Flight-Report

Review of American Airlines flight Washington Boston in First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA2129
Class First
Seat 4A
Aircraft Embraer E-190
Flight time 01:40
Take-off 09 Dec 17, 10:30
Arrival at 09 Dec 17, 12:10
AA   #77 out of 129 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 385 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 1319
Published on 1st April 2018
Hello and welcome to the first report in a new series of flights!

For many of us on the Frequent Flyer status hamster wheel, December can be mileage run season if you need just that little bit more to maintain status or make it to that next level for the year. However, since the introduction of spend requirements by U.S. carriers several years ago, mileage runs have generally become less useful in the pursuit of status. In fact, I hadn't done a true mileage run in years.

I wasn't originally planning on doing a mileage run but, being just under 10K EQMs (AA Elite Qualifying Miles) away from the next status level by the end of November and no December AA flying planned, I decided to go for it. With the Holidays around the corner, I didn't have much time to spare so I booked a reasonably-priced multi-segment trip to the West Coast in First/Business returning the same day. I specifically booked the Premium cabins because discounted First/Business fares earn double EQMs (full-fare F/J earn 3X EQMs), allowing me to cut the distance needed to earn 10K EQMs in half and doing it in a reasonably comfortable way. In the end, I earned 11,392 EQMs for the trip, which worked out to 7.03 CPM (Cents Per Mile)–a decent rate for premium cabin travel.

While true low-CPM mileage runs in Economy have mostly become a thing of the past for U.S.-based frequent flyers, Premium cabin EQM/EQD runs can still be worth it when decent fares are found, especially if you're an #AvGeek and don't mind flying just for the sake of flying.

Reports in this series:

Washington Reagan DCA ✈ Boston Logan BOS | American Airlines, E190, Domestic First Class
Boston Logan Intl BOS ✈ Dallas Fort Worth DFW | American Airlines, A321-200, Domestic First Class
Dallas Fort Worth DFW ✈ Los Angeles Intl LAX | American Airlines, B787-9, Business Class

Planning



As I touched on in the introduction, this trip was booked using the multi-city function on AA.com. There are nonstop AA flights from DC to the West Coast; however, direct flights would only yield about 9000 EQMs (4,500 actual flown miles). The goal being to fly over 5000 miles to comfortably earn over 10K EQMs, I needed to fly to a city to the east of DC and backtrack to the West Coast, so I decided on Boston. The itinerary was originally booked as: DCA ✈ BOS ✈ DFW ✈ LAX ✈ PHX ✈ DCA

I could have done BOS-LAX nonstop; however, I routed myself through DFW intentionally to try the B789, which I will cover in the 3rd report in this series. I would have also preferred a nonstop LAX-DCA for the return, unfortunately there was no red-eye to DC that evening so flying home via PHX was the faster option….at least that was the plan.

This is how this trip was supposed to go:

photo 1 original mileage run map

Due to a delay down the line, this is how it ended up:

photo 2 final mileage run map

When piecing together these types of quick trips with so many segments there is always a good chance that something will go wrong. If something were to go wrong, I expected that it would be in the first few segments as a snowstorm was bearing down on the northeast U.S. that day. Ironically, despite the snow, the first three flights were generally on-time–the problems arose in LAX.

Pre-flight & Check-in



The morning of departure I arrived at the airport just under an hour prior to departure, right as it started to snow. The weather forecast was calling for 4-6" (10-15 cm) of snow for the DC area, but I wasn't too worried about my flight being delayed as it had only just begun to snow.

As I was only doing a day trip, I didn't have any bags to check, just a backpack with a change of clothes. Although I had checked in on the app, I headed to a kiosk to print boarding passes as a back-up in case my phone ran out of batteries. I had my charger, but I'm always paranoid about these things and feel safer having real paper BPs.

Check-in area of DCA's beautiful terminal.

photo img_9311

Looking down the main hall decorated for the Holidays.

photo img_9312photo img_9313

Security was a breeze as there was noone in the TSA Pre-check lane at this early hour on a Saturday.

