Review of American Airlines flight Charlotte Punta Cana in Business

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA1965
Class Business
Seat 4H
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 16:30
Take-off 16 Jan 16, 09:10
Arrival at 17 Jan 16, 02:40
AA   #72 out of 132 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 408 reviews
lsmick3
By 3281
Published on 19th January 2016
Each year we go on a January family vacation with the South American side of our family, normally to someplace warm and sunny. This year we all met at the Hard Rock Resort in Punta Cana which started with a great trip down from CLT.

After a quick 45 minute commute from RIC-CLT, we spent about an hour in the lounge for a quick breakfast. Sorry– no pictures of the CLT Admirals Club…let's just say we're looking very forward to its overhaul.

Walking to our gate, spotted a few things that grabbed my attention.

The vintage Piedmont livery really brings me back to being a kid–we were a loyal Piedmont family back in the 80's (sorry for the resolution)…

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Allegheny vintage livery:

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We arrived to our gate just as the Priority boarding was to begin.

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With this being a 100% leisure flight booked with tourists, many of whom seemed not to really know how the boarding process works, we had to push our way through a gaggle of people. The gate agent did a nice job of keeping non Priority/Business passengers away, allowing absolutely no deviation to the boarding process– I liked her!

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Quickly got settled in to our seats. We were originally in 4H, 5H, and 5F. Since my daughter was travelling with us, another couple offered to split up so that I could move back to 5H to sit next to her and my spouse took her space in 5C. With the open suite configuration, it really didn't matter that we were all sitting on the same row, but a nice gesture at least.

The last time I was on the same aircraft was for a CLT-LHR trip and a MAD-CLT trip made last summer. I absolutely love the fact that American leverages wide body aircraft for select Caribbean island hops that last about three hours (or less!). To that end, I was a bit tricked into thinking that I was getting settled in for nine hours!

Business Cabin


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Though this product is starting to show some wear and age, I still really like it.

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The lay flat seat is still more comfortable than what I've experienced in United BusinessFirst.

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Plenty of space…

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Since this was a completely leisure flight, our FA's were very accommodating for taking pictures of everyone settling in. They really set the tone for starting everyone's vacation in a very celebratory tone! Pre-departure drinks were quickly ordered and served…

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So, I mentioned that I was a bit tricked into thinking this was a long-haul flight because of the aircraft. There were three reminders that this was not going to be a long haul flight…

First, we were given domestic first class blankets– which really were just fine for this sort of a trip.

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Next, when headphones were distributed I was anticipating the Bose noise canceling variety…instead…we were handed these things from the dollar store…

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…thank goodness I brought my own!

Finally, I was wondering where the menus were for lunch. Instead of menus, our FA verbally gave us the options when she came to take our orders. Since we were upgraded only 24 hours before departure, we didn't have the opportunity to pre-order our meal. In another outstanding service moment, though we were in the last row of the cabin, our FA let me place my daughter's meal order first just to make sure she got something she would eat. To me, that was going above and beyond anticipating passengers' needs.

A short taxi to an on time take off…

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Still love seeing the old livery from time to time…

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Drink service began about 20 minutes into the flight and Dominican customs forms were distributed.

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I mentioned that the cabin is starting to show its age. Many of the suites, including mine, had rather difficult to operate tables. In fact, our FA had to struggle to get at least three open. Once it was fully opened, the sliding mechanism worked just fine and it was easily stowed at the end of our flight.

Nice vodka on the rocks to start things out.

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Explored the IFE a bit while waiting for lunch. Really good variety– just a rather small screen that is a bit far from the passenger's eyes…

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Though there were a number of current movies available to watch, I originally didn't want to start a movie and not be able to complete it on this flight! Instead, my intention was to be music all the way down.

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Feet up for lunch!

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Choices for lunch were either ravioli or a cobb salad. My family all ordered the cobb salad–which turned out to be the right decision as, from what I could tell, the ravioli was a complete fail.

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Though the catering was good, the presentation just didn't fit the cabin. The dressing was really tasty but it was just given to us in a container that looked like it was from a fast food restaurant. The meal looked kind of thrown together, but it did hit the spot on this relatively short flight. The chicken was very moist and had a good, roasted flavor. The prosciutto was nice and I would have gladly bought the same product on the ground.

Dessert was a lemon meringue inspired pie that was good but definitely not great.

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After our meal, took a quick trip to the lav to freshen up. Very clean but no special amenities for the premium cabin.



Crew rest quarters…definitely won't be needed on this short flight!

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Time for everyone to unwind for the rest of the flight…my daughter enjoyed a movie…

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Seat in full lay flight configuration…the light from the Galley right behind us would have been bothersome if I was actually going to sleep.

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…and I gave in and decided to get through as much of The Martian as I could…I would eventually finish the movie on our return trip in Y.

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Just as I was really getting settled in…cabin lights came on and we were getting close to our destination!

