Week in the Clouds: American Flagship Lounge New York, American Business Class New York to San Francisco

Filed Under: American, Mileage Runs

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

Flagship Lounge

Tarmac views

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.

Drink selection

Since I was there around 1PM they were serving lunch, consisting of pasta, meatballs, cheese, meats, hummus, veggies, etc.

Lunch selection

Lunch selection


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.

American 177
New York (JFK) – San Francisco (SFO)
Wednesday, January 25
Depart: 5:40PM
Arrive: 9:10PM
Duration: 6hr30min
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.

First class

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


Cabin shot

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.”

Samsung Galaxy

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.

Main course

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.

  1. your trip reports are never complete without that shot of the diet coke with lime!


    I agree with you about the seats. They are OLD. On a recent 762 from LAX-JFK, the seats were literally falling apart and the seatback pocket was full of used kleenex and some type of sticky gel which made me realize I’m never reaching into one of those pockets again.

  2. that first class menu looks more enticing and better than the United first menu….at least there was a vegetarian -non meat menu. Great report Ben!!

  3. Was on the same flight in F a few months ago, only to have an emergency landing due to smoke in the back of the plane! Needless to say, we spent the night in BUF and they brought in a new “old” 762! I think the 762’s are very near the end of the commercial passenger use.

  4. Can you please specifically document how the FL “food selection has been cut back somewhat over the past few months”?

  5. The seats on the 762 could definitely use a refresh. Maybe even an additional inch or two of width. At 18.5″, they’re narrower than UAs domestic F seats on the A319! (20.5″)

  6. @ Ozaer N.

    That’s the business class menu here, not the the first class menu.

    So Lucky, which is nicer, the Admirals lounge at JFK, or the United IFC lounges in LA and/or San Francisco?

  7. Thanks for the menu. 100% of your readers are familiar with lime and diet coke. 91.2% of your readers drink wine. 89.4% of your readers want you to include the wine list. On the other hand, 79.4% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Except for the one that says that 89.4% of your readers wants to see the wine list. Cheers, Bill

  8. @ Andy — If you’re referring to the Flagship Lounge, I’d say it’s a step above the LAX UA IFL, and on par with the SFO UA IFL. The IFL at SFO is maybe decorated a bit nicer, though the food spread is better at the Flagship Lounge.

    @ AUSTEX — And your point is taken 90% of the time. Promise to include it in future installments. Sorry!

  9. @ Lucky – 98.69% of your readers thank you on behalf of the 89.4% of your readers who want to see the wine lists. By the way, you are the only person who takes me seriously 90% of the time. At least at my house.

  10. @ AUSTEX — LOL!

    @ Mark — Sadly enough I suspect it’s because there are too many Executive Platinum members based there, so they figure it’s not even worth the effort.

  11. Thought all the 767s had been replaced by A321Ts on the two JFK transcon routes. But these planes are obviously in their final months of flying in their current configuration and those equipped for ETOPs will be getting their cabin makeovers with the new J seats (and refurb’d coach ones).

  12. @ DavidB — Yep, this is an old trip report, so nowadays they do only have the A321 on the route.

  13. Must say that the presentation was awful! Cathay or Lufthansa would never let a string of pasta hang over the side with random dashes of oil, nor there be a piece of icecream on the dish, or the napkin be off center with the coockie 🙂 big issue, I knosw, but then its AA 🙂
    I’m sure it tasted OK and I’d bet my money that it was better than the octopus starter and tough fillet of beef and green cold pasta and ice-cold beef starter offered on my two LH J flights 🙂

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