American Airlines First Class Flight 181 New York JFK Los Angeles Review

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IN-FLIGHT INTERNET

American’s fleet of 767-200 aircraft feature Gogo in-flight Internet, as do several hundred of its Boeing MD-80s and 737-800s.  The cost for a transcontinental flight is $12.95 (monthly plans are available and shorter flights cost less) and the system can be quite useful, especially when travelling during the week.  We’ve noted in these pages that the download speed has, in the past year, been nowhere near the 1.5 Mbps we saw previously.  On this trip, I saw download speeds of 0.53 Mbps, which is acceptable for listening to music on TuneIn Radio on my Apple iPad and supported some video although it would not have been possible to watch a high-definition movie.  In terms of doing work and sending and receiving e-mail, the speed was more than sufficient. Gogo will be upgrading the service and speed in the coming 12-18 months, however.

As we began our descent, the purser made an announcement advising that, since the Gogo network would shut down at 10,000 feet, passengers should save their work if necessary.

THE FLIGHT

We pushed back 30 minutes late but there were only a few aircraft ahead of us on taxi so we were quickly underway.

Once we were at our cruising altitude of 37,000 feet, the American Flagship Service began.  I chose the 2009 Chardonnay from the Olivet Lane winery in the Russian River Valley to accompany my warm nuts and marinated mozzarella cheese.  The appetizer was shrimp accompanied by noodles, which was excellent. Because I liked the Chardonnay quite a bit, I continued with it for the main course, which was particularly notable for the tasty wild grain rice that accompanied the chicken.

Following the main course came the dessert cart, with a choice of a Grand Marnier fruit salad or an ice cream sundae.  I chose the former, which was excellent.

ARRIVAL

We arrived a few minutes early and, since I only had carry-on luggage, I headed straight to the gate for my next flight.

VERDICT

The combination of flight attendants who clearly enjoy their work with excellent food and comfortable seating made for a rather enjoyable – and more importantly – productive trip since I had a lot of work to do en route.  What more could the business traveler ask for?

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