Review of American Airlines flight Charlotte Washington in First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA1733
Class First
Seat 1A
Aircraft Airbus A319
Flight time 01:15
Take-off 21 Sep 18, 17:45
Arrival at 21 Sep 18, 19:00
AA   #75 out of 123 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 348 reviews
KévinDC
By SILVER 1174
Published on 28th October 2018

Introduction


Hello and welcome to the fourth and last segment in this series of Flight-Reports,

Having just gotten back to DC from my annual birthday trip home to France (reports here and here ), I needed to cross the pond again as I had to be in Madrid for the week of 17 September. I had originally put together an itinerary that included one leg on the new Iberia A350, unfortunately it didn't work out in the end, which was disappointing as an AvGeek. Alas, the reports in this series won't be anything new, as I've reported all aircraft but one in the past. Still, it's always worth doing Flight-Reports, even on one's "shuttle"–in my case, that would be IAD-LHR on the British Airways B747-400.

This short report will cover the quick one hour hop from Charlotte to Washington-Dulles on a recently refurbished pre-merger US Airways A319.

Routing:

Washington Dulles IAD ✈ London Heathrow LHR | British Airways, B747-400, Business class
London Heathrow LHR ✈ Madrid Barajas MAD| Iberia, A321-200, Business class
Madrid Barajas MAD ✈ Charlotte Douglas CLT | American Airlines, A330-200, Business class
Charlotte Douglas CLT ✈ Washington Dulles IAD| American Airlines, A319-100, Domestic First
 


CLT Admirals Club


Though my flight to DC was due to depart from Concourse B, I learned from the AA app that the smaller Admirals Club in Concourse B was closed for renovations, so I headed to the main Admirals Club located at the entrance to Concourse C.

The lounge is large with nice tarmac views and a cool dome, but it was very crowded.


photo 2018-09-21_16-13-00_597


One new-ish feature in AA Admirals clubs are fresh-made guacamole stations 
 


photo 2018-09-21_16-13-27_634


Whenever I pass through the Charlotte Concourse C Admirals Club, I try to get a seat in the main section under the dome, mostly because there are good tarmac views…

But also because other parts of the lounge feel claustrophobic when it's crowded.
 


photo 2018-09-21_16-13-51_857


As there is no Flagship Lounge in CLT (Upgraded AA lounges restricted to Intl First/Business passengers and oneworld Elites on Intl itineraries), I was given two "Premium Drink" vouchers upon checking in at the desk. Intl First/Business passengers receive these vouchers in Admirals Clubs as only some beers and wine are complimentary–all other drinks considered "premium" are for purchase at the bar. 

I decided to make the most of my vouchers and went for a glass of champagne, an Ayala Brut Majeur, which would normally be charge $15 per glass.
  


photo 2018-09-21_16-16-50_115


Though not a high-end champagne at about $40 a bottle, it's a nice change to have a real champagne in the Admirals Club, where previously only Prosecco, Cava, or California Sparkling were available. 

I had just enough time to enjoy two glasses before I had to leave to head to the gate.
 


photo 2018-09-21_16-18-43_227


There are nice views from the Admirals Club, though being that CLT is an AA fortress hub with AA flight making up more than 90% of traffic, I can't say the scenery is very varied, at least livery-wise.
 


photo 2018-09-21_16-18-20_969photo 2018-09-21_16-18-25_106

Boarding



I was pleasantly surprised to learn from an AA app notification that my flight's gate had moved to Concourse C, which was a much shorter walk than the original gate.

Here is my ride for today, a pre-merger US Airways A319
 


photo 2018-09-21_17-05-21_120


The recently reconfigured PMUS A319 fleet has a smaller F cabin, which has gone from 3 rows of 12 seats to only 2 rows of 8 seats.
    


photo 2018-09-21_17-21-09_313photo 2018-09-21_17-21-26_442


I had selected seat 1A, which I prefer when travelling alone as it's easier to get out from the window seat.
  


photo aa-clt-iad-seatmap


The new domestic First class seats being installed on the PMUS narrowbody Airbus fleet and PMAA 737s as part of the "Oasis" densification project are the Rockwell-Collins MiQ model, the same seat model as long-haul Premium Economy.
   


photo 2018-09-21_17-21-11_762

My seat 1A


The legroom in the first row on these refurbished A319s is pretty tight compared to other PMUS A320s and A321s in the old configuration, which are already tighter that bulkhead rows on PMAA aircraft. 

There wasn't enough room to stretch my legs out straight. 


photo 2018-09-21_17-21-44_739


There is storage underneath the center armrest as well as a power outlet. 
 


photo 2018-09-21_17-23-31_703


Being on a PMUS aircraft with a PMUS crew, there was no doubt that a PDB would be served, unlike flying PMAA metal where's it's always a tossup. 

I had a gin & tonic
 


photo 2018-09-21_17-25-48_286


Another shot showing how right the space is in the first row.
 


photo 2018-09-21_17-26-17_413

The flight



We pushed back on time. The FAs did a manual safety briefing as usual on PMUS aircraft since there is no IFE.
   


photo 2018-09-21_17-49-53_932photo 2018-09-21_17-53-13_733


Taxiing past the international concourse. I think one of those A330s was my ride from Madrid.
 


photo 2018-09-21_17-53-39_030


I was surprised when Lufthansa decided to keep flying to CLT after the AA/US merger and US Airways' switch to oneworld from Star Alliance.  It seems it was the right decision as they're still operating to CLT 5 years later. It's always good to have competition. 
  


photo 2018-09-21_17-54-41_974


Taxi was relatively short despite the busy evening departure bank. 

