American Airlines (AA) is the airline I fly most.  Its AAdvantage frequent flyer program best fits my circumstances, preferences and goals for air travel and frequent flyer rewards.  I’ll admit it though, AA is not one of the best airlines in the world.

While on the whole AA is quite average as long-haul, international airlines go, there are a couple of small things it does really well.  A flight from Milano, Italy to New York illustrates one of the things AA is great at, and that flight also provided some spectacular views of the Alps.

But making the flight was harder than anticipated.  The airport bus from Milano Centrale Station took longer than I thought it would.  There were a couple of additional stops that the bus from the airport did not make.  And traffic near the airport was backed up. 

As I previously posted, taking the bus from the airport offers several advantages over taking a train.  Going to the airport, a train may be the better option because the schedule is more reliable.

The Alps

Views from 30,000 feet can be spectacular.  When booking a flight and selecting seats, think about the sights along the route that are worth seeing and choose a seat on the side of the plane that provides the best chance of seeing them. 

For the flight back to New York, the Alps were the most obvious geographical feature of interest.  Likely flight routes between New York and Milano lie just south of the Alps. You can use Great Circle Mapper to see great circle routes between an origin and destination. 

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Airlines like to follow great circle routes because they are the shortest distance but weather and air traffic requirements can cause deviations.  For the flight to New York, I chose a seat on the plane’s starboard (right) side at booking and hoped for good weather. 

Except for a day trip to Lake Como, my stay in Milano, a wonderful city, looked like this.

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Piazza del Duomo di Milano

For the flight back to New York, I got lucky with the route and the weather.    

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Unlike the rest of the stay, weather for the departure from Milano (MXP) was looking good for possible Alps sightings.

Indeed, the Alps came into view a few minutes after takeoff.  The captain made a PA announcement about it.  My cell phone camera did its best to capture the majesty.

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One mountain stood out.  I think it was the Matterhorn.  I’d never seen it. 

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I believe the mountain with the conical shape in the upper right is the Matterhorn.  Its summit is at an altitude of 4,478 meters.

There is something about the beauty and power of mountains that is  appealing.  Taking the Junfraujoch railway to the Top of Europe in 2017 and in 2018 a trip to Everest Base Camp – Tibet were fantastic experiences.  

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The infamous Eiger Nordwand (North Wall) or Mordwand (Murder Wall) towers 6,000′ above Kleine Scheidegg, Switzerland.  The Jungfrauoch railway actually runs through the mountain.

There are two railway stations inside the Eiger.  Passengers can alight and take in the views from windows cut into the face of the mountain.

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View from a window in the face of the Eiger at one of the stations inside the mountain.
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Everest (North Face) from Everest Base Camp Tibet. At just over 5,000 meters, Everest Base Camp Tibet is more than 500 meters higher than the Matterhorn summit.

One day I’d also like to see the the Matterhorn up close.

Few If Any Airlines Top American Airlines At The Presentation And Variety Of Mid-Flight Snacks 

On aircraft with two business class cabins (777-300s and certain 777-200s and 787-8s) American puts out an impressive spread of mid-flight snacks in the galley between the business class cabins.  Granted, no one chooses to fly an airline solely for the mid-flight snacks.  But the mid-flight snack presentation enhances the  business class experience overall.  Furthermore, since I criticize AA for its deficiencies, I should also acknowledge the things it does well. 
The New York flight was on a 777-200 with 37 Zodiac business class seats in two cabins.   Zodiac seats are more than adequate business class seats.  They recline to a horizontal position for sleeping and all have direct access to the aisle.  
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AA 777-200 Zodiac seat

A few hours into the flight I visited the galley between the business cabins and helped myself to some of the tasty and relatively healthy snacks flight attendants had carefully displayed.

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Offerings included small salads, sandwiches, and deserts, along with more traditional snacks like chips and pretzels.  The displays looked great, and it is easy to find two or three to enjoy at your seat with onboard entertainment options and favorite beverage.  These snacks are in addition to dinner service just after departure, a light meal and an arrival meal.  That is potentially a lot of food for an eight-hour flight.  

In comparison, Delta, which I’d rate as a better airline overall compared to AA,  has a snack presentation that falls far short of the spread on AA.  It is not a big deal, but I’ll give AA credit for effort in this department.

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I suspect that American limits the snack bonanza to planes with two business class cabins due to lack of space in the galley and so passengers in economy or premium economy aren’t tempted to help themselves to the food in business class.  

 

 

 

Second, the snacks the flight attendants put out after the first meal service are better than almost any other airline I’ve flown on.  American does that with