American Airlines Business Class A321

How I Booked American Airlines Business Class and paid Economy

More and more US carriers are now offering lie-flat seats in their premium cabin for transcontinental routes between East and the West coast, particularly for routes between Los Angeles and New York.

American Airlines A321T Business Class (photo: aa.com)

Eventhough it’s only a domestic route but it can be considered as a long-haul flight since in other parts of the world like Asia or Europe a 6-hour flight can easily take you to a whole other country. So I find flying this flight option to be highly attractive.

American Airlines operates the A321T on all thirteen of their LAX-JFK non-stop routes that offers 3 cabin service with 10 First Class Seats (1-1 configuration), 20 Business Class Seats (2-2) and 36 Economy/Main Cabin Seats (3-3) all with individual In-Flight Entertainment system.

The round-trip fares for LAX-JFK in Economy starts from USD 380, Business from USD 1,200 and First from USD 1,500.We were looking to book for a one way flight from LAX to New York JFK this summer and the cheapest one-way non-stop flight I could find on the date we wanted cost $274.

You can usually get a cheaper fare if you don’t mind having a stop-over somewhere in between like in Dallas, Denver, Phoenix or Chicago.

However, the aircraft operated will most likely not a lie-flat seat option. I thought this was not such a bad deal considering other non-stop flights on the same day cost over $300 (although fares can fluctuates overtime).

As you can see from the screenshot above there’s an option for a Systemwide Upgrade, this feature is offered exclusively for Executive Platinum status members who receives 4 one-way complimentary upgrades every calendar year which allows them to upgrade to the next class of service for free.

Here’s the explanation on Systemwide Upgrade from AA website.
Upgrades for AAdvantage Executive Platinum Members:

  • You’ll get 4 complimentary one-way systemwide upgrades when you qualify or re-qualify for AAdvantage® Executive Platinum status. You can earn up to 4 additional systemwide upgrades for a total of 8; 2 for every 50,000 EQMs earned above 100,000.

  • If you’re traveling on most Business and Economy Class fares and an upgrade is available at the time of booking, you or anyone you choose will enjoy a confirmed upgrade to the next class of service.

Out of the 13 flights from LAX that day, I only found that immediate confirmation to upgrade is only available on the earliest flight so I called AA to book these seats and request to confirm our upgrades using the Systemwide Upgrade.

If the upgrade is not available at the time of booking, you can still get waitlisted up until a few hours before the departure – eventhough as Executive Platinum member you will get complimentary auto-upgrade anyway – but unfortunately not for companions, this is why I insisted on using the systemwide upgrade so everyone traveling together can get a confirmed upgrade.

This is one reason why having an elite status with an airline or hotel group can be extremely valuable.

My suggestion is to make sure all your flights and hotel stays are always accounted for into your account membership to further take you to a higher elite status.

You’d be surprised how often people do not check on these to later find out there have been missing miles not credited to their frequent flyer account they’ve passed the claim deadline – so it’s all too late.

If you never bothered to do this, you should probably start caring.. like now.

American Airlines A321T Business Class (photo: aa.com)