Flight Review: First Class on American Airlines to Phoenix

American Airlines to Phoenix
By Alan WilsonAirbus A321-231(w) ‘N102NN’ American Airlines, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

First Class or Economy? Which do you prefer? On my recent trip out of Boston, I flew First Class on American Airlines to Phoenix. This was a mid-week afternoon flight out of Boston and so with Mr. TSG in tow, I headed off to the airport early feeling a little pre travel anxiety as I was fully expecting to encounter a busy airport.

American Airlines to Phoenix
Gate B8 inside Boston Logan International airport

After passing through TSA PreCheck super fast, we found a seat near our gate, which was still boarding the flight before ours. We were super early, and so we waited patiently for our turn to go. It wasn’t long before the boarding announcements began. Starting March 1, 2017, American Airlines changed their boarding process with new group numbers. First class is still in group 1, but there’s a pre boarding group for ConciergeKey members and now a total of 9 groups for boarding.

American Airlines to Phoenix
First Class seats (image via American Airlines website)

Why fly First Class on a domestic flight? Bigger seats and more legroom, of course. On the A321 Airbus that we flew, there are 16 seats measuring 21″ wide (vs. 16.3″-17.7″ in Economy) and a seat pitch of 39″ vs. 31″-35″ in Economy. That and I really like the front of the plane and knowing I’ll have a place to stow my bag. Don’t you hate it when you have a seat in one row and your bag is 20 rows behind you?

After boarding, we were offered a beverage before take off and I opted for plain old sparking water. No alcohol for me yet as I’m still on a strict plan. The flight attendant was great about keeping my teacup filled throughout the flight, which made me very happy.

American Airlines to Phoenix
Dinner in First Class

Since this was a late afternoon/evening flight, meals were served in First Class. When I booked our tickets, I was able to indicate that we were both needed special meals. About 30 days prior to the flight, I was able to choose an entree and in this case it was the vegetarian lasagna, which came with a starter, a salad, roll and butter. I promptly gave Mr. TSG my lasagna and switched it for his salad. We are talking lots and lots and lots of cheese in that lasagna, which I was happy to give to him.

American Airlines to Phoenix
Dinner in First Class

But I’m absolutely perplexed as to why American Airlines would put a fried shrimp on a vegetarian special meal request tray. I get that it was the same meal that anyone could order so it wasn’t exactly “special,” but still. It would be nice to see airlines embracing that people do eat healthier these day, especially when traveling. How about tasty vegan and vegetarian entrees that are healthier and not loaded up with fats, carbs, and empty calories. Yes, I’m the one who brings her own clementines and stevia (for my tea) when I’m flying.

American Airlines to Phoenix
Entertainment options available in flight

After snacking on salad, I settled into my seat for this 5 hour flight and decided to check out the entertainment options onboard. Like some other airlines, American Airlines doesn’t offer seatback entertainment options on the Airbus A321. Instead, you open your own device, be it a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, and connect for free to the internet to watch a TV show or a movie.

They have featured movies and television shows, a few of which are recent, but a ton of old movies and shows still hanging around. If you fly often, then you’ll notice it’s all the same stuff that’s on most flights.

TSG Tip: Among your other travel necessities that you should bring on a trip, plan ahead and load up your own device with great content to avoid a long flight full of boredom.

You can connect to the internet for a fee, for as little as 30 minutes or even monthly plans. I’d rather relax and not have to pay for internet, especially since I was starving and could only think about food. If I had internet, I would have been browsing where to eat once we landed.

First Class domestic seats is definitely not like flying First Class in the past, but I always want the roomier seat and less of the sardine can feel. I would definitely pick a seat in First Class on American Airlines to Phoenix or any other city if I had to do a longer flight. For shorter flights, you should weigh out the cost difference to decide if it’s worth it. In the end, you get to decide what works best for you.

TSG Tip: Always check dates and all classes of service when booking a flight. Sometimes the difference between Economy and First or Business is nominal.

Have you flown First Class on American Airlines to Phoenix or any other US city?

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