I flew American Airlines on their relaunched JFK-GRU direct flight earlier this summer. Travel has quickly picked back up but travel is rapidly changing so reviews of flights aren’t the most useful. Since it’s been a few weeks, rather than a review, I’m listing out some quick highlights from the flight on the Boeing 777-300.
U.S. carriers notoriously have inconsistent crews in comparison with other global carriers. However, despite ongoing Covid cutbacks, the crew on my flight executed a flawless service that would not have been out of place with the five-star carriers of the world, let alone a U.S. carrier.
The friendly service started during boarding when Kahn energetically greeted passengers at the door setting a great tone for the rest of the flight.
While pre-departure beverages were unfortunately not offered, Summie came through the cabin to take food orders. A west coast-based flight attendant it turns out that both she and Kahn had just returned to American after a year on furlough.
I had ordered an Asian Vegetarian meal for the flight but Summie asked if I’d like something off the menu instead. Turns out the special meal was lacking in imagination: it was a mushy, unappetizing-looking curry.
I opted for the salmon from the standard menu. After serving my meal, Summie came by showing me my original Asian Vegetarian meal and asked if I wanted anything from that tray. I added the fruit salad.
The entire crew continued the proactive service with regular drink refills and checking in on customers as most of us drifted off to sleep.
American is serving the Lanson Black Label Brut in long-haul business now. Lanson is an excellent champagne. Many in the cabin were drinking hours into the flight which was blocked for 9 hours and 30 minutes.
While American will never compare to the likes of their Oneworld alliance partners Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines, or Cathay Pacific in terms of consistently providing refined, proactive service. But a friendly informal but professional service beats formality any day in my book. This crew definitely seemed excited to be back at work and were fun to fly with.
Combine that with a solid hard product, good drink selection, tasty food, and a flight-time optimized to get some sleep and this was a delight.
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