Off we go again! I was traveling down to New Orleans for the College Football National Championship game in mid January. Flights directly to New Orleans were over $1,000 the week of the game so I chose to fly into nearby Gulfport/Biloxi and drive the hour into NOLA.
I was supposed to return to CLT via GPT but my return flight was cancelled due to weather and I drove the 12 hours home after the game on the 13th. This ended up being my only flight of 2020 so far and with COVID-19, it may very well be my last :(
Airline: American Airlines (AA)
Aircraft: CRJ 700
Flight Number: AA5433
Departure Gate: E16A
Departure Runway: 18L
Scheduled Departure Time: 9:09
Actual Departure Time: 9:15
Scheduled Arrival Time: 10:06
Actual Arrival Time: 9:46
Landing Runway: 14
Arrival Gate: 2
Scheduled Flight Time: 1 Hour 51 Minutes
Actual Flight Time: 1 Hour 31 Minutes
I checked in via the app 24 hours in advance. It was standard and easy to us. As I was on a basic economy ticket, I was at the mercy of the powers at be for my seat assignment. To my amazement I was really lucky and scored the first row of economy directly behind Domestic First. These seats are usually $ and offer additional leg room. Score one for me!
I arrived at CLT at 7:24 where it was only moderately busy. I typically use TSA precheck at Security B but this time I chose Security D due to its proximity to the E gates. At CLT, you can access any concourse from any security check point as everything is housed in one airside area.
Lots of orange in the airport today with thousands headed down to New Orleans for the game. The line at TSA was decent length but even so I was airside within 10 minutes.
After security I turned right for the E gates. The E gates house all of American's regional flights. I have explained CLT terminal before so i'll spare everyone the details. The walk to E16 is about 5-10 minutes.
Something new… between E and D is a small food court with a Shake Shack!!! Also the new AMEX lounge opening February 24 is located in this area.
Around E16 is a bunch of seating. I had no issues finding a seat but did have issues finding a power plug :(.
Boarding began at 8:37. I was in group 9 (basic economy). I was invited to board only 5 minutes later as CRJ 700s are fairly small.
Boarding door was closed at 9:04 after waiting on some connecting traffic.
Standard AA seat. I had great leg room as I was assigned bulkhead even though I was on basic economy ticket. The seat did not have adjustable wing head rest.
Even though overhead bins were small, my bag fit fine and space was available for us in basic economy.
No plugs on this plane in economy. This is not a big deal as most flights are short. Wifi was available though.
The seatback pocket had the usual magazines and safety card.
In honor of the plane being almost 100% loaded with College Football fans, AA decided to give the whole plan free alcohol!! Yes, at the very early hour of 9am ( Its 5 o'clock somewhere) the whole plan was given unlimited free booze (even spirits). A good number of passengers decided to get the party started.
A snack of pretzels was given out on the flight. Instead of booze, I chose Coke to drink. The FA also passed out left over domestic first snacks when we had about 30 mins left in our flight.
This really was a special flight from the food/beverage prospective.
We left the gate at 9:09 and had a very swift taxi to 18L where we were #1 for departure and had wheels up at 9:15.
The flight itself was mostly uneventful. Cloud cover prevented any view of the ground. It was a bit bumpy upon landing as storms were in the area. CRJ-700 is a small bird and you really do feel every bump.
We touched down at 9:46 and within minutes were parked at Gate 2.
Thanks for flying with me and hope to see you again soon on another flight!
This flight was amazing. It was a special trip for me and the crew made sure it was memorable for everyone on board. AA absolutely put its best foot forward!!