Review of American Airlines flight Chicago Santa Ana in Domestic First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA1568
Seat 6F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 04:17
Take-off 02 Aug 19, 17:11
Arrival at 02 Aug 19, 19:28
AA   #73 out of 133 Airlines A minimum of 20 Flight-Reports is required in order to appear in the rankings. 326 reviews
socalnow
By GOLD 718
Published on 5th November 2019

Greetings Flight Report community and welcome to the sixth and final installment of the "Great Swiss First Coup" series. Please feel free to visit the LAX-HKG segment for more detail on how our own Rewardflying contributor worked his magic and turned Swiss F from a dream into a reality.



ORD Transit


Arrival was at terminal 5 and my AA flight was departing from terminal 3. The people mover that connects the terminal has been out of service for over a year so buses bridge the gap. It's a sad commentary on US infrastructure. The long taxi time and now long terminal transit time meant that I will need to locate my gate and proceed directly there if I'm going to make the flight. I have my boarding pass through the AA app. and no checked bags so barring something odd I will be successful. 


AA1568 ORD-SNA


I actually arrive at the gate in advance of boarding and board when group 1 is called. 6F is in the last row of first on the port side of the 737-800.


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The seats are comfortable and have a few touches that I appreciate like the small fold out tables in between the seats in front of you and in the armrest.


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Literature or laptop storage.


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decent legroom.


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A blanket was waiting on the seat.


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Push back on time.


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On your marks, get set, go!


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No pesky hills or mountains to look out for.


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The streaming entertainment option worked well on my notebook. The seat pocket held the computer it in a reasonably comfortable position for viewing. Mr. Neeson is avenging something or other.


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Dinner service started with a hot towel and drink order. I opted for a gin and tonic and it was served with warmed nuts. I neglected to take a picture apparently.


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I pre ordered the charcuterie / mezze plate on AA.com. It was a huge amount of food! Pita rounds, pita chips, and a roll form the breadbasket rounded out the feast. It was all quite fine and I appreciated being able to order in advance.


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Ice cream for dessert was offered after the dinner tray was cleared.


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A nice variety of scenery as we fly west.


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Over the desert and approaching the mountains that separate the coastal plain from the inland desert.


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Short final over Interstate 405 about to touch down on 20R.


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Main gear touchdown.


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It turns out we were quite fortunate to land when we did. The remaining sunlight was essential as the neighborhood where SNA is located was experiencing a power outage and the airport was completely closed for departures. Our flight was the last commercial flight to land and there were several diversions to LAX and ONT. I assume most flights were held at their departure airport and then cancelled due to curfew.


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We sat on the airplane for about 20 minutes until a stair was available for us to disembark. It was odd to exit 1R as the door is quite a bit smaller that 1L.


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We walked into the dark, rather surreal terminal. It's usually such a busy place.


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No power so no screening of passengers.


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Can't check them in or take their bags either. Definitely an odd end to a fantastic adventure. Thankfully cell service was available so I could fire up the Uber app and make the short ride home.


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See more

Verdict

American Airlines

7.8/10
Cabin7.5
Cabin crew8.5
Entertainment/wifi7.5
Meal/catering7.5

Chicago - ORD

7.2/10
Efficiency7.0
Access6.0
Services8.0
Cleanliness8.0

Santa Ana - SNA

8.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services8.0
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

The Ground Service: N/A

The Lounge: N/A

The Cabin: I miss the lovely IFE screens AA had on the 737-800. Otherwise the seat was comfortable and I appreciate the additional storage under the window armrest. I also find the two additional fold out "cocktail" tables to be very useful when you have a drink or two and want to use the table for a laptop.

The Crew: Excellent attentive service was provided. Multiple offers for refills on drinks and prompt clearing of completed meal items.

Overall: I was happy with the value I received for this flight. Coming after the Swiss 777-300ER in First is a tough act to follow. I suppose my low expectations of US domestic F helps color perceptions. Thanks for coming along on this series of flights and leaving any feedback along the way. Happy flying.

Related

10 Comments

  • Comment 529272 by
    Harry_He SILVER 55 Comments

    Wow paid cash fare on AA’s domestic first on a 738...
    Nice report! The food looked really appetizing surprisingly. Beats UA’s catering. Why was the power out?

    • Comment 529273 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Hi Harry, thanks for reading and leaving a note.

      Wow paid cash fare on AA’s domestic first on a 738...

      -On competitive routes I am finding the F fare premium to be reasonable.

      The food looked really appetizing surprisingly.

      -I thought so. Generous portion too.

      Why was the power out?

      "A problem with an electrical transformer in nearby Irvine caused the outage..."
      https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-08-02/la-me-john-wayne-airport-power-outage

      Happy flying Harry.

