Review of American Airlines flight Washington Los Angeles in Economy

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA163
Class Economy
Seat 09F
Aircraft Boeing 737 MAX 8
Flight time 06:11
Take-off 17 Dec 18, 17:20
Arrival at 17 Dec 18, 20:31
AA   #71 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 410 reviews
ISTFlyer
By GOLD 1126
Published on 31st January 2019

Welcome to this new series of Flight-Reports which is actually a combination of three flights in two different itineraries. The first itinerary would only include a transcontinental flight onboard American Airlines 737-8MAX aircraft and the second one would include two flights with British Airways onboard their A380-800 aircraft and their A320 aircraft.


The first flight of this serie would be this American Airlines transcontinental flight from Washington Reagan to Los Angeles onboard their 737-MAX-8 aircraft in the Main Cabin Extra cabin. This would be my first time on any Boeing 737 MAX series aircraft and I have heard many positive and negative feedback about this type of aircraft and now it's time to review it. This report would also include a short visit to the Admirals Club in DCA Terminal C.



Pax for this flight

Domestic First: %100
Main Cabin: %90-95

Several middle seats in the Main Cabin were empty throughout the flight.


Trip Overview: 

Due to a schedule change, I had need to head westbound for several days. Most airlines had lower fares than usual for this specific date such as Spirit Airlines had a fare of $82 while I booked this ticket. I also had cabin baggage and checked baggage so taking an Uber to BWI and paying the extra charge for baggages at Spirit would pay off the difference between NK and AA. That's why I decided to fly American for $183 which isn't that bad. United had a fare of $167 for the same date but I needed to pay an extra baggage fee.


ONLINE CHECK-IN


I had already selected seat 9F while booking this flight. As 737 exit seats doesn't have a legroom difference than front cabin seats, I've decided to sit at the front. Due to my oneworld Sapphire status, I was able to reserve Main Cabin Extra seats for free.


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The morning of the flight, I have spotted the incoming aircraft. N314RH would be the 737-MAX-8 taking me to Los Angeles.


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WASHINGTON RONALD REAGAN AIRPORT - DCA


The American Priority entrance is located at the end of Terminal B.


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The check-in area was empty while I've entered the terminal and my baggages were checked within 3 minutes. It's interesting that in DCA passengers ( even Priority ) should take their baggage to the TSA baggage inspection zone as the check-in desks are not connected to the screening area.


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DCA has great views for spotting planes. Before passing security screening, this AA 321 heading to Miami was the first one to have been taken a shot.


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N889NN was parked at Terminal B, getting ready for its flight to Dallas.


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This Republic ( AA Eagle ) ERJ-175 would head to Huntsville after a short while


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Another Republic ERJ-175 (N120HQ) had just been arrived from Minneapolis as AA 4636


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Then, it was time to clear security. The priority lane and the regular lane at this checkpoint merges at some point but I have cleared this checkpoint within 10 minutes.


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Then it was time to head to the Admirals Club. The one in Terminal C is the old US Airways Club.


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While entering the lounge, the agent at the front desk verified my status at British Airways and gave me drink coupons. These coupons are given to AA International transfer passengers seated in First/Business class, or non AAdvantage oneworld Sapphire & Emerald members.


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The lounge was crowded when I've entered the lounge. Most tables were occupied by one person but there were some available seating at the bar and the area facing the bar.


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The main bar, mainly having finger food including chips, olives, cheese


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Soups were also offered.


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Water and nut bar. There is another bar that has cookies and brownies that I haven't taken a photo of.


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There was also a Guac bar that offered Guacamole with chips.


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My selection today


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Today I have grabbed two bottles of water from the bar with my coupon because I was in a mood to drink coffee at that time and there wasn't enough time to have another drink.


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The lounge has a great view of the apron. The second aircraft is our B38M that would take me to Los Angeles.


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It's also possible to see the other side of the lounge.


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Boarding Pass


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GATE AREA & BOARDING


While I arrived to the gate they were boarding group 4. I have directly jumped to the Priority lane before regular boarding begins.


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Our aircraft at gate 40


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Fuselage shot


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AA 163 WASHINGTON RONALD REAGAN AIRPORT TO LOS ANGELES AIRPORT


Seat

The new AA seats were comfortable. The legroom at Main Cabin Extra seats are great but it's tighter than the same product in A321 aircraft.


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Each seat has a USB port


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A power supply


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And a phone/tablet placer


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Overhead panel - In B38M aircraft, the overhead bins are larger than other aircraft so the overhead panels are in a lower altitude than usual.


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The safety demo was done manually as we pushed back 7 minutes before scheduled departure time.
This A319 was parked at gate 42 


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This A319 would head to Charlotte as AA 443


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We're pushing back


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Republic Airlines dominates American Eagle regional product here in DCA, this ERJ-175 would head to Pittsburgh


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N875NN is getting ready for a short flight to New York-JFK


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Terminal B which is dominated by American Airlines


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N702TW was also heading to Los Angeles like us.


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The other part of Terminal B


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Terminal A - Which serves Southwest and Frontier


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And it's our time to take off


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We're in the skies


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DC Wharf area


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Washington Monument & The National Mall


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Foggy Bottom area - George Washington University


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Georgetown area


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Wisconsin Avenue


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We're gaining altitude


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Spring Valley, DC


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Westgate, MD


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Bannockburn, MD


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Reston, VA


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IFE - AA 163 WASHONGTON RONALD REAGAN AIRPORT TO LOS ANGLES AIRPORT


Today, mobile entertainment was offered onboard alongside with the high-speed Wi-Fi which was provided by Viasat "AAInflightWifi". 


