For winter vacation, my fiance and I were headed to Cyprus for the week. Originating in Indianapolis, we had a separate reservation booked with Aeroplan points from Chicago to Frankfurt to Munich to Larnaca, Cyprus. For the Indianapolis to Chicago flight, we booked with cash with American Airlines.
We arrived at the terminal an hour before boarding at 10:20AM was scheduled to begin and found a fairly busy American Airlines check-in area. Thanks to TSA Precheck we quickly passed through security about five minutes after arriving at the terminal.
There is a single Priority Pass restaurant at IND called “The Fan Zone” located at the end of the A gates pier. Each passenger with an eligible Priority Pass (through Chase) membership is given a $28 credit for a companion and themselves. There was an extensive offering of alcohol including liquor, beer, wines, and seltzers.
There was a refrigerator with a selection of cold sandwiches, wraps, and other snacks. The hot food was only available after noon.
Boarding began on time at 12:20PM. Our E175, owned by Envoy Air for American Earle, was delivered brand new in May 2016.
American Eagle E175s feature a total of 12 First class and 64 economy seats in a two-cabin configuration. The First class seats are arranged in a 1-2 configuration while the economy cabin is in a 2-2 configuration. Of the 64 economy seats, 20 were extra legroom Main Cabin Extra seats.
We were seated in the first row of the economy cabin in row eight. Each seat was 18 inches wide with 34 inches of pitch.
The benefit of the first row of the economy cabin is that there is no bulkhead between the two cabins. The aisle seat (8C) features unlimited legroom because it juts out into the aisle.
There was a simple bi-fold tray table stored in the armrest.
Each seat pair also had a shared USB port and a 110V outlet.
Boarding was completed 25 minutes after it began and we pushed back two minutes later at 12:47PM. It was just the beginning of a winter storm in the central Indiana region so our aircraft was de-iced prior to departure.
At 1:15PM we took off from runway 5L.
On this short flight, there was a snack offering of either pretzels or Biscoffs. Flight attendants also came through the cabin with water and orange juice.
We cruised at 20,000 feet for just eight minutes before beginning our descent into Chicago.
On our approach into runway 27C, we had a cloudy view of downtown.
We landed at 12:56PM and only had an eight-minute taxi to gate L21. Thanks for the ride!
After landing at 3:45PM from San Diego, I had 45 minutes until boarding was scheduled to begin on my final flight home. Our B737-800, registration N923AN, was over 21 years old. Delivered to American Airlines before the turn of the century in November 1999, she was one of the oldest B737s in the AA fleet.
Boarding began on time at 4:27PM for a 5:03PM departure.
American Airlines is in the progress of retrofitting their entire B737 fleet to including 16 First, 24 Main Cabin Extra, and 132 Main Cabin seats as part of their Oasis/Kodiak fleet renewal. Our B737-800 today had been retrofitted with the Kodiak modification which included Collins Meridian economy seats arranged in a 3-3 configuration. Main Cabin Extra was located in the first two rows of economy (8 and 9) as well as the two emergency exit rows (16 and 17).
I was seated in row 8, the bulkhead economy row. Since the cabin divider only extended down halfway from the ceiling, there was ample legroom. Pitch was 33 inches. Along the fuselage was a literature pocket as well as an additional pocket in the seat back in front.
A large bi-fold tray table was located in the center armrest. There were also a built in cup holder and tablet holder.
Each seat also had built-in USB ports and 110V outlets.
Upon boarding, each passenger was given a sanitizing wipe.
We pushed back on time at 5:03PM then taxied for 15 minutes to runway 25R.
We got stunning views of the Sonoran Desert as dusk during our climb out of the PHX area.
Service began 30 minutes after takeoff with a beverage and snack service. Due to COVID-19, alcohol was not offered in the Main Cabin. A small pack of pretzels was also passed out.
The rest of the flight was uneventful as we cruised eastwards with the sun to our rear.
I managed to nap for about an hour during the flight. I woke-up to the cabin being prepped for landing.
It was a gloomy, wet night in Indianapolis as we landed at 11:14PM.
Route: San Diego International (SAN)-Pheonix Sky Harbor (PHX)
Flight Time: 49 min
Distance: 334 miles
After spending a few days visiting family in San Diego, it was time to head back home to Indy. Thanks to TSA Precheck, I was air side within a few minutes of arriving at SAN. I made my way to the Airspace Lounge, which I could access thanks to my American Express Platinum Card.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all food was pre-packaged. Options included a variety of chips, fruit, and cookies.
There was a espresso machine which was roped off. Lounge staff operated the machine.
Entry with the AMEX Platinum Card also came with a $10 voucher for food from the menu.
