Review of American Airlines flight San Francisco Miami in Domestic First

Airline American Airlines
Flight AA 68
Seat 5B
Aircraft Boeing 757-200
Flight time 05:12
Take-off 17 Jan 15, 07:00
Arrival at 17 Jan 15, 15:12
AA   #26 out of 67 Airlines A minimum of 10 flight-reports within the past two years is required to appear in the rankings. 509 reviews
jetsetpanda
By 4199
Published on 17th January 2015
Hello and welcome to this one day turnaround from SFO-MIA-SFO. Originally I was scheduled to return via LAX but due to a last minute aircraft substitution I was rebooked on the nonstop back to SFO. My schedule is as follow:

SFO-MIA in F - you are here
MIA-SFO in F - to follow


I intended to take this trip in order to qualify as a Silver with BA's Executive Club. Some time ago I was looking for a cheap transcontinental trip and was not able to find anything until I came across a USD 320 RT to MIA. I thought about staying overnight but the fare would have skyrocketed to USD 400+ if I decided to return on Sun or Mon, so in the end I just bit the bullet and did this as a one day trip.

This will be my first trip with AA since the implementation of the new catering and even though I knew that it was disappointing from several other reports that I have read, I was wondering just how bad it was. I woke up really early and after dropping off my mother and sister (they were going to LAX with DL at the same time), I parked my car at the airport garage and headed to the AA terminal for my flight.

Security was busy but the priority line was not too bad, so I made it inside and stopped by the bookstore before going to the gate. At the gate, I noticed that there were 3 suits hanging around by the podium (perhaps from US learning about the AA operations). The gate agents were professional as usual (and expected) and after boarding passengers who needed extra assistance, F pax were welcome to proceed onboard.


Terminal with an interesting glass exhibition.

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Gate.

Looks like someone is practicing for a hair commercial. ;)

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What? No elite members waiting for an upgrade? Under the Upgrade Requests on the right side, it says There are no customers requesting upgrades on this flight. Don't tell me that AA is experiencing an exodus of elite members since US took over.

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I boarded the plane and greeted the FA who was checking the galley.

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Cabin with 24 seats in F instead of 22. I noticed that the blankets were the flimsy type and not the duvet style that were provided before.

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Earphones were already on the armrests.

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View from my seat.

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Pocket contents.

I found the new American Way magazine less engaging with dull articles except for a section about Paris food.

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Pre-departure drinks were offered consisting of water and orange juice.


We departed 8 min. later and after take off hot towels were distributed. I found the smell slightly off putting because there was a slightly odd lingering scent that was barely perceptible, like old books.

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I then ordered a 1/2 orange juice and 1/2 cranberry with lemon.

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I have pre-ordered my meal and these were the choices:

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Another change I noticed is that there were no longer printed menus. This route used to have them before. The FA served me the breakfast from a cart and offered a biscuit or cranberry bread with it. I chose the bread with jam. The egg tasted like a pre-fabricated mixture that one finds in the frozen food section of a supermarket.




The fruit was fresh and sweet.

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Once finished, the FA's cleared the trays and that was it. They did not distribute bottles of water as before. This was perhaps one of the most annoying changes because it was nice to have a bottle of water in your seat to hydrate yourself at your own pace on such a long flight. All this cost cutting by the new management is irritating.

FA's passed around with a tray of water later during the flight and instead of the freshly baked cookies, now there is a basket of snacks. The cookies were something special that set AA apart and most passengers appreciated that extra touch. Alas, this is gone as well.

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I had a chat with the purser who was very nice and she encouraged me to write to AA. She noticed that a lot of passengers have complained about these new shortcuts and they were not happy about them.

We finally got ready for arrival and landed earlier at 1441.
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Verdict

American Airlines

7.9/10
Cabin8.0
Cabin crew9.5
Entertainment/wifi7.0
Meal/catering7.0

San Francisco - SFO

9.5/10
Efficiency9.0
Access9.0
Services10.0
Cleanliness10.0

Miami - MIA

8.6/10
Efficiency9.0
Access8.0
Services8.5
Cleanliness9.0

Conclusion

I had a good flight on AA and flight arrived earlier.

