Not too long ago, I had to fly down to Texas to visit family for the holidays. To make the hop down, I decided to fly American Airlines in First Class one-way on an excellent paid fare on a Boeing 737-800. While American does have room to improve, the airline offers a pretty standard domestic First Class product.
A one-way First Class ticket from Baltimore to Dallas usually costs around $300-$400 on American Airlines or Delta. American tends to be closer to $400 or just above. Roundtrip prices out a little under or at just about the cost of double a one-way ticket. You can sometimes find tickets for cheaper if you connect beyond Dallas depending on your itinerary. Since I was connecting onward to San Antonio, I was able to find a one-way for about $360 just before a major holiday period.
BWI is one of the lesser-known airports for U.S. legacy carriers in the DC-area. A major hub for low-cost carriers (with expansion impending), BWI does not have any major airline lounges or Admirals Clubs. The only option readily available for domestic passengers is The Club– but note that it isn’t accessible outside of Concourse D and E. Since American flies out of Concourse C, this meant no access to The Club for me. But, there are plenty of food options at BWI.
First Class was one of the first to board. I made my way down the jetbridge and had to wait for a bit outside the door of the aircraft. While waiting there, I noticed an interesting sign advertising that American Airlines was awarded a five-star rating from APEX.
Well, with that in my head, I stepped onto the Boeing 737-800 with 16 seats in a 2-2 configuration. It then dawned on me that this was my first trip in American First Class. And, thankfully, this wasn’t a Project Oasis (or Kodiak) Boeing 737.
Since this was an early morning flight (7AM departure), I was hoping to get some more sleep once in the air. Thankfully, I found this seat to be nicely padded and was able to get some sleep after the meal service. In terms of legroom, this seat had about 40 inches of pitch. Needless to say, this was some fantastic legroom– especially for my 5’8″ frame.
Unfortunately, American Airlines has been doing away with seatback screens in favor of personal entertainment on a bring-your-own-device basis.
There were, however, overhead screens where the safety video was screened.
There were tray tables and power outlets in the center console between the two seats.
There were limited amenities on this flight. Waiting for each passenger at their seats was a blanket with no pillow. The blanket itself was fine for a shorter domestic leg like this one. However, the real kicker was the lack of a pillow. This is something that competitor Delta offers and would have been great for this early morning flight.
Food in First Class
On a domestic leg like this, I went for the upgrade to First primarily so that I would not have to worry about sourcing my own breakfast at the airport prior to flying. I had pre-selected the egg enchilada. Full disclosure: breakfast is normally my least-favorite dish on a plane.
The meal was better than it looks. Unfortunately, aside from the grapes, the rest of the fruit wasn’t terribly fresh. But, the main dish itself was served warm and well-seasoned. I did appreciate the sauce with the dish.
The service was nice and efficient. However, not unfriendly. The woman working First Class was warm and gladly welcomed me onboard. After some previous mixed experiences on American, this was a welcome relief.
Despite being ranked a five-star airline by APEX, American’s domestic First Class is nothing to write home about. It would be great to see American add a pillow– especially on the new “upgraded” Project Oasis/Kodiak First Class seats. On the other hand, for a domestic First Class flight, this was a pretty normal flight.
Have you flown American Airlines First Class? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments!