In the Air for the Holidays: American Airlines First Class A321T New York-San Francisco – Flight Review
It was an odd contrast. The roads leading to John F. Kennedy International Airport were empty. No one was ahead of me in PreCheck. The American Airlines Admirals Club was empty. Yet the planes were all full. It was, in fact, Christmas Eve. One agent commented on how full the flights were, adding that gate agents were paying people a lot of money to take later flights.
At the Admirals Club in the terminal, where I had stopped for breakfast, the staff was cheerful and festively attired for the holidays, but nary a passenger was to be found.
The Admirals Club provided a variety of breakfast items ranging from oatmeal to toasted bagels and breakfast breads and cakes. Cookies decorated in a holiday theme were also on the menu.
After a cinnamon-raisin bagel with cream cheese and a coffee at the Admirals Club, I was off to gate 44, which was close by. Boarding was already in full swing when I arrived. Given the planned flight time of over six hours, I was in no hurry to take my seat and, as the line thinned, I used the Priority Access lane to bypass the remaining crowd and boarded through the forward door.
I turned right to reach my seat at the front of the first-class cabin and was immediately greeted by the purser, who offered to hang up my coat (while it was in the 60s in New York, it was significantly cooler in San Francisco). At my seat awaited an American Airlines heritage amenity kit for PSA. (While PSA is still a wholly-operated subsidiary of American, it is named after Pacific Southwest Airlines, a large West Coast carrier that had been founded in 1949 and acquired by USAir in 1989.)
Another flight attendant came by with a selection of pre-departure beverages, which included water, orange juice, and Champagne and, in keeping with the holiday spirit, I chose the latter.