- Week in the Clouds: Introduction
- Week in the Clouds: American Flagship Lounge New York, American Business Class New York to San Francisco
- Week in the Clouds: American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles, American Business Class Los Angeles to Shanghai
- Week in the Clouds: Park Hyatt Shanghai
- Week in the Clouds: Exploring Shanghai
- Week in the Clouds: Cathay Pacific Business Class Lounge Shanghai, American Business Class Shanghai to Los Angeles
My flight from Tampa landed at 12:50PM, so I headed straight for the Flagship Lounge, which is located inside the Admirals Club.
Admirals Club entrance
At the desk I was welcomed and given a key to the Flagship Lounge (American’s international first class lounge), which is located behind sliding glass doors to the right of the entrance. I had access to the Flagship Lounge on account of being an Executive Platinum on an international ticket, which is one of my favorite Executive Platinum perks.
The Flagship Lounge at JFK is my second favorite, behind only the LAX Flagship Lounge. It’s spacious and features great tarmac views of Terminal 8.
Flagship Lounge seating
Flagship Lounge seating
While the food selection has been cut back somewhat over the past few months, it’s still excellent. The lounge features self serve booze and an extensive buffet which is switched out several times daily.
Since I was there around 1PM they were serving lunch, consisting of pasta, meatballs, cheese, meats, hummus, veggies, etc.
After spending a few hours catching up on email I headed to gate 42, where my flight to San Francisco was about to board. Boarding started shortly after 5PM with first class, business class, and Executive Platinum customers.
New York (JFK) – San Francisco (SFO)
Wednesday, January 25
Aircraft: Boeing 767-200
Seat: 10B (Business Class)
American, Delta, and United all have a premium transcontinental product between New York and San Francisco/Los Angeles, and in the case of American they have specially configured 767-200 three cabin aircraft. There are two rows of first class, and then five rows of business class. Today I’d be in business class, though I flew the same route in first class a couple of years ago, so if you’re interested in reading about the differences, you can find the trip report here.
Since my flight had an odd flight number I chose to sit towards the back of the cabin, since that’s where American starts taking meal orders on odd numbered flights.
The business class seats on American are somewhere between international business class and domestic first class seats, featuring about 50 inches of pitch. Each seat comes with a duvet and pillow. I will say that the seats are seriously lacking padding, probably because they haven’t been reupholstered in forever.
My seat, 10B
During boarding flight attendants came around with pre-departure beverages, and I chose some water.
As boarding finished up the dinner menus were distributed as well. Around this time the captain came on the PA and advised us of our flight time of 6hr10min, anticipating an on-time arrival in San Francisco.
After a quick pushback and taxi to the runway we were number three for takeoff. What has happened to Kennedy over the past few years? Going back a few years I don’t ever remember being less than number 20 for takeoff, but lately I’ve never had a substantial wait. It’s probably a combination of the recession and larger planes like the A380, but I figured the amount of regional jet service would counteract that.
As soon as we leveled off Samsung Galaxy Tabs were distributed, which feature an extensive selection of movies and TV shows. I watched a couple of episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
Once they were distributed meal orders were taken. The dinner menu read as follows:
After that flight attendants came through the aisle with the cart, offering beverages and hot nuts. I ordered a Diet Coke with lime.
Diet Coke with lime and hot nuts
Refills were offered, and then the cart was rolled through with the salad and appetizers. A selection of breads were offered along with it, and I selected a pretzel roll. As far as I’m concerned American could serve nothing but pretzel rolls and they’d still have the best in-flight catering.
Appetizer and salad
After that the main course was served, though this time by tray and not by cart. The pasta was actually delicious, so I was happy to have gone with the “safe” option.
After that the flight attendants rolled around the dessert cart, and I went with the sundae, consisting of chocolate sauce, butterscotch, whipped cream, and nuts.
On the whole, the flight attendants were “New York friendly.” In other words, they weren’t fawning over passengers asking if they may have the privilege of getting us anything else, but were nonetheless attentive without attitude.
After dessert I got out my laptop and worked for the rest of the flight. About an hour out of San Francisco chocolate chip cookies and milk were served.
Cookies and milk
We touched down in San Francisco a few minutes early, and I headed straight for the Westin SFO shuttle to get a bit of shut eye before my crack-of-dawn flight the following morning.