  • Comment 529275 by
    PresRDC1 3 Comments

    Another great report. The charcuterie plate is the best meal being offered on AA, by far. I know you didn't have a checked bag, but did you see how they were handling that. Presumably the belts in the arrival hall run on electricity!

    • Comment 530145 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Thanks for reading and leaving a note PresRDC1.

      I know you didn't have a checked bag, but did you see how they were handling that. Presumably the belts in the arrival hall run on electricity!

      -Fantastic question and it didn't cross my mind. At SNA you meet up with your ride share driver on the departure level so I didn't even have occasion to go downstairs and walk through the baggage claim hall. It must have been a slow and challenging process unless backup generator power could be utilized for the bag system.

      Happy flying PresRDC1.

  • Comment 529296 by
    atco SILVER 127 Comments

    Hello friend,

    Time to get caught up with your epic adventures. So many reviews to read and comment on! Need to find more hours in the day!
    Almost got the next leg of my trip completed too :)

    Dare I say it this flight actually looked almost OK?
    I do wish the trend to removing IFE would stop but I accept I'm just an old stick in the mud and its going to go that way more and more. I do like having an IFE selection to watch when I'm flying though and especially not having to watch on a 9"screen!

    Watch with the laptop too, a flight reviewer I watch on YouTube had his laptop destroyed when the person in front reclined sharply turning his screen into a spiderweb of cracks.

    I can't wait to read in depth all your CX F and LX F adventures amongst others. What a treat to get to read so many of your reports over the coming days (probably weeks by the time I get finished!)

    • Comment 530146 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Hi Atco, thanks for the note.

      Dare I say it this flight actually looked almost OK?

      -Yes, very much OK!

      I do wish the trend to removing IFE would stop but I accept I'm just an old stick in the mud and its going to go that way more and more. I do like having an IFE selection to watch when I'm flying though and especially not having to watch on a 9"screen!

      -I'm with you. I decent meal, a glass of wine, and a movie is a great way to spend time in the sky and so different than how I spend it on the ground. This is much easer with seat back IFE.

      I can't wait to read in depth all your CX F and LX F adventures amongst others. What a treat to get to read so many of your reports over the coming days (probably weeks by the time I get finished!)

      -Likewise to you and your epic trip.

      Happy flying Atco.

  • Comment 529308 by
    757Fan 559 Comments

    Looks like a good flight with AA in F. Thanks for sharing!

  • Comment 529602 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 4952 Comments

    Funny, I've driven past SNA twice this past week! Really convenient airport for Irvine and Orange County. Being in North County San Diego, SNA is barely further than SAN for me, but prices from SNA are rarely worth the trip up...the extra time to LAX usually is, though. What a huge difference in prices I've been seeing between SAN and LAX--makes sense that LAX is cheap considering all the competition and glad it's only 1.5 hrs away. Hopefully I'll get a chance to fly out of SNA at some point, though. It's been a long time since I've flown from SNA, but I remember shooting up like a rocket because of flight path restrictions over neighbourhoods...it was fun.

    The seat pocket held the computer it in a reasonably comfortable position for viewing.

    Hah! What a smart idea! I've never thought of doing that. I usually do streaming from my tablet which I can kind of dangle from its cover using the little top seatback pocket. This makes for a much larger screen though.

    But yeah, totally agree with you...I miss PTVs. Would be much simpler if the TV were just already there.

    I've been hesitating about pre-ordering the charcuterie plate on an upcoming trip because to me, as a Frenchman, charcuterie is a starter. I've never thought to make a whole meal out of it, but you're right that the portion does look generous so it seems like enough food. I may just go ahead and order it now, haha.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 530148 by
      socalnow GOLD AUTHOR 924 Comments

      Greetings Kevin and thank you for the note.

      Funny, I've driven past SNA twice this past week! Really convenient airport for Irvine and Orange County.

      -I'm partial to our little airport. Everything from traffic, to parking to security is so much easier when compared to LAX.

      It's been a long time since I've flown from SNA, but I remember shooting up like a rocket because of flight path restrictions over neighbourhoods...it was fun.

      -They've tweaked the departure route somewhat to followthe path of the back bay and less over houses so the takeoff is a bit less dramatic. There is a noticeable power cut that you experience after the initial climb that is different from most departures. The power on resumes when you are past the coast line and away from the NIMBY$.

      I've never thought to make a whole meal out of it, but you're right that the portion does look generous so it seems like enough food. I may just go ahead and order it now, haha.

      -Given that none of the choices are very appealing it's worth a go. Let us know how you like it.

      Happy flying Kevin.

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