American Airlines New York-JFK to Seattle
I was unable to print my boarding pass from my home computer because the printer had run out of ink, so I had to check in at American’s new Terminal 8. There was only one passenger ahead of me in the first class line so I waited all of two minutes. The agent greeted me by name, directed me to the Admiral’s Club, and wished me a pleasant flight.
Our departure was scheduled for 6:10 p.m. and approximately half an hour before, we began boarding. The gate areas in the new terminal are much more conducive to a fast and easy boarding process. In fact, the new terminal seems to have an effect on people: from agents to security screeners to passengers, everyone seemed in a much better mood than one might normally encounter at an airport these days.
The aircraft, a Boeing 757, seemed full but we pushed back on time.
I was seated in the front row in the first class cabin; the seat next to me was empty. A flight attendant quickly offered to hang up my coat. No pre-departure beverages were offered although a crewmember quickly brought me a glass of bottled water when I asked
After take-off, we were offered beverages and a dish of warmed nuts. The service was very pleasant and efficient and I was soon enjoying a glass of chardonnay.
I selected the Buena Vista Carneros Reserve Chardonnay to accompany the appetizer, smoked duck accented by a mango chutney. The duck was so good I wished it had been an option for the entrée. I had a choice of tenderloin of beef with a Madeira wine demi-glace, accompanied by grilled asparagus and potatoes au gratin or lasagna with black pepper alfredo sauce, creamy Fines Herbes boursin cheese and seasoned spinach, with a browed bread crumb and parsley topping. I chose the beef entrée, which was quite good. Food just kept coming. For dessert, an ice cream sundae or sliced fruit and an assortment of cheese but it was just too much so I instead had a glass of port.
I was ready for sleep but the flight attendants were in the aisle offering Ghiradelli chocolates. The food continued with freshly baked chocolate cookies shortly before arrival, followed by mineral water garnished with fruit.
With the empty seat beside me, I had room to spread out my papers and open my laptop to get some work done. Our flying time was ca. 6 hours so there was plenty of time for work and a Netflix movie afterwards.
Throughout the flight, the crew checked with passengers, offering beverages and other amenities.
The 757 first class seats lack footrests and don’t recline flat but this is fairly standard for domestic first class flights on single-aisle aircraft. The seat pitch is 39” and, as would be expected, 1A and 1B are especially roomy at the bulkhead, because no one reclines into your space.
We landed on time and I was one of the first off the plane. Since I only had carry-on luggage, I was quickly en route to my hotel.
The service was very friendly, the food was much better than I remembered domestic first class food to be, and I was able to work comfortably and unimpeded. What more could a business traveler want?
–Jonathan B. Spira is the Editor of Executive Road Warrior and Chief Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.