Round The World and other travels

A frequent flyer's collection of trip diaries

This is: Round The World 2004

Flight Log 16 : AA28

Honolulu (HNL) - San Francisco (SFO)

Although I have flown AA before, both internationally and within the US, this was to be my first flight with them for very nearly ten years and certainly my first flight in domestic First. I knew, of course, that in the USA, domestic First is more akin to Business Class elsewhere rather than a true international first class product, and set my expectations accordingly. My first impressions, while I was settling into my seat, were not particularly encouraging. A lot of this had to do with the 'hardware' :-

  • The 767 seemed quite old and rather tatty in appearance. When did you last use a plane - especially in a premium cabin - that didn't have individual video screens?
  • Although the seat pitch seemed good (from what I could see ... I was in the first row), there really wasn't much room laterally. The 2+2+2 layout seemed a bit on the tight side. The seats also seemed a bit flimsy compared with QF's, for example.
  • I rather foolishly pressed the seat controls expecting everything to be electrically controlled. Only after quite a bit of messing around did I realise that the four little levers were simply release mechanisms. After pulling the appropriate lever, you then had to adjust your seat manually!

I was in 2J which, despite being 2 was actually the front row and, despite being J rather than K, was in fact the window seat! I decided that AA was going to be confusing   However the excellent news was that 2H was unoccupied, so once again I had plenty of room to spread out a bit - or, at any rate, to store all my in-flight bits and pieces.

We pushed back some five minutes ahead of schedule at 1435 and, after working our way through a bit of a queue for the runway, finally got airborne at 1450.

My initial negative impressions were to change the minute that the service started. First of all, the pre-meal drinks (which, incidentally, were copiously topped up ) were accompanied not by a little plastic bag of nibbles, but by a sizeable and absolutely delicious bowl of warmed mixed nuts. Not only that ... the FA, completely unprompted, replaced my empty bowl with a second one as soon as I had finished it

The meal itself was also of excellent quality, judged as a Business Class product (which is what I think US domestic First really is). There was no printed menu, but the first course consisted of a very substantial green salad with roast beef and orange, enhanced by a choice of dressings, and accompanied by a choice of Hawaiian or wheat roll. There was a choice of beef or chicken for the main course. I had the grilled chicken, which came with a pineapple relish (very appropriate, I thought!), sweet potato and pak choy. The dessert was ice cream sundae, for which a whole host of sauces and toppings were available. I just had the plain ice cream, which was very nice. The service throughout was friendly, informal and generous, in true American style.

Time seemed to pass very quickly after that, possibly assisted by my dozing off   We touched down at SFO at 2127 and, despite having to wait for people to get the ramp organised, were still on-stand at 2131.

Date: Tue 30 Mar 2004
Aircraft : B767-300
Scheduled dep : 1440
Actual departure : 1435
Scheduled arrival : 2140
Actual arrival : 2131
Cabin : First
Seat : 2J

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