Introduction: A Hop to the Maldives
Review: Park Hyatt New York
Review: Emirates Lounge JFK
Review: Emirates First Class A380 JFK-DXB
Review: Park Hyatt Dubai
Review: Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Review: Emirates First Class 777 DXB-MLE
Getting to the Park Hyatt Hadahaa
Review: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
Review: Etihad Business A330 MLE-AUH
Review: Etihad First Class Lounge
Review: Etihad First Class A380 AUH-JFK
Review: American Business A321T JFK-LAX
No aspect of our hop to the Maldives was booked just because. We intentionally planned a trip to the other side of the globe, to the most beautiful spot on earth, to maximize points for a trip of a lifetime. We intentionally planned a trifecta of Park Hyatt stays to put the brand to a test. We booked our flights through Dubai in order to fly First Class on Emirates. We booked our flights back through Abu Dhabi in order to fly First Class on Etihad.
And even this final leg, from New York’s JFK airport back to the West Coast, was an intentional routing to test out one final special airplane. The quickest routing would have been to fly JFK through Dallas or Phoenix and on home to San Diego. But that seemed boring. After 14 hours in an Etihad apartment, who needs a standard first class recliner seat on American Airlines?
Instead, we routed from JFK to LAX so we could end this trip sampling American’s special Transcontinental A321s.
American flies these planes between New York and Los Angeles/San Francisco. They are premium-heavy in seat layout, with First Class, Business Class and Economy cabins. First and Business Class both feature lie flat beds. I’d never had a flat bed on a domestic flight before, so I knew this was something we had to check out.
We stumbled to our gate shortly before boarding, already 32+ hours into our 44 hour door to door journey home from the Maldives. We were absolutely exhausted, but adrenaline, and a burning desire to get home, kept us moving.
We boarded on time and quickly headed to our seats.
I enjoyed a peak at First Class on the way back to Business. First Class on these planes is one seat per side of the plane, so super private for a domestic flight.
The next cabin back was our own, with flat bed seats in a 2-2 layout.
Waiting for us at our seats were large pillows, comfortable blankets, a small amenity kit and menus. I took a minute to check out the entertainment system.
American has a fantastic in-seat video setup on its newest planes, with a large screen, intuitive interface, and large selection. Unfortunately, after installing these at every seat on many of its newest planes, American decided to stop adding the system to new planes and will not install in-seat entertainment on demestic planes any longer. I much prefer an in-seat television to using my computer or iPad. Too bad.
We would not let the final opportunity for pre-flight champagne to pass us by unserved. Gone were the days of fine china and glassware, but bubble is bubbly!
With that, boarding completed quickly and we were on our way. Take off was smooth and we were high up in the air in no time.
Almost immediately, lights in the cabin were dimmed, and the flight attendants began their meal service. My body had no idea what time it was, but my watch said it was lunch time, so the quick service made sense. I was served water, some red wine and warmed nuts, which I always love.
And that’s it.
That’s all I remember.
Five hours later, I woke up as we started our descent into Los Angeles. And I felt SO rested. I had slept through the entire flight, longer and more soundly than in my apartment on Etihad or my suite on Emirates. Exhaustion is a powerful sleep aid.
Unfortunately, it meant that I missed out on key pieces of the flight for this review, but the most important take-away is this: the lie-flat beds on American’s transcontinental A321s are comfortable as heck. I can’t think of a much better way to fly across the country.
We hit some minor turbulence as we approached LAX, and before we knew it we were on the ground. Two hours later, after an easy enough drive, we were finally back home, 44 hours door-to-door from Hadahaa to San Diego. Rough, I know.
But we did it!
American offers fantastic transcontinental service aboard its A321 aircraft. The lie-flat beds are comfortable, and this is a perfect way to get from coast to coast. Unfortunately, this special plane is limited to Los Angeles and San Francisco, but I would consider taking a less direct routing through LAX in order to get myself back on this plane the next time I head Back East.