For lunch, I had the Chicken Caesar wrap along with a house Bloody Mary. Tasty.
The lounge had a great apron view of the American Airlines gates including 23 where my flight to Phoenix would be departing.
Our A320, registration N680AW, was 16 years old. She was initially delivered to American West in 2005 prior to the merger with US Airways in 2006. She then was transferred to American Airlines in 2015 after their merger with US Airways.
Boarding began at 2:02PM exactly 30 minutes prior to departure.
American Airlines operates a total of 48 A320s which were inherited from US Airways. These aircraft have a total of 12 First, 18 Main Cabin Extra, and 120 Main Cabin seats. The 18 Main Cabin Extra seats are found in the the bulkhead row (4) and two emergency exit rows (10 and 11) arranged in a 3-3 configuration. I was seated in 4A, the bulkhead Main Cabin Extra row. I found these legacy US Airways seat very comfortable with a generous amount of padding.
Pitch was generous although the foot room was restricted due to bulkhead in front. Each seat had a literature pocket in front.
There was a large bi-fold tray table located in the center armrest.
Each seat also had a USB port and 110V outlet.
Upon boarding, each passenger was given a small sanitizing wipe.
We pushed back two minutes early at 2:30PM and had a 14 minute taxi to runway 27.
We climbed westward circling back around to head east which gave us great views of San Diego.
Service was quick and efficient. Flight attendants came down the aisle with a drink service and offered packaged snacks 20 minutes after takeoff. Due to COVID-19, complimentary alcohol had been cut from the Main Cabin Extra service.
The rest of the 49 minute flight was uneventful as we cruised over the California-Arizona state line.
The descent into Phoenix was smooth and we landed at 3:37PM. The taxi to gate A5 was quick at just two minutes.
After deplaning from our ultra-long-haul flight from Doha, my fiance and I made our way past CBP with Global Entry and entered the USA in just a few minutes. Our bag came fairly quickly and in about ten minutes we had them. American Airlines had counters just before the exit of the baggage claim area for passengers with connecting domestic flights and we got re-issued boarding passes and dropped off our checked luggage there.
Thanks to TSA Precheck, we quickly cleared security and soon made our way to the Admirals Club located in Terminal D. Access was granted based on the fact that we were arriving on an international business class ticket.
The lounge was incredibly crowded with almost every sofa occupied. Mask compliance during this time was about 50/50.
Cold food options included veggies and hummus, cheese cubes, and salad.
The hot food option was a red pepper bisque.
There was also a build-your-own penne alfredo station.
Pasta customization options included tomatoes, peas, and croutons.
Dessert choices were cookies or rice crispy treats. Noticeably missing was the brownies.
Drink options included an espresso machine, filtered coffee, and a Freestyle Coke machine.
With about ten minutes until boarding, we left the Admirals Club and made our way to gate D33. Our aircraft was a beautiful B787-9, registration N827AN, that was delivered brand-new to American Airlines in June 2017.
Boarding began three minutes early at 11:57AM.
Door 2L was used for boarding today and it was a treat to turn left after stepping on board.
American Airlines offers 30 business class seats on their B787-9s arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration.
The entire business class cabin was between the first and second set of doors.
My fiance and I were seated in 6A and 7A, window seats on the left side of the aircraft.
The business class seats are Collins Aerospace Super Diamond seats which are always a pleasure to sit in.
The seat was spacious and had a ton of features including multiple storage compartments.
There was a large 15.4″ touchscreen which had high resolution.
A very large, sturdy, bi-fold tray table popped out from underneath the IFE screen.
The footwell was large enough to accommodate my size 11 feet.
Along the window were two storage compartments and the literature holder.
The main storage compartment had enough space for a few electronics and documents. Power outlets included a 110V outlet, USB port, and headphone jack. The IFE remote was also stored in this space.
I appreciated that American Airlines did not skimp on the IFE remote which had a separate screen.
Beneath the storage compartments were the seat controls on a touchscreen.
Next to the footwell, there was another storage bin.
Just above the shoulder area was a nice reading light.
I found the seat itself to be very well padded and comfortable. Since the sides opened outwards, I also did not feel that my shoulders were trapped between the shell of the seat.
The armest along the aisle could also be pushed down to create even more room.
It also served as an additional storage bin.
Luckily for us on this flight, it had been provisioned for an international flight instead of a domestic one. At each seat was Casper bedding including a comforter and pillow.
Slippers were also provided to us.
Earphones and a sanitizing wipe were also at each seat.
Boarding completed at 12:27PM and two minutes later we pushed back a minute ahead of schedule.
The taxi to runway 17R/35L took fifteen minutes and soon we were on our way to Chicago.
