Flying Right: The Most Comfortable Transcontinental Flight

Courtesy American Airlines

American Airlines raises the bar with its cross-country A321T flight.

American Airlines debuted its Airbus A321 Transcontinental between New York’s JFK and Los Angeles’s LAX in January 2014, and then expanded to include JFK to San Francisco’s SFO in March 2014. It’s now best in class for a coast-to-coast flight, with amenities usually reserved for long hauls, not to mention that it’s the only transcontinental aircraft that still has three classes. The ten well-lit seats in the five-row first-class cabin are similar to those in the company’s international 777-300 business class. The seats, all with aisle access, have a 62-inch pitch (the space between the seats) and are 21 inches wide. Seats can lie flat to 82.5 inches, which doesn’t allow for under-seat storage, but there’s ample room overhead. A first-class ticket provides access to a premium check-in counter, a security escort, and the AA flagship first-class lounges at JFK and LAX (the company’s other two flagship lounges are in Chicago and London).

The 20 seats in business class have a 58-inch pitch and up to 19.5-inch width. They are arranged in five rows with two seats on each side of the aisle and can also recline up to 78 inches. Request an aisle if you don’t want to step over a sleeping seatmate. In the six rows of main-cabin extra, there are 36 seats total (in a three-by-three configuration), with a 35- to 37-inch pitch, and in the six rows of main-cabin economy, there are also 36 seats, but with a standard pitch of up to 32 inches.

All seats have high-definition screens (they’re 15.4 inches in first and business classes and come with Bose QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones; 8.9 inches in economy, no headphones), with up to 200 movies, 180 TV shows, and more than 350 audio selections. There’s also 4G Gogo WiFi, as well as universal outlets and USB jacks. Roundtrip tickets from $415; 800-433-7300;