Review of American Airlines flight Chicago Washington in Domestic First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA154
Seat --
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:50
Take-off 16 Jan 16, 17:10
Arrival at 16 Jan 16, 20:00
AA   #75 out of 141 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 359 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 1539
Published on 13th June 2016
Hello and welcome to the last report in this series.

Here is the full routing with all reports in this series:

Washington Reagan National DCA ✈ Dallas - Fort Worth DFW : American Airlines, B737-800, Domestic First class [HERE]
Dallas - Fort Worth DFW ✈ Hong Kong Check Lap Kok HKG : American Airlines, B777-300ER, Business Class [HERE]
Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok HKG ✈ Singapore Changi SIN : Cathay Pacific, B777-300, Business Class [HERE]
Singapore Changi SIN ✈ Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD : British Airways, B777-300ER, Premium Economy [HERE]
Melbourne Tullamarine MEL ✈ Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD : Qantas Airways, B737-800, Business Class [HERE]
Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD ✈ Christchurch Airport CHC : Qantas Jetconnect, B737-800, Business Class [HERE]
Queenstown Airport ZQN ✈ Auckland Airport AKL : Air New Zealand, A320-200, Economy Class [HERE]
Auckland Airport AKL ✈ Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD : LAN Airlines, B787-9, Business Class [HERE]
Sydney Kingsford Smith SYD ✈ Singapore Changi SIN : British Airways, B777-300ER, Business Class [HERE]
Singapore Changi SIN ✈ Tokyo Narita NRT : Japan Airlines, B767-300ER, Economy Class [HERE]
Tokyo Narita NRT ✈ Chicago O'hare ORD : American Airlines, B787-8, Business Class [HERE]
Chicago O'hare ORD ✈ Washington Reagan National DCA : American Airlines, B737-800, Domestic First Class [THIS REPORT]

After a good Transpacific flight on the AA 787, we had about 2 hours before our connecting flight to Washington, DC.

Unfortunately, just going through immigration and customs ate up about half of that time. It was very slow moving. I keep telling myself that I need to do Global Entry, but never get around to it.

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There is a Flagship First Class lounge in Chicago, but given that we didn't have much time before boarding, we just went to the Admirals Club that was closest to our gate. The Admirals Club is in desparate need of some updating. It had a very vintage 80s/90s feel. On the positive side, it was large and spacious and not overly crowded.

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And there were some nice views of the tarmac

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There is also a view of downtown Chicago, with the Willis Tower dominating the skyline.

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The Special World cup livery Lufthansa 748 "Fanhansa" prepares to take off

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As we didn't have much time, we just grabbed some sparkling wine and a quick snack. The sparkling wine, a Prosecco, is considered a "premium" drink in the Admirals club, as in most U.S. lounges. As an Executive Platinum/oneworld Emerald, I received premium drink coupons on checking in at the Admirals club.

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Pretty soon, it was time to board.

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A pleasant surprise to be on a new 738 with the Boeing Sky Interior and new leather seats with IFE.
For some reason, I've only gotten these on flights between Chicago and DC.

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A look into the Main Cabin Extra section of Economy

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Seat pitch is generous at 40" – the best legroom of any Domestic First class product

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Nice big PTV–one of the best parts of the new cabins

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The IFE is availabe from gate-to-gate so I was was able to continue a movie I didn't get to finish on the last flight.

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Some sunset spotting out the window with an Iberia A330 and Unitental A320

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The flight was staffed by a DC based crew, who, in my experience, are always super friendly.

Pre-departure drinks were offered, with a choice of full bar. I went for some sparkling wine.

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Boarding was completed on time and the safety video was played on the PTVs as we pushed back.

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Love that Boeing Sky Interior

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Some spotting as we taxied to the runway

Delta 763 in SkyTeam livery heading off to Paris

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AA 772ER

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Some beautiful sunset colors as we take off over Chicago

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About 20 minutes into the flight, there was a hot towel service.

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Drink orders were taken. I went for more sparkling wine.

Drinks were served with warm nuts.

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Last time I had flown a Chicago to DC flight in the evening, it was just a snack service, but is now a full meal service flight.

The meal choices were Shrimp & grits or Tortellini pasta.

I went for the Shrimp & grits, which I found very original as far as in-flight catering goes.

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It was quite tasty, with the perfect level of seasoning and spice. The shrimp were well cooked.

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Here's a look at the Tortellini option.

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A warm cookie is served for dessert

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The flight is only about 600 miles long and less than 1.5 hours of flying time, so it is definitely nice to have a full meal on a short flight like this.

Before I knew it, we had begun our descent, and the cabin was prepared for landing.

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Having purposely chosen seats on the left side of the aircraft, I was hoping for the River approach, to see DC's monuments on landing. But we ended up approaching DCA from the South.

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So instead, we got a view of Alexandria, a beautiful historic city.

