Review of American Airlines flight San Francisco Miami in Premium Eco

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA 931
Class Premium Eco
Seat 13A
Flight time 05:31
Take-off 28 Jun 14, 12:50
Arrival at 28 Jun 14, 21:21
AA   #53 out of 122 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 456 reviews
jetsetpanda
By 8221
Published on 2nd July 2014
Hi and welcome to this shot trip report to MIA that I took last weekend.

AA operates 3 nonstop flights from SFO-MIA and the one in the afternoon is the best. Not only is the time convenient but also it is operated by a 763. The other two flights are 738's. I miss those days when all three flights were operated by 763's.

I live very close to the airport so I have the luxury of leaving my apartment late and arrive a little over 1 hr before dept. time. I dropped my car at the valet parking of the SFO Parking lot and took the free shuttle to the terminal.

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AA and VX are the only airlines that use T2 and there is a new control tower being built in that area.

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I used the check-in kiosks on the side of the ticket counter and was welcomed to use the Priority line upon presenting my boarding pass. Security took a bit longer than expected but soon I was on the other side.

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T2 is a modern and beautiful terminal. It's been covered before but I will include two pics near the entrance.

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You can tell this is California.

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I arrived at the gate at around 30 min. before departure and boarding has already started. I quickly inquired at the gate if my upgrade looked promising but the agent told me that everyone has checked in for F. However, she advised me that if there was any chance of clearing she will come inside the cabin and get me. I thanked her and boarded the plane.

As you can imagine, most of the passengers in the Main Cabin Extra section were already seated. Unfortunately I couldn't take any pics of the cabin nor of the plane at the gate. However, I managed to take a shot of my seat while deplaning.

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I took my seat next to a large gentleman and settled in. A few minutes later I saw the gate agent enter the cabin and stop by my row. My heart was beating a bit faster at this time and was waiting to hear an invitation to move to the front. The agent leaned to the guy next to me and told him to move to seat XX in the front. I have never seen anyone leave a seat faster. I consoled myself that at least now I had an empty seat next to me and was the only one in the cabin without a neighbor. Then to my surprise a last minute passenger appeared and started putting his things in the overhead above my row. My expectation of an empty seat next to me was dashed, just like my hope to get upgraded at the last minute.

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There are 3 rows in Main Cabin on the 767-300 that provide a seat pitch of 35 - 37 in. or 88,9 - 93,98 cm. Row 11 which is the bulkhead is really spacious compared to the other 2 rows. Row 12 has a misaligned window on each side. Row 13 has plenty of space behind and some people use this space behind the center row to cross to the opposite side. Here are some pictures of this cabin from a previous trip.

photo AA 931 SFO-MIA (1) (2500x1667) (1024x683)photo AA 931 SFO-MIA (2) (2500x1667) (1024x683)


T2 is between the runway and the international terminal, so I was able to see several planes pass by from my seat.


Neighboring AA 738 with MU A330 departing.

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CA just landed and is now a 773.

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Followed by LH A380.

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NH 773 leaving for NRT.

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UA A320.

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Taxiing to the runway. There is construction going on and that was the reason for planes using a different take off pattern.




View of downtown SF on the right side.

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Our turn for take off.




One thing that surprised me on this flight was the greeting from the captain when he welcomed passengers onboard and stated that he was going to keep announcements to a minimum in order to allow people to rest. Remember that this is a daytime flight.

The service began after we leveled off. FA's were friendly and efficient. I chose a Cobb Chicken sandwich and a bag of Chex Mix from the B.O.B. cart.




Cabin shot about halfway through the flight.

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The changing landscape on a transcon flight.




Arrival into MIA was a bit early and I headed to the Rental Car Center to get my car from Sixt, which is the boutique of car rentals. Their service has always been efficient, friendly and professional. I also appreciate their effort to set themselves apart from the competition by adding a touch of style to their facilities and having an user friendly website.


QR flies to MIA now.

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On my way to Sixt. I was able to get a car for USD 50.83 from Sat. night thru Mon. afternoon.


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Voilà my Volkswagen.

