I just came back from a gate reception and a sneak peek tour of the new American Airlines A321T at JFK. For those unaware, starting in January, American Airlines will start transcontinental service between JFK and LAX on the new 3-cabin Airbus A321 (the JFK-SFO route starts in March 2014). By May, all of the daily JFK-LAX flights will be operated by the new A321T.
To celebrate the new service, American is offering bonus miles on the JFK-LAX route from January 7 2014 to March 31 2014 (Between 5K-15K bonus miles based on fare class – registration is required).
Some quick facts to recap what to expect from the A321 in-flight experience:
- Fully-lie flat first and business class seats (10 first class seats with 43-inch pitch and 1:1 configuration and 20 business class seats arranged in a 2:2 configuration)
- Amenity kits filled with Akhassa skincare products will be offered in first class.
- In-flight wifi (upgraded Gogo service) and fully-loaded inflight entertainment system with hundreds of on-demand movies, TV programs, games, and audio selections
- Customers traveling in first or business class can have the opportunity to reserve their in-flight entree ahead of time.
- Premium dining options (sample menu includes grilled beef filet, shrimp scampi, butternut squash gnocchi, etc. Customers traveling in business class can choose from the same suite of entree and appetizer selections as first class).
- The Main Cabin is made up of 35 Main Cabin Extra seats in a 3-3 configuration with a 35-inch pitch, and 36 Main Cabin seats with a 31-inch pitch. Each seat is also equipped with one universal AC power outlet and USB jack.
So far, award availability is looking great for this new service! If you wish to experience this route using miles (I 100% plan on it), here are the one way costs:
American AAdvantage miles:
- Business Class: 25,000 miles
- First Class: 32,500 miles
- Main Cabin: 12,500 miles
British Airways Avios:
- Business Class: 25,000 Avios
- First Class: 37,500 Avios
- Main Cabin: 12,500 Avios
If flying solely from coast to coast, I personally would use Avios for this route (especially that there’s a transfer bonus between American Express Membership Rewards to Avios). However, another good idea would be to tack this route on as a free one-way on an international award redemption with AAdvantage miles.
First Class Cabin
Business Class Cabin
I definitely enjoyed the opportunity to be able to have a sneak peek at this new product, and I think it will be an exciting and enticing addition to American’s fleet, especially with the merger just around the corner. The first class resembled the business class seat found on Cathay Pacific, and the business class seat was almost identical to the business class seats on United’s internationally-configured cabins.
In all honesty, I probably would choose fly business class over first class; not only is it cheaper in mileage, but I thought the business class was indeed more spacious and roomy. Sure, the 1:1 configuration in first was nice and more “intimate” with direct aisle access, but the business class felt more open and comfortable to me in general – especially when I saw the seats in flat-bed position. Plus, the dining menu options are roughly the same between both cabins.
What do you think? Do you plan on flying this route? If so, what cabin will you choose and why? Would love to hear other impressions!