Takeoff with a view of downtown Charlotte. 
 


photo 2018-09-21_18-05-13_518


Shortly after takeoff, the lead FA working First class began the inflight service.

I had a Woodword Reserve Bourbon on the rocks.

 


photo 2018-09-21_18-14-15_948


Then the snack basket was passed through the cabin. As the flight time is under an hour, there is obviously no meal service.
  


photo 2018-09-21_18-21-14_958


The FA was very friendly and efficient–he managed to do a second round of drinks on such a short flight. 
 


photo 2018-09-21_18-15-02_615


Pretty sunset colours out the window as we began out descent.
 


photo 2018-09-21_18-42-24_548


Our route took us just north of Dulles airport before doing a 360 and heading back south for landing.

We crossed the Potomac River twice in the process. 


photo 2018-09-21_18-55-23_732


Never-ending construction on the Metro Silver line. 

  


photo 2018-09-21_18-57-49_629


We landed at 6:55 PM and got to the gate right about on time.

 


photo 2018-09-21_18-59-36_213


We parked at gate B73, just down from another AA A319, but this one from the PMAA side (with AVOD).
 


photo 2018-09-21_19-02-59_163


I'm home! 
 


photo 2018-09-21_19-10-36_020

Thanks for reading and see you for a future series of report!

See more

Verdict

American Airlines

7.0/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment6.0
Meal/catering6.0

American Airlines Admirals Club Concourse C

5.5/10
Comfort6.0
Meal/catering5.0
Entertainment6.0
Services5.0

Charlotte - CLT

6.9/10
Efficiency6.5
Access7.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness7.0

Washington - IAD

8.1/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

After a disappointing Transatlantic flight, this short hop home to DC was a pleasant surprise. The crew were very friendly and attentive. One thing I like about pre-merger US Airways crews is that you never have to wonder whether you'll get a pre-departure drink. You do, every time, and it's open bar. The new seats are nice--they are exactly the same seat model as the long-haul Premium Economy seat. However, the legroom in the first row is a bit tight and it's a shame that in the retrofit, AA took the First cabin down from 3 rows to only 2.

Related

10 Comments

  • Comment 472263 by
    ThomasDutch 43 Comments

    I must say that legroom is very very poor for a business class seat. Though love to see those ''stroopwafels'' now frequently being served outside the Netherlands.

    • Comment 472358 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4406 Comments

      Hi Thomas, thanks for your comments! Yes, legroom is bad for Business class. In my opinion, AA are really going overboard with densification of the aircraft cabins. It's one thing to reduce seat pitch in Economy, but reducing the legroom in the premium cabins makes no sense--along with the shrinking of the first/business cabins it's like they want to drive away premium business.

      Stroopwafels are delicious and very popular here in the US. I think AA and UA both serve Stroopwafels on short flights, not sure about DL. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Comment 472350 by
    eminere™ 267 Comments

    The passenger seated next to you was barefoot?! Revolting.

  • Comment 472362 by
    ashleyyau 200 Comments

    Thanks for this report Kevin! I am curious if this ticket allows you to change arriving at DCA if possible?
    As an AA hub, AA tails look spectacular in CLT^^ But the retrofitted F seat legroom is so poor, even worse then the retrofitted UA A32X IME lol Glad to know you have the nice ex-US crews at the end.

    • Comment 472378 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4406 Comments

      Hi Ashley, thanks for your comments! Yes, this was a flexible J ticket so changes of airports were possible. I was actually originally supposed to arrive back at DCA, but had to change to IAD last minute. Yes, the legroom is really bad. At least they kept the bulkhead wall between F and Y. They shoved in so many seats on the 737 MAX and the 738s they're retrofitting to match the MAX configuration that they had to take out the divider wall between F and Y.

  • Comment 472541 by
    KL651 TEAM 4135 Comments

    Thanks for this FR gurrl
    Nice to see you had a freindly crew to help you forget the previous one.
    It's weird that service practices still vary according to which crew group you fly with, that should be unified.
    Nice views as always when you approach DC it seems.

    • Comment 472780 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4406 Comments

      Mmmm Hmmm....after that hot mess of a crew on the last flight, it was nice to have a nice crew that actually did their jobs (and well)!

      "It's weird that service practices still vary according to which crew group you fly with, that should be unified."
      - It is, and the fact that there's still some FAs wearing old US Airways uniforms on top of all the service inconsistencies just looks messy.

  • Comment 472694 by
    loukas SILVER 231 Comments

    Hi Kevin, many thanks for this report. Sometimes a short hop may be nicer than a long haul flight as it was in this case. The barefoot guy sitting next to you looks somehow strange as for the business class, but I understand that's another example of the southern "buddy" style introduced by the FA on your previous flight ;)

    • Comment 472781 by
      KévinDC TEAM SILVER AUTHOR 4406 Comments

      Hey Loukas! I'm glad this last flight was good that way I could end the trip on a good note after a disappointing transatlantic flight. Yeah, haha the South can be very laid back. Thanks for your comments!

Login to post a comment.