Review of American Airlines flight Philadelphia San Juan in Business

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA2028
Class Business
Seat 5H
Aircraft Airbus A330-200
Flight time 03:40
Take-off 17 Feb 18, 08:05
Arrival at 17 Feb 18, 12:45
AA   #64 out of 122 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 341 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 1222
Published on 3rd May 2018
Hello and welcome to a short new series of Flight-Reports.

Every year we choose a different destination for the U.S. Presidents' day Holiday weekend. In past years we've squeezed far flung destinations in Europe or the Middle East into a long weekend; however, with a busy travel year ahead, this time we decided on Puerto Rico as it's a relatively short flight from the East Coast. Puerto Rico's tourism industry has taken quite a hit since the devastation brought by two Category 5 hurricanes in the fall of 2017, so this felt like one small way of contributing to the recovery. Just a few months after the hurricanes, "La isla del encanto" was as charming as ever and I was impressed by the resilience of the Puerto Rican people I met, many of whom still had no electricity in late February.

Although I believe US Airways may have previously flown DCA-SJU nonstop, there are currently no nonstops with American Airlines so we had to connect through one of AA's East Coast hubs. I specifically routed through PHL on the outbound flight for the A330–I love that AA frequently flies widebodies domestically and to the Caribbean.

There will be two reports in this series. The shorter flights will not be reported, though I will have a short section on the DCA-PHL flight in this report.

Philadelphia PHL ✈ San Juan SJU | American Airlines, A330-200, Business Class
San Juan, PR SJU ✈ Charlotte CLT | American Airlines, A321-200, Business Class

photo dca-sju routing
It almost looks like the Bermuda Triangle doesn't it?

Flight AA1645 DCA-PHL



The day started out early in the morning at DCA for a 6:30 AM flight. Routing through Philly to catch the A330 down to San Juan meant an early departure, which worked out perfectly as it would get us into SJU early enough to have some exploring and beach time that day.

Our A320 for this short 45 minute hop to PHL

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As usual on LUS (Legacy US Airways) metal, PDBs were served. I had a coffee and Baileys–a healthy breakfast drink ^^

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The LUS Airbus narrowbody fleet cabins have recently been updated to the post-merger new American grey

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We pushed back a few minutes early and were treated to some nice views of DC in the early morning light.

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We took off heading north and then headed Northeast with view of the entire city

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The Chesapeake Bay and Chesapeake Bay bridge

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For a short 45 minute flight, the service was very attentive with the cheerful cabin crew managing several refills and passes of the snack basket.

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View of the seats upon deplaning.



Boarding - AA2028 PHL-SJU



The connection in PHL was only scheduled at 35 minutes; however, as we arrived about 15 minutes early, we had plenty of time to get from Terminal B to Terminal A-West

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And here is our ride to San Juan–N285AY, an 8-year old A330-200

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Boarding had already begun when we arrived at the gate–we were able to board immediately through the Priority lane.

From the back, the Business cabin still look a lot like it did in the US Airways Envoy class days…

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However, the seat upholstery has been updated to the post-merger AA colour palette.

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US Airways was the first airline to introduce the, now common, Zodiac Cirrus reverse-herringbone Business class seats. Though the seats are beginning to look a bit outdated compared to newer versions they are still plenty comfortable and spacious.

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There is ample legroom, though the ottomans are a bit smaller than those found in the Cirrus seats on AA's B777-300ER fleet due to the narrower fuselage of the A330.

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A friendly flight attendant introduced herself just as soon as I was settled in and offered pre-departure beverages.

As is the standard for domestic flight, my sparkling wine was served in a plastic cup. Fancy 🧐

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Let's explore the features of the seat.

Off to the side we have a reading light, headphone jack, USB port, universal power outlet, and the IFE remote control.

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The seat controls are found to the side.

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Just underneath we find the tray table stowage.

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In my opinion, these new grey bulkheads, though plain, have an overall cleaner look than the previous faux-wood US Airways bulkheads.

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The Flight



Boarding was quick and we pushed back 2 minutes early

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The safety video played as we pushed back

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I love how 757s look in the new AA livery

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LUS A330-200

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Taxi was quick at this hour of the morning and we were off

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Nice views of Philly on a beautiful clear day

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The IFE screen is on the small side on the A330

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But the content is the same as on other aircraft.