Service began once we reached 15,000ft with a beverage service. I had a Bloody Mary which was served double. I appreciate that American Airlines is one of the few airlines that consistently gives me a double rather than a single.
The flight attendant also passed through the cabin with a snack basket. Options included Snap Peas, kettle chips, almonds, and raspberry cookies.
Midway into the flight, I used to business class lavatory which was nicely designed.
There was CO Bigelow branded soap.
I did manage to nap for maybe 15-20 minutes and really enjoyed the Casper blanket.
We began our descent into ORD at 2:14PM and had a great bird’s eye view of O’Hare as we looped around downtown Chicago to approach from the East.
We landed at 2:32PM local time on runway 27C. As usual, the taxi to the gate took more than 15 minutes.
After arriving from Male onboard a Qatar Airways B77W in QSuites, we had a three-hour layover in Doha. We quickly cleared through security and made our way to the excellent Al Mourjan Business Lounge. There was a large number of passengers waiting to get into the lounge. Access is allowed only for passengers flying Qatar Airways Business Class or Oneworld business class. Oneworld status holders (Sapphire and Emerald) are directed to a different lounge in the airport.
Since we were traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic, all lounge staff were masked.
To the right of the entrance was a water pool as well as the staircase that led upstairs to the dining room.
Along the windows were some tables as well as sofas.
There were a variety of drinks and coffee available self-serve.
The main dining room was located up the stairs.
There was a variety of self-serve individually packaged food available including hummus and falafel sandwiches.
There was a sushi station with a chef.
Next to the sushi bar was a salad bar.
There was also a huge bread station.
Hot food included a mix of soup, curries, and middle eastern food served by staff members behind plexiglass.
There was also a huge dessert station with decadent cakes.
Qatar Airways also provided an a la carte menu.
In the middle of the lounge was a wide-open space with ample amounts of chairs and sofas.
Further into the lounge was a quiet room with individual suites.
There were also shower rooms separated by gender. I requested a room and was immediately taken to one that was available.
It was very nicely stocked with toiletries and amenities.
We made our way to the gate area at around midnight an hour before our departure time. There was a line for document checks and then a secondary security screen prior to entering the gate area. Luckily, there were separate lines for business class passengers and we were through in about 10 minutes.
I was really excited about this flight as it was the first time that I would be flying the long-range version of the B777, the B777-200LR.
Our B777-200LR, registration A7-BBD, was an 11 year old aircraft delivered brand new to Qatar Airways in Dec 2009. She was one of nine -200LRs in the Qatar fleet.
Boarding began at 00:30 via doors 1L and 2L. Business class passengeres used the first door while economy passengers boarded via the second door.
Qatar Airways features 42 business class QSuites on board their B777-200LRs arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration in two separate cabins.
Our seats were 5E and F in the middle section of the first cabin which has a total of 24 seats. Odd numbered rows faced backwards while even numbered rows faced forward.
The odd numbered seats in the middle were also arranged right next to each other, separated by a middle divider.
Once the divider was lowered, the two seats turned into a twin suite right next to each other. Perfect for couples.
Each seat was 21 inches wide with even more shoulder room on the sides and in between the seats. The headrest was adjustable and very comfortable as well with great padding.
Pitch was over 103 inches and even when stretching my legs out I did not feel restricted.
QSuites offered a massive IFE entertainment screen that was highly responsive and high resolution.
Beneath the IFE screen was the large and sturdy bi-fold tray table.
The doorway offered ample space to get in and out of the seat without having the fold-up the tray table.
In the corner of the suite was a large table top with a nice marble design. There was a small storage shelf below.
There was an extensive amount of seat controls which allowed us to heavily customize the seat position.
The IFE remote was once of the nicer ones with a separate screen and multiple buttons.
Each seat also had a USB port, 110V outlet, headphone jack, USB streaming port, HDMI streaming port, and a tap-to-pay credit card reader.
At the bottom was a small space for storing shoes.
Next to the door was a small reading light as well as coat hook.
Below the reading light was a small cushion that covered a storage bin.
Within the storage bin was a water bottle, headphone, and bag. The bin had compartments of varying sizes which was perfect for glasses, tablets, phones, etc.
Waiting for us at the seat was an amenity kit, sanitizing kit, and wrapped blanket.
Immediately after we took our seats, the flight crews came by to ask what we would like to drink. Qatar Airways offers and open bar onboard their flights and I had a glass of the delicious rose. It was served with a refreshing towel.
There were two types of Brics amenity kits on this flight and my fiance and I each got one.
Contents included socks, eyeshade, lip blam, facial mist, and lotion.
The protective kit had a face mask, gloves, and hand sanitizer.
The Oryx One branded noise cancelling headphones were fairly good quality for business class.