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Thanks for reading!
See more

Verdict

American Airlines

9.2/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi9.5
Meal/catering8.5

American Airlines Admirals Club (Concourses H/K) - 3

5.6/10
Comfort5.5
Meal/catering5.5
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Services5.5

Chicago - ORD

7.0/10
Efficiency5.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.0

Washington - DCA

9.1/10
Efficiency9.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

A very good short flight onboard one of AA's newer 738s. I really like the new cabin with the Boeing Sky Interior. The service was great with a very friendly and attentive DC-based crew. A full meal on a short 1.5 hour flight is definitely above average by U.S. airline catering standards and AA gets points for creativity with the shrimp & grits.

Information on the route Chicago (ORD) Washington (DCA)

15 Comments

  • Comment 352723 by
    jules67500 GOLD 4929 Comments

    Hi Kevin !

    I love this cabin. Wish we would have these on our European network...

    Are you staying with AA after the last evolution ?

    Thanks !

    • Comment 353135 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5226 Comments

      Hi! Thanks for your comments. It would definitely be nice if European Business class had real business class seats, but I don't ever see it happening. I'm not sure if I will stay with AA. I've got status through 2017, so I'll fly AA until at least then, but I will probably start flying different carriers from different alliances. With the new devaluation, there's not much point to being loyal anymore. I'm already cheating on AA/oneworld with a flight tonight on B0

  • Comment 352742 by
    Esteban TEAM GOLD 11660 Comments

    Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for this great report, seems that AA product is being upgraded! I would not have expected a full hot meal on a short sector like this.

    • Comment 353136 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5226 Comments

      Thanks for your comments! The new cabins are nice--AA has stepped up their game on hard product...at least if you're lucky enough to get a new cabin. And it is definitely good to have a meal on such a short flight.

  • Comment 352832 by
    757Fan 584 Comments

    Hey Kevin,

    Thanks for sharing this report. Catering looks great on a short flight; AA really excels in their meals on domestic flights in F.

    Best,

    Matthew

    • Comment 353137 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5226 Comments

      Thank you for stopping by! I don't think UA or DL serve meals on such short flights. At least DL didn't when I was a Medallion. The quality and quantity can be hit or miss, but I'm usually pretty happy with the catering overall. Thanks for your comments!

  • Comment 352893 by
    Rl 777 810 Comments

    Thank you for sharing this FR with us!

    Great sunset spotting shots at ORD!

    I'm glad you got one of the newer 738s with a clean, comfortable and modern cabin. The IFE looks great, very similar or identical to the IFE QR uses in their A350s (in Y).

    A full meal service on a 1,5 h flight is impressive.

    Nice shots before arrival at DCA!

    Have a good one, see you.

    • Comment 353140 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5226 Comments

      Hej, thanks for your comments! The new cabin is very nice and the IFE is great. Too bad these planes are still very rare--I've flown on tons of AA 738s and have had the new cabin only twice.

      "Nice shots before arrival at DCA!"
      - Thanks! So you don't think they're "repulsive night shots" like NGO85? haha

  • Comment 352908 by
    jetsetpanda 2294 Comments

    Hi Kevin and thanks for sharing this last segment of your series.

    I think Global Entry would truly make a difference and you get TSA Pre-Check when you apply for it. I have submitted my application a few weeks ago and I am still waiting for them to contact me for the interview.

    Great spotting and aerials. Your meals look good and it's always nice to have a friendly crew aboard.

  • Comment 352996 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    "I need to do Global Entry, but never get around to it. "
    - LAX has never been a problem for me, but I also finally got around applying last week for GlobalEntry. The TSA PreCheck portion of GlobalEntry is even more valuable lol^^

    "As an Executive Platinum/oneworld Emerald, I received premium drink coupons on checking in at the Admirals club. "
    - How many do Emeralds get? The lounge looks like it is in bad shape, much like most of ORD, lol.

    You are lucky to have gotten the new cabin on this flight, I've only seen it once so far and that was LAX-IAD, these cabins are nice even in Y with the IFE. I'm a little dissapointed they kept those super cheesy wing cup holders. I hated those things on the old B738s.

    The catering looks empty like on Mick's report. Without a real starter, the the tray looks so naked. I do agree that the mains are getting better and the shrimp and grits would have been my choice too, but overall the meal is not very substantial for a dinner time service.

    Thanks for the repulsive night shots^^ I'll forgive you in exchange for your spotting at ORD, the DL B767 in ST livery probably brings back good memories ;)

    Thanks for sharing and finishing this series Kevin, next PTY?

  • Comment 353502 by
    Abyssin 262 Comments

    Hi Kevin!
    Thanks for the FR, great cabin and meal even if it's too light for an evening one (no starter).

    • Comment 360915 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 5226 Comments

      Thanks for the comment! Sorry, I guess I missed it before. Considering it's only a 1 hour flight, it's unusual to have a meal at all on such a short flight in the U.S. Normally you only get the snack basket on such short flights. Thanks for stopping by :-)

  • Comment 362835 by
    Menzenski 27 Comments

    Great report. It's amazing to me that AA offered a full meal service on a flight of this length.

    I just booked myself on the same flight in about three weeks, I have my fingers crossed for a new interior bird!

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