Our flight from Chicago (ORD) to New York (JFK) was delayed on the tarmac, which made me nervous about making our connection to the “important” flight, the transatlantic on American’s semi-new 777-300ER. The estimated delay went from 45 minutes to 5 hours back to 35 minutes, for an eventual departure between 1 and 2 hours late.
The first class cabin in the Boeing 737-800 was about what you’d expect on a long-ish regional domestic flight. The seats up front were in a 2-2 configuration as opposed to the 3-3 in economy. The seats were comfortable and the seats we selected, 6E and 6F, in the last row of the cabin afforded us a semi-private feeling.
Besides more legroom and more comfortable seats, the first class seating on our American Airlines 737-800 offered the unanticipated benefit of some extra in-flight shelf space. In addition to the normal fold out tray table, our drinks and small electronic devices were welcomed by several mini trays. These were surprisingly useful and convenient; your personal space bubble isn’t invaded by a big slab tray when all you want to do is set your drink down. They were also, as Nicoleen pointed out, very cute. (As cute as a piece of aircraft seat hardware can be I suppose.)
Shortly after take-off we were offered hot nuts. I had read about this American Airlines specialty and was always confused why people even bother mentioning this little snack. Well, now I know why! The heated mixed nuts are surprisingly more yummy than room temperature mixed nuts. Besides the increased yumminess, being served something warmed up that’s normally just thrown into a ramekin makes you feel pampered 🙂 (It’s the little extras, ya know? Like crushed ice in urinals…sorry you miss out on that little joy of life, ladies.)
The meal choices were hot pasta or a cold chicken salad. I had pre-ordered the chicken online, and Nicoleen opted for the pasta. If I were a more experienced traveler, I would have remembered the general rule of thumb for cheap food: Never order the meat when there’s another option available. The salad was pretty good, but the cold lemon chicken was, well . . . nasty. I suppose it didn’t help that I was still stuffed from the lunch I had in the Flagship Lounge at ORD. Nicoleen enjoyed the pasta.
While I would never pay the extra miles or cash for a first class seat on this short a flight, as part of a longer itinerary it was sure nice to have the upgraded seats and service. The little perks like early boarding and disembarking, complimentary in-flight drinks, a more private in-flight bathroom, and of course the hot nuts made our otherwise grueling itinerary (24 hours of travel including 3 layovers) much more tolerable; even enjoyable.