We were each also given a bottle of water.
Bedding included a fairly comfortable pillow.
The fluffy blanket came wrapped in plastic.
Each passenger was alsio given The White Company branded pajamas. The top and bottom were comfortable and the slippers well cushioned.
We pushed back on time at 01:10AM in the morning and had a 25 minute taxi to the runway. At 1:35AM we began the takeoff roll sitting facing the rear of the plane.
Unforutantely, the B777-200LRs did not have nose or outside cameras.
Fifteen minutes later, the flight attendants came through the cabin to take our dinner orders. While Qatar Airways offers a dine-on-demand service, meaning you can eat whenever during the flight, I decided to eat first. My fiance went straight to sleep.
Service was a bit slower than I would have liked. Fourty minutes after take-off a small ramekin of mixed nuts was served. I went with a glass of the Pommery Brut Royal champage.
To start, I had the Arabic Mezze which was served covered due to COVID-19 precautions. This course came almost an hour after takeing off.
The mezze consisted of muhammmara, touleh, and hummus. Eaten with warmed pita it was tasty.
Next, I had a bowl of the daily soup which was a hearty potato soup.
I went with the Chilean Sea Bass and grilled shrimp for my main. While the fish was cooked perfectly, I found the saffron sauce way too buttery.
The only dessert option was a trio of cannolini. The three different flavors included key lime, avocado, and vanila which were all excellent.
Once my table was cleared, I went to go change into the pajamas. By this time, the cabin lights had been dimmed with mood lighting and all passengers had their doors closed. I loved the amount of privacy the suites had.
The lavatory was very well stocked with amenities and was larger than the standard B777 lavatories on other carriers.
The lavatory also had shaving kits and toothbrushes.
Additional amenities included facial water and hand lotion from diptyque.
As we were both getting changed, the flight attendants set up our beds. We came back to a very inviting double bed with two fluffy pillows, firm comforter, and silken smooth blanket.
Each suite also had the option to turn the seat lettering red to signal do-not-disturb.
We both closed the doors to our suite and tried to get some sleep. I appreciated the fact that the walls of the suite were high enough it was hard to peek over them.
I managed to get a few hours of sleep and woke-up as we crossed over Europe.
I had a cappacino which was served with a ginger cookie.
For the rest of the flight I had the flight map on the IFE remote and watched a few movies and TV shows on the main screen.
Feeling a bit hungry, I had the afternoon tea set about nine hours after takeoff. It came with an assortment of finger sandwiches, two scones, clotted cream, pistachio cake, and berry quiche. These snacks were all phenomenal and tasty.
My fiance and I also shared the cheese plate. The variety of cheese and sliced fruit with crackers were delicious.
I watched a few more TV shows as we crossed over Greenland into North America.
Five hours later, my fiance and I decided to have breakfast. My fiance went with the assiette of cold cuts which was served with fresh fruit and greek yoghurt.
I decided to have the excellent black mushroom crepe with scrambled eggs, veal sausage, and grilled potates.
Once we finished breakfast, flight attendants came by with Godiva chocolates and mints.
The cabin was prepped for landing almost an hour our of Dallas. We began our descent fifteen minutes later.
Exactly sixteen hours after we took-off from Doha, we landed in DFW at 9:34AM local time. The taxi to the gate took about twenty minutes and then we were off to clear customs and collect our bags before our final flight back up to Chicago. Thanks for the ride!
Route: Male Velana International (MLE)-Doha Hamad International (DOH)
Flight Time: 4hrs 3min
After arriving from the seaplane terminal via bus, our W Maldives representative personally escorted us through security (which also scanned our Health Declaration forms) to the Qatar Airways check-in counters. We actually got to the check-in counters at 4PM, but the counters didn’t open until 4:45PM. For those 45 minutes, our representative actually waited with us the entire time.
Once the check-in counters opened, the agent verified our negative COVID-19 test, Qatar Airways attestation form, and CDC form. Our bags were checked through to Dallas-Fort Worth, and our boarding passes were printed.
Our W Maldives escort then guided us towards to escalators up to the immigration checkpoint and bid us farewell. We made our way up to the immigration area which was relatively empty. They re-scanned our Health Declaration Departure and then stamped our passports and boarding pass. Security was fast and we were airside in 10 minutes.
Qatar Airways and the vast majority of other airlines give their business class passengers access to the Leeli Lounge which is the only lounge in the international terminal. Access could also be purchased for $35USD per person at the door.
The lounge offered a large amount of individual sofas in three large seating areas. Some had power ports for charging devices.
There was also a self-serve buffet area and the menu was provided on a screen at the entrance. All passengers had to hand sanitize before entering.