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For airshow geeks, the moving map isn't the most updated version but still decent



Flying over the southern tip of New Jersey

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Wildwood and Cape May, NJ

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The service began shortly after takeoff with drinks. I had a mimosa as it was brunch time.

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There were two hot options for breakfast, stealcut oatmeal or biscuits topped with scrambled eggs and chorizo gravy. I went for the latter and it was quite tasty–an interesting spicy play on traditional Southern biscuits and gravy.

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The flight attendant working our side was very friendly and attentive–she was in the cabin regularly checking on passengers and offering drink refills

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After breakfast I started watching a movie and took a quick nap. When I awoke, we were almost in San Juan.

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Blue tropical waters below

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First sight of land

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The cabin prior to landing

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I always enjoy flying in and out of the Caribbean for the beautiful water.

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I never realised San Juan was so spread out.

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It just goes on and on

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Almost there

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With our early departure from PHL we landed early

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It's always nice to arrive early when only visiting for a weekend! More time to enjoy this beautiful island.

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Thanks for reading!
See more

Verdict

American Airlines

8.5/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.0
Entertainment8.5
Meal/catering7.5

Philadelphia - PHL

7.8/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness7.5

San Juan - SJU

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

A widebody with lie-flat seats and aisle-access on a 3 hour domestic flight is about as good as it gets for short-haul. The cabin crew were very friendly and attentive. The IFE was decent with good content, though the screen is on the small size. Catering was good for a breakfast flight, which is never super exciting; I enjoyed the biscuits and gravy. Overall, a very nice experience up front for a 3 hour domestic flight.

Related

18 Comments

  • Comment 443556 by
    KL651 TEAM 4000 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    The lie flat seat is a real game changer on an early morning 3 hour flight.
    Catering looks good and original but given the duration of the flight, a cookie snack should offered prior landing.
    Looking forward to the bonus on Puerto Rico ;)

    • Comment 443626 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4314 Comments

      Yes! After getting up at 3AM to catch the early flight, it's definitely nice to have a lie-flat seat to get a bit more sleep comfortably. They may have passed around the snack basket later in the flight, not sure since I was sleeping. I'll make sure to have a Puerto Rico bonus in the return FR :-)

  • Comment 443579 by
    TheWindowSeat 91 Comments

    I have promised myself that if I ever fly domestic in the US, it will be in First or Business ! Lovely report as always and love the enthusiasm also as always !

    • Comment 443627 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4314 Comments

      Thank you :-)

      First/Business can vary wildly depending on the route and aircraft type, but US carriers have begun to price F/J reasonably over the past few years. You can often find transcon J around $800 R/T, often with lie-flat seats.

  • Comment 443644 by
    SKYTEAMCHC TEAM GOLD 6249 Comments

    Thanks for sharing Kevin. Nice and confortable cabin, good crew and a meal I would have enjoyed : American has really improved !

  • Comment 443671 by
    loukas SILVER 221 Comments

    Thanks for a very nice report, Kevin. It’s funny that for you in the US East Coast a trip to the Caribbean is like for us in Europe a hop to the Mediterranean. Great aerial shots, as always. AA seems to be really improving its services and leaving United far behind. Have a nice weekend!

    • Comment 444223 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4314 Comments

      Hi Loukas!

      "It’s funny that for you in the US East Coast a trip to the Caribbean is like for us in Europe a hop to the Mediterranean."
      - Haha yeah, from Northern or Eastern Europe, for Western though maybe more like a trip to the Canaries or Azores since it's a 3h flight

      "AA seems to be really improving its services and leaving United far behind. "
      - Agree, especially with United recently announcing they are making big cuts to domestic First/Business catering. As if UA didn't have a bad enough reputation, it's like their trying to lose all their premium passengers.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 443816 by
    757Fan 443 Comments

    Nice report, Kevin. Looks like you had a great flight on the A330 with AA. That breakfast looks really good; I love Biscuits and Gravy, and so I'm getting hungry seeing those photos. Kudos to AA for offering something a bit different than the typical "omelet" or "cereal" for breakfast in F on domestic flights.

    Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to seeing your next report!

