Review of American Airline Domestic First Class

We flew first class on American Airlines on a flight from Austin to Orlando (about 2.5 hours) and here’s the full review of what went well, what could be improved, and if it was really worth it for a short flight.

  • Cost: $150 additional to upgrade (original ticket cost was $398)
  • Upgraded about a week before taking off
  • Tip: Make sure to have an American Airlines account set up
  • Off to a bad start in the airport –
    • Online it is hard to find the right info on what first-class flight also gives you Admirals Lounge access
    • Domestic flights ONLY qualify when they are cross-country
    • My 2-hour flight from Austin to Orlando did not count so I could not go into the lounge – NOT a first-class experience 🙁
    • It was $80 to pay to get into the lounge
  • Boarding
    • Fast and easy
    • She called group 1 then very quickly called group 2, 3 after so it was a little weird, but I was there right away so it didn’t impact me
  • Seating
    • I was seated in the first row, aisle seat, front row doesn’t have any space below the seat in front of your to store personal items, annoying to have to put it all above you
    • Seats are larger, super comfy!
    • Large middle section can fit a few glasses so you don’t bump elbows
    • No personal TV
    • Sat next to a cute younger man
    • Tray table that folds out from your right hand side
  • Dining
    • PRE-MEAL
      • Brought out hot towels to wipe your hands an area
    • DRINKS
      • Drinks didn’t start until 30 mins in due to turbulence and a flight attendant that didn’t realize it was safe – they were serving coach before us. Wish they would have given it during boarding
      • Mimosa in glass cup
      • Good proportion of OJ
      • She gave the guy next to me 2 vodka mini bottles, but only gave me 1 mimosa and never came back for a secon drink options
      • Later came by to offer water or juice
    • FOOD
      • Choice of a vegetarian fruit and yogurt plate or breakfast enchiladas – I got the latter by default but would have chose it anyway
      • Came with egg/salsa enchiladas, 1 sausage link, fresh fruit, 2 mini scones with butter

  • Would I upgrade again?
    • Depending on price – if it’s under $100 I might do it
    • This was an easy yes b/c my company paid the original ticket cost because it was a work trip, I only paid the upgrade fee of $150
    • But because Admirals Lounge is not included if makes it a lot harder of a sell

American Airlines First Class Review – Episode Transcript


Hey Squaddies, Travel Squad Podcast is back with Just the Tip.

A new Friday mini episode series where we give you quick travel stories, hacks and recommendations to set you off into the weekend right.


Today you just have me Kim for solo episode to share my very first first class experience.

So I’m going to take you with me along this journey so that you can feel like you were there too.

And I’m going to give you what I liked about it and what I did not like about it.


So this trip was from Austin, TX to Orlando, FL in February 2024.

It wasn’t a long trip, it was only about 2 1/2 hours and I was actually taking this trip for a work trip.

So my company paid for the booking of the original cost of the ticket, which was around $400.00.


And then I started to get notifications of opportunities to upgrade.

And when I looked into it, it was $150.00 to upgrade for this one route there.

And I thought, you know what, 150 is not that bad and I didn’t pay for the original cost of the ticket.


So I’m going to go ahead and do that.

I know it’s a short flight, it’s domestic, It’s not like a live flat C international.

But hey, I’ve always wanted to do this and I believe that when you start doing something that you want to do, more of that will come into your life.

So I’m like, hey, if I start flying first class, I’m going to start being there a whole hell of a lot more.


So let’s do this.

So about a week before the trip, I click the button paid to upgrade and did that.

One tip I want to do say is make sure that you are a airline member of whichever airline you’re flying with.


So if you’re an American Airlines flight, make sure that you have an account set up and you have your number ’cause that’s going to give you more of those opportunities for upgrades.

And so I did.

I had that set up.

I got everything.

Now I’m ready for the trip.

So the day of the trip starts, and I’ve been doing some research into when you fly with American Airlines, do you get access to the American Airlines admirable lounges in the airports before your flight?


And I was doing some research and I thought that you could.

And on international trips, yes you can, On some domestic trips you can.

But I didn’t have all the information straight, I guess, because here’s where I kind of messed up.

I got to the airport a little bit early ’cause I wanted to see the lounge, but when I went to the lounge I was turned away like a peasant on the streets.


I was like, how is this a first class experience when I’m being turned away from the lounge?

I was like, it’s kind of low key, embarrassed, but it was OK because you know, everything works out so it’s just fine.

But I was really disappointed in that they said that domestic flights only count for lounge access when they are cross country trips.


So think LA to New York.

My 2 hour flight from Austin to Orlando didn’t count so they turned me away like a little peasant, not before offering.

I could come in for an $80.00 fee after already paying to upgrade to 1st class, so I considered it.


But I had done reviews on the Admiral Lounge in Austin ahead of time to see what I’m getting into as I always do, and it didn’t actually have the best reviews.

It said it was old and run down.

It was way overdue for remodeling and renovations and for that reason I decided not to.