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Mobile IFE menu. There are only movies and TV shows in this entertainment system. A route map is not available on AA mobile IFE systems which I see as a huge minus.


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The seat pocket was full during this flight; it contained the American Way magazine and the Nexus magazine


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Our aircraft in the fleet section


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LAX Terminal Map - AA operates mainly at T4 & T5 and sometimes TBIT.


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AA West Coast destinations


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The rest of the seat pocket content


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Huntington, KY


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MEAL - AA 163 WASHINGTON RONALD REAGAN AIRPORT TO Los Angeles AIRPORT


The meal service started 1 hour after takeoff, the menu for December looked like this.


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Drink menu


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The main selections were also available for pre-order at aa.com


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Like all AA domestic flights, pretzels and Biscoff biscuits are complimentary alongside with soft drinks.


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Lexington, KY


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Louisville, KY


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Evansville, KY


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Compared to other narrow body aircraft, the lavatories of B38M aircraft are too small. They were clean while I visited them. These are photos from the front lavatory.


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Mobile IFE streaming is also available on laptops


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Today's selections


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A flashback


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The usage of AA app is complimentary and doesn't require paid internet subscriptions.


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Also, I was able to check the status of my checked bags.


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1h30 before landing another drink service was done by the cabin attendants.


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Massive wing and engine of the B38M aircraft


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Chino, CA


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Downtown LA


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Southern suburbs


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Home Depot & Target


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We're continuing our descend


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Westchester area


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We're almost there


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And we have touched down 1 hour earlier than the scheduled arrival time


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At the runway


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The window view was blurry after we left the runway. That's why there is no spotting at LAX. We have been hold for 15 minutes at the hangar area as our parking position was occupied at that time. Then we have headed to Terminal 5.


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Los Angeles INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - LAX


We had arrived to gate 50A at Terminal 5. A last view of our aircraft from the terminal


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Arrivals FIDS


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Even though, the American app showed that our bags would be delivered to carousel 2, American only has one carousel at Terminal 5 which is carousel 1 and that was were our baggage was been delivered. After a wait of 15 minutes baggages from DCA started to arrive with Priority baggages being first. Both of my bags were within the first 10 bags.


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Then it was time to leave the airport. Accessing this airport within a reasonable time is almost impossible during rush hour as my pickup was entering the airport while we were still being hold near the runway but it couldn't make it to Terminal 5 when I've left the terminal.


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So, this report has came to and end. Thanks for reading this report and hope you to see you in another one.

See more

Verdict

American Airlines

7.8/10
Cabin8.5
Cabin crew8.0
Entertainment/wifi8.5
Meal/catering6.0

US Airways US Airways Club

5.5/10
Comfort6.0
Meal/catering4.0
Entertainment/wifi6.0
Services6.0

Washington - DCA

8.8/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Los Angeles - LAX

4.9/10
Efficiency3.0
Access3.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness7.5

Conclusion

As I hold a Oneworld Sapphire status and that non-AA elites could use all the privileges that AA elites could use, in addition to the lounge benefit, AA is one of my top choices in US domestic itineraries. This time I was lucky to find a cheap fare from DCA to LAX and I wanted to experience the 737-MAX-8 so I specifically chose this flight. The airport experience was OK as everything seemed fine. Just it was strange that AA doesn't offer a porter service for their Priority pax and they need to take their baggages to the screening point. I remember LH hired porters for their F&J pax & elites at BOS and LAX when the auto baggage system wasn't introduced at these airports. The lounge is a classic US domestic lounge and of course being a non Oneworld elite gave advantage of having two premium drinks for free. The flight was great as the Main Cabin Extra seats have great legroom but less than their 737-800's. The meal service in AA is a not that good as DL offers a full meal on this route and AA offers biscuits & pretzels for free and some BoB items which are too expensive. The PED IFE and the high-speed internet onboard this flight was great and made the whole flight enjoyable. The crew was also good and they have done a drink run prior arrival ( which some crews skipped in my previous flights ). Arrival to LAX on AA flight is always a disaster as it takes minutes that AA arranges an available parking spot. Even though, our aircraft was parked to the nearest gate to the baggage carousel, it took 15 minutes for my baggage to arrive. Luckily it was one of the first ten bags.

DCA
(+) Check-in, security wait times
(+) Boarding on time with priorities being respected
(-) Need to take your baggage to TSA as DCA doesn't have an electronic system for that
AA Admirals Club
(+) Friendly staff
(-) Crowded and difficult to find seats
(-) Simple offerings and old furniture
AA163
(+) The perfect personal device IFE system
(+) Comfort and legroom at Main Cabin Extra seats
(+) Nice touch of having a phone holder at each seat
(+) Toilets were kept clean during the flight
(-) Missing route map on the PED IFE
(-) BoB service doesn't have reasonable options
LAX
(-) Waiting for an available parking spot
(-) Baggage waiting time
(-) Huge unorganized traffic at the arrivals level

Information on the route Washington (DCA) Los Angeles (LAX)

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