Review of American Airlines flight Dallas/Fort Worth Washington in Domestic First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA138
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:40
Take-off 19 Jan 15, 16:55
Arrival at 19 Jan 15, 20:35
AA   #55 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 364 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 3056
Published on 22nd January 2015
Hello everyone,

Welcome to the final leg of the return portion of this series of flights with American Airlines. As previously mentioned, this trip was essentially a mileage run over a long weekend yielding 19,000 miles. After a very long flight accross the Pacific, this 3 hour flight, which normally seems long by domestic flight standards, sounds like nothing. Our flight to DCA has the same flight number as our flight from HKG–would have been nice to keep the same aircraft as well :-P
Yes, I know that's not possible.

The routing:

Washington Reagan DCA - Dallas Fort Worth DFW, American Airlines, B737-800
Dallas Fort Worth DFW - Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok HKG, Amercian Airlines, B777-300ER
Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok HKG - Dallas Fort Worth DFW, American Airlines, B777-300ER
Dallas Fort Worth DFW - Washington Reagan DCA, American Airlines, B737-800 [THIS REPORT]

As mentioned in the last report, our flight arrived super early into DFW due to some very strong tail winds. On top of the early arrival, I breezed though immigration faster than ever using the self-serve kiosks with no lines at all. This left us with plenty of time to go enjoy the Amex Centurion lounge and get a shower there to freshen up.

Up the escalator we go

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No pics of the lounge this time. See the DFW-HKG report for a detailed review of the DFW Centurion lounge.

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About 10 minutes before boarding time, we left the lounge and took the SkyTrain to Terminal C.

Nice view of the lineup at the International Terminal from the SkyTrain

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As I got to the gate I tried to get a pic of our plane but could only see this MD-80. Huh…aircraft swap? Would be cool to fly the Mad dog…it's been a long time since I'd been on an AA MD-80 in F.

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The seatmap still showed the aircraft as a 738 and upon boarding realized that we just coudln't see our plane from the gate. We were indeed on a 738…which is starting to get a little boring…unless you get lucky with the new 738s with PTVs.

Something a little different this time; our 738 is in oneworld livery. Too bad we couldn't get a good view of it from the gate.

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My seat. A window in the last row of F…I usually try to choose these seats because I can recline without bothering anyone.

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The seat pitch is good in Domestic F on AA. Better than DL or UA in my experience.

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I like that American plays boarding music while showing images of nature on the overhead TVs. I find it relaxing. I don't think DL played music on domestic flights when I was a DL FF.

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Winglet view

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Boarding was complete early despite a full flight and we pushed back ahead of schedule.

AA A319

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The safety video plays while we taxi

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Some pics while taxiing.

DL Connection E-jet

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AA 738 in the old livery.

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After a very short taxi time, we're off



Chicago Fire comes on the overhead screens shortly after takeoff

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A few minutes later our FA comes around to take drink orders. I ask for a gin & tonic.

She comes back with drinks and warm nuts. This is another thing I like about AA Domestic First compares to the others.
DL has stopped serving warm nuts altogether, even in Transatlantic Business class (I'm not sure about Transpacific).

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Hot towels right before dinner.

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Some pretty colors outside as the sun sets.



For a domestic flight less than 3 hours long, I find the catering to be pretty decent. I know that longtime AA Frequent Flyers have decried AA's new catering as a major downgrade from what it was pre-merger. But as a long-time Delta flyer, I did not experience the pre-Merger catering on AA ( not in many years anyway) and find the meals to be better than on Delta for similar length flights. Though to be fair, DL was starting to make improvements to Domestic F catering before I switched to AA.

Beef in a mustard sauce. I found it good overall.

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A warm cookie and a Baileys for dessert.

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Another US Airways glass has made its way onto an AA plane.

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More NBC-Universal TV shows are played on the overhead screens during the flight.

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The FA is very attentive and came around regularly to fill up glasses.

One more Baileys before we land.



The cabin is prepared for landing



I-495 Capital Beltway

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Bolling Air Force Base accross the river from Reagan National

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We landed about 20 minutes early, which is great because I couldn't wait to get home and sleep in my own bed.

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With no check bags I was home by the scheduled arrival time.

