American Airlines First Class Airbus A321T San Francisco SFO to New York JFK review

After visiting the Amex Centurion Lounge at SFO, I headed back over to Terminal 2 for my flight to New York. I had booked my ticket with American Airlines AAdvantage miles, so I was flying in first class on this part of my journey.

American Airlines flies three-class Airbus A321Ts from San Francisco to JFK. The first class cabin features individual lie-flat seats in a 1-1 reverse herringbone configuration. Overall, the seat seemed similar to the USAirways business class seats found on their flights to Europe.



The seat has a ton of space. There was a lot of storage, a cup holder, a charge, and all kinds of outlets. You’d have no problem connecting everything you’d need to connect, should you choose to work during the flight. There were also Bose noise-canceling headphones.


Originally, I was supposed to be flying to New York on a morning flight the following morning. However, American Airlines had redone their schedule after I had booked my flight, and I ended up being rebooked on an 11pm red eye the night before. I wasn’t particularly happy with this change, but unfortunately there were no suitable flights on the Airbus A321T, which I had booked solely because I wanted to try the first class service. As a result, I ended up doing red eye flights on back-to-back nights, which I do not recommend.

At around 4 hours, 45 minutes, the red eye flight from SFO to JFK doesn’t give anyone enough time for a decent night’s sleep, even if you are able to pass out right away. Thanks to the adrenaline of starting a trip, I wasn’t tired, so I opted for the meal service while watching a movie. I watched Inside Out, which was great. I especially liked when it made fun of some of the garbage that people try to pass off as pizza in San Francisco, and Lewis Black was also hilarious as usual.


While I waited for everyone else to board, I checked out the amenity kit. American’s amenity kits feature old airlines that have been absorbed into the airline over the years, and I got PSA (Pacific Southwest Airlines).


Here is the food menu from the flight:


I opted for the hummus, spinach & artichoke dip, a pretzel roll, and a cheese plate.


I finished the movie, then put the bed into the lie-flat position. I tried wearing the noise-canceling headphones, but as a side sleeper, this wasn’t particularly comfortable.


I did doze a bit, but not nearly enough. We were treated to these views of New York City on the way in to JFK.


The service in first class on American was stellar. It was easily the best I’ve ever received on the airline. The problem is the flight is simply too short for any decent sleep. I was glad I got to check the first class seat & service out, but there was a mileage premium, as it was 12.5k extra miles to travel in first class rather than in business class. Had I not tried to combine a meal, movie, and some sleep, perhaps I would have felt that premium was a better value, though considering it was all booked with miles in the first place, I can’t complain about the experience. American’s transcontinental first class is a huge upgrade from their usual domestic first class service.

Read more posts from my trip to Northern Europe:

A trip through Northern Europe & the Baltics – Introduction
American Express Centurion Lounge San Francisco SFO review
American Airlines First Class Airbus A321T San Francisco SFO to New York JFK review
A quick layover in New York City from JFK airport
American Airlines Flagship Lounge New York JFK review
American Airlines Business Class Boeing 767-300 New York JFK to Manchester MAN review
Holiday Inn Express Glasgow City Centre Riverside review
Upperdeck Airport Lounge Glasgow GLA review
Aspire Lounge London Heathrow LHR Terminal 5 review
Hotel Skt. Petri Copenhagen, Denmark review
Copenhagen, Denmark – Museums on a rainy day
Copenhagen, Denmark – Nyhavn, Christiania & more
Craft beer in Copenhagen, Denmark – The Mikkeller bars
Aviator Airport Lounge – Copenhagen CPH review
Norwegian Air Economy Class Boeing 737-800 Copenhagen CPH to Riga RIX review
Radi Un Draugi Hotel Riga, Latvia review
Riga, Latvia – Exploring the Old Town
Riga, Latvia – Museums & a tough 20th century
Riga, Latvia – Street markets & food
Craft beer in Riga, Latvia
Lux Express Riga, Latvia to Tallinn, Estonia review
Hotel Bern Tallinn, Estonia review
Tallinn, Estonia – Exploring the views of the Old Town
Tallinn, Estonia – Exploring Patarei Prison
Craft beer in Tallinn, Estonia
Eckero Finlandia ferry Tallinn, Estonia to Helsinki, Finland review
Holiday Inn Helsinki – West Ruoholahti review
Helsinki, Finland – Exploring the food markets & city centre
Helsinki, Finland – Exploring the Suomenlinna Sea Fortress
Craft beer in Helsinki, Finland
Finnair Lounge Helsinki HEL non-Schengen review
Finnair Business Class Airbus A321 Helsinki HEL to London Heathrow LHR review
American Airlines Flagship Lounge London Heathrow LHR review
American Airlines First Class Boeing 777-200 London Heathrow LHR to Dallas-Fort Worth DFW review
American Express Centurion Lounge Dallas-Fort Worth DFW review
American Airlines First Class Boeing A321S Dallas-Fort Worth DFW to San Francisco SFO review

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