Trip Report: American Airlines (A321) Main Cabin ORD-SAN

The Details

  • Flight: AA1025
  • Aircraft: A321
  • Class: Main Cabin
  • Seat: 25A
  • Route: Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)-San Diego International (SAN)
  • Distance: 1,722 miles
  • Duration: 4hrs 36min
  • Departure: 10:52AM
  • Arrival: 1:02PM

The Preflight

I booked this Christmas day flight to go visit family who live in San Diego. ORD-SAN is my most flown route, having done this a total of six times over the past two years.

Departing at 9:55AM, I arrived at 7:50AM and made it through TSA Precheck in about five minutes. My favorite Admirals Club at O’Hare is the H/K Concourse club. There are two more Admirals Club’s at ORD, one in Concourse G and one in Concourse L.

There was a beautiful sunrise view from the AC windows.

A319 pushing back

For breakfast, there was an avocado toast station and a make-your-own breakfast taco bar. Both options had a generous amount of topping choices.

Christmas breakfast

The inbound flight from Miami was delayed by 20 minutes and our departure time was pushed back from 9:55AM to 10:12AM. O’Hare was fully in the Christmas spirit and American Airlines had a bunch of festive trees set up just outside the Admirals Club.

As I made my way to gate H6, I passed by the AA retro “Astrojet” livery.

American Airlines usually has a B737-800 for this ORD-SAN route, but on Christmas Day subbed in an A321.

Our A321, registration N158AN, was relatively new (3.8 years old). She was delivered to American Airlines in 2016.

The Flight

American Airlines currently has two distinct sub-fleets of A321s. One sub-fleet is made of legacy US Airways (LUS) A321s (“Classic”) that lack seatback screens and does not have in seat power. The other sub-fleet is made of legacy American Airlines (LAA) A321s (“Enhanced”) that have seatback screens and in seat power. Today, our plane was an “Enhanced” A321. There were a total of 16 first class seats, 36 Main Cabin Extra seats, and 129 Main Cabin seats.

My favorite seat aboard the LAA A321s are 25F and 25A. These are regular Main Cabin seats (not Main Cabin Extra) and can be selected without surcharge if on a regular economy fare. Both these seats feature unlimited legroom since there is no seat 24A or 24F.

Regular economy seats are 17.7″ wide but since this seat did not have a seatback in front, the tray table and IFE screen were in the armrest. This reduced the width to about 16.3″.


One downside is 25A directly faces the flight attendant during takeoff and landing. I prefer 25F over 25A since 25F does not face the jump-seat.


Unfortunately, the IFE screen folding mechanism was broken in my seat. The screen would not lock in the upright position forcing me to hold the screen upright the entire flight. When I asked the flight attendant if there was anything she could do, she told me to stream to my own device instead…

Broken IFE screen folding mechanism

Boarding began on time for the delayed departure time of 10:12. Once the doors were closed, we sat at the gate for another 40 minutes before finally pushing back at 10:43 AM. There was a long line of aircraft ahead of us in line and we waited another 20 minutes before it was our turn to take-off.


We had a smooth takeoff and the captain flipped the seat belt sign off about 15 minutes into the flight.

Flight attendants came through the cabin with a snack and beverage service. There was the option of Biscoff cookies or pretzels and a choice of beverage. I opted for the pretzels and a cup of coffee. I ended up using the tray table to keep my screen upright the entire flight.

Coffee and pretzels

We passed over some beautiful snow covered Midwest farmland.


I managed to finish all of Hobbs and Shaw (Fast and Furious series) and part of Angel Has Fallen during the flight.


An hour before landing flight attendants came through the cabin a second time offering beverages. I had a cup of Diet Dr. Pepper (no full cans were given out).


Landing was a bit bumpy due to the rain in San Diego (!) but was otherwise uneventful. As always we had great views of downtown San Diego on approach to runway 27.


Taxiing to the gate was quick and only took about 10 minutes until I made it off the plane. Thanks for the ride!

On my way towards the exit and I passed two different Canadian carriers.

Air Canada Express CRJ-900LR
West Jet B737-800

All in all, this was an OK economy flight with American Airlines. There was a delay of about an hour, my IFE screen mount was defective, and the flight attendants relatively ambivalent towards flyers. However, nothing terrible happened and I got home to visit the family.

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