but e-reader apps are very nifty as you can do dictionary lookups (usually, just by touching a word and without Internet connection), change font/margins/spacing/background color (I prefer white text on black background), etc. Heck, a lot of Amazon books are now Audible-enabled so you can read it while listening to the audio or pickup an audio book from exact place you stopped reading inside Kindle app.
@ Mark S. -- I agree that they should honor it if it's printed on the menu, but I've confirmed with American that it's not supposed to be available in business class. Why they haven't updated the menu is beyond me.
I've ordered a cappuccino in business on the AA 777-300 and been denied, even though the menu says it's available.
You've repeatedly reported that the AA espresso machines are "really only intended for first class and not business class." But if the business class menus mention the machines, then they're intended for business class passengers' use. End of story. If the flight attendants act otherwise, they're either misinformed or, more like, lazy.
As a still life photographer, I say bravo to your cappuccino/book still life. If I had shot that in the studio we would have worked for two days and it would have cost $2,000!
@ Kurt -- ROFL!
@ Jake Redman -- Yep, very similar to those.
Don't feel bad about 50 Shades of Grey...even the elderly enjoy reading it on planes: http://instagram.com/p/TUVc_yhZEq/
Are the transcon first seats the same as the ones aboard Eva Royal Laurel long-haul? Loved that flight.
@ Abe -- Haven't booked a flight on the product yet, but I do hope to if the fares are decent.
Are you going to get a chance to try the new "Mint" from JetBlue?
Two words - Victoria's Secret :)
@ Michael -- You're of course right, didn't phrase that properly. Added the word "domestically." I realize US Airways sometimes flies their A330s within the US as well, though we're talking about airplanes that are intended to fly domestically.
US has had cappucino on their 330s for years.
There's lots of more liberating bondage erotica out there that also isn't aimed at heterosexual women, Ben. If you load it up on your Kindle nobody will notice the cover.
@ German Expat -- Sadly aside from stuff online, I don't really read. Kind of hooked now, so will probably pick one up.
You don't have a Kindle yet? I love my paperwhite on flights, battery lasts forever, you can find quite a lot of free books to try and it is easy to read in a dark cabin. Also eink is better for your eyes and falling asleep after reading for a while.
@ andrew -- There are lots of international carriers that do, but I was referring to US airlines.
Actually, SWISS has had a cappuccino machine for first and biz pax for a while now. I think they were the first.
You're a fascinating dude, Lucky.
@ DWT -- It certainly could be, though for what it's worth I've done the A321 several times now, and each time it was at least some of the crew's first flight on it. One of the flight attendants said she didn't realize there was a cappuccino machine till I asked about it. Another said that it was broken on her last flight so she didn't want to proactively offer it only to find that...
@ DWT -- It certainly could be, though for what it's worth I've done the A321 several times now, and each time it was at least some of the crew's first flight on it. One of the flight attendants said she didn't realize there was a cappuccino machine till I asked about it. Another said that it was broken on her last flight so she didn't want to proactively offer it only to find that it's broken.
So in some cases it could be laziness, though there seems to be a BIG learning curve for this plane with crews...
@ chasgoose -- Brilliant, now I'll need to get a Kindle. :D
@ Jeremy -- Nah, not quite on that level, but it wasn't half bad either!
That's why you need a Kindle! Or even read it on your iPad. No judgment.
Lucky does Cappuccino on AA does it even compete with Austrians Cappuccino?
For the longest time we heard that CX was making fresh Hong Kong tea in first class. Except that in reality it was just a packet of generic powder mix. Any chance this is just another generic Douwe Egberts coffee syrup machine?
I don't know if I believe you were talked into it. If you wanted to read it you should just say you did. But I would have recommended something else if you're looking for culturally popular reading maybe try lord of the rings or harry potter.
And now we know why that China Southern flight attendant was wearing gloves and bearing tissues....
Sigh, I wonder if the FAs are purposely not advertising the machine so they won't have to spend time making espresso drinks for passengers?
Lucky, I have a great pic of the cappuccino machine here (without the book) ;) - http://first2board.com/pointssummary/2013/12/20/behind-scenes-lax-american-airlines-onboard-a321t-part-3/
Surely I'm not the only person thinking where's the picture of the machine? Was totally expecting one!
And if you're looking for 15 hour flights, go to Sydney when possible and try Club Condor Class to Buenos Aires, before April!
Flight Attendant: How...how did you know we had that?
Lucky: (smirking) Through research and a bit of stalking. (winks)