This review covers our flight and lounge experience while traveling from LAX-JFK on American Airlines' transcon business class product. This is a special premium 3-cabin product that American only flies domestically between SFO-JFK and LAX-JFK, and occasionally MIA.
The Lounge: AA LAX Flagship Lounge
Because we were flying business class on an international OneWorld ticket and have Priority Pass lounge access via our Chase Sapphire Reserve cards, we had access to all of the best LAX lounges. These include the KAL lounge (via Priority Pass), the OneWorld Lounge (due to our Qatar ticket), and the AA flagship lounge (since we were flying on an international business class itinerary ticketed through AA). Among all these options, we strongly preferred the AA lounge, which will be the focus of this review.
Note: it is a premium lounge, so only those flying on an AA international business class ticket or transcon business class ticket are eligible to access the lounge.
This lounge is one of AA's newest and airiest premier lounges across the network, so we were excited to spend a few hours there waiting for our flight to JFK. Throughout our time there, the lounge was only ever 1/3 occupied or so, leaving lots of room to stretch out and relax.
The lounge had an excellent assortment of buffet items, from cheeses and charcuterie to pastries and hot foods. What made the lounge stand out though was that they also had ample packaged foods to take on the go, and stations for chef-prepared foods like a custom hash-brown making station.
The lounge has excellent private bathrooms and showers, and there was almost no wait to use the showers.
We also briefly checked out the LAX OneWorld lounge while we were waiting. This lounge was beautiful and up-to-date, with an excellent assortment of drinks and plenty of private space, and buffet-style dining. The food was a bit below the expectation set by the AA lounge.
After a few hours in these LAX lounges, it was time to board our flight.
This flight features 2x2 business class on the Airbus A321T configuration. These seats are a bit less private than the AA transcon first class, which all have aisle access. But we actually found these seats superior for when you're traveling with a companion. They are highly comfortable and offer excellent padding on the seat, and they lack the big puffy airbag-equipped seatbelts found in first class.
This flight offers relatively standard business class options including a short rib, stuffed chicken, grilled shrimp, and mushroom risotto. All courses are served on one tray about 45 minutes into the flight.
We preselected the beef and chicken options using AA's website--thankfully, since AA appeared to run out of some of the options for those who didn't preselect. The chicken dish was fairly good for domestic flight option. The shortrib was nearly inedible, as it was way too fatty and overly bland.
For dessert we ordered the classic AA sundae, which was good but a bit too frozen - we had to wait a while for the ice cream to melt down a bit so that it could actually be eaten.
The menu also offers an extensive selection of beverages and wines to choose from. AA recently downgraded their sparkling champagne option from champagne to prosecco.
Service: the flight attendant dutifully served our meal, served a warm cookie toward the end of the flight, and kept our drinks full. She was quite friendly but stayed out of the way beyond the basics.
Overall, the lounge and in-flight experience were excellent. I consider this to be the best premium transcon business product operated by the legacy US carriers. See our other review for our write-up of the same flight's first class experience.