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I stayed at two hotels during my visit to MIA. The first was the Homewood Suites by Hilton near the airport. In general the staff was efficient but the hotel was going through some renovation and only one elevator was in service at night. The room was spacious and well divided. It had a fully equiped kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, cooking and eating utensils and dishwasher. Although the room was nice, I found the breakfast disappointing. The quality of the food was subpar with dry scrambled eggs and tasteless potato patties, unappealing buffet arrangement and an open space dining room that felt like the cafeteria of a public institution.

Homewood Suites by Hilton

Room



View from the room early in the morning.

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Breakfast at one of the meeting rooms.

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The second property was the Holiday Inn Express in Kendall, a suburb south of the airport full of restaurants and shops.
My stay here was great with a very welcoming, professional and friendly staff. The room seemed a bit smaller than the Homewood Suites and the WC sink was in front of the beds without any proper separation. In addition, the air conditioning unit was close to the bed and not controlled from a central area with vents throughout the room. The breakfast was more appealing than the one at Homewood Suites and the quality seemed better.

Holiday Inn Express.

Room.




Breakfast.




Being in MIA means the opportunity to indulge in some good Cuban food. The cuisine tends to be hearty with huge portions and is heavily influenced by its Spanish roots. This is evident in dishes like caldo gallego or dishes cooked a la valenciana or andaluza to just mention a few examples. Of course, pork is featured heavily from medianoche sandwiches to lechones asados or roasted pigs.

Cafe Versailles hints at French cuisine but in reality this is a Cuban institution that is packed most of the time and opens late at night. More information can be found here:

http://www.versaillesrestaurant.com/

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I ordered some food to go like the Plato Criollo with Yellow Rice, Black Beans, “Ropa Vieja” Shredded Beef in Tomato Sauce, Fried Pork Chunks, Ham Croquette, Sweet Plantains, Cuban Tamale, and Cassava with Cuban Mojo.

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Braised Lamb with Vegetables, Fresh Rosemary and Red Wine. Served with White Rice and Sweet Plantains.

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Cuban Sandwich.

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El Palacio de los Jugos is another chain that specializes in Cuban cuisine and is famous for its fresh juices.

http://www.elpalaciodelosjugos.com/

I also had take out and sample several dishes.

Oxtail stew.

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Pig's trotters.

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Barrigada or roast pork with crispy skin.

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See more

Verdict

American Airlines

7.9/10
Cabin9.0
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering6.0

San Francisco - SFO

9.1/10
Efficiency8.5
Access9.0
Services9.0
Cleanliness10.0

Miami - MIA

8.5/10
Efficiency8.5
Access8.5
Services8.5
Cleanliness8.5

Conclusion

An average flight on AA with comfortable seating and a nice crew.

My sandwich was a strange creation with strips of chicken, slices of hard boiled egg, guacamole, Blue cheese dressing and veggies. It tasted ok, but the combination of all these ingredients was far from harmonious.

Flight arrived earlier, what else can I ask for?

Information on the route San Francisco (SFO) Miami (MIA)

14 Comments

  • Comment 112187 by
    indianocean GOLD 6821 Comments

    Most of airlines don't have row 13 aboard their planes. Looks like US airlines don't have any concern about that figure.

    Boeing 767 is definitely more comfortable than Boeing 737 on transcon flights in any classes.
    But I'm amazed that AA proposes BOB on such a long flight.

    The flight departing to China is China Eastern (MU) ant not China Southern (CZ)

    I also prefer the Holiday Inn Express. I never tried cuban food. Well, why not?

    Thank you Aidan

    • Comment 296887 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      I corrected it already. Thanks for bringing that up. Somehow I was thinking China Eastern but associated it with the first letter in CZ.

      My name is Adan, not Aidan. ;) although I've been called different names before. :P

      I also find it odd that AA decided to use 13 for seat designation.

      Try everything at least once. If you like pork, you won't be disappointed with Cuban food.

  • Comment 112195 by
    KL651 TEAM 4491 Comments

    Thanks for this FR.
    What a disapointment it must have been when the gate agent came towards you only to tell something to your neighbor.

