American Airlines Flagship First New York-Los Angeles – Flight Review

By Anna Breuer on 10 October 2018
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Last year, American Airlines rebranded its long-haul first-class service across the board. Flagship First – International is the new name for its international first-class service, while Flagship First – Transcontinental is the new name for transcon flights linking New York with San Francisco and Los Angeles operated on a special Airbus A321T subfleet.

As a Flagship First – Transcontinental passenger, my experience at JFK began at the Flagship First Check-In area, a rather exclusive oasis in the airline’s Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International Airport. An agent was stationed at the entrance, admitting only those with the proper credentials to the rarefied atmosphere inside, where several agents were assisting passengers. I was immediately welcomed by an agent at the podium, presented with a boarding pass, and escorted to the exit, which led directly into the TSA Pre-Check line at the security checkpoint. Passengers exiting the Flagship First check-in area end up at the very front of the PreCheck line, saving a modicum of time although it wasn’t terribly crowded.

With about 45 minutes before boarding, I headed over to the Flagship Lounge, which has been completely reimagined under the rebranding. Inside I found a premium wine table that resembled what I’ve seen at the British Airways Galleries First lounge, a cocktail bar, a variety of seating, and a private Flagship First Dining room, where complete meals are served.

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Given the hour of the day, I was content merely to nosh and have a glass of wine, but had it been later, I would have unquestionably tried Flagship First Dining before departure.

BOARDING

American boards passengers in nine groups, starting with Concierge Key members (the airline’s highest status), followed by Group 1, first-class passengers. Boarding was already well underway when I reached Gate 39, so I used the airline’s Priority Access Lane to bypass the rather long line. No one was ahead of me so I was in my seat, 1A, within minutes.

Inside the cabin, the flight attendants were greeting passengers, hanging up jackets, and properly pampering them.

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