Review of American Airlines flight New York Miami in Economy

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA970
Class Economy
Seat 21F
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 03:28
Take-off 02 Jan 20, 08:30
Arrival at 02 Jan 20, 11:58
AA   #52 out of 116 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 463 reviews
NewYorker
By SILVER 523
Published on 11th April 2020

A warm welcome back to my Flight-Report series concerning my winter 2019-2020 trek back home to NY and Seattle. After (almost) 2 great weeks of family, friends, food and flying, it was time to fly back to Europe, with an unorthodox routing. I mean, why go east when you can go south and then east, am I right? But seriously, am I the one person who actually likes to take the longest possible routing to get to the destination?


trip information


I experienced 5 new products in a total of 7 flights (including this one). I'll be keeping you in suspense by announcing each new segment as it comes. Here's where the routing stands at this report:



Here's how the entire trip looked like on a map, thanks to the Great Circle Mapper, now that it's all done:


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the morning of departure


Now on to the actual report. I left my apartment at 5 AM and caught an Uber to take me to LaGuardia. I got one last view of Manhattan from the RFK Bridge, but without zooming capabilities my camera didn't manage to take great shots.


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Traffic so early was virtually non-existent, and a short 15 minutes later I was at LGA.


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It felt wrong to enter American's check-in area and not United's ?


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Despite the early hour, LaGuardia was already full of life.


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new york laguardia airport - klga/lga


I'm not in the habit of checking bags, but for this flight it was necessary - I had an embarrassingly large suitcase and a long layover coming up in Miami. I was helped by a nasty check-in agent who barely even look at my suitcase before declaring it too big. After pleading subtly for 5 minutes, she checked my back in to my final destination. While rolling her eyes, of course. She tossed me my boarding passes and told me I'd get a seat assignment at the gate. Urgh. The last time that happened to me on American was on an SEA-PHL pmUS A321 redeye, and I ended up in a last row middle seat. Hopefully I'd have better luck this time. With my boarding passes in hand, I was off to security.


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Security was very quick, and I ended up chatting with a super cool TSA agent. In my experience, the best TSA staff are at SEA and LGA. With no lounge access, I decided to grab breakfast from Starbucks, which was right across my gate.


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I love American's ancient boarding passes and hope they keep them around for a while!


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Before boarding, a took a stroll through the terminal.


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Plenty of on-time departures. Is this really LaGuardia?!?!


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My flight, AA970, was also on-time.


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American Eagle E175 arriving.


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boarding + initial impressions


Once back at my gate, I could finally snag a photo of my ride down the Atlantic Coast: N855NN (fleet number 3GK), a Boeing 737-823(WL) built and delivered to American in October 2010.


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Just before boarding began, my name was called and I went to get my seat assignment. Without even asking, I ended up in 21F, a window seat on the trailing edge of the wing. Fine by me! I was the first from group 5 to board, and the jetbridge was still quite empty.


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Great fuselage shot, thanks to the lighting and the skyline!


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Never heard of apex before. Maybe they're owned by AA?


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I was greeted by a friendly flight attendant (who turned out to be the only friendly one and was in F most of the time), and was surprised to see a faux-Boeing Sky Interior installed in this aircraft! I assume it was a Project Oasis aircraft? Either way, it looked fresh and very cool. First Class seating, which looks like AA's long haul Premium Economy seat, but without the TVs.


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Main Cabin Extra. While I loved the Sky Interior ceiling, the old window frames took away from the experience. This aircraft must have been very recently redone, as it looked brand new on the inside.


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At my seat, 21F, the legroom was acceptable.


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Clean tray table.


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USB port, which was a nice touch.


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Literature pocket.


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Tablet/smartphone holder. Like United, American offers personal device entertainment.


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Great wing view from row 21.


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american 970 - new york to miami


Once everyone was onboard, the captain mumbled something over the PA and then we pushed back.


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Classy old AA logo on the hangar. I miss the old logo, to be honest.


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Beginning our taxi to Runway 31.


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American E190 to Columbus, OH. It's funny to see an RJ operated by a legacy carrier. Hopefully AA doesn't get rid of their Embraers with the ongoing Covid-19 situation, as they are still rather young. This one was only 12 years old at the time of the photo.


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Passing the new Terminal B, home to United. Sorry for cheating on you, UA ?


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Delta A220-100 to Dallas. I'd love to fly one of these birds with Delta sometime. I've flown the A220 with SWISS and really enjoyed it, even if it was only a 29-minute flight.


