Review of American Airlines flight Charlotte Washington in Domestic First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA1733
Seat 1A
Aircraft Airbus A319
Flight time 01:15
Take-off 21 Sep 18, 17:45
Arrival at 21 Sep 18, 19:00
AA   #32 out of 66 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 508 reviews
By GOLD 1452
Published on 28th October 2018


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.


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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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

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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.

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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. 

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

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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

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

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The flight

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

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

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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. 

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Taxi was relatively short despite the busy evening departure bank. 

Takeoff with a view of downtown Charlotte. 

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

I had a Woodword Reserve Bourbon on the rocks.


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

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

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

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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. 

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Never-ending construction on the Metro Silver line. 


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


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

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I'm home! 

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

See more


American Airlines

Cabin crew8.5

American Airlines Admirals Club Concourse C


Charlotte - CLT


Washington - IAD



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.

Information on the route Charlotte (CLT) Washington (IAD)


If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 472263 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 545 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 GOLD AUTHOR 5606 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™ 274 Comments

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

  • Comment 472362 by
    aussenrist 225 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 GOLD AUTHOR 5606 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 4509 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 GOLD AUTHOR 5606 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 343 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 GOLD AUTHOR 5606 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!

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