Drink options included Coke products, water, sparkling water, and tonic water. There were also salad, cake, and yogurt in the refrigerator.
Next to the fridge was a self-serve espresso machine. There was also tea but the hot water dispenser was out of service.
There was also some fresh juice. Of note, no alcohol was available in the lounge.
Other cold food options included pre-sliced fruit.
Hot food items included rice, stir-fried noodles, Thai beef curry, and carrots. There was also a cream of chicken soup.
Additional snacks included sandwiches, brownies, pound cake, candy, cookies, and bread.
There was also fresh fruit, egg quiche, and croissants.
The lounge also offered cup noodles.
We spent a total of 90 minutes in the lounge and a boarding announcement was made in the lounge for our flight. The gate area was located a floor below the main terminal area and all gates led to busses.
Business class passengers had a dedicated bus and the bus left after about five minutes.
Boarding was done via two separate air stairs. Since we were located in the forward cabin, we took the one leading to door 1L.
Our B777-300ER, registration A7-BAI, was one of 48 B77Ws in the Qatar Airways fleet. She was leased from Taqa Leasing and delivered brand new in October 2008.
Luckily for us, our B77W today was equipped with Qatar Airways’ award-winning QSuites business class seat. We had flown the previous generation B/E Minipod B77Ws two years earlier from Colombo to Doha. There are two configurations of the B777-300ERs equipped with QSuites; one has 24 QSuites and 388 economy seats while the other has 42 QSuites and 312 economy seats. Ours was the latter with 42 QSuites spread over two cabins.
Our QSuites were 5E and 5F (true honeymoon seats) located in the center of the forward business class cabin. The center divider was initially raised but was lowered by the flight attendants once we got to our seats.
Each QSuite offers 79 inches of pitch and a seat width of 21.5 inches. The seats are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration that alternates between forward and backward facing as well as closer to the aisle or window. Even-numbered seats are forward-facing but are closer to the aisle. Odd-numbered seats are rear-facing but closer to the window (or the center).
Our double QSuite was enormous. This is by far the best arrangement for couples as we had unrestricted access to each other.
The legroom was very generous and I had more than enough space to stretch out without feeling restricted.
At each seat was a massive touchscreen inflight entertainment screen. It was fast, responsive, and high quality.
Directly below the IFE screen was the very large and sturdy bi-fold tray table.
The footwell was below the tray table and was able to accommodate my size 11 feet. It was also wide enough for me to comfortably lie supine. What I did not like was that the tray table directly took away space from the footwell.
Adjacent to the IFE screen was a counter top, shelf, and seat controls. The doors to the QSuite were locked for boarding, taxi, and takeoff.
The countertop was large enough to accommodate all of the amenities that Qatar Airways provided.
Below the counter was a small shelf where the menus were placed. Below the shelf were buttons that controlled the “Do Not Disturb” light and overhead reading light. Seat controls included options for recline, lumbar support, massage, and forward-backward movement. There were preset buttons for takeoff, dining, lounging, and sleeping.
Below the seat controls were the IFE remote with a second screen, universal power outlet, two USB ports, headphone jack, HDMI port, and contactless payment pad.
The seat padding was very comfortable and had a cushy headrest.
Next to the headrest was a small reading lamp and coat hook.
While there was no true armrest but there was a storage bin with a leather cushion top.
Inside the storage compartment was a water bottle holder, headphone bin, thin deep bin, shallow bin, and wide deep bin.
Immediately upon boarding and taking our seats, the flight attendants came by to ask us what we would like to drink. Options included either water (still/sparkling), orange juice, champagne, or mint tea. A packaged refreshing towel was provided in place of the usual warm/cold towels.
Due to COVID-19, Qatar Airways also provided a protective kit which included a face mask, gloves, and sanitizing gel.
There was also a small amenity kit that included socks, eye mask, and lip balm. Qatar Airways does offer a more substantial amenity kit on their longer duration flights.
There was also a pair of noise-cancelling headphones which were OK.
A bottle of water was also waiting at the seat.
There was also a comfortable pillow at the seat.
A very warm blanket was also provided wrapped in plastic.
Boarding was completed just 23 minutes after we boarded the plane. The business class cabin was almost 100% full while economy had maybe just 20 or so passengers. We pushed back at 7:21PM and during the taxi to the runway, our meal orders were taken.
At 7:35PM we took off of runway 36 bound for Doha.
I was able to both watch the airshow on the IFE remote while also browsing the main screen.
15 minutes after takeoff, the purser came by to personally introduce herself and unlock the QSuite doors. Next, our flight attendant came by with a glass of the Gosset Brut Grand Rose and a ramekin of warmed nuts. Boy, have I missed warmed nuts on flights…
The main meal service started 30 minutes after I finished the nuts, a bit delayed possibly due to the large size of the business class cabin. To start, I had a bowl of the delicious tomato soup. It was served on a tray along with packaged warmed bread and some butter.
