American Airlines’ most premier domestic route is finally back

May 5, 2020

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American Airlines is bringing its swankiest domestic jet back to the skies.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen airlines make drastic reductions to both domestic and international routes. As the epicenter of the virus, the New York metropolitan area lost many of its flights across all major carriers, including AA’s flagship transcontinental route from JFK to Los Angeles.

American was the most extreme of the U.S. big three, as it grounded its entire fleet of 17 Airbus A321s — dubbed the A321T — dedicated to serving this premium route.

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Well now, beginning on May 7th, the Fort Worth-based carrier is planning to restart its flagship transcontinental service from JFK to Los Angeles (LAX).

The current flight schedule confirmed by an American spokesperson is one daily round-trip starting on Thursday through June 4. Specifically, the May schedule is as follows:

  • LAX — JFK
    • AA 2 8:00 a.m. — 4:25 p.m.
  • JFK — LAX
    • AA 306 5:15 p.m. — 8:40 p.m.

This is great news for those looking for the most exclusive commercial option flying between the coasts. American’s A321Ts sport just 102 seats across three cabins: 10 in first, 20 in business and 72 in coach. AA’s the only carrier to offer a dedicated first-class cabin on the highly competitive route, so if you’re looking to maximize social distancing, Flagship First is your best bet.

Related: Review of AA A321T in business class JFK to SFO

Related: American Airlines joins Delta and United in extending elite status and more

In fact, I recently flew the A321T from LAX to JFK; my review will be published next week. I was quite impressed with the amenities and service, and definitely appreciated the exclusivity of the cabin.

Delta, JetBlue and United also offer lie-flat seats on transcon routes. JetBlue’s Mint has been operating between the coasts since the outset of the pandemic, and Delta’s been flying at least one lie-flat-equipped jet daily on the route.

United, on the other hand, downgraded most of these premium routes to Boeing 737s that just sport recliners.

Though AA is starting once-daily JFK-LAX service on Thursday, it’s taking a measured approach to the resumption of its other flagship transcon route, JFK to San Francisco (SFO). Starting two months later on July 7, American plans to fly thrice-daily between JFK-SFO. (American boosts JFK-LAX to thrice-daily on June 5).

At the moment, there’s a decent amount of saver award and upgrade space for coach and biz. Unfortunately, I haven’t found one date with award space for Flagship First, but there’s some upgrade space.

Related: The ultimate guide to getting upgraded on American Airlines

Note that the Flagship Lounge at LAX and Flagship First Dining facility in JFK and LAX is currently closed and inflight service is modified on these routes.

American Flagship First Dining at LAX (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Nonetheless, if you have to get across the country and you’re looking for the most luxurious way to do so, this route’s for you.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy. 

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