This is the next flight in a series of flights with AA I took to San Francisco for a Friendsgiving–that's Thankgiving with friends :-)
I created a routing with an additional leg to maximize mileage and do a quick stopover in LAX for some planespotting at In-N-Out Burger.
Washington Reagan DCA - Chicago O'hare ORD, American Airlines, B737-800, First Class Chicago O'hare ORD - San Francisco SFO, Amercican Airlines, B737-800, First Class [THIS REPORT] San Francisco SFO - Los Angeles LAX, American Airlines, B737-800. First Class [COMING SOON] Los Angeles LAX - Chicago O'hare ORD, American Airlines, B737-800, First Class [COMING SOON] Chicago O'hare ORD - Washington Reagan DCA, American Airlines, B737-800, First Class [COMING SOON]
Here we are at Chicago O'hare, an airport that I don't particularly care for. I'm not a big fan of the 80's look of the terminal–I think it's time for a facelift.
Our flight to SFO is showing on time.
The nice Christmas decorations distract from the ugly 80's interior.
Some kind of garden in the airport.
More Holiday decorations, viewed from the opposite side.
And a little further down we're back to ugly 80's land.
Our 737-800. I'm a big fan of AA's new colors–they look particularly nice at night.
The FIDS at the gate shows boarding will commence in 1 minute…and it started exactly on time.
After having experienced the new cabin with leather seats and PTVs on the DCA-ORD leg, I was a little disappointed to be back in the older cabin for this longer flight, but it does look comfortable.
One thing that DL does better than AA is that you can tell on Delta.com what kinds of amenities your aircraft will have. There are icons that tell you if your plane has PTVs or overhead monitors. On AA, it's a lottery; you never know what you'll get until you step on board and all this flight, I experienced ever variety of interiors on the 737 fleet.
Despite the dated look of the cabin, the seats are quite comfortable with the best seat pitch of any Domestic First product, in my opinion. Having had the opportunity to fly Domestic First on all the U.S. legacy carriers (AA, US, DL, and UA), I have to say that AA has the best hard product. The pitch is more generous at 40 than the typical 38 (or even 37) on the other U.S. carriers. The seat recline is better and less invasive due to the fact that the seat bottom moves forward when you recline–this results in the seat back not coming as far back as a traditional recliner despite a more generous recline.This kind of reminds me of the recline in Air France Premium Economy.
A 738 in old colors out the window.
A California Sparkling wine for pre-departure drinks. This is also something AA does better than other domestic carriers. DL doesn't offer bubbly on domestic flights at all, except premium transcons marketed at Business class (DeltaOne branding) on JFK-LAX/SFO.
De-icing during boarding.
We push back on time. The Safety video plays as we taxi to the runway.
After takeoff, the chief purser passes through the cabin to take meal orders and offer before-dinner drinks.
I asked for more bubbly.
The FA came back around to check on drinks shortly thereafter and I got another refill :-) I didn't catch the brand of the sparkling wine, but it isn't bad.
We had pre-selected out meal choices on AA.com and the FA confirms out choices. This is a nice feature on AA which enables you to guarantee your meal choice.
Warm nuts are served before dinner. This is another more upscale feature of AA when compared to others. DL used to only do a warm nut service in long-haul business class, but recently changed this for a bag of nuts, which is a shame.
And here is the meal. A lot of AA Frequent flyers have been up in arms since some catering changes were made in September 2014 to align the AA and US catering. I would have to imagine that catering must have been really good prior to September 2014, because as a former Delta frequent flyer, I find this meal to be more than acceptable in Domestic First and generally better than Delta's domestic catering on a similar length flight. I have several trip reports in DL Domestic F where you can compare the catering. You don't normally get an appetizer on DL, just a salad; AA has both.
The beef in mustard sauce is pretty good–it's not a good cut of meat by any means and it's overcooked, but that's to be expected when eating beef on a plane. Overall I found it tasty, and the sauce really made the dish.
The only semi-negative thing I could say compared to DL is that DL FAs serve F meals directly from the galley. I find this to be generally more classy than serving meals from a cart like AA. DL used serve meals in International business class this way, which could take a very long time to execute the service. DL has also recently switched to carts in International Business, but continues to serve domestic F meals from the galley as the cabins are smaller.
I was still a bit hungry and wanted to see if it would be ok to try the other meal option if there was any left. The FA has no problem getting us another entree and came back with the tortellini option, which was also quite good. Granted, it's hard to screw up a simple pasta dish.
Ice cream for dessert.
And some Bailey's for after dinner. I'm lactose-intolerant so I had to pop two lactaid pills, because as a Frenchman, I refuse to avoid lactose–if they had cheese, I would've eaten that too :-P
I didn't really watch the movie so I don't remember what it was.
The FA comes by regularly to fill drinks and offer snacks from the basket.
We fly over a rather large city. I'm thinking it's Denver.
After the movie, there are a few one of my favorite TV series, White Collar.
The rest of the flight goes by quickly and before we know it, we're making out descent to SFO.
The FAs hand out candies just before landing.
Oddly, the cabin lights stay on during landing.
The welcome message plays on the overhead screens after landing.
We arrived at the gate 10 minutes early.
Welcome to San Francisco!
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave a comment.
Chicago - ORD
San Francisco - SFO
A good mid-con flight with AA. Because I pretty much exclusively flew Delta before, I did not know AA catering prior to the September 2014 downgrades, so to me, the catering was more than acceptable. AA has been making improvements to the catering since the initial downgrade in response to negative feedback about the changes from Frequent flyers. The FAs were professional and attentive.
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