For my main, I went with the king prawns with asparagus, potatoes, cherry tomato in a dill cream sauce. It was tasty but very heavy.
My significant other had the excellent chicken biryani with raita. It was delicious.
For dessert, we both had the chocolate mousse with golden pearls.
The entire meal service was completed in 40 minutes and we still had about two hours and 30 minutes until landing. I browsed the Oryx One entertainment system a bit before deciding to try and get some sleep.
Just before trying to take a nap, I went to use one of the forward lavatories. There are two directly behind the cockpit and two more in between the business class cabins.
The lavatory was massive and very nicely designed.
Amenities included shaving kits, dental kits, soap, and lotion.
Once I got back to my seat I made my bed and got ready to nap. Unfortunately, Qatar Airways does not provide turn down service, pajamas, or a mattress pad on their shorter flights.
The footwell did not feel very restrictive at all.
We both closed our doors and managed to get an hour of napping. Thanks to the high walls and thick door provided a great amount of privacy for us in the suite.
As we neared Doha, the flight crew came by and passed out nice Godiva chocolates.
We began our descent around 11:20PM and 17 minutes later we landed in Doha.
The taxi to the gate took about seven minutes. Luckily, we were at a real gate rather than a bus gate and soon we were off to security for our next flight to Dallas.
After arriving on my flight from Orlando, I was supposed to have just an hour layover before my flight home to Indianapolis. However, due to severe thunderstorms in the area, my flight had been delayed by an hour and a half. I spent the majority of the time sitting in the terminal plane spotting and managed to catch our A320 just as she pulled into the gate.
Our A320 today, registration N660AW, was a 21-year-old aircraft that was originally delivered brand new to America West Airlines in June 2000. She was then transferred to US Airways in 2007 and then finally to American Airlines in April 2015.
Boarding began at 4:48PM for a new departure time of 5:10PM. I had little faith we would push back on time…
American Airlines offers 12 Domestic First seats onboard their A320s arranged in a 2-2 configuration over three rows. I was seated in the last row just ahead of the bulkhead.
Each seat is 21 inches wide and offers a pitiful 36 inches of pitch. I definitely felt cramped in this seat compared to other Domestic First seats including ones in the AA fleet.
While better than economy, this was probably the worst Domestic First seat I have experienced. The seatback only had a literature pocket.
The legroom was tight and my backpack barely fit into the space.
The center console was sparse.
Below was a headphone jack and non-operative music station control.
Beneath the center armrest was a small storage space.
Each seat did have a USB port and 110V outlet in front of the center armrest.
The left armrest had a recline button and also served as storage for the tray table.
The tray table was a simple bi-fold design but was very sturdy.
Upon boarding, each passenger was given a small sanitizing wipe. Boarding took about 25 minutes and by 5:14PM the doors were closed.
We then sat at the gate for 30 minutes with no update from either the flight attendants or the flight crew. Finally, at 5:45PM we pushed back from the gate.
As we taxied towards runway 17R, the captain came over the intercom and announced that we would have another 15-20 minutes before it was our turn to take-off. The take-off line was indeed very long.
That 15-20 minutes turned into 40 minutes and finally at 6:23PM (an hour and 10 minutes after boarding doors closed) we finally took off.
On the climb out, we had great views of Dallas Love Field.
Once we reached cruising altitude, I loaded the AA app on my tablet. For some reason, both the free entertainment and live TV were not working on my tablet today.
Service began 20 minutes after takeoff with a beverage service. The only snack options included the economy snack mix.
The rest of the flight passed by quickly with smooth skies.
As we neared Indy, I went to use the forward lavatory. It had CO Bigelow branded soap which was nice.
We began our descent into Indianapolis at 8:43PM with the sun below the horizon.
I had a great view of Indianapolis Airport and its three runways.
We looped around downtown Indianapolis and had amazing ariel views of Salesforce Tower, Lucas Oil Stadium, and the medical district (Riley Hospital, Eskenazi Hospital, and the VA Hospital).
At 9:07PM we landed about an hour and twenty minutes late. The taxi to gate B7 took about seven minutes. Thanks for the ride!
Route: Orlando International (MCO)-Dallas Ft. Worth International (DFW)
Duration: 2hrs 13min
After arriving at the main terminal area, I made my way to the dedicated Priority Check-in counters American Airlines operates in Orlando.
While there wasn’t a line for checking in, the TSA lines were massive. The central security area was packed with passengers. Luckily, I had CLEAR which allowed me to skip through the PreCheck line which was a few dozen passengers deep. Within five minutes I was through security.
