American Airlines Flight 15, New York-JFK to San Francisco
Even though it’s been open for several years now, it never ceases to amaze me how walking into the American Airlines terminal at JFK places the business traveler in an oasis of calm.
The design of the terminal, with its towering 65-foot roofline, reduces the stress of air travel and makes each departure seem exciting. The new terminal replaces American’s two terminals (8 and 9) at JFK. Terminal 8, which served international traffic, had been built in the early 1960s and sported what was once the world’s longest stained glass installation, designed by the artist Robert Sower on its facade.
Having printed my ticket at home, I proceeded to the priority security lane and was airside in a matter of minutes.
American offers PriorityAAccess, which includes a priority boarding lane at the gate. First- and business-class passengers (as well as full-fare passengers and top-level AAdvantage program members) can board at any time, bypassing what could be a long queue. The flight was quite full but boarding was completed very efficiently. As I settled in, a flight attendant offered to hang up my jacket and provided me with a choice of pre-departure drinks.
We pushed back slightly ahead of schedule and there were only a few aircraft ahead of us for takeoff. Our scheduled flight time was six hours and 20 minutes, plenty of time to catch up on reading, relax, and test out the Gogo in-flight Internet access service that is offered on all of American’s 767-200 aircraft.
Once we hit our cruising altitude of 32,000 feet, flight attendants were offering wine and cocktails accompanied by warm mixed nuts. By then I had already logged into the Gogo system and was reading news live on the Web with my beverage.
Next came mixed greens, warm breads, and my entrée, the herbed shrimp with couscous, which was quite good.
Throughout the flight, the cabin crew provided very attentive, personalized service, checking in with passengers without being overly intrusive. Towards the end of the flight we were served fresh-baked chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies with milk. Prior to landing, we were offered a refreshing glass of chilled sparkling water.
American’s domestic business class seating is comfortable and provides plenty of legroom but it won’t be confused with the lie-flat seats found on international flights. Passengers receive Bose QuietComfort 3 noise cancelling headphones, a media player, and a duvet. Each seat has its own DC power cigarette lighter-style outlet.
We arrived on time and quickly taxied to the gate. Soon I was curbside, having not checked any baggage.
Service both from the ground staff and the flight crew was excellent. Our cabin crew made each passenger feel like a valued passenger. The transcon market is a very competitive one, especially for business travel, and American has a solid offering here.