Review of American Airlines flight Washington Charlotte in Economy

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA2051
Class Economy
Seat 15D
Aircraft Boeing 737-800
Flight time 01:27
Take-off 10 Aug 20, 10:30
Arrival at 10 Aug 20, 11:57
AA   #53 out of 121 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 458 reviews
juddsol
By SILVER 438
Published on 16th August 2020

My wife and I were wanting to have a small vacation before the summer ending and decided on going to Eastern Shore of Maryland. I watched COVID-19 related travel restrictions daily and saw about a week prior that some states were encouraged not to travel to Maryland. Luckily, North Carolina was not on the list. 

This flight report will follow a slightly different arrangement due to a same day flight change that  we performed airside at DCA.  


Routing


Flight Info


Airline: American Airlines (AA)
Aircraft: Airbus 737-800
Registration: N862NN
 Delivered: 2011
 Route: DCA-CLT
Flight Number: AA2051
 Seat: 15D
Departure Gate: 32
Departure Runway: 19
 Scheduled Departure Time: 10:30
 Actual Departure Time: 10:31
 Scheduled Arrival Time: 11:57
 Actual Arrival Time: 11:25
 Landing Runway: 36R
 Arrival Gate: B13
 Block Time: 1 Hour 27 Minutes
Actual Flight Time: 54 minutes


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Check In


For my original Schedule flight: I checked in around 24 hours prior to departure via the AA app. The process was easy and included an extra bit on how to stay safe during your travels and the regulations on face masks. When you first go to check in, a page on COVID-19 related travel appeared for review.  I paid extra for the odd 2-2 row on the A321 near the exit to try to avoid having a row mate joining my wife and I.


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Arrival/security


We arrived at 9:23am to an empty check in area. If you have never been to DCA, you should. The architecture of the terminal is just stunning. Airside its blah but landside…OMG… its amazing. I know it can be very crowded under normal circumstances but during COVID-19, you literally have the entire airside area to your self. The apron views just can't be beat! If your in the right spot you may sneak a peak of the Capital Dome or the Washington Monument.  It must be noted that almost all landside shops were closed.



Security was super quick at Terminal C. No line to speak of at all. 


Same day Flight Change


Now the fun begins. We were airside just after 9:30am. Our scheduled flight left at 12:10. I spotted a 10:30 flight on the board and thought it was worth a try to do a same day change. I used the app and I was quoted a price of $75 per person confirmed. As I had a 4 hour drive once I returned to Charlotte for work, I figured the 2 hourish savings would be worth it. So we jumped on it. Seats were randomly assigned. I could have switched seats but a fee would have applied. So much for my earlier seat charge accounting for much. Our new boarding passes were available via the AA app. 


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Terminal Change and boarding


Our new flight left from Terminal B. AA runs a shuttle between B and C that offers some great views! Sorry for lack of pictures overall… this same day change sorta sped up our timelines. The shuttle runs as needed during COVID and only takes a few minutes. We arrived to Terminal B with more than enough time before our 9:55 boarding call.

It needs to be noted that DCA does have a lot of social distancing markers!!! YAY!! 

Boarding began at 9:55 and Group 5 was called soon after. Nothing much to note here…except that no sanitizing wipes were handing out….. Bummer. Load factor was close to 100% today.



seat


Decent leg room on this bird with 30 inches of pitch. Seat was as comfortable as you will find with AA, limited padding. The seat did have winged headrest which are amazing! 


IFE


Each row has 3 universal plug outlets. As is standard with AA, this mainline bird had wifi. I did connect but only to track our status. It worked fine and kept us up to date on our arrival time into CLT. The seat back pocket had a safety card and a new AA magazine. I did not touch the magazine as that still grosses me out. YUCK AMERICAN.


Food/beverage


This short sector typically includes a drink service so from this perspective a change was noticeable. It's my understanding that beverages would be available upon request. In order to be as courteous and as safe as possible I did not test this theory with the flight attendants. I believe 900 miles is the point where AA begins in-flight beverage service for main cabin. 


in-flight/landing


Boarding was quick and at 10:34 we pushed back.
 Our taxi was quick due to the small apron and taxiway at DCA and the fact that during COVID air traffic is way down. 
Wheels up was 10:31 with great views of the Potomac River as we climbed out of the DC area and turned south.
 
The flight was smooth and in no time we touched down on 36R at 10:25. We had a quick taxi to our gate (no given at CLT). The B terminal was empty! Pre-COVID the B (and all others) were standing room only.  


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Verdict

American Airlines

6.1/10
Cabin6.0
Cabin crew6.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering5.0

Washington - DCA

6.8/10
Efficiency7.5
Access7.0
Services6.0
Cleanliness6.5

Charlotte - CLT

6.9/10
Efficiency7.0
Access7.0
Services6.5
Cleanliness7.0

Conclusion

Average flight during COVID. The $75 change fee is hard to swallow but it worked out for the best for me. I still wish AA would block seats but I understand their economic argument against. I look forward to travelling again soon.

Till then safe travels!

Information on the route Washington (DCA) Charlotte (CLT)

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