Flight-Report

Review of American Airlines flight Washington Miami in First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA2347
Class First
Seat 6F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 02:47
Take-off 29 Jun 17, 10:22
Arrival at 29 Jun 17, 13:09
AA   #74 out of 128 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 371 reviews
KévinDC
By GOLD 715
Published on 11th April 2019

Introduction


This series of Flight-Reports will cover flights from the summer of 2017 that I hadn't gotten around to posting previously. 

For the past several years, it has become a tradition to take a yearly international trip with a group of 6-7 good friends. That year, we'd decided on a trip to Costa Rica, as I'd always wanted to go and, as luck would have it, there were some good First/Business fares from D.C. to San Jose.

As I'm usually the one who organizes the trips, I get to pick the carrier so, as a oneworld loyalist, I naturally chose American Airlines. Though United serves San Jose, Costa Rica with two daily non-stop flights from Washington-Dulles, American offered good connection through Miami. Of the big 3 U.S. carriers, American has the most service and frequencies to Latin America. 


Routing

  • Washington DCA ✈ Miami MIA : American Airlines, B737-800, First class You are here
  • Miami MIA ✈ San Jose SJO : American Airlines, B737-800, Business class Coming soon
  • San Jose SJO ✈ Miami MIA : American Airlines, B737-800, Business class Coming soon
  • Miami MIA ✈ Washington DCA: American Airlines, B737-800, First class Coming soon

photo routing

check-in and lounge


Four of us arrived at the airport a little over 2 hours before departure, while another friend would meet us in the lounge a little later on. Yet another friend was coming from SFO and would meet us in MIA.


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A line up of JetBlue E190s and an A320 at Terminal B. BTW, how exciting that JetBlue announced recently that they'll be starting transatlantic service from JFK and BOS! Too bad it will be in 2 years…


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We didn't have any bags to check, as we all just had carry-on baggage for the long weekend in the tropics, so we headed directly through security.


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Our flight was departing from Terminal C, so we headed to the Admirals Club in that Terminal. There are 2 Admirals Clubs in DC, one in Terminal B (the pre-merger AA Admirals Club) and one in Terminal C (The pre-merger US Airways Club). 


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The DCA clubs have really good tarmac views

#AvGeek 


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There are also views of DC monuments just on the other side of the Potomac River


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As usual, the food offering in the Admirals Club was pretty mediocre


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I just had a bagel and a hard-boiled egg.


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boarding


We left the lounge just a few minutes before boarding was due to begin. One nice thing about DCA is that the concourses are relatively short, so the walk to the gate is never very long.


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Despite a crowded gate area, there wasn't anyone in the Priority lane so we were among the first in the queue when boarding began.


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This was the last time I would see these older blue checkered seat covers. They have all since been replaced by grey leather.

My seat 6A 


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Boarding was completed on time. As usual, the First class cabin was completely full.


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40 inch seat pitch, the best legroom of any standard US domestic First class cabin.


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The overhead screens showcase AA destinations during boarding.


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The flight


The aircraft at the adjacent gate pushed back right before us


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Then it was our turn


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The safety video played on the overhead screens as we taxied to the runway.


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Nice view of the U.S. Capitol as we reach the end of the runway.


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One more takeoff before it's our turn


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Lining up on RWY 19 for takeoff facing south


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Takeoff with views of Crystal City, Arlington County, Virginia


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The new Amazon Headquarters will be just to the left of this photo


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Historic Alexandria, Virginia


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The George Washington Masonic National Memorial in Alexandria, modeled after the famous Alexandria Lighthouse of antiquity.


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Alexandria waterfront



I-495 aka the Capital Beltway


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The Potomac widens as it runs towards the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean


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Rural waterfront Virginia


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Although we were flying towards the Atlantic Ocean, it was a clear enough day to see Richmond, Virginia in the distance, which is located towards the center of the State.


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Soon after reaching cruising altitude, the meal service began.

As usual with AA, it started with warm nuts and an apéritif. As it was still morning, I had a mimosa (sparkling wine & orange juice)–a healthy breakfast drink!


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I had pre-ordered the main dish on AA.com well before the flight


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Enchiladas
Stuffed with queso fresco, Monterey Jack cheese, and caramelized onion in a red chili sauce.


It sounded good online, but it wasn't. Not only did it look like a hot mess, it tasted like it was 3-day-old gas station food. And the salad was just pathetic, with a tiny wedge of lettuce, 2 sad cherry tomatoes, and a lonely slice of cucumber. The only way I could describe this meal was cheap. The cost-cutting at the time was evident. Luckily, things have improved a bit since this flight in 2017.


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The saffron Orzo salad with shrimp was more appetizing, but notice that there is no appetizer, unlike the Enchiladas option…again, cheap.


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On these shorter flights, dessert is a warm chocolate chip cookie.


