Earlier this week, I took my first flights on American Airlines in a while. I didn’t stop flying American on purpose, it’s just that my new Atlanta locale isn’t conducive to flying American for me. I enjoy flying Delta, but my flights this week were a reminder that American knows how to do a lot of things right, and I thought the experience was blog-worthy.

My flights were booked by our company travel agent, and had me flying out to Sacramento with a connection in DFW on AA, and returning on Delta’s nonstop to Atlanta. I thought to myself that I really didn’t want to fly all the way across the country in coach, even with a break in DFW. I had my doubts about clearing into First Class with my electronic upgrades as an AAdvantage Gold member, so I looked at another alternative. I have a little stash of AA miles for emergencies, so I did what MJ does, I upgraded my flight. Doing so requires a phone call to AA, which went smoothly. Domestically, on non Y or B fares, mileage upgrades are 15,000 miles and a $75 dollar co-pay. Co-pays annoy me, but 5 hours in 32E annoys me more. With that, I was upgraded.

I went on AA.com to check my reservation and make sure my seats were OK. I also took a minute to add my “Known Traveler” number to my reservation. It was already in my AA.com profile, but my reservation did not pick it up. I assume that was because it was booked by a travel agent, and not directly on AA.com. That gave me a good to go green checkmark. With that, I left things alone until day of departure.

I arrived at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport with lots of time to spare. Monday mornings at ATL are notoriously busy, and this was no exception. I was admittedly nervous that I might not get PreCheck when flying American, but I got the glorious 3 beeps, and was on my way to the Admirals Club within minutes. I access the Admirals Club (and Delta Sky Club) with my Platinum Card from American Express. For a few minutes, I was the only customer in the club. It had been a while since I was in the ATL club, and the results of the 2012 remodel were evident. Primarily, the furniture is much improved, and there are now a joyous amount of power outlets. 🙂 No one ever said that an airline club, hotel room, or airport sure did have too many power outlets, did they? As is my universal experience with Admirals Clubs, staff were gracious and welcoming.

Both of my flights featured tired looking, but GoGo equipped MD-80 aircraft. The First Class seats were comfortable enough, but I far prefer American’s newer domestic F seats that you will find on their 737’s and cabin improved 757’s. There was a continental breakfast on the leg to DFW, and lunch on the leg from DFW to Sacramento. A bagel and coffee were all I needed for the morning flight. The lunch menu featured some kind of salad or a shrimp dish that I failed to record the name of. I went with the shrimp, and I have to tell you, it was very good. Surprisingly good. Service on both flights was very good. Flight attendants were polite and attentive. We were a tiny bit late leaving DFW, but arrived in Sacramento on time.

Two flights is hardly a statistically valid sample, but I have to say that I enjoyed both my flights on American. I’m sure it helped that I was upgraded. Flying American again reminded me of things that they do very well, things that I miss about American. In no particular order, they are:

  • AAdvantage (OK, this really is # 1)
  • The Admirals Clubs and the Admirals Club AAngels (Especially in DCA, OK, the DCA Admirals Club is tied for # 1)
  • American’s domestic First Class catering, especially the warm ramekin of mixed nuts (Hey, it’s the little things)
I’m sure circumstances will find me flying AA again at some point. It’s nice to know I can expect a solid experience.
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