Trip Report: American Airlines First Class | Airbus A321 | Miami-Dallas


Previous Parts to this trip:


The next leg of this journey will be another flight with American Airlines. When I booked this flight, the main deciding factor on heading to Dallas was because this flight would be operated by the B777-200 widebody. However, in true AA style, this was swapped out for a more common Airbus A321 around two months prior to departure. Not to worry though. I was half expecting it anyway and I hadn’t really done Dallas before anyway.

I set off from my hotel in downtown Miami at just past 1pm. The journey involved the free monorail to then connect on to the metro for the airport. The journey took around thirty minutes.

Miami
Miami Airport

Once more I skipped check in and headed straight to security.

American Airlines check in

It wasn’t too busy and I made my way up to the Admirals Club. I know the Flagship lounge is much better, but I visited there last year. Plus the Admirals Club was far closer to my gate.

Miami airport
Miami Airport

Admirals Club

I last visited this particular lounge in 2014. Since then, it has undergone a complete redevelopment to the latest American Airlines lounge concept.

American Admirals club

Whilst this lounge doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Flagship Lounge, it was more than adequate for the 45 minutes or so I was there. Plus as an added bonus, it was pretty empty too, which is something you don’t experience too often with American lounges.

When entering, the agent seemed very insistent that I should visit the flagship lounge instead. I told her that I’d visited before and that I’d rather come here as it’s far nearer to my gate, but she was still very insistent I should go as it’s far better! In the end, she took no for an answer though and let me in. This wasn’t a case of her thinking I wasn’t eligible for entry – quite the opposite in fact.

American Admirals club
American Admirals club
Basic Admirals Club catering
Admirals club
Admirals club
Admirals club
Admirals club
Admirals club
Admirals club
Admirals club
American Admirals club

Boarding 

As is nearly always the case with American, boarding started exactly when stated.

Having been unlucky enough to find myself on ex US Airways A321’s when flying American for the last few years, I’d almost completely forgotten how comfortable the actual American A321’s were. The last time I sampled one was between Las Vegas and Los Angeles at the end of 2015, so it had been a while!

American A321 First

The main difference between these and the former US Airways fleet is that the American fleet has personal IFE – and quite a large screen at that.

IFE
A321 IFE screen

There’s also a lot more general storage around the seat – meaning there’s plenty of space for your boarding drink!

American welcome Drink

Departure 

Boarding was completed around ten minutes before departure. Scheduled flight time was given as 2h28. Despite everyone being on board, the captain announced that the maintenance team had some of our paperwork. Therefore, we had to wait for that. As a result, our departure was pushed back 15 minutes.

American A321

Once we did get going, we made our way out to the runway which was probably the furthest from our parking spot.

Departure
Downtown Miami

Onboard service

During boarding, my pre-ordered meal option was confirmed. The choices today were either beef or lasagne. I had pre ordered the beef.

Once in the air, hot towels were handed out. This isn’t something I remember getting on American before. At least not when flying domestically.

American A321 cabin

A few moments later, the bar service started.

Nuts

Followed shortly after by the main meal service.

Meal service

This was very tasty – far better than the meal served on the previous American Airlines flight of this trip. The beef was tender and the mash had a good flavour to it.

Salad
American Airlines First Meal
Bread

This was finished with cookies.

Cookie

Entertainment

As previously mentioned, this aircraft featured personal screens. The system was mostly touch based, but there was also a remote control. There was a decent selection of films, although on this 2 hour or so flight I didn’t get to explore too much. The one film I did watch, I didn’t get to see the end of.

American Airlines A321 seatback

WiFi was also available, but once more I didn’t purchase any.

American Airlines WiFi

Arrival

The slight delay on the ground in Miami was made up, and we landed pretty much on time.

AA A321 wing
allas
Overflying downtown Dallas on approach

However, we then lost any advantage we had by our gate being occupied when we arrived. Meaning we then had to sit and wait for fifteen minutes. At least that was the initial story. As it turned out, the aircraft that was sat at our gate eventually had a technical issue, which held us up even further.

Wing
The view for more than a few minutes

We eventually arrived on stand 35 minutes after landing.

DFW

Once I was on my way, it was on to the DART into the city. Not all that well signposted it must be said. The FLIO app helped out there though.

DART
Dallas

Also of note was that I was almost scammed by a taxi tout. I was approached by someone in a hi-viz vest asking where I was going. I told them, and as if by magic, a car appeared. They both tried to usher me into the car, saying they’d take me to the hotel. Erm, right, and how much will this cost? They were very vague, but I continued to push them, just to see how it would pan out. They eventually quoted me $59. No thanks, I’ll take the train. They continued to push me, trying to say that the train will cost just as much and take twice as long… Sorry, I wasn’t born yesterday.

The price of the train? $3.

My thoughts

A much better flight with American today. The crew was a lot younger and more enthusiastic. I even managed to get a smile out of one of them!

Admittedly, the 777 being swapped for the A321 was a little disappointing, but it could have been worse.

The meal was tasty, although I feel the cookie for dessert is a little cheap.

The admirals club in Miami is far better now it has been refurbished. It also helped that it was empty.

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