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Is American Airlines that Bad (in First Class)?

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I am starting to plan ahead for a possible trip to Argentina in December, 2014. We would like to use our Alaska Airlines miles to fly in Business or First Class due to the long flight. I would prefer to fly LAN, but it looks like all of the options from Seattle would involve 2 or 3 stops in each direction (i.e, Seattle to LAX to Lima to Buenos Aires). We can make it with just one stop in each direction (at DallasFW) if we fly American Airlines.

The American Airlines flights I can book right on the Alaska website, one leg at a time; for LAN I would have to call and book roundtrip. I have no idea what the availability of award seats on LAN looks like.

So my question is---would it be a mistake to just go ahead and book on American? I ask because my secretary used to be a travel agent and she says to "never" fly AA. And we never have, not because of that but because we fly British Airways to Europe and Alaska for domestic flights. So what has AA done to get this bad reputation---or is she wrong?

The good news is it loooks like it is a 777, which would be a new experience for us.

Your thoughts are appreciated.

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