    • Comment 444225 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4314 Comments

      Hi Matthew, thanks for your comments. I went to college in the South so I definitely love biscuits and gravy! It is a nice change from the same old omelet or cereal normal served in domestic F on US carriers. Thanks for stopping by

  • Comment 444011 by
    FlightGuy_2401 4 Comments

    Hey there Kevin! Thanks for the report!
    "As is the standard for domestic flight, my sparkling wine was served in a plastic cup. Fancy 🧐"
    I agree 😂
    " I went for the latter and it was quite tasty–an interesting spicy play on traditional Southern biscuits and gravy."
    I am a fan of biscuits with gravy so......good choice mate.
    Besides, it is touching how you point to the disastrous hurricanes that clearly destroyed property, but have not dented the people's determination.
    And boy are your pictures amazing ( especially the views on taking off from DC )

    All in all, thanks for that amazing report. Cheers !!

    • Comment 444226 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4314 Comments

      Hi FlightGuy, thanks for your comments!

      "Besides, it is touching how you point to the disastrous hurricanes that clearly destroyed property, but have not dented the people's determination."
      - Thank you. Yes, I was definitely impressed with the great positive attitudes the people had in PR despite all the difficulties they've experienced

      "And boy are your pictures amazing"
      - Appreciate the compliment 😊

  • Comment 444102 by
    707Bob 6 Comments

    Loved the report. I’m flying LAX to Barbados later on in the year AA first (LAX to Miami) and business class (Miami to Barbados) so I am always on the look out to see what the flight service levels are like.
    I can’t wait.

    • Comment 444227 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4314 Comments

      Hi 707Bob, thanks for much for your comments, glad you enjoyed the report! Sometimes AA runs 777s and 767s between LAX and MIA--hopefully you for one of those, as the A321s and 737s also flying the route aren't quite as nice of an experience. Enjoy your trip!

  • Comment 444370 by
    socalnow GOLD 689 Comments

    Thanks for the report Kevin and thank you for supporting the economy of Puerto Rico. It's nice when a leisure trip can have a social impact as well.

    "As usual on LUS (Legacy US Airways) metal, PDBs were served. "
    -I was thinking maybe you need to publish a guide on AA and what to expect based on aircraft type, crewing, etc. But maybe it could be as short as "look for LUS aircraft and hubs for a better experience."?

    "As is the standard for domestic flight, my sparkling wine was served in a plastic cup. Fancy "
    -Wouldn't it have been plastic regardless of destination?

    "A widebody with lie-flat seats and aisle-access on a 3 hour domestic flight is about as good as it gets for short-haul. "
    -We summed up. Add in a nice breakfast and drinks and it's a win.

    Thanks again for the FR and happy flying.

    • Comment 446211 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4314 Comments

      Hey Socalnow, thanks for your thoughtful comments and sorry for the delay in responding.

      "It's nice when a leisure trip can have a social impact as well."
      - Indeed it is. I've been amazed that so many people still think Puerto Rico is basically shut down for business/tourism. That misinformation isn't helping the PR Economy, so I've been encouraging people to go for months and have had several friends plan trips!

      "I was thinking maybe you need to publish a guide on AA and what to expect based on aircraft type, crewing, etc. But maybe it could be as short as "look for LUS aircraft and hubs for a better experience."?"
      - Haha, well as my return flight on an LUS A321 shows...the experience is only better when you get an intl configured aircraft--otherwise LUS domestic metal is a pretty basic experience. However, LUS crews are consistently friendly and attentive, which makes for a more predictable experience than LAA IME.

      "Wouldn't it have been plastic regardless of destination?"
      - True! Though the plastic PDB cups on Intl look had stems. Those are the epitome of fancy plastic cups. For some reason DL seems to be able to serve PDBs in real glasses (mostly Intl)--not sure why AA or UA can't manage it.

      Thanks for stopping by

  • Comment 444426 by
    Rl 777 812 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR with us!

    Wonderful morning shots.

    In my case, this may be the first time I read an FR on these A330s since the merger.

    The breakfast definitely looks more creative than offerings I have usually seen in other FRs, not bad.

    Great aerial shots before landing!

    Have a good one, see you.

    • Comment 446212 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4314 Comments

      Hi RI777. As always, thanks for your comments!

      "In my case, this may be the first time I read an FR on these A330s since the merger"
      - I'm glad I could bring something new for you :-)

      "The breakfast definitely looks more creative than offerings I have usually seen in other FRs, not bad."
      - I agree, it's much better than cereal or oatmeal, which is not "premium" at all

      Thanks for the kind words :-)

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