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I accompanied the cookie with a coffee and Bailey's–Yes, I drink a lot on vacation 😆


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NBC/Universal programming was played on the overhead screens. Notice that this aircraft has the newer Boeing Sky Interior, though an older AA interior, meaning it was among the aircraft delivered to AA with BSI just prior to the merger and the cabins being updated to the "New American" look with grey leather. 


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Wi-Fi was available as on most AA mainline aircraft, though I find the prices to be a bit high. I've only paid for WiFi on long-haul flights where I find it to be more worth the price.


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The American Airlines website and apps are available for free without purchasing a Wi-Fi pass. This is especially convenient when there are delays to check on connecting flight and gate information.


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You can also find Terminal maps and the location of Admirals Clubs


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Beautiful scenery outside as we fly along the Florida coast.


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At the time, free wireless streaming IFE was relatively new so I decided to check it out. There was some good content, but the WiFi connection was a little spotty so there was quite a bit of buffering when I tried to watch Rogue One. Note that your device must have the American Airlines app in order to use the streaming IFE service. 


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Miles and miles of agricultural lands in the middle of the state


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And never-ending suburbia as we approach South Florida.


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Beautiful water around Fort Lauderdale


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As we began our descent into MIA, the head Flight Attendant working First came through the cabin to thank each passenger by name and handed out a piece of candy. This is always a nice touch.



Flying past Fort Lauderdale airport - FLL


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Highrise condo buildings dominate the South Florida coast.


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Making a turn inland


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Over the Everglades


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We passed through a tropical rain shower on final descent into MIA.


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We landed a bit early and had a short-ish taxi to the gate.


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We parked next to this B757. I personally love how 757s look in AA's new livery…the inside is another story 🤣


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Thanks for reading!

See more

Verdict

American Airlines

7.0/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew8.5
In-flight Entertainment7.0
Meal/catering4.5

American Airlines Admirals Club Terminal B

6.0/10
Comfort7.5
Meal/catering4.5
In-flight Entertainment7.0
Services5.0

Washington - DCA

8.8/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

Miami - MIA

8.0/10
Efficiency8.0
Access7.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness8.0

Conclusion

Overall, this flight was fine. Having watched AA evolve over the years since the merger, I would say that they've made some improvements since this 2017 flight. Most notably, catering has generally improved in the premium cabin on domestic flights and Pre-merger AA cabin crews have become much more consistent about serving pre-departure drinks--notice there was no PDB on this flight, which was typical at the time. The catering on this flight was mediocre at best--Luckily, I've had much better meals since. I guess I can give AA credit for serving a hot meal on a 2.5 hour flight, while others do not and pre-merger US Airways certainly didn't.

This was one of the first times I'd tried AA's streaming IFE as it had only recently been introduced at the time. I was happy about this option in addition to the overhead programming, but the wifi connection kept cutting off, which made it difficult to watch a movie--this has also improved since, in my experience. While AA has many 737s and A319/A321s equipped with seat-back IFE, sadly new aircraft are being delivered with no PTVs and AA plans to eventually remove PTVs from the domestic fleet. Though DL has PTVs on most mainline aircraft, AA and UA are moving away from PTVs so streaming IFE on personal devices is the future whether we like it or not...make sure to bring your tablets next time you fly just in case.

Related

12 Comments

  • Comment 497304 by
    757Fan 487 Comments

    Glad to hear things have improved. That lunch definitely looked pretty sad. Looking forward to another full trip report from you, Kevin and your trip down to SJO!

  • Comment 497330 by
    ThomasDutch SILVER 234 Comments

    A very detailed report once again and considering to take UA on a direct flight or AA via a stopover is pretty easy for me too. I would definitely avoid UA at all cost, though I'm not a huge fan of AA either.

    A line up of JetBlue E190s and an A320 at Terminal B. BTW, how exciting that JetBlue announced recently that they'll be starting transatlantic service from JFK and BOS! Too bad it will be in 2 years…

    And to top that, Jetblue announced this week that London will be the first destination they'll fly on from both Boston and JFK multiple times per day. (I bet it's going to be LGW).

    • Comment 497736 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4661 Comments

      Hi Thomas, thanks for your comments. Yes, I've avoided UA for years. Living in DC it would make sense for me to fly UA with a hub at IAD, but I just can't bring myself to fly them.

      And to top that, Jetblue announced this week that London will be the first destination they'll fly on from both Boston and JFK multiple times per day. (I bet it's going to be LGW).

      Which is awesome! It'll help keep J fares down on TATL. It may very well be LGW, but I hope they can get some slots at LHR.