Thanks for reading and see you soon for a new series of reports!
See more

Verdict

American Airlines

7.9/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment/wifi6.5
Meal/catering8.0

AMEX Centurion Lounge

8.0/10
Comfort8.0
Meal/catering8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.0
Services8.0

Dallas/Fort Worth - DFW

8.4/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Washington - DCA

8.9/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

It was a good short flight in this cabin that I find perfect for a 3 hour leg.

Comfort - As I've said before I find AA's Domestic F seats to be the most comfortable of the Big 3 US carriers. The legroom is generous and the recline is good.
Catering - I enjoyed the meal and thought the portions were just right for this length of flight.
Crew - The crew was great. The FA who took care of us was charming and attentive.
IFE - The IFE is ok. Overhead TVs are better than no TVs as is the case on the US Airways fleet. The new 738s are being delivered with PTVs which is nice. AA need to refurbish the US Airways fleet because transcons with no IFE seems very LCC -- reports coming soon.

Early departure, early arrival

Information on the route Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Washington (DCA)

13 Comments

  • Comment 136537 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR!

    would have been nice to keep the same aircraft as well :-P
    - I'd love to see a 77W try and land in DCA, lol. That would be a spectacle for all the people in the National Mall.

    Nice tail lineup at DFW of the international heavies and then that little TA E-Jet in the foreground, lol

    A window in the last row of F...I usually try to choose these seats because I can recline without bothering anyone.
    - That's very thoughtful of you, but I normally do it so there are less people staring at me from behind taking all kinds of weird photos. Also, I think you are right about seat pitch. UA has a 38 standard pitch in F, whereas AA is 40. Not sure about DL. This definitely looks like an old 738 with the rectangular overhead bins and windows, sure could use some BSI.

    DL has stopped serving warm nuts altogether, even in Transatlantic Business class (I'm not sure about Transpacific).
    - When I did DL TPAC in January 2014, there was packaged nuts.

    Catering looks okay. No comment on the salad, we all know that will never impress anyone. The main doesn't look bad, but I usually don't like mashed potatoes on planes. The bread looks good, better than just a typical roll. In reality, US domestic catering isn't 'that' far behind regional Asian catering in J, it's usually just slimmed down menus and worse presentation.

    It seems you struggled with your night shots on arrival, I still haven't figured out the best way to take them. I usually just take a bunch and then try and pick a couple that look the least repulsive, lol.

    • Comment 316056 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      LOL, I know, I was being facetious. One day...one day I'll master the aerial nightshot, haha. I've tried a bunch of setting recommendations I've read online and I can never get it right. Otherwise, on the ground my Canon takes great night shots.

      Yeah, MU's 36 pitch is just inhumane.

      These mashed potatoes were really buttery so didn't seem too grainy, but I know what you mean.

      In all the years I lived across the street from DCA, I'm surprised I've never seen a plane ass up in the Potomac, lol. Though it's a good thing it hasn't happened (recently). When you land at DCA you feel like you're landing on an aircraft carrier. It's always a thrill.

    • Comment 316096 by
      NGO85 1622 Comments

      I've tried that too, but the settings I've found online are always too complicated and provide little improvement. I'm always careful to block out as much cabin back-light as I can with my hands and have the lens perpendicular to the window to minimize distortion, but it never does much.

      36 pitch is just inhumane.
      - First world problems, lol.

      DCA is by far one of the best airports in the country since it has great views of the monuments too. I love how they run the Potomac to land on Runway 19. The takeoffs are also awesome when they have to immediately bank to the left once wheels are up.

      Looking forward to the next series, LAS? Or did you sneak in a secret mystery trip? The suspense!

    • Comment 316114 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      I'm fortunate to live in DC. The river approach to RWY 19 never gets old. I usually try to sit on the left when flying into DCA in case we do the river approach. I couldn't get a window seat on the left on this flight and since we came up from the South, I didn't miss anything.

      Not sure which reports I'll publish next. I have an SFO, 2 SEA, and the LAS trip to publish. Too many flights, not enough time, LOL.

    • Comment 316052 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      I saw the 787 land at DCA during the Dreamliner World tour. I think that's the last time we'll see a widebody at DCA. The only reason it could land and takeoff is because it was empty. The runways are just way too short.