There's no doubt that DCA is an AA hub with so many American flag tails.

photo img_9316photo img_9317

There were balloons at the end of the Concourse, though I'm not sure what they were celebrating.

photo img_9314

Boarding



Boarding was orderly and started right on time. The snow was really starting to pick up in intensity.

photo img_9315

The First cabin of the E190 fleet is configured in a 1-2 layout compared to a 2-2 layout in Economy.

photo seatmap dca-bos e190

When travelling alone, the solo side is an obvious choice. These Pre-Merger US Airways aircraft have recently had their cabins updated to the standard Post-Merger AA grey leather.

photo img_9318

The seats are comfortable with 20" of width, but the seat pitch is a bit tight for domestic First at 36".

photo img_9321photo img_9326

Operations at DCA were running generally on time as I could see from the ballet of pushbacks and arrivals during boarding.

AA A319 pushing back

photo img_9320

VX A320 pulling in to the gate

photo img_9322

B6 E190 pulling in to the gate

photo img_9323

The Flight



Shortly after boarding was completed, the doors were closed and we pushed back from the gate a few minutes early. An announcement was made from the cockpit that we would need to wait in line for deicing behind several aircraft.

photo img_9325

There must have been quite a few aircraft in front of us waiting for deicing as the wait was rather long.

Luckily, once it was our turn, the deicing process was quick.

photo img_9324

By the time we were taxiing again, it had been over an hour since we had pushed back from the gate.

photo img_9327

Taxi was quick and there was no line for the runway so we were off in minutes.

photo img_9329

Snowy Crystal City, Arlington, VA

photo img_9330photo img_9331

As it was a very short flight, the cabin crew wasted no time in beginning the in-flight service.

I had a Bailey's and coffee and a few items from the snack basket. I was surprised the coffee was served in a cardboard cup. Back in the US Airways days it was normal, but coffee mugs have been used since the merger. I've had real mugs on smaller American Eagle E170/175s and CRJ700/900s, so I'm not sure why they used cardboard–maybe it was due to the slight turbulence.

photo img_9332

With a flight time under an hour, we weren't at cruising altitude for very long and began making our descent into Boston where, according to the news from the cockpit, the conditions were moderate snow.

photo img_9333

Yep, it's snowing alright.

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Whoa, we came awfully close to that cargo ship! Hopefully it was just perspective.

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Despite the hour wait for deicing at DCA, we made up some time in flight and landed with only about a 30 minute delay so I still had plenty of time to make my connection to DFW.

photo img_9340photo img_9341

View of our E190 on deplaning.

photo img_9342

A319 deicing at the gate next door. Deicing at the gate is so much more efficient than waiting in line like at DCA! Of course, it requires more equipment and labor, but it makes for faster turnaround times during snow events.

photo img_9343

Thanks for reading!
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Verdict

American Airlines

6.5/10
Cabin7.0
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Meal/catering4.5

Washington - DCA

8.6/10
Efficiency8.0
Access9.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

Boston - BOS

8.1/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Overall a pretty average flight in domestic First. The refurbished cabins look much fresher than the worn out old PMUS cabins these E190s had until recently. The crew was friendly throughout the very short flight and checked on drinks regularly--I was offered two refills. However, it didn't feel very premium to be served drinks in cardboard and plastic cups. Like most AA aircraft, this E190 was equipped with WiFi. I didn't pay for the WiFi, but it was convenient for checking on flight status as use of the AA app and AA.com is free.

Information on the route Washington (DCA) Boston (BOS)

The contributors of Flight-Report published 4 reviews of 2 airlines on the route Washington (DCA) → Boston (BOS).


Useful

The airline with the best average rating is JetBlue Airways with 8.0/10.

The average flight time is 1 hours and 25 minutes.

  More information

10 Comments

  • Comment 439254 by
    757Fan 505 Comments

    Looks like a good flight with AA, Kevin. Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to the rest of your reports here.