  • Comment 497360 by
    loukas SILVER 275 Comments

    Hi Kevin, good that the service has improved at it looks really cheap and messy. I'm very much impressed by your great aerials with decriptions and - as always - by the cathedral style DCA terminal. Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 497363 by
    sotto 68 Comments

    With great I did read this FB.It confirms my own experience only. Thanks author: "3-days-old gas station food". That's only possible with an American airline in FIRST.But where is the self-confidence of the passengers? One like this diffuse service can not be offered in FIST -enough seat and legroom back and forth.For the sake of completeness: Since you read only the FB of CM 346 PVR PTY in economy. In between there are worlds!

    • Comment 497738 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4661 Comments

      Haha, I knew you would like the "3-days-old gas station food" comment. Sadly, the main benefit of Domestic First class these days in the wider more comfortable seat and more legroom rather than the service/catering.

  • Comment 497366 by
    ISTFlyer GOLD 149 Comments

    Hi KévinDC and thanks for sharing this report with the community,

    As usual, the food offering in the Admirals Club was pretty mediocre

    - It's nice to see that AA offered free access to Caribbean F pax at that time. However, I agree that the Admirals Club food is always mediocre and the clubs definitely not worth the $59 entry fee.
    The saffron Orzo salad with shrimp was more appetizing, but notice that there is no appetizer, unlike the Enchiladas option…again, cheap.

    - At least the DCA-MIA route is considered as a better route and you got a full meal including an aperitif service and a cookie. If this flight was being operated by an AA Eagle aircraft, for a 3h flight you would have received the snack basket. Even though the Enchiladas option wasn't appetizing, it looks much more better than usual USA based late-morning/early-lunch meal.
    As I'm usually the one who organizes the trips, I get to pick the carrier so, as a oneworld loyalist, I naturally chose American Airlines.

    - Same like you, I always choose the carrier who best fits me on these types of group vacations.
    Though United serves San Jose, Costa Rica with two daily non-stop flights from Washington-Dulles, American offered good connection through Miami.

    - You have made the right choice; it would not be worth flying on a UA 738 or 739 in First for 5 hours. Also add an extra hour to reach IAD instead of DCA unless you live(d) in the northwestern side of the DC peninsula.

    Also I would appreciate the beautiful spotting photos and thank you once again for sharing this report.

    • Comment 497739 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4661 Comments

      Hi ISTFlyer, thanks for your comments!

      It's nice to see that AA offered free access to Caribbean F pax at that time.

      Actually, SJO isn't considered Caribbean, just International, therefore free access to the club. I believe that CUN is the only destination on the mainland that is considered "Caribbean".

      If this flight was being operated by an AA Eagle aircraft, for a 3h flight you would have received the snack basket.

      Sometimes there are cold meals on longer Eagle flights, like salads or sandwiches, but yes, usually that's true.

      it would not be worth flying on a UA 738 or 739 in First for 5 hours.

      Exactly, and they don't even have overhead TVs on many of those, much less PTV

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!

  • Comment 497418 by
    jetsetpanda 2292 Comments

    Thank you Kevin for sharing another gorgeous FR. As a matter of fact gorgeous reports with great plane spotting and aerials are part of your trademark. ;)

    This series is dear to me since MIA and SJO were my former homes and it brought back some memories.

    "American has the most service and frequencies to Latin America."
    - Indeed since it inherited all the Latin American routes from defunct EA. I witnessed AA's meteoric growth in MIA from the beginning when I was part of the first group of employees to be deployed right after the expansion of the Latin American routes. It was my first job after college and it was a period of trial and error for all. One of these days I will tell you about the award that I received from AA's "Ideaas in Action" that helped improve its operations and became a company policy. It was one of the proudest moments in my aviation career.

    "The only way I could describe this meal was cheap. The cost-cutting at the time was evident."
    - Even with the slight improvements, catering has really deteriorated from its heydays. If you flew DCA-MIA in the 90's you used to received a sizeable grilled sandwich with grapes and this was in the back .

    Lovely arrival shots. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Comment 497740 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD AUTHOR 4661 Comments

      Hola Adan, thanks so much for your lovely comments and kind words!

      This series is dear to me since MIA and SJO were my former homes and it brought back some memories.

      A trip to Jetsetpanda's homeland! I must say, I'm in love Costa Rica. What a beautiful country, with wonderful people. It's not hard to see why it's the only country in Central America that has more immigration from the US that emigration to the US.

      One of these days I will tell you about the award that I received from AA's "Ideaas in Action" that helped improve its operations and became a company policy.

      That sounds great, as a former Station Manager, I would definitely be interested in hearing that story.

      Even with the slight improvements, catering has really deteriorated from its heydays.

      Yes it sure has. AA was always know as the only Premium carrier in the US, but Dougie and the America West team have down a good job of bringing it down to the level of cheapness of the others. Even 5-6 years ago, just before the merger, AA still had good catering (at least compared to the others).

      Thanks again for your thoughtful comments!

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