1. Seats that swivel into a workdesk arrangement
Sometimes you just gotta work through a flight and AA understands this. Those big, comfy chairs that transform into lie-flat beds also have the ability to swivel 90-degrees into a position facing the sidetable, allowing you to sit upright and alert in a workdesk arrangement. This also eliminates the temptations of having a entertainment running on the TV. A few hours of focused productivity with a glass of wine easily equals double that time of distracted "work."
2. Onboard wine tasting
A small silver tray arrives at your traytable. On it balances a variety of small wine glasses, complete with a printed guide to each. This the Flagship First Class Wine Flight, a complimentary offering to First Class, and only First Class.
Take each glass at your own pace, or allow a flight steward to pour and explain the subtleties of each while you swirl, sniff and sip. The offerings change, but when we spied the menu it included five wines: pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, shiraz, and proper French champagne.
3. An amenity kit that doubles as an iPad case
Sure, the Dermologica skincare products and other little amenity extras inside are nice, but we're most impressed with the construction and design of the First Class amenity kit. The pattern both inside and out is one officially licensed from Eames, the material is flexible and durable neoprene, and the size means it's made to be reused as an iPad case. There's even some mesh dividers inside, in case you also want to throw in a few other items.
4. Fancy espresso drinks
Ah yes, now this is First Class. Follow dinner with an espresso and request a cappuccino to arrive with your breakfast, and kiss the "brown water" that is typical airline coffee goodbye. Bonus points for AA's use of illy espresso.
5. A private check-in zone that's something of a secret
This perk of First Class is limited to a few airportsNew York-JFK, Los Angeles-LAX, Chicago-ORD and Miami-MIA right nowbut flying out of one of these means you're swaddled in First Class comfort and privacy from the moment you enter the terminals doors.
Flagship check-in is a wholly sectioned-off area dedicated to First Class, where passengers are hidden from the envious gazes of other travelers and their every itinerary detail handled with care. You can understand how this might be especially popular in LA, what with Hollywood next door and paparazzi on premises 24/7/365.
[Photos: Cynthia Drescher/Jaunted]