It was disappointing to see these shortcuts and the deterioration of AA's inflight service. No menus, lower quality blankets, lack of individual bottles of water, removal of freshly baked onboard cookies before arrival were only a few of the things that I used to enjoy whenever I flew on a long transcon flight. Sadly all of that is gone and AA is just like any other carrier trying to offer a mediocre product.

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

12 Comments

If you liked this review or if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to post a comment below !
  • Comment 127171 by
    NGO85 1622 Comments

    Thanks for the report.

    That egg seems to hold it's shape real well, looked like a muffin at first glance. The potato/sausage didn't look bad.

    Ominous prelude into a UA-CO merger sequel?

  • Comment 127174 by
    Caribel 113 Comments

    I love the bite in your commentary. Makes for exciting reading. It is commendable you take the time and care to facilitate transport for your mom and sister. Other children just recite a litany of excuses saying how busy they are with work, lovers and shampooing their hair to avoid spending time together. Talking of hair, very editorial the picture with the white girl hair tussle as Tyra Banks calls it.

    Airlines analyze the composition of passengers by route and time. The less premium pax in a particular flight the more they resort to frozen meals catering. Individual water bottles may be reserved for full catering rates. Several times I have been in long-haul flights were the FA took all the bottle water for their layover and directed me to drink from the tap. Their rationale was that if it is good enough for coffee and tea it must be good enough for paying customers. When I pointed out that airplane pipes are not cleaned/flushed often enough to reduce microorganisms growth, their answer was that nobody has died yet.

    Sorry, you didn't stay for the Ms.Universe pageant. I could have hook you up. Keep up the good work!

    • Comment 309074 by
      KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5763 Comments

      @Caribel: Oh wow, you've had FA's tell you to drink from the tap...as in the tap in the lav? That's crazy, I've never seen that before...please tell me this wasn't on a US carrier. In this sue-happy country we live in, I just can't see a FA getting away with saying that. The water from the lav is not drinkable as you say--it is used for coffee because the high temps at which the coffee brews kills the bacteria, but noone should ever drink that water, believe me I've worked for airlines in the past.

  • Comment 127258 by
    SMilano 1292 Comments

    Thanks Adan for sharing !

    The quality of the AA's inflight service decrease again...
    Now you have breakfast from the frozen section of a supermarket and without printed menus...
    I don't understand at what game plays AA...

    Ther are on the good way to offer a very mediocre product...

    • Comment 308872 by
      jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

      Unfortunately this is the trend with the new management. The game they are playing is called cutting costs at the expense of its reputation. Nothing is sacred anymore, they have already modified the international service as well according to some reports that I have seen.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Comment 127409 by
    KévinDC TEAM GOLD 5763 Comments

    Yeah, it seems that SFO-MIA is no longer considered a transcon that gets the duvet etc. It's a shame and on such a long flight you notice the difference, but with no real competition on the route, AA seems to have no reason to make an effort. In my experience lately, I can only really compare AA F with DL F and IMO, AA is better than DL in many ways, but DL standards in domestic F were never really high so AA's service downgrades are noticeable to AA's frequent flyers. While for someone like me who has recently switched to AA, the downgraded product seems fine top me since I did not know any better and do not see it as worse than DL. How odd that there was an empty upgrade list...I really doubt there is a mass exodus of Elites from AA. On the contrary, I think they are getting quite a large influx of Elites from UA and DL. Lately I've been seeing upgrade lists 30+ pax deep on some flights and seen empty seats with non-revs up front on other. It varied a lot. Whereas on DL, you were pretty much guaranteed to see a huge super long upgrade list because of the free Elite upgrades. I like AA's sticker system better because it gives those who really want the upgrade and are willing to shell out for the 500-mile stickers a better shot at the upgrade. Good thing you got a 757 with the new interior...I wonder how many 757s with the old Buick bench F seats are still around?

  • Comment 127415 by
    jetsetpanda AUTHOR 2294 Comments

    Ignorance is bliss sometimes. If you were used to the old AA, you would be mourning by now.

    DL might not have very high standards for F domestically, but I think they are consistent and has very professional FA's in my experience.

    I don't think there are too many 757's with the old configuration. The new AA team is pretty efficient at changes and bringing things up to date.

    Thanks.

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