I flew American Airlines to Europe for the first time during the pandemic and found it's back to normal with bad food, uncomfortable seats, and free alcohol

American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
American Airlines is one of four US airlines flying overseas to Europe and has recently started increasing its services as more countries open to American tourists.
Transatlantic flights are almost back to normal, apart from the mask requirement.
Warm meals and alcohol will again be served in all cabins, including Economy Class.
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American Airlines is one of the leading US airlines flying between the US and Europe, particularly from its international gateway in New York.
American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
In the summer before the pandemic, American flew from the United States to 23 European destinations. Fast forward to summer 2021, and that number came in at 11 as American wasn't rebuilding as quickly after reopening in Europe.
Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
Source: Cirium
Still, American has maintained its service to core cities like London; Madrid; and Rome as new routes including New York-Athens open.
Athens, Greece. Shutterstock
Read more: American and JetBlue just launched a new partnership with 33 new routes - that means this for travelers
And American has proven to be an affordable option for crossing the pond, as I discovered while planning a recent work trip to Doha, Qatar on American, British Airways and Qatar Airways flights.
Flying American Airlines to Europe during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
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I flew from New York to Madrid on American Airlines during the summer of the vaccinated trip. It was like this.
American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
READ ALSO: I booked a flight with American Airlines even though the airline canceled thousands of flights this summer - this is how I prepare for the worst
After the recent bad experience with American, I was a little nervous about flying the airline overseas. I made sure to do additional research on backup options in case something went wrong and even got to the airport four hours early.
American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
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But after flying internationally with the US earlier that summer, I knew how to prepare. The first step was to download Verifly, the Americans' favorite health passport service that speeds airport check-in and document review.
American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
I submitted all of my required documents and got the green light. As a result, airport check-in was less painful than expected as I was able to use a self-service kiosk to get my boarding pass.
American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
However, there was a little queue for those checking baggage, as is usually the case in international terminals. I was glad I only took hand luggage with me.
American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
I was instantly relieved when I got my boarding pass and walked straight to the gate with only a minimal line at security. I felt silly arriving four hours before departure, but as the old saying goes, better safe than sorry.
American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
A perk of departing from Americans Terminal 8 at John F. Kennedy International Airport is that Bobby Vans Steakhouse is open and Priority Pass members can get a free meal through Chase. I had the burger and it was delicious.
American Airlines are flying from New York to Madrid, Spain during the pandemic. Thomas Pallini / Insider
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