Over the years we have flown American Airlines Economy class several times domestically. However, when we booked our flight from New York to Spain via London it was our first trip on an American Airlines international flight. Are you taking the same route from JFK, or just looking to get an idea of what to expect in American Airlines economy class? We cover it all below!
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Flying From New York to London
After visiting family in New England, we planned to travel to Spain where we would work abroad for the month of November.
After searching for the best flights using Kayak we found that it was cheaper to fly from New York to London than take an onward flight to Malaga. This was the alternative to flying direct to Madrid and then taking a bus or connecting flight to the south of Spain.
Booking Our American Airlines International Flight
We paid $233 USD each for a one-way ticket from New York City to Malaga, Spain. When it comes to flights and international travel that’s a great deal! We’ve paid less to go to Europe on extremely budget airlines before, but not by much.
One thing to note is that we actually booked our flight through British Airways. It wasn’t until we checked in for our flight that we realized that we would be flying with their one-world partner American Airlines. Our connecting flight from London to Malaga was in fact with British Airways.
Booked: 10 Days Before Departure
Traveled: Late October 2021
Class: American Airlines Economy Class
Route: JFK to Malaga via London Heathrow
Flight Time: 7:05am
Cost: $233.90 Per Person
American Airlines International Flight Check-In
In the world of Covid-19 travel, the best advice we can give anyone is to triple-check what you need. This includes vaccine cards, covid tests, electronic forms, and so on.
At the time of our American Airlines JFK flight, we only needed to provide proof of vaccination to enter Spain. There was an electronic passenger locator form that we filled out as well. We even had to complete a separate form for the UK to pass through on our layover!
Checking into our American Airlines international flight took slightly longer than normal because we needed to fill out the right forms and upload all our documents to their website. In total, we completed everything for the two of us in about an hour. This may seem like a pain, but it makes things much smoother once you’re actually at the airport.
Getting to American Airlines at JFK Airport
As we mentioned, we had just spent two weeks visiting family in Massachusetts where we did some hiking, ate lots of fall foods, and of course enjoyed the fall foliage. In the past, we have called in many favors asking family to drive us the 3 hours to JFK. Yet, because we had a later flight out of the city we decided to take Amtrak’s direct train route from nearby Hudson, New York.
The train ride went smoothly and once we arrived at Penn Station it was time to make our way to American Airlines JFK. We really only gave ourselves about an hour of travel time between the two train stations and it was more than enough. You can also take the JFK airport shuttle, a taxi, or Uber instead of the train.
Train From Penn Station to JFK
As the most inexpensive option, you can take the green LIRR from PENN to Jamaica station. When you reach Jamaica you will need a second ticket to transfer to the JFK Air Tram.
Cost: $7.75 off-peak time / $10.75 peak LIRR fare + $7.75 AirTrain fare
American Airlines JFK Check-In
We arrived at the airport early because we have been shocked lately with how long it takes to check-in. Keep in mind the agents need to confirm all the travel documents. After our passports, covid cards, and passenger locator forms were confirmed (twice) we got our tickets and were ready to board.
The only thing that was slightly annoying about the check-in process for our American Airlines international flight is that we were not seated together. We were then told we had to pay $50 if we wanted to change seats.
While we know this is common for domestic flights, I don’t think we’ve ever been charged at the gate to change seats on an international flight. We decided not to pay because from the look at the check-in desk we could tell the American Airlines economy class was not full.
Travel Tip: Send all the electronic forms you need for everyone in your party to yourself in one email. That way you’ll be able to quickly pull up the documents and show them on time.
Waiting to Board Our American Airlines International Flight
We’ve talked about Priority Pass before, and since we started traveling full time we’ve been obsessed with it. If you’ve never heard of Priority Pass it gets you access to select airline clubs at almost all international airports. We get it through our credit card, but you can also buy the pass directly on their website.
In terminal 8 for American Airlines JFK there is a slightly different Priority Pass. You actually get $26 per person towards Bobby Van’s steak house! We happily enjoyed waiting for our flight with a beer and a burger since there was no club in this terminal.
Boarding American Airlines Economy Class
Boarding was fast and without any issues. When we got onto the plane the flight attendant actually stopped us and said that he was changing our seats. For a brief second, we thought there was a miracle taking place and we were getting upgraded.
Quickly, our minds flashed to champagne and luxury inflight dining… In reality though the computer accidentally sat us in reserved seats so they moved us up in the plane to a free row. It wasn’t first or business class, but going from sitting apart to having a full row to ourselves felt like a win!
Comforts of our American Airlines International Flight
Even after taking hundreds of flights traveling we still love waiting to see what freebies are given. Blankets and pillows were waiting on our seats and the flight attendant came around with headphones. This is basically the minimum we expect on an international flight these days.
Also, we always travel with our own bag of flight essentials. We were already covered for an eye mask, earplugs, disinfectant wipes, and more.
Dinner Service in American Airlines Economy Class
Let’s get to the part that you may be are reading this article for! Some airplane food is not great but the idea of getting a meal included in your travel is always exciting. It’s the ultimate dinner and a movie experience with no distractions!
Also, the fact that you never know exactly what you’re going to get is always fun. When we see the cart coming down the aisle we always try to guess what’s on the menu.
Dinner Guess: Beef Stew with Flat Noodles, Chocolate Moose, Side Salad, and a Dinner Roll.
The Real Options:
- Chicken & Rice with a Side Salad, Dinner Roll, Chocolate Bar, and Crackers and Cheese
- Vegetarian Pasta with a Side Salad, Dinner Roll, Chocolate Bar, and Crackers and Cheese
The lights stayed dim through dinner which we actually liked. Then we were given a choice of beer or wine with our meal. After flying plenty of domestic American Airlines economy flights we were pleasantly surprised by the food.
Before landing the next morning flight attendants passed out a small bag of breakfast treats including a fig bar, mixed cashew bag, and yogurt. I completely slept through it but thankfully Jake grabbed me one to wake up to.
Overall, we were happy with the American Airlines economy class flight service and have paid more for other airlines that didn’t serve anything.
American Airlines Economy Class Experience: New York to London
Honestly, our American Airlines international flight went as well as we could have hoped. We left and landed on time which can always be added stress when you have a connecting flight. We watched a movie, ate dinner, and then slept for a lot of the rest of the time.
Maybe it was the fact the flight was more empty than usual, but it seemed extremely nice and clean. As a bonus, the flight attendants were also really accomodating! Yes, we know it’s their job but great customer service makes a big difference and is quite noticeable on long flights.
To sum it all up, we would definitely use American Airlines again for their New York to London route!
Have any questions about our American Airlines international flight from New York to London? How about your own experiences flying American Airlines or taking a similar flight to Europe? Let us know in the comments below!
Brigitte & Jake
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