FlyerTalk Forums - View Single Post - AA International First: What's up (why are some complaining?)
Old Dec 22, 19, 9:16 am
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arizona, USA
Posts: 2,277
I just got back from taking AA First from Dallas to São Paulo. The airplane was spotless, the seat was more than comfortable, and I do like the "Casper" bedding and pajamas. The food was very good, especially the risotto out of São Paulo.

The crews were exceptional (the purser was the same on both flights.) They were professional, caring, and engaging. There was no question that they were happy to work together, and that they enjoyed their work. They were well-dressed, well-groomed. The lavatory was kept clean.

Turndown service was provided without having to request it.

Ground service was quite good. Flagship was a delight in Dallas, and I used the Five Star service in São Paulo.

Last year, I flew Los Angeles-London and London-Dallas in Flagship First. I found that the crews were a little more "dialing it in" but by no means dismissive or unpleasant. They just seemed tired.

I have not flown the Asian carriers in first class, so I cannot comment there. I can say that American is light years better than what was Global First on United. They served cat food and seemed to be mostly bitter about it. Lufthansa First is still a step up due to the ground service in Frankfurt and the caviar, and Air France has the advantage of especially good crews.

I do think that American could use a stepped-up cocktail/drink service in First. Their liquor offerings are sad. Even if they had "mocktails," it would still be better. Cocktails add a little "pizazz."

I also think that First Class should board in its own separate way. United and Air France did this individually (a "host" would walk you onboard), Lufthansa escorted everyone in First from the Lounge. I certainly received this with Five Star, but I think it should be a standard procedure for everyone in the cabin.

American's crew on this trip were multinational, multilingual, and had the perfect mix of informality and professionalism.

I have this image in my head of the frumpy American Airlines crews. I remember seeing them in São Paulo and Auckland, and Sydney (in the 1990s), thinking "These people do not represent the USA very well." They were unkempt, smoking, and I think they were drunk in Sydney. There is this stereotype of the AA flight attendant who is 900-years-old and hates life. I have no doubt that there are still some of those out there, but I was more than impressed by American this month.

I read the article about the Hong Kong flight, and it does sound terrible. But it was very much in contrast to my own experience.
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