First Class: Good, But Not Great.

Two uneventful flights … the best kind … both landing ahead of schedule. Hawaiian Airlines from Maui to San Francisco; American from there to Chicago.
The Hawaiian plane had the flight information displayed on the screen in the first class section for the entire time and I always find it interesting. In particular, we had a tailwind for the first half of the trip that fluctuated between 61 and 8 miles per hour, and at one point, our ground speed was 600 mph. Whee! Then, a couple of hours before landing in San Francisco, we had a 12 mph headwind. I don’t know why, but that kind of surprised me.


Sunset at 40,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean, courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines.

A few days ago, I posted that for 37,500 Aadvantage miles, American booked me in first class all the way from Maui to Chicago and that seemed like a great deal. And flying in first class with the extra leg room and the wider, more comfortable seats does make a big difference, especially on a five-hour flight. Makes you wonder: Wouldn’t there be room in the panoply of airlines for someone to configure their planes–the entire plane, front to back–with wider, more comfortable seats and extra legroom … then charge 20-30 percent above the normal economy fare? In other words, the whole plane would be “comfort class”, or whatever the airlines are now calling their step-up-from-coach class. I dunno … makes sense to me.
The contrast between the two flights was quite apparent, even allowing for the fact that the Hawaiian Airlines flight left Maui at 3:00 p.m. and the American flight to Chicago was a red-eye, departing San Francisco at midnight. On Hawaiian, I got a glass of champagne before we took off and a reasonably nice dinner en route. On the American flight, I got a small dish of mixed nuts and a glass of ginger ale (I had to ask for a refill). Yes, yes … I know: it was a red-eye. Still … nothing in the way of a simple breakfast? A couple of pastries and coffee prior to our 6:00 a.m. arrival? Really? In first-class??
And my final grumble for the day: checking in at the Maui Airport, I was not required to take my laptop out of my small carry-on suitcase; in San Francisco, I was. So why can’t the TSA be consistent with their security procedures? Or is inconsistency, in fact, a security procedure?