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departure from new york


Lining up.


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Rolling.


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Past the famous Welcome to New York sign.


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Rotate.


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Right turn over Rikers Island.


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We flew the same scenic departure that I flew in January 2019, but unfortunately I was sitting on the right hand side of the aircraft, which meant no views of Manhattan ?


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But who needs Manhattan when you have the equally exciting North Bronx? ?


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Flaps up.


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Turning south.


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Takeoff video.



Good morning, Bergen County!


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Passing KEWR. Note the United 777 taking off.


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mid-flight


Cabin after departure. Love that "Sky Interior"!


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Philadelphia in the distance.


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Universal power point under the seat, which is another plus.


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Some fog over Delaware Bay.


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Newport News, VA.


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service and more cruising


The service consisted of your average domestic US offerings: a Biscoff cookie and a non-alcoholic beverage. Alcoholic beverages were available for purchase. Hopefully US carriers will soon realize that more food means more customer satisfaction.


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The crew on this flight was very mediocre. Like I said above, there was one flight attendant who seemed very friendly, but she was working in First and only passed through coach once. In the back, the flight attendants seemed like they didn't want to be there. They weren't rude, but they also never smiled. Another issue was the age. I'm all for late retirement, and I know that in the US a lot of the FAs are much older than in other places in the world, but one of the FAs on this flight was so old that she couldn't even pass drinks from the aisle to the window seat or close the overhead bin after boarding. In case of an emergency, I don't think she would have been much help. But I digress.


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Our halo on a distant cloud.


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Typical Sky Interior PSU.


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One more look at the cabin.


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Cruising at 36,000 feet.


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arrival into miami


I dozed off for most of the flight and woke as we were descending. By that point, Florida was in sight.


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Pompano Beach, FL.


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Fort Lauderdale, FL.


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Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL/KFLL).


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Turning inland.


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Slowing down.


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Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF/KOPF).


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Over the Everglades.


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Lined up with the runway.


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Short final.


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Over the airport.


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Flare.


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Very smooth touchdown on Runway 12 at 11:17 AM, 41 minutes early, after a flight time of 2h35m.


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Decelerating.


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Vacating the runway.


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Taxiing to the gate.


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Landing video.



One last look at my surprisingly comfy home of the past 3 hours.


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Deplaning.


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routing of aa970


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We took off and turned northwest immediately. Over The Bronx, we turned south. We flew more-or-less directly towards Florida at an altitude of 36,000 feet. Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment down below, and I hope to see you in the next and final installment!

See more

Verdict

American Airlines

6.5/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew5.0
Entertainment/wifi9.0
Meal/catering3.0

New York - LGA

6.8/10
Efficiency8.5
Access5.0
Services7.0
Cleanliness6.5

Miami - MIA

7.9/10
Efficiency8.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Overall it was a pretty standard domestic US flight.

+ Recently retrofitted 737
+ New, comfortable cabin with power outlers/USB chargers
+ Good selection of entertainment
+ WiFi on board
- Rude ground staff at LGA
- Mediocre crew
- Poor catering

This flight with American wasn't actually all that bad, and I wouldn't hesitate to fly them domestically again, provided there aren't any good options with United. I guess it's time to give out Delta a try. Everyone says they are the best...

Related

5 Comments

  • Comment 550549 by
    ISTFlyer GOLD 277 Comments

    Hi NewYorker and thanks for this FR,

    -It's pretty strange that you didn't get a seat assignment at check-in, weren't you able to select seats during OLCI ?
    -I also had the chance to experience the Oasis retrofitted 737-800 and 737-MAX-8 on AA and had a good experience with them and I find them better than the older hard 737-800 seats.

    The service consisted of your average domestic US offerings: a Biscoff cookie and a non-alcoholic beverage. Alcoholic beverages were available for purchase. Hopefully US carriers will soon realize that more food means more customer satisfaction.

    - I completely agree to the fact that more and better food would increase satisfaction. An airline that realizes this would earn a lot of leisure travelers rather than business travelers, in the past, I have seen a lot of business travelers purchasing those snack boxes which are definitely not worth the price on these kinds of flights. However, it would be super to experience a "chicken or pasta" interaction with the crew on these kinds of routes over 3 hours within the US.
    In the back, the flight attendants seemed like they didn't want to be there. They weren't rude, but they also never smiled.

