Trip Report: American Airlines First Class |Airbus A321| Dallas – Chicago


Previous parts to this trip:


After a brief stop in Dallas, it was time to head north. Knowing it took around an hour to get from the airport last night, I checked out of the hotel at 08:30.

DART
DART

I made it to DFW at around 09:40, and was able to make my way through the premium security via the premium check in area. It took around the typical amount of time to clear – probably around ten minutes from entry to exit.

DFW
American check in

Once through, I took a brief look at the shops as I made my way to the Admirals Club.

DFW

Once more, like in Miami, my gate was right next door to where the Admirals Club was, so didn’t make sense to venture out to the Flagship Lounge.

Admirals Club A

Pretty much every time I pass through Dallas, I end up in this lounge – so it’s safe to say I’m reasonably familiar with it now! The entrance is opposite gate A23.

American lounge

You enter at ground level before making your way upstairs to the lounge itself.

Admirals Club entrance
Entrance area of the Admirals Club

Like the rest of the terminal, the lounge is in a long reasonably narrow layout.

American lounge layout

Behind the main entrance area is one of two buffet areas.

Buffet

Beyond this was the main area of the lounge.

American lounge
American lounge

As you head off towards the left there are separate seating zones, with a business centre at the end.

Admirals club
Admirals club
Admirals club
Business centre
Business centre

At most seats, there are power points. Some even feature wireless charging pads.

Wireless

Most areas feature a selection of newspapers and magazines.

Towards the right is the bar area. Of note is that American no longer hand out drinks vouchers – its all linked to your boarding pass.

Lounge food
Admirals Club bar

In this area is another buffet.

Buffet
Buffet

This isn’t what I booked?

Around an hour before departure, I received a notification from the flighty app, saying the scheduled 787-8 had been subbed to an A321. This was mildly annoying as that’s now all three flights with American on this trip that had been changed. Whilst the American Airlines app was still showing a 787. I checked in the lounge and they confirmed it would indeed be an A321 – and they commented on what a downgrade that was!

American A321
Definitely an A321

Boarding 

My flight was due to depart from the gate opposite to the lounge, so it was only a very short walk. As I arrived, they were looking for volunteers to take the next flight. I did a bit of research and found out that the next flight would be operated by a Dreamliner, but as I’d missed the announcement I didn’t hear what the terms and conditions were. Either way, after my brief stop in Dallas, I didn’t want the same in Chicago!

Upon boarding there were many comments about the down grade of aircraft from both passengers and crew. The crew even mentioned in their welcome speech that they were just as surprised as everyone else when they got to the plane and found it was an A321.

American first class cabin
Seat
Seat 4A

Departure

Once boarding was nearly complete, I overheard one of the crew mention that we were still waiting for the pilots. This was confirmed a few moments later when they turned up. At this point we were fifteen minutes past our original departure time. So far on this trip, every single flight has been delayed!

The delay was then lengthened by one of the navigation systems failing and having to call out maintenance to rectify the situation.

We finally took off around 1h10 late.

Takeoff

After takeoff, there were some great views of Dallas Love Field.

Dallas love field
Dallas love field

Service

The meal service got underway around ten minutes after departure with a hot towel service.

Hot towel

This was followed a few moments later with drinks and warm nuts.

Nuts
Drinks

As I didn’t really fancy any of the main meal options, I pre ordered the charcuterie plate. As it happened I wasn’t feeling too hungry so only really picked at bit of it.

American first meal
American first meal
American first meal
American first meal
American first meal

And as usual, the service was finished with a warm cookie.

American cookie

IFE 

As this was one of American Airlines’ own A321’s as opposed to an ex US Airways jet, this one featured personal screens and WiFi. Although as I’d seen pretty much everything I’d wanted to on this trip, I just left it on the moving map.

IFE

There was also WiFi fitted, although it wasn’t available for most of the flight.

American WiFi portal
American WiFi portal

Arrival 

Descent started a little earlier than I had anticipated. Therefore, we had made up plenty of the delay that we had on the ground and would be arriving into Chicago just thirty minutes behind schedule.

Chicago
American tails
American 737
American 787
What should have been…

After this, it was a case of following the signs to the exit and the metro into the city.

Chicago arrival
Chicago CTA
Chicago CTA

It was a little annoying that the ticket machines didn’t seem to accept foreign cards – how many foreign cards must they get in a day?! Especially at an airport. Lucky I had some cash on me.

My thoughts

Well, it was a little disappointing that the Dreamliner was subbed for an A321. But it’s not the end of the world as it’s not like I’ve not been on a 787 before. The delay – again, a little annoying, but it could have been worse.

Service wise it was much like the previous three American Airlines flights I’ve had on this trip. The crew did their job almost as a matter of routine without any fuss.

Lets see how Delta compare getting back to New York…

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