      DL has 38 Pitch in F on most aircraft and even down to 37 in F on the new 739s. Shame that they serve packaged nuts even on TPAC now in J.

      I like mashed potatoes anywhere...on the ground or in the air :-P

      LOL, are you saying my night shots are repulsive? Night shots get harder and harder the closer you get to the ground. If you do longer exposure everything trails, if you don't you don't see anything. The fine line in the middle gets harder to find the closer you get to the ground. And I do the same; I take a bunch and delete.

      Thanks for the comments!

    • Comment 316054 by
      NGO85 1622 Comments

      LOL, are you saying my night shots are repulsive?
      - I didn't say that. I was talking about mine. Don't worry, my next couple of reports (whenever I find the time to write them) will have all kinds of crappy night shots for you to mock ;)

      DL has 38 Pitch in F on most aircraft and even down to 37 in F on the new 739s.
      - Still better than MU's 36 :P

      I like mashed potatoes anywhere...on the ground or in the air :-P
      - I love mashed potatoes too, but I find them very grainy on planes. Mashed potatoes don't reheat well.

      The runways are just way too short.
      - That's what the Potomac is for :)

  • Comment 136546 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Fantastic FR as always, thank you for sharing it with us :).

    Really liked the shots of the INTL heavies at DFW, fell in love with the first shot.

    Seat pitch seems to be good on this flight, unfortunately you didn't get a new 738 with AVOD.

    Catering seems to be good, even though I'm not the biggest fan of beef. However, some improvements could be done to the presentation IMO.

    It seems like you had a great flight with AA, it's really nice that you got a great crew!

    • Comment 316115 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      Thank you! The line up at DFW is impressive. When I took the pic it kind of reminded me of the famous line up at Manchester. Those new 738s with AVOD are rare. Our of 20+ segments on 738s over the past few months, I've only gotten one once. The flight crews have been great on most my flights with AA so far. It's the crew on the ground and especially agents on the phone that can be very hit or miss. Thanks for your comment!

  • Comment 136598 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12469 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    Final leg of this routing, just after the end of the world, no sorry, a HKG-DFW in Y ;)

    Great crew is always nice

    The main doesn't look too bad but if you really want to eat mashed potatoes to die for just try TK's

    A bunch of repulsive night pictures to end the report

    See you soon (?) for another routing

    • Comment 316126 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      Thanks for reading! Yes, there is life after the end of the world, I mean, a HKG-DFW in Y :-P
      I want to try TK's catering in general. It always looks so good in reports!
      I'm glad you enjoyed my repulsive night shots, hahaha...it is becoming a thing now lol
      Yes, see you soon for another routing. Just not sure which one to post first. I'm soooooo behind.
      Thanks for your comment!

    • Comment 316127 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      P.S. will we be seeing the continuation of your and Will's dual report routing soon? :-)

  • Comment 136678 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report Kevin.

    Good thing that you had plenty of time to enjoy the AMEX lounge @ DFW. Did you have to wait long for the shower room? I've read from others that this seems to be a major negative point about them. From my experience, I had to wait about 45 min. for the one @ SFO when I visited.

    Nothing like some warm nuts to put you in a good mood. I love them and enjoy that feature whenever I travel on AA up front (which is less and less these days). Your salad looks so plain but your main dish was good. A cookie is never a proper dessert, don't you think? Bailey's on the rocks is great though.

    Looks like AA is improving the catering again and has gone back to entree salads on some routes and is now offering proper snacks served on plates on some short hauls.

    • Comment 316236 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5331 Comments

      Thanks for your comments Adan!

      I barely had a 3 minute wait for the shower. I went to the bar and wasn't even halfway done my glass of champagne before they called me. One the way out DFW-HKG, I had no wait at all. both showers were open. But then again, it was early-ish morning and the lounge was not as packed as before this DFW-DCA leg.

      Warm nuts are just classy IMO. I know there are a lot of things AA can improve, but that is one thing they do right. Sometimes it's the little things like that that can make a bigger impact on passenger experience and giving a good impression. A warm cookie is not necessarily a proper dessert, but it's better than the plastic wrapped cookies and brownies I used to get on DL on similar length flights.

      I heard AA was improving catering again on the shorter flights. I was in F a few weeks ago, but they were longer flights so it was the same type of catering as this report. Not the improved snack basket types.

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