    - One of the worst parts of the legacy 3 US airlines is their crew, I have seen fabulous and amazing crews on rare occasions, but generally, they are cold and don't smile at all which I barely see in Europe or Asia
    This flight with American wasn't actually all that bad, and I wouldn't hesitate to fly them domestically again, provided there aren't any good options with United. I guess it's time to give out Delta a try. Everyone says they are the best...

    - Also for this conclusion, I would say that it's not worth paying extra for the less cheap option unless you have status benefits. All 3 legacy-US airlines are pretty the same.

    Take care and hope to see you in the final part of this series.

    • Comment 550585 by
      NewYorker SILVER AUTHOR 107 Comments

      Thanks for your comment, ISTFlyer! Yes I did have the option to pick a seat online, but AA charges for seat assignments, even 24 hours prior to departure. I didn't feel like paying for a seat. It all worked out for the best, though, as I was very happy with the seat I got. As for the food, even just a sandwich would be nice. On European LH flights, most of which are under 2 hours, not only do you get a sandwich, but you also get a choice, which is fantastic. Tell will tell, though with Covid-19 cost cuts, I don't see an improvement in catering coming anytime soon. That's true about the crew, though in my experience UA has the best crews. And when I racked up my miles and got my status, I was flying United ~20 times a year and barely had any bad experiences with the crew. Might just be good luck, but I think that that says something about the airline. I totally agree with your thought about the conclusion. Plus these days the prices between airlines are so close to each other, anyway. Thanks again, and see you in the next and final installment!

      • Comment 550624 by
        ISTFlyer GOLD 277 Comments

        Thanks for your answer,

        Yes I did have the option to pick a seat online, but AA charges for seat assignments, even 24 hours prior to departure. I didn't feel like paying for a seat.

        - I did not know that AA charged for seating at OLCI on award tickets ( understood from T fare class on your boarding pass ), for pax who have no status. I have learned something new. :)

  • Comment 551462 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5318 Comments

    Hey New Yorker, thanks for sharing this 1st report in what is shaping up to be an interesting routing back to Europe!

    I mean, why go east when you can go south and then east, am I right?

    Hell, while you were at it, you could've gotten real crazy and gone West through Asia! Then again, Covid was just getting started around that time...probably good that you didn't

    But seriously, am I the one person who actually likes to take the longest possible routing to get to the destination?

    I think a good bit of us on here look for the most complicated and AvGeek-y routing whenever possible. I've been from DC to Australia via Hong Kong and Singapore ? ...of course, this was before having kids...now I'm tired and prefer convenience, lol.

    The last time that happened to me on American was on an SEA-PHL pmUS A321 redeye, and I ended up in a last row middle seat.

    Oh no! Come on now, you didn't pre-reserve your seat and check the seat map every day for a better seat...what kind of AvGeek are you!?!? ?
    Of course I'm kidding, I saw you didn't wanna pay for the seat and don't blame you. It's crAAp that AA charge for seat assignments even within the OLCI window. Thank goodness I have stAAtus and get free seat assignments. If the situation were reversed and I was flying UA, I'd probably just pay for the seat to avoid the risk of a middle seat--which is exactly what they was you to do.

    Without even asking, I ended up in 21F, a window seat on the trailing edge of the wing. Fine by me!

    Phew! That worked out. Actually a lot of people without seat assignments end up in good seats because they end up backfilling seats left my elites that got gate upgrades.

    I assume it was a Project Oasis aircraft? Either, it looked fresh and very cool. First Class seating, which looks like AA's long haul Premium Economy seat, but without the TVs.

    You assume correctly! You won (or lost) the lottery on that one. Project Oasis birds are a downgrade compared to the 737s with PTVs and more legroom, but an upgrade from the non-retrofitted birds

    Yes, actually the F seats are Collins Aerospace MiQ seats, which are indeed the same seats as long-haul Premium Economy.

    I guess it's time to give out Delta a try. Everyone says they are the best...

    It's true...Delta blow AA and UA out of the water

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Comment 551463 by
      NewYorker SILVER AUTHOR 107 Comments

      Thanks for your comment Kevin! While we're on the topic of interesting routings: in 2014 to flew SEA-PEK via FRA on LH. Found a nice J award, plus the FRA-PEK flight was on a 748, which was great. As much as I like to get a better seat, I'm a cheap guy, which is why I love LH (and most other airlines, actually) for offering free seats during OLCI. I had stAAtus, but stopped flying AA in 2016. Don't miss them that much though... I liked the Oasis cabin. Then again, I'd only flown older 737s without PTVs before that. Thanks for stopping by - I hope to see you in the final installment!

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