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During our descent…

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After disembarkment…

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Dried grass roof to the airport…

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Waiting to pay our arrival tax and to get through migration.

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Just in case you didn't get a free customs form on board your flight…here are more free forms… I can envision some local trying to sell these.

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After paying our taxes, we got through passport control and customs no problem. Our chauffeur was waiting for us and we were at our hotel in about thirty minutes.


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See more

Verdict

American Airlines

9.0/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew10.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering8.0

US Airways US Airways Club (Concourse C)

6.1/10
Comfort5.0
Meal/catering5.0
Entertainment/wifi9.5
Services5.0

Charlotte - CLT

8.9/10
Efficiency9.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

Punta Cana - PUJ

9.0/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

I really like CLT as our connecting, hub airport since our home airport of RIC has few direct connections to major destinations. Once the lounges are upgraded this year (or next...) an already good refuge will be great.

The FA's did an outstanding job on this flight, truly making it a remarkable business class experience for a US carrier. Our needs were anticipated and always catered to.

Though this former Envoy cabin is showing its age, I am delighted that AA flies wide body aircraft on such short island hops. We weren't really ready for the flight to be over!

Related

10 Comments

  • Comment 155983 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4858 Comments

    Great report!

    Sorry-- no pictures of the CLT Admirals Club...let's just say we're looking very forward to its overhaul.
    - The big one with the dome? I think it's kind of nice actually.

    I do enjoy AA's retro liveries. We always seem to get a bunch here at DCA and I always see one or two each time I go through CLT.

    With this being a 100% leisure flight booked with tourists, many of whom seemed not to really know how the boarding process works, we had to push our way through a gaggle of people.
    - Yeah, that happens on leisure flights, but it also happens on heavy business routes, except on those, people crowd the gate on purpose to get a running start for overhead space. I don't know which is worse, wading through a crowd of people who don't know what's going on or fighting hoards of aggressive business people. Either way, gate lice are annoying!

    The last time I was on the same aircraft was for a CLT-LHR trip and a MAD-CLT trip made last summer.
    - Yes, and I'm still waiting for those report :-)

    Though this product is starting to show some wear and age, I still really like it.
    - Yeah, the PMUS A330 Business cabins are starting to look a bit shabby. I imagine in the short term they'll at least slap some new gray seat covers on there to make them match the rest of the PMAA Long-haul fleet.

    Pre-departure drinks were quickly ordered and served..
    - Yet another data point that proves what I was just saying in my DCA-DFW FR. You get full-bar for PDB on PMUS planes, but not usually on PMAA planes.

    Next, when headphones were distributed I was anticipating the Bose noise canceling variety...instead...we were handed these things from the dollar store...
    - Damn, those are even cheaper looking than the white ones you get on PMAA planes in domestic F.

    Nice vodka on the rocks to start things out.
    - That's a lot of vodka! Is that a double?

    The catering looks good, but you're right that it's kind of sloppy and looks thrown together. AA is definitely making good progress with the catering, though.

    Thanks for sharing and glad you had fun in the Dominican Republic! Looking forward to more report...hopefully the Transatlantic ones finally, haha.

    • Comment 333521 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4858 Comments

      What a lovely way of measuring drinks, lol.
      Yeah, the three prong may help. I don't usually have good results plugging in personal headphones onboard.

    • Comment 333514 by
      lsmick3 AUTHOR 35 Comments

      Nice vodka on the rocks to start things out.
      - That's a lot of vodka! Is that a double?

      Of course it is, you know me! :) I've discovered that if you have an old US Airways glass that a single on the rocks comes up the bottom of the old flag logo. Its how I measure my drinks at home ha.

      Next, when headphones were distributed I was anticipating the Bose noise canceling variety...instead...we were handed these things from the dollar store...
      - Damn, those are even cheaper looking than the white ones you get on PMAA planes in domestic F.

      One thing I forgot to mention in the report in regards to the headphones... all of my family experienced a humming noise when using our own (good to high quality) headphones. Thinking of investing in a three prong adapter; perhaps that will take care of the humm.

  • Comment 155984 by
    757Fan 532 Comments

    Thanks for sharing!

    Looks like you had a nice flight with AA. Great to get on a wide-body on a flight of this length!

    The catering does look a bit sloppily put together, but overall a good looking meal.

  • Comment 156073 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this report on the old US Envoy cabin!

    It's amazing that AA puts this cabin on a route like this, but the crappy old angled seats on TPACs... But getting a A330 with international J cabin on a route like this is definitely a treat. Normally the tourist destinations get crappy planes (Hawaii comes to mind...). I would happily take the old Envoy cabin over any narrow-body product :)

    A black table cloth... I've never seen this on AA before.

    The melon and prosciutto starter looks very good, better than the meatless options they serve longhaul. A salad for a main seems weak in my opinion, but decent lunch offering overall.

    The catering could be better, but the hard-product is excellent for this route and a great crew also really helps the experience.

    And I totally approve the Totally 80s radio station.

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