But as a first class flyer, I was not really in the headspace to enjoy this trip after being turned away from the lounge.

I feel like American Airlines if you’re listening you need to cut that shit out.

And if someone’s flying first class, regardless of how long the trip is, give them access to your rundown lounges.



Moving on to boarding.

Boarding was great, fast and easy.

Now I’m feeling like a first class flyer.

So I get in line, get in, but I don’t know what was up with this Austin flight.

They call Group One.

I would say within like 30 seconds.


Later she calls group 234 and I’m like, OK, so everybody starts running to the line.

I was already there, so didn’t impact me.

But had I not been there right away as a first classifier, I would have been like, OK, well, not really enjoying that benefit the most.

And then they’d be two for two.


But I was there, I got on, I was seat AC.

So I was right in the aisle.

In the very first row.

There was cute guys sitting next to me, so instantly I forgot about the lounge.

The front row I don’t particularly love because there’s no seat in front of you to put things under.


So my personal bag, which I like to have with an arm’s length, distance so I can pull out my laptop, my pillow, blah, blah, blah, had to be stored in the overhead compartment.

But whatever.

I did that.

Oh my God, the seats are so comfortable in first class.

They’re big.


They’re roomy, they’re squishy, They’re leather.

It was good.

There’s also a section in the middle of the two seats that’s like a center console table stand area where you can put your drinks or anything else, and that was great.


The guy next to me was definitely taking advantage of the free cocktails and he had a couple of them stacked right there.

There’s no personal TV in this area.

I don’t know if it was just the American Airlines flights.

I wasn’t concerned with watching TV anyway.

I was using my laptop so it wasn’t a big deal for me but just know that for these flights and I do like the table section so if there’s no seat in front of you to pull it down from it comes up from your side compartment and then you fold it out over top of your lap moving on to the drink experience, the whole dining pre meal drink food experience here.


This is what first class is made of baby.

So before anything comes out, the flight attendant comes around with a tray full of hot rolled towels so you can clean your hands and your little area before you have your classy meal.


Now, mine is in early morning flight.

I think my flight left around 7:00 or 8:00 in the morning, so we’re going to be having breakfast before breakfast comes out.

Of course we want drinks.

So this is where American Airlines kind of gets another strike from me because the pilot came on to say there was going to be turbulence and that for that reason the flight attendants needed to sit down.


And so typically in a first class flight I would expect a mimosa to be in my hand before we even take off in a glass cup.

Also that did not happen.

It wasn’t about until 30 minutes into the flight that they started serving and I noticed in coach they started serving and then someone came over to our flight attendant who is still sitting to let her know that it was OK to start serving.


So she was a little behind and I noticed anyway, very shortly after that I had a mimosa in a glass cup in my hand.

It was very good proportions, not too much OJ, so I appreciated that guy next to me had like 2 vodka mini bottles.


The only thing I didn’t love and I definitely could have asked, but she never came around to ask if I want a second drink.

And I know it’s a short flight, but I mean I came to party.

I know it was a work trip, but I wish she would have given me a second mimosa.


She did come around later to offer water or juice, but by that time I had so much stuff on my area I didn’t need it because shortly after the mimosa the food came out.

We had a choice of a vegetarian fruit and yogurt plate or breakfast enchiladas, and there weren’t as many fruit and yogurt plates.


So I opted for the enchiladas to save the vegetarian people to give them if there was any who wanted that.

I actually thought it was really, really good.

I never had breakfast enchiladas, but it was like eggs and salsa and there was a sausage link, fresh fruit, too many scones with butter.


It was way more food than I can even eat.

I didn’t actually realize I was going to get a meal.

It was a 2 hour flight.

I didn’t think they’d be serving a meal, so I wasn’t really that hungry, but it was really, really good.

I enjoyed it.

Got a little work done in my precious little space there, had a comfortable seat, felt like an All Star going into this trip, and I had a good time.


Now the question you’re all asking yourselves.

Would you upgrade again and for this specific flight, Austin to Orlando, 2 1/2 hours if I had to pay for it myself?

No, 100% would not do it.

Depending on the price for other trips, like if it’s a short domestic trip, even knowing they’re ridiculous lounge rules.


If it’s under 100, I probably would do it.

If it’s under 200, it depends.

If it was a work trip and I just had to pay the upgrade fee, I probably would do it, but I’m still not.

I’m not happy with the Admiral Lounge.

If lounge access was included with any first class flight regardless of destination, I would upgrade majority of the time because between the lounge experience, the boarding and the on flight experience all together would make the price worth it.


The upgrade alone without the lounge is a much harder sell so American Airlines if you have any questions feel free to reach out and I’ll give you my opinion on how you can better your offering there.

And with that squatty’s you’ll have to tune into the next one because you know we will continue to be flying first class over here.


Thanks so much for tuning into just the tip.

Make sure to subscribe, leave a review and follow us on all the socials at Travel Squad Podcast and have fun traveling this weekend.Close

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