American Airlines Flagship First New York-San Francisco – Flight Review

By Anna Breuer on 29 November 2017
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My first flight since joining Frequent Business Traveler was to be a good one: New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport to San Francisco in American Airlines’ recently rebranded Flagship First. Our exalted editorial director graciously allowed me to fly in his usual seat, 1A, since he was not going on the flight anyway and there I was, going through the PreCheck line at JFK.

The line for PreCheck was moving surprisingly well as I approached the document checker, but it slowed down to a crawl at the walk-through metal detector. Nonetheless, I was curbside to Admirals Club in the midfield terminal in 14 minutes.

Given the hour (my flight would depart at 4:30 p.m. and I arrived at the new Flagship Lounge at 3:40 p.m.), I only had a few minutes to enjoy a beverage, freshen up, and walk over to the gate.

American's new Flagship Lounge at JFK

American’s new Flagship Lounge at JFK


American boards passengers in eight groups, starting with Concierge Key members (the airline’s highest status), and then Group 1, first-class passengers. When I reached Gate 39, boarding was already underway so I used the airline’s Priority Access Lane to bypass the long line and was soon comfortably ensconced in my seat. The super friendly flight attendants working up front were greeting passengers, hanging up jackets, and making sure their first-class passengers were being properly pampered.

A bottle of water was at my seat along with a Cole Haan amenity kit The kit included socks, a comfortable eye mask, and products from CO Bigelow with a nice-smelling body lotion and lip balm. I rue the fact that the airline has discontinued its heritage airline amenity kits, but on reflection, my closet at home is overflowing with those so I shan’t be missing out.

The purser came to take my order for a pre-departure beverage, offering water, orange juice, and Champagne, although she offered to serve just about anything I desired. Feeling somewhat celebratory, I opted for the bubbly.

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