American operates out of Terminal B at MCO and our flight we departing from gate 54. Our A321neo, registration N427AN, was delivered brand new to American Airlines on Octoerber 29, 2020.
She was one of 70 A321neos that American Airlines plans to have in their fleet.
Boarding was supposed to begin at 12:55PM but due to heavy thunderstorms in the Dallas area it was pushed back until 1:25PM. Gate agents did a fairly good job of keeping passengers updated and upfront with news on the delay.
American Airlines features 20 first class seats onbard their A321neos arranged in a 2-2 configuration. This aircraft featured the “Kodiak” Domestic First configuration which is American’s newest onboard offering up front. There was a hanging builhead screen that separated First and Main Cabin behind my seat 5A.
Each seat was 21″ wide and offered 36.5″ of pitch.
The seatback had a tablet holder, literature pocket, and USB port.
I appreciated the unrestricted legroom without any boxes underneath the seat.
It between the two seatbacks was a cocktail tray.
The seat recline button was located in the center console.
There was another small tray table that could be pulled out from the center.
Underneath the armrest was a storage bin as well as the universal power outlet.
The left hand armrest was where the tray table was stored.
The tray table was very sturdy and had a built in tablet holder which I appreciated.
It was massive and sturdy.
Boarding took just 30 minutes and the doors were closed at 1:55PM, 25minutes later than scheduled. The lead flight attendant also passed through the cabin to take drink orders before taking off. Three minutes later, we pushed back at 2:03PM.
The taxi to runway 36R took 11 minutes and we took off at 2:14PM.
Once in the air, I loaded the AA IFE on my tablet.
There was a fair amount of options despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Drinks were served 20 minutes after takeoff. I appreciated that all passengers were served a double of their drink of choice. I went with a gin & tonic that was also served with a slice of lime. American Airlines has had the best beverage service during the COVID-19 pandemic of any US carrier hands down.
Unfortuantely, the meal services have been severely reduced due to the pandemic. Food options included either a turkey sandwich of chesse plate.
The turkey sandwich was served with a packet of mustard and a chcolate chip cookie.
We had great views of the Gulf of Meixco was we passed over the Lousiana Coast.
We landed at 3:27PM local time in Dallas after on runway 35R.
Due to the thunderstorms in the area, the taxi ways were packed with delayed flights arriving and pushing back. Once at our gate, we were held in position due to another plane not having pushed back yet. It took almost twenty minutes for us to finally pull into our gate. This flight was a great reminder as to the impacts that thunderstorms have on DFW.
Route: San Diego International (SAN)-Chicago O’Hare International (ORD)
Duration: 3hrs 11min
Departure: 9:20AM PST
Arrival: 2:45PM CST
After a fun weekend in San Diego with my college buddies, I was on my way home to Chicago. Thanks to my Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan elite status I was able to use the Priority check-in counters. There was a fair amount of passengers this morning in Terminal 2 East.
Once past TSA Pre-check, I made my way to the Airspace Lounge. Thanks to my AMEX Platinum Card I had access to the lounge which also doubles as the Admirals Club for American Airlines passengers.
There was a self-serve espresso machine as well as some Chex Mix.
There was also a bar which was where additional food was available.
There was an assortment of chips and packaged pastries.
Thanks to my AMEX Platinum Card I also had a $10 food voucher to use on more substantial food.
I went with my usual Breakfast Sandwich with sausage.
The lounge had great views of the apron and the A321 that would be taking me to Chicago.
Our A321 today, registration N143AN, was delivered to American Airlines back in August 2015.
Boarding began at 8:50AM.
American Airlines currently has four separate versions of the A321 in their fleet. This version was a legacy American Airlines A321 with 181 seats. Each seat had a seatback screen which other versions of the A321 do not have.
I was seated in my favorite American Airlines economy seat, 25A.
While this seat was a standard Main Cabin seat, the major benefit was unlimited legroom.
Since it was directly facing the jumpseat there was no seat in front of it. I could stretch out my legs fully throughout the entire flight.
The other Main Cabin seats only offered 31″ of pitch and 17.7″ of width.
Since there was no seatback in front, the tray table and screen were stored in the armrest which decreased the width.
The tray table was fairly sturdy.
The entertainment screen was definitely showing signs of wear and tear. It was also covered in dried liquid.
There was also a 110V outlet beneath the seat.
The recline button was located in the left armest.
The boarding doors were closed 25 minutes after boarding started and we pushed back four minutes later. There was a line of aircraft waiting to take off from runway 27 and we waited for about 15 minutes for our turn. We had beautiful views of Point Loma and San Diego on our climb out.
