Review of American Airlines flight Miami Chicago in Economy

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA2796
Class Economy
Seat 30A
Flight time 03:19
Take-off 17 Aug 18, 10:05
Arrival at 17 Aug 18, 12:24
AA   #53 out of 122 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 455 reviews
Published on 30th March 2020


Having mentioned on several occasions of two wide body aircraft on one itinerary between Fargo and Miami, the last two flights of my Scintillating Summer 2018 trip took me from Florida back to a smoky North Dakota through Chicago. I was happy to have been on American’s popular E175 morning service from Fargo to Dallas, followed by a 777-200ER between Dallas and Miami. Being on another hub to hub service I was quite excited to find out that the Miami - Chicago flight would be operated on a blast-back-to-the-past Boeing 767-300ER!

My two flights to Fargo looked something like this:
AA2796 MIA ORD 1005 1224 76W
AA3146 ORD FAR 1328 1524 CR7


It is unfortunately quite well known that the B767-300ER in American’s fleet has one of the worst dispatch reliability. Often plagued by delays due to technical woes, I had an idea of this while flight AA1195 was operated on the B767 instead of the B777: the flight would more often than not be 45 minutes late, while delays in excess of 3 hours were not uncommon.

This flight was the one I was most anxious about. There would be my planned flight out of Chicago to Fargo, a layover of 1hr04min, or there would be the last one of the day over 8 hours later. I needed to be in Fargo at my scheduled time as I wanted to get back to work. The bills don’t pay themselves y’know… While AA2796 had a decent on time record initially, it got progressively worse over time.

During my time in India, this flight would be the one I’d keep close eyes on: when it departed on time, it would get in Chicago on time. However, if it was delayed it would be impressively delayed. Nothing short of 3 hours, rarely. One time, it departed Miami and taxied right back to the gate. Another time, it took off & landed on time, only for it to be tugged to the gate, a delay of 1hr30min. More hydraulics. I was certain my luck had run out. 


photo img_8148photo img_8149photo img_8150

T - 24 hours, web check in. I confirmed seat 30A for this flight since the small cabins up front were not an option, and also confirming the seat on the CRJ-700. No issues here as I was about to leave for my flight to Miami, the MD-88. A quick check on AA2796’s flight status the day before mine: delayed by 2hrs. Ohhh joy!

The evening more I caught up with my sleep, except that it was from 6pm to 2am. Jet lag at it’s finest. I wanted to see which airplane it’d be: N393AN, a 20.3 year old airplane had landed in Miami’s gate D50 from Philadelphia, and it had flown in from Budapest earlier.

check in, security

photo img_8336photo img_8346

Watched some TV, battled my way out of locking myself in the shower, I headed out of the hotel and took the hotel over to the airport. I was at the airport for 0815 hours or so, just under 2 hours to departure. It was fairly busy at the north terminal. 

photo img_8347

Headed for security next, where a German Shepherd help expedite the line. If anything, I got flagged down for a random bomb residue check on my phone. No worries there. I was airside at 0836 hours, just under 1hr30min to departure. The next hour would be crucial. Walking around I kept an eye on Amercian’s customer service desks, in case a delay was announced and I was so ready for it.   

photo img_8350photo img_8352

But first, some spotting: seeing as COVID-19 and LATAM’s partnership with Delta have slowed things down for AA there was still plenty to see at American’s south American gateway. Airside wasn’t as busy, then again there were several flights heading out of Miami spread out across the terminal, and over to Gate D50 for me. 

photo img_8354photo img_8362photo img_8367

N393AN was at the gate, being prepped for departure: catering truck and baggage carts were loading the airplane up, the pilots were onboard in the cockpit. This was looking good.  

photo img_8356

I walked around to concourse E. Did some planespotting there, once again it wasn’t too busy here either. A notification on my phone. Oh dear, the dreadful delay… or so I thought! Boarding had started for flight 2796 to Chicago O’Hare. Nice nice! 

photo img_8371photo img_8373

Boarding pass

photo img_8375

This was going to be a full flight, I joined the line 36 minutes before departure time. For whatever reason, the estimated time of arrival was 4 minutes late, 1228 hours. Being one of the first in the group to board, there was not much of a line in the jet bridge, hooray!  

photo img_8377


I was onboard at 0930 hours, 35 minutes to departure, to a largely enthusiastic crew. Now I’m not sure if the 767s have been refurbished, at least back in Main cabin but it sure felt like a step back in time, for the 2nd time in 2 days. This would be a full flight, un surprisingly. 

photo img_8383photo img_8384

I took my seat 30A, a lovely view of the wing and fitted winglet. A random, quick yet heavy rain shower passed by as we were inching closer to departure. I wasn’t going to be at ease till we docked at the gate in Chicago, but I wanted to enjoy this flight as best as I could!  

photo img_8386


The usual announcements happened just fine, no issues. Just when we were getting in to the ‘whole time of nothingness’ - doors were closed and we pushed back at 1000 hours, 5 minutes before time! Hooray! The next little bit would be crucial - couldn’t afford to get back to the gate for a technical issue…

