My First Time in American Airlines Domestic First Class Between Atlanta and Miami — and The Verdict Is…

Although American Airlines was the first airline on which I have ever traveled — and even though I have been in the premium class cabins on numerous other airlines — I have never had the opportunity to experience its domestic business class cabin until recently when I traveled the short flights between Atlanta and Miami.

My First Time in American Airlines Domestic First Class Between Atlanta and Miami — and The Verdict Is…

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

I arrived at my seat aboard the Boeing 737-800 aircraft for my flight from Atlanta to Miami to find a blanket sealed in plastic wrap. The seat itself had an adjustable headrest. I received a beverage prior to departure.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The back of the seat in front of me had a place to store literature, as well as an adjustable net below it.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The seat had an interesting feature: an adjustable outer armrest which raises and lowers — presumably for easier access into and out of the seat when lowered; and for a comfortable area to rest an elbow when raised. This armrest is lowered; while the others in the background were raised.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The lever to raise and lower the adjustable outer armrest is located adjacent to the aisle below the armrest.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Ample space was available for belongings in the overhead storage bins.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The overhead control panel is equipped with air vents which can be twisted open, reading lights, and that good old controversial flight attendant call button.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The other armrest lifts up to reveal a convenient storage bin in which I placed the blanket wrapped in plastic. Also found in this bin towards the rear is a USB port and an electric power outlet.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Also interesting is the tray table, which pops up from the center console. When the tray table is opened halfway, a small lid is revealed…

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…and when that small lid is flipped up, a rubberized surface is revealed — presumably to keep objects such as glasses filled with liquid from sliding around easily.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

I placed my cellular telephone — which was plugged into the aforementioned USB port — on the rubberized surface to prop up the snacks which I had chosen from the snack basket, which was passed around to all passengers who were seated in the first class cabin. I also had my glass of orange juice with no ice.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

One item was the equivalent of the stroopwafel which is served to passengers aboard airplanes operated by United Airlines…

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…although the ingredients of this particular snack seems to imply that this particular “reinvented Dutch stroopwafel” is better than its competition.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photographs ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The other two snacks I chose were a mixed berry granola bar — which was chewy and fairly good — and grain-free “no-grain-ola”, which I did not particularly like. The snack basket seemed to have an abundance of sweet grain and granola products. I would have liked to have seen a fruit option, a more savory option, and a chocolate option.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

When the tray table was fully opened, it was tilted crooked to the left. Fortunately, I did not need it to be completely opened at any time during the flight — other than to take this photograph, of course.

Return Flight From Miami to Atlanta

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The seats were different and more basic aboard this Boeing 737 aircraft,

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

Unlike the overhead storage bins aboard the airplane on the outbound flight, these overhead bins had significantly less storage space.

American Airlines domestic first class

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

I liked the selection of snacks better aboard this flight. I chose chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip brownie brittle, which is supposed to emulate the crispy parts of an actual brownie.

Summary

Service was good — but not what I would consider extraordinary — aboard both airplanes for both the outbound and return flights. One of the flights was delayed.

Other than the aforementioned interesting features, the experience is generally the same as what other domestic airlines offer in their first class cabins for short flights.

The premium class experience for short flights — say, two hours or fewer — is better to which to upgrade than to pay outright with cash or frequent flier loyalty program miles, in my opinion; but the experience may not even be worth the upgrade instruments which elite members of the American Airlines AAdvantage frequent flier loyalty program earn.

Better to save those upgrade instruments to use for longer flights, in my opinion…

All photographs ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

6 thoughts on “My First Time in American Airlines Domestic First Class Between Atlanta and Miami — and The Verdict Is…”

  1. Jose velez says:

    I am AA platinum for life with over 4m. American upgrades on long flights is almost impossible. I have 2 system wide upgrades that will expire next January and I do not find a single trip that I can use it. They changed the rules that I could buy coach and upgrade it with miles. Now they what miles and money for each leg. The amount of miles and money is not worth it. I just now fly free in coach and spend the money on the trip

  2. EJ says:

    This looks about on par with my experiences with AA on short haul routes. I typically think their service in first class is sufficient overall.. Sometimes it exceeds expectations, though. How would you compare it to UA or DL in your experience if you have flown domestic first class with them?

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      What I wrote in the article that were interesting parts of the experience with the domestic first class experience of fewer than two hours with American Airlines were basically the only differentiators from a similar experience with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, EJ; and those were so minor that I would purchase tickets based on convenience, price and on-time record rather than features.

      All three experiences were on par with each other: wider seat, snack basket, pre-departure beverage, and other components were all basically similar.

  3. Ajay kumar says:

    Great information in this article. I learned many important points here. Thanks

  4. Ryan says:

    Yes great information. Running out of thing to write about … appreciate knowing where the air vents were. Will be useful on my next flight.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I could write an article about people who post useless sarcastic comments, Ryan; but some readers actually do appreciate seeing photographs of what an experience is like, so I would rather write articles such as this one.

      Thank you for your input. It was — shall I say — a breath of fresh air…

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