Greetings all, I took this flight as part of a Seattle-Charlotte-Salisbury, MD trip, to visit family on the East Coast during Spring Break. I was particularly excited for this trip because it was my first time flying on American Airlines, getting a ride on an Airbus A321, and flying on a overnight/red-eye flight. My itinerary for this leg of my trip is as follows: American flight 600, depart SEA 10:21 pm, arrive CLT 6:19 am American Eagle (Piedmont) flight 4954, depart CLT 9:49 am, arrive SBY 11:24 am
At about 7:45 pm, I got dropped off at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, and proceeded to the American counter for check-in. Sea-Tac wasn't too terribly busy at this hour, which was a pleasant surprise, since this was during spring break. American has self-bag tagging (basically a set of kiosks where you check in and then tag your bags, then go to the counter to have them weighed and checked), which was nice too, since it made check-in go by quickly. After dropping my bags, I said good-bye to my parents who had driven me to the airport, and proceeded to security. Even without TSA PreCheck, security didn't take more than 10 minutes, and I was airside by about 8 pm. I was already rather tired at this hour, and wasn't particularly in the mood for planespotting, but I did get these photos of a Delta A319 and 757-300 parked at the A Gates after getting through security. In all honesty, I wanted to just chill at the gate before my flight, but I found the energy in me to head to Planewear, a small aviation-themed shop in Sea-Tac's Concourse B. They have lots of aviation merchandise, and I've gotten in the habit of buying a small poster and a couple pins or magnets before my recent flights out of here. This time, I bought a reproduction TWA poster promoting travel to Ireland, pins of the American/US Airways merger (appropriate given that I was flying on a ex-US Airways plane for this flight) and United's 2004-2010 tulip livery, and magnets of a Delta crew badge (I think) and a retro baggage tag for San Francisco's airport. After that, I headed over to my gate. Sea-Tac has a large area in the center of the airport with restaurants, rocking chairs, and a great view of the tarmac, and half of that area had recently reopened after renovations. I also checked out the FIDS to see if my flight was on-time. It still was, not that it mattered anyways since I had a 3.5 hour layover in Charlotte. I then got to my gate, D8, at the end of Concourse D. This concourse is used by Alaska and American, and occasionally Spirit and Sun Country too. The gate area here was good, in my opinion. There was ample seating and good natural light. My only complaint is that the power ports weren't very numerous, but I was able to find one since the airport wasn't busy. My aircraft taking me to Charlotte tonight, N912UY. This 4.6 year-old A321 was delivered to US Airways in September 2014. I found it interesting to know that this particular plane took its first flight on my birthday, September 2nd. I walked around a little bit before boarding, heading over to concourse C, which is the home of all of Alaska's regional operations and some mainline flights too, snapping some pictures along the way. I wanted to get some decent sleep on this flight, so I changed into some more comfortable clothes and brushed my teeth, then got back to the gate at about 9:30, where people were already lining up for boarding. I got in line a little bit earlier than usual, since I had my DSLR in my bag and I didn't want to have to check it.
AA Flight 600: SEA to CLT
I boarded with group 6, and got this photo of our aircraft from the gate. Since I'm tall (6'4" or 1.93m), I paid about $45 USD to upgrade to an exit row seat with extra legroom next to door 3L, which meant I had a little bit of a trek to the back of the 'bus. The flight attendants were friendly, standing throughout the plane greeting passengers, and they were all Charlotte-based and were fairly junior. I took my seat in row 23A, which is the "green" seat on the Seatguru map below. It doesn't have a seat in front of it, which means that it has great legroom. Window view. Looking back from my seat. Really good legroom here; this photo was with my legs fully extended. My seat had no seatback pocket or a place to store anything, and I wasn't allowed to have a bag in the row during takeoff or landing, but I was able to make do by putting some small items behind my feet. Since I wanted to sleep on this flight, I took a melatonin while boarding. We got all buttoned up and ready for departure by 10:20, and pushed back from the gate and started taxiing out to the runway. The raindrops on the window weren't cooperating with my camera, so I wasn't able to get any decent pictures before takeoff. There was no line for departure, and we took off from runway 16L, initially heading south then turning to a southeast direction. As always, a video of my departure is below.
The crew did a good job of letting passengers sleep, by dimming the lights before takeoff, only doing one beverage service, and saying they wouldn't make any PA announcements. They also informed us that there was complimentary streaming entertainment available, but I chose not to use it. I drifted off shortly after departure, bringing a neck pillow, blanket, and eyeshades, then slumping down in my seat and using a bunched-up hoodie to support my back. This actually worked quite well, and it reminded me of the poor man's version of those angle-flat business class seats which were popular in the 2000's. There was a mid-cabin lavatory in front of me and some people visited during the flight, but the light from it wasn't bothersome since it shone onto the other side of the plane. I slept through the beverage service and remember some turbulence shortly after leaving Seattle, then I woke up once about halfway through the flight. Oddly, when I woke up, a passenger was sitting in the jumpseat in front of my seat, so I had to adjust my positioning to not bother them. I slept on-and-off for the rest of the flight, waking up about 10 minutes before landing at 5:40 am local time when the pilots made the "flight attendants prepare for landing in Charlotte" announcement. Descending over suburban Charlotte. The cabin shortly before arrival. Landing in Charlotte, and a video of our arrival.
We parked at gate B16, next to an American 737-800. The airport wasn't busy at this hour, since the only other arrivals were redeyes and early morning arrivals from nearby airports. I wasn't in any rush, since I had a long layover, so when deplaning I asked the FA if I could see the cockpit since I was a plane geek, and my request was accepted. Then, I went up the jetway and walked around the airport a bit to wake up. This was my first time visiting Charlotte, or North Carolina for that matter, and the airport had a good first impression on me, with ample amenities and a good design. One last look at N917UY, before it headed to Tampa, FL about an hour and a half after arriving in Charlotte. To wrap up this trip report, here's the FR24 stats for my flight.
Seattle - SEA
Charlotte - CLT
This was my first time flying on American Airlines, and I started this flight without good expectations, but I was glad to see that American hit the mark on this flight, with friendly service, comfy seats, and an on-time arrival. I hear that they're starting to densify these ex-US Airways A321 birds, but I enjoyed this old seating configuration. As for taking a redeye, I was nervous about that too, but having an exit row helped a lot (and it was a steal at $45 for a transcontinental flight), and I felt fine after walking around a bit and getting some caffeine. I don't think that I'd go out of my way to fly American in the future, but I'd gladly take them when going to Salisbury, since that airport is much more convenient for my needs when visiting family in that area than BWI or PHL. Speaking of which, keep an eye out for my CLT-SBY TR, which should be posted within the next few days. Lastly, feel free to "like" if you enjoyed this Flight-Report, or to leave feedback in the comment section.
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