Not Too Shabby Red-Eye: Review of American Airlines SFO-ORD First Class

After earning top tier American Airlines Elite status last year as part of my “Manufacturing Top Tier American Airlines Status“, I decided to fly American Airlines for the first time in maybe 6 plus years. While I earned top tier status last year, I only flew a couple of times with Alaska Airlines. Here’s how this 4 hour plus Red Eye flight went.

Table of Contents


SFO’s terminal one renovations are looking spiffy

I booked an economy ticketed from SFO-ORD (San Francisco to Chicago O’Hare) for $167. I selected the red eye flight due to both low price and timing, allowing me to make the most of my trip! I paid using the American Express Platinum Card which earns 5x on flights purchased directly from an airline.

During the booking process, I made the mistake of forgetting to add my known travel number. As a result, I had to chat with the airline after check in to ensure I received TSA pre on my boarding pass.

As an American Airlines Executive Platinum members, my upgrade window started at 100 hours pre departure. The flight had a whopping 10 first class seats out of 16 open the day before the window began. At exactly the 100 hour mark, my upgrade was promptly confirmed via email and I was able to switch my seat to row 1. I like being in row 1 for no real reason.

Pre Departure

My flight was scheduled to depart at 11:59pm on a Wednesday night. I arrived at the airport around 10:30, checked in my bag and miraculously sped through security. American Airlines is located in Terminal 1 of SFO and it was awfully quiet this evening. It has been some time since I’ve flown from terminal one as I tend to fly United, Alaska, and occasionally Delta. The terminal was vibrant and newly renovated.

Time was a little short and so I opted to relax for a short bit instead of making the long walk to a priority pass lounge. Terminal 1 is connected to the International Terminal allowing you to access Priority Pass Lounges such as the China Airlines Lounge.

Boarding, The Seat, The Plane

I wouldn’t say I’m an Avgeek, but I do enjoy flying on different planes, configurations etc. This evening, I was on a standard American Airlines Boeing 737-800. This plane has 16 first class reclines, 30 Main cabin extra seats, and 126 standard economy seats.

The first class seat was spacious and the plane was clean. Upon boarding, the staff came to offer a pre-departure beverage. While some American Airline flyers have had complaints, I found the flight attendants to be wonderful! I had a sparkling water and quickly hit the hay. A quick 4 hours plus later, we landed in Chicago.

Over All Thoughts

Being able to earn top tier American Airlines status with credit card spend is a huge bonus. The complimentary upgrade as a top tier elite definitely adds plenty of value and I can see myself flying with American in the near future. In addition, the service was solid and the staff seemed friendly. I really had no complaints and can’t wait to be back!

Leave a Reply