Both GE CF6 engines were fired up. Flaps being set had the unique sounds of…well perhaps a dentist’s drill. They were slow to be deployed, too. We taxied towards the runway 8R. Blue skies as if no rain ever happened. Bizarre!  

photo img_8399

We were all lined up with Runway 8R at 1012 hours, just 7 minutes after scheduled departure time. We were airborne at 1013 hours and set a north/northwest course bound for Chicago O’Hare, some small heading changes here and there. It was a bumpy yet fun climb up to 36,000 feet.  

photo img_8401photo img_8406photo img_8407


photo img_8412

Despite the old decor there were the usual pre-recorded announcements, consistent across all the American Airlines flights so far (including the one on Envoy Air). I soaked in the atmosphere - the overhead monitors every few rows, the retro controls on the arm rest. I was happy to be on this flight. Funny enough they were showing Running Wild with Bear Grylls on the IFE. Pity they did not have headsets for this, but that’s alright.

The first officer came around on the PA system with information about this flight - it would be a smooth flight along, avoiding some storms en route, taking us on a westerly course which was helpful because the East winds in Chicago would put us right in course for arrival. Some small cells around Chicago, and 72F weather. Things were looking quite good.  

Snacks and drinks were handed out pretty soon in to the flight, however given it was just the one cart for each aisle it was a little slow. The crew did not show any signs of not wanting to be at their job - always a good sign and a positive impression. Water, ginger ale and the cookies. It was 45 minutes or so in to the flight.  

photo img_8427photo img_8431photo img_8437

Pretty soon we were looming in towards the storms, avoiding them to our side. The clouds were representative of this.

photo img_8435

I spent the rest of the time looking at magazines: always entertaining to see the airline info pages.

photo img_8440

Safety card

photo img_8444

BoB menu

photo img_8446

Asia network

photo img_8449

North America network

photo img_8450

Terminal maps

photo img_8452

American continues to be the largest airline in the world, fleet wise. It was at this point my curiosity of the Embraer E series of aircraft: while the E170/175 counts as regional aircraft, the E195 sneaks in as a mainline aircraft because of the number of seats onboard. Other changes to the fleet since: the 767s are probably gone, MAX 8 grounded, Q100 & Q300 also gone… 

photo img_8454

About 1hr50min in to the flight I wanted to stretch my legs and visit the lavatory. It was clean, no issues whatsoever. We took a further westbound course over Missouri: we were getting close.


photo img_8460photo img_8466


photo img_8468

Overhead - looking old! 

photo img_8465photo img_8470

Wonder what airport this was? 

photo img_8476


Just under 2hr30min in flight the announcement preparations were done, automated announcements. Nothing too dramatic here, we came down slowly via the SHAIN1 STAR. Did have to cut through some fairly bumpy clouds which was no issue for the B767. Some bumps are always fun! :)  

photo img_8482photo img_8489

NO holds, we’d be a straight in for Runway 10C. Touched down a little firm at 1201 hours Central, 2hr48min in flight. Taxied over to Terminal 3: we’d be in concourse K along with a Japan Air Lines 777 and 3 other American 787s. Wide body time! We had to wait a little, so we parked on the taxi way for a little bit.  

photo img_8494photo img_8498

United part of things

photo img_8501

A soon to be gone livery

photo img_8503photo img_8506

We'd get back T3 K in a bit… 

photo img_8510

Cessna & Spirit

photo img_8512

A voicemail check in the meantime: my flight instructor just got assigned to me, turns out it was the same individual I worked with freshman year in hall government! Hah, what a small world. In the mean time I had a great view of the Etihad & Korean 777s, a Cargolux 747, and by far the biggest highlight of them all: a Cape Air Cessna 402! :D Hey, small light twins are important too.  

photo img_8517photo img_8522photo img_8525

Just as the wait was starting to get a little long we pulled in to gate K5 just fine at 1225 hours, just 1 minute late. Heck, this was the earliest AA2796 made it in over 3 weeks! Luck was really on my side. Whew! 

photo img_8531photo img_8534

I had just under 1hr between the two flights, a crucial connection but it looked like I’d make it just fine. I waited for most folk to get off, I thanked the crew and headed for concourse G for the next flight. Yet another successful short-widebody flight!

Despite this on time arrival, AA2796 would head back to Miami but this time with a 45 minute delay. More on this in a little bit….  

See more


American Airlines

Cabin crew9.0

Miami - MIA


Chicago - ORD



Overall what could've been a day of frustrating delays given the record turned out to be a fun wide body flight across the USA. On time, decent service, a professional & friendly crew... not a whole lot to add to it!



  • Comment 549722 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5302 Comments

    The 767s were getting long in the took, even after the 2015-ish refurbs, but it is sad knowing they may all get retired early because of the pandemic. AA was doing quite a bit of domestic widebody flying these last few years--I think it'll be a while now before we see that come back. It's nice to see reports of the good times! And in the good times...this was an awful long-haul product, but totally fine for domestic. And lets not even mention dispatch reliability haha. Nevertheless, they will be missed!

    Thanks for sharing!

Login to post a comment.