    Best - Matthew

    • Comment 439368 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4740 Comments

      Thanks Matthew! As far as shorthaul F goes, it was fine. The reports get more exciting as we go into the series, the pièce de résistance being the 3rd and last report on the 789 :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 439259 by
    Shisdu SILVER 651 Comments

    Will you please ask AA what kind of sorcery they have made to tuck three first class seats in a row into an embraer??? :O

    I see you were very tough with them in the meal category. You dont like your nuts in a bag? Who do you think you are? Cho Hyun-ah? XDDD

    • Comment 439370 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4740 Comments

      Hola Nelson! Haha...they should use that sorcery to make pre-departure drinks appear magically! AA is terrible about doing PDB service in domestic F. But in reality, the 1-2 configuration is pretty standard for domestic premium cabin on E-Jets, which are a comfortable 2-2 with 18.5" wide seats in Economy (ironically the widest Y seats in the AA fleet). The 1-2 configuration is certainly better that the 2-2 in J on European carriers' E-jets.

      "You dont like your nuts in a bag? Who do you think you are? Cho Hyun-ah?"
      - Hah! While I do prefer my nuts warm and in a ramekin, much like Ms. Cho, I would not ask the aircraft to return to the gate ^^
      The below average catering grade is more for the lack of utilisation of proper premium cabin service items (i.e. real glasses and ceramic coffee cups). Using cardboard cups for coffee and plastic cups for drinks up front is a bit too LCC-esque.

      Thanks for your comments!

  • Comment 439611 by
    loukas SILVER 287 Comments

    Hi Kevin! Wow, what a trip for one day! It looks a little bit like my whole SE Asian trip judging by the number of flights ;) These kind of trips, especially in the winter, usually become adventures but strangely the factor in your case wasn't the weather. I didn't know that DCA looks so ... classic! A little bit like a gothic cathedral or an old market hall, very unusual architecture for an airport terminal. I'm a little bit fed up with E-jets as I see to many of them everyday above my head but I see you had quite a decent flight onboard this one. Have a good one!

    • Comment 439701 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4740 Comments

      Hey Loukas! Haha yeah, this trip turned into more flights that I would have wanted, but it all worked out in the end. Yes, this trip was risky in the winter and it is ironic that it wasn't the snow that messed me up. DCA is a beautiful airport. You're right, it does look like a mix of a Gothic cathedral and old market hall. I would even say an old Victorian train station. Personally I really like E-jets. If you're stuck flying in Y, E-jets are more comfortable than mainline narrowbodies, In the premium cabin, it's a bit less nice than a mainline aircraft though. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 439873 by
    CounterSurprise 72 Comments

    Hi Kevin, thanks for the report and it looks like a good short flight you had with AA. That ship DID look close to me too! As you may remember, I’m a total fan for DCA so great to see that airport again! Looking forward to the next parts. Merci pour le FR et a bientôt !!

    • Comment 439989 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4740 Comments

      Hi CounterSurprise, thanks for your comments! Yes, DCA is beautiful. It never gets old flying from DCA, or IAD.

      "That ship DID look close to me too! "
      - Yeah, it really freaked me out. I'm not sure if we were too close flying too low or if it was just a perspective thing.

      Merci à bientôt!

  • Comment 440128 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR with us!

    All of that in one day??? Wow, to say the least.

    “Whoa, we came awfully close to that cargo ship”
    - Made for an extremely cool shot though. I feel terrible writing this, safety should of course be at top, hopefully it was solely about perspective as you mentioned.

    Have a good one, see you in the next one.

    • Comment 440564 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4740 Comments

      Thanks for stopping by Rl 777!

      "All of that in one day??? Wow, to say the least."
      - Haha yep! I'd done it before, but it had been a few years. Glad I did it in the premium cabin, I wouldn't have been able to do that in Y like I used to years ago.

      "Made for an extremely cool shot though."
      - I agree. It made for a rare shot if anything, and I can definitely appreciate that

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