Once we reached cruising altitude, I opened up the inflight map.
There was also a limited selection of movies and TV shows on the inflight system.
Twenty minutes after takeoff, the flight attendants came through the cabin with the only cabin service. Each passenger got a bag with water, pretzels, and sanitizing wipe. Due to COVID-19 all other drinks and food offerings had been cut.
I enjoyed the PHX labeled pretzels as we flew over PHX airport.
Halfway through the flight, we encountered some minor turbulence.
As we neared Chicago, I made my way to the rear Main Cabin lavatory.
We passed south of O’Hare as we turned into the approach the airport from the east.
It was a beautiful day in Chicago and I had great views of Wicker Park and Logan Square.
We had a very smooth approach into runway 28C and landed at 2:46PM local time.
I was surprised at how quickly we got to the gate area as it took just 10 minutes. That was probably a record time from landing to gate. Thanks for the ride!
This was a perfectly average flight with American Airlines in Main Cabin. It was pleasant due to the fact I was able to score my favorite seat in the cabin (turning down Main Cabin Extra). Meanwhile, the inflight service is severely lacking compared with competitors.
Route: Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA)-San Diego International (SAN)
Distance: 1,093 miles
Duration: 2hrs 25min
After arriving from Chicago, I had a few hours before my final flight to San Diego. I headed toward the flagship Alaska Lounge located in the North Terminal which I had access to thanks to my First class ticket. It was located on the second floor above the gate area.
Immediately walking in, there was a warm fireplace to the left-hand side. There was a good amount of sofa seats and individual chairs looking over the apron.
To the right on the entrance was the main dining area with a variety of tables. In the center was a barista staffed coffee counter as well as food.
Food options included prepackaged muffins, bars, baked goods, and fruit.
There were also salad kits with chicken breast as well as cheese cubes.
The hot food option was a turkey bean soup.
Other snacks included chips, pretzels, cookies, nuts, and a pancake machine.
Additional drink options included a soda mixer and coffee. The self-serve espresso machine was not working during my visit.
Further into the dining area was the bar which had a good amount of stools and additional tables.
One reason I love Alaska lounges is that the drinks are all complimentary including liquor and wine. They also had an excellent selection of local craft beers on tap.
I had a pint of the excellent hefeweizen with a bowl of warm coup and cheese cubes. Delicious.
With an hour until boarding, I made my way to the gate area. The terminal was packed and the gate area crowded.
Our B737-900ER, registration N268AK, was delivered brand new to Alaska Airlines in February 2017.
Boarding began exactly at 3:20PM.
Each B737-900ER in the Alaska Airlines fleet features 16 First class seats arranged in a 2-2 configuration.
I was seated in 4A in the last row of the First class cabin. These First class seats are the most comfortable Domestic First class seats of the major US airlines such as American, Delta, or United. They have industry leading pitch as well as thick padding.
Seats have 41 inches of pitch and are 21 inches wide.
Seatbacks featured a small literature pocket but was otherwise spartan.
While pitch was generous, the legroom itself was restriced by a large box.
In between the two seats was a small counter top space. Each passanger was provisioned with a small water bottle and hand sanitizing wipe.
There was also a small tray that could be pulled out from below the surface.
Below the center console was a 110V outlet and USB port. My neighbors outlet did not look too safe…
The tray table was stowed in the left-hand armrest.
It was fairly basic but felt stable.
The boarding doors were closed 30 minutes after boarding began and we pushed back 10 minutes later at 4:01PM. The taxi to runway 16L took 15 minutes and finally we were off towards San Diego.
The ascent from Seattle was a bit bumpy due to the rain in the region. I loaded up the inflight map on my laptop once we reached cruising altitude.
Alaska Airlines had just reintroduced liquor and a more expansive drink menu on their flights during COVID-19 and a menu was provided with all the options. Our drink choices had been taken on the ground before take off by the lead flight attendant.
I had Gin & Tonic which was served a double.
Food options included either a Fruit and Cheese plate or a Turkey Sandwich. I had the turkey sandwich which was incredibly dry.
30 minutes after the main meal service, warmed chocolate chip cookies were distributed. Very tasty.
Another snack basket was passed through the cabin and options included blueberry cookies, Kind bars, Swedish Fish, popcorn, and Peatos.
We had some beautiful views of Sequoia National Forest and the California mountain ranges as we passed over Central Cali.
Once past Los Angeles, we hugged the Southern California coast.
At 6:22PM we began our initial descent into San Diego and had a stunning view of downtown as the sun was setting.
Thanks for the ride!
This flight again redemonstrated with Alaska Airlines is my favorite domestic carrier for flying in Domestic First. Great seats, excellent food, and friendly service makes them one of the best in the US.