Trip Review: DEN-LAX-JFK

With my externship at Sweet Basil officially over it was time to move back to NY. I will certainly miss living in Vail, but I’m also ready to go back to NY. I chose to fly to NY through LAX because that’s an airport I’ve been dying to checkout more as they have some of the nicest lounges in the country. My flight from Denver to Los Angeles was canceled. I had cleared an upgrade before the flight was canceled and I was able to squeeze 15k miles from American Airlines as compensation for the ordeal. I rebooked to LAX via Phoenix. I also moved my flight from LAX to JFK to the last one of the night departing at 11:45PM. The upside to this was that I’d have time to visit the Qantas First Class lounge in LAX. The downside is I’ll have to trudge through NYC traffic during rush hour, a small price to pay. After that getting to LAX was fairly painless, we did have a 30 min delay on the tarmac departing Phoenix but otherwise my first two flights were pretty painless.

Franklin escorted me from the curb to the x-ray belt.
Flagship check in

When I landed in LAX I had to collect my checked bag. I then proceeded to the Flagship Check In, which has a separate curbside entrance. They check that you are eligible to enter off a list of passengers they have. To be eligible you need to be flying first class on a 3 cabin international or transcontinental flight. Thanks to my systemwide upgrade clearing I was confirmed in first class. After they make sure you are eligible they take your baggage and escort you in. I was checked in in minutes. Then I was escorted to the security where Fredrick, my escort, carried my bags for me until depositing them on the x-ray machine for me. In Miami they escort you to the front of the line. In LAX they wait in line with you. I can imagine how this could be a little awkward although I hit it off with Fredrick. After passing security I made the long walk to the Tom Bradley International Terminal. This is where the best lounges are and thanks to my first class ticket I had access to the Qantas First Class lounge, which serves as the first class lounge for all OneWorld, airlines as well as the OneWorld business shared lounge. Both of these lounges are far superior to any Admirals Club.

Tom Bradley International Terminal

After leaving the lounge and leaving the Tom Bradley International Terminal I made my way to my gate and waited to board. After about 15 min boarding commenced. The A321T that American uses is in a premium heavy configuration with about half of the real-estate on the plane taken up by first and business classes. There are 10 first class seats laid out in a 1-1 configuration. Followed by 20 business class seats laid out 2-2. Then laid out 3-3 there are 18 premium economy seats and 18 regular economy seats. Both first and business classes feature fully lie flat beds.

Not a bad way to cross the country.

Although I sometimes feel that sleeping the whole flight isn’t the best way to take advantage of a first class seat being so late and a short overnight flight I slept the whole thing. I was sleeping so soundly I’m not even sure if they served food or not. One complaint I had was that they gave us business class amenity kits and no noise canceling headphones.

Decent sized pillow, flimsy business class amenity kit, and unacceptable earphones for first class.

Overall this is a great way to cross the country although from what I hear JetBlue Mint represents a much better value, I’ll get to fly that in the near future. And although this was a short review of the actual flight I also have a first class flight coming up on the A321T where I’ll be able to enjoy the flight more. Although I did enjoy my sleep on this one!

American Airlines’s A321T
The New Flagship Lounge and Dining

When I landed in JFK I saw the sign for the new Flagship Lounge which I still haven’t checked out. I almost popped up for a sec but decided not to since I had a checked bag, which I didn’t want it sitting out unattended. So I’ll definitely check out this lounge next time I fly out of terminal 8 at JFK.

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