    Although in the end you did get a better seatmate ^^

    too bad US airlines don't offer at least a free snack on transcon flights.

    • Comment 296894 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      After 9-11, AA kept the food service in Y on long transcon flights but eventually took that away. The domestic flying public only responds to price and not much else.

      You lose some, you gain some, right? ;) One nice thing about sitting in Y that I did not mention is that I run into a male FA that recognized me from previous flights and was glad to see me again.

      Something free on such a long flight would be appreciated. Unfortunately most U.S. airlines are cheap, except for B6. At least DL and WN offer peanuts or cookies with your beverages.

  • Comment 112199 by
    Concordia 715 Comments

    Waow! The food looks great!

    • Comment 296888 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      It also tastes great in my opinion. ;)

      I was not planning to publish a report because I thought that the route was too ordinary, but lagentsecret convinced me and said that I can always include some food bonus.

      Thanks.

  • Comment 112245 by
    lagentsecret GOLD 12395 Comments

    Thanks for sharing this FR

    I'm sorry that your upgrade didn't clear

    Gorgeous aerial pictures of SFO airport

    I don't think I could be able to eat this junk food sold on board :(

    You were lucky with your neighbor swap : sleeping beauty instead of hulk, lol

    The breakfast in the two hotels are terrible, even if the last one seems to be a bit better (or less bad)

    Cuban food looks way too greasyy to my taste

    See you soon on your next flight

    • Comment 296932 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      You deserve some credit for your persuasive power.

      No need to be. At the end things worked out. ;)

      SFO has a beautiful setting. All I did was to capture the surroundings.

      I just had to try the sandwich for this report. AA needs to introduce new items to their menu.

      A fair trade of neighbors, although not as charming as a nounours. ;)

      The first breakfast was bad, the second uninspiring. I guess I have to keep trying different hotels until I find the best breakfast.

      If you come with me I bet I can change your mind. ;)

      The return trip was at night and I do not have enough pics to post a report. I can tell you that I was delayed for 2 hrs in MIA due to lightning and rain. At one point after sitting for more than an hour inside all of us were told to exit the plane with our luggages and wait in the gate area.

  • Comment 112252 by
    KévinDC TEAM SILVER 5302 Comments

    Short report? There's at least a hundred pics! LOL. The MCE cabin on the 763 seems nice because it's only 3 rows and isolated, very intimate. The seats are definitely showing their age, however. Luckily, the B763 fleet is currently undergoing cabin refits but sadly the Y cabin is not getting PTV, which I think is nuts.

  • Comment 112355 by
    marathon GOLD 9566 Comments

    Great pictures while taxiing and aloft ! they would have made an excellent report even without the hotel / food bonus.
    I am always amused by most airlines having no row 13 in their aircraft. But that is nothing compared to the building where I lived in Beijing, where the floor numbering skipped 13 (bad for Westerners) and any number containing the digit 4 (bad for the Chinese). Floor 25 was four levels lower than you would have expected :)
    Thanks for sharing !

  • Comment 112359 by
    jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

    One great thing about traveling is that it exposes us to little idiosyncrasies that exist throughout the world.

    Chinese can be very superstitious, but the numbering of the floors in the building might be a bit too much. It borders on impracticality.

    Thanks.

  • Comment 112957 by
    Chibcha 432 Comments

    It's a shame AA is sending 737s on trascons out of MIA, I'm planning a trip to the west coast and the continuous presence of 738s on the schedule is discouraging.
    The BOB sandwich looked tasty...but not as good as that cuban food, boy you've done me a big wrong, now I won't stop thinking about it, specially on that Barrigada, se ve deliciosa!

    The holiday inn looked great, nice breakfast it seems.

    Thanks for the nice read, and the cuban food craving!

    • Comment 297381 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      Con mucho susto :P

      It sucks to fly on 738's on transcons. The only reason that AA still uses a 763 is because that afternoon flight continues to EZE and carries a lot of connecting passengers. Every time I step onboard it is full of South Americans, especially Argentinians and Venezuelans.

      You know what to do to take care of that Cuban craving. ;) Save room for pastelitos too.

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