Trip Report: American- LAX to SFO

A positive review from me about American airlines? There is aways room for a first! I have flown AA 49 times and given them universally low rankings: Today my fiftieth American Airlines flight was a very pleasant experience.

Check in: 9 out of 10

I was on a tight time frame and the LAX inter terminal bus was slowed by lost tourists. Upon getting to the LAX American Airlines terminal,  I became a little lost. I saw a sign emblazoned “priority Access” and assumed (wrongly) that it was referring to entry to the gates so for some reason went in the opposite direction. So, of course by the time, I walked back to the check in area for priority the check in time for my flight luggage drop off had closed. (It closes  for American passengers with luggage 45 minutes before). In addition to my normal carry on luggage, I had a big box of DVDs  (my new DVD on recruiting volunteers).

The agent on duty said “I can’t get you on the flight. It will have to be the next one”

I shrugged my shoulders and said “Thats fine actually”. (I thought I would grab something in the Admiral’s Club – the American Airlines lounge).  A supervisor was nearby. She called him over. After surveying my luggage, he said “I will get you on“. The agent’s response was “wow. you are very privileged . I hope this makes up for all the times American have let you down”

I wondered as I walked away:  “Did she mean me personally?” – i.e do I have an American airlines profile that is marked with all of my negative American Airlines blog posts??   (For example: Buenos Aires- USA ) OR did she mean in general, the overall passenger dissatisfaction with AA?”

Booking 10 out of 10

I booked on Orbitz which I liked. They sent me lots of helpful reminders regarding check in including gate changes. This has inspired me to use them again.

Boarding 10 out of 10

I zipped past the long boarding queue and jumped to the top of the empty priority line. I was immediately acknowledged by the gate agent . She advised me that she would be with me in a second and indeed she was. She completed  boarding the passenger she has been processing and came straight over to me.  I appreciated her speed and courtesy. The gate agent took my bag at the gate and wished me a good flight. This is noted, because I have had so many flights with AA ground crew almost ignoring me.

As I stepped aboard the 737,  I got a very warm smile and greeting from the flight attendant stationed in the galley area. In addition, we shared a joke and a laugh! Again, a very different experience for me with American Airlines!


 On Board: 7 out of 10

I was seated sat at the emergency exit by the window. After sitting down,  I greeted my travel companion in the middle seat.  He looked at me with startled eyes. His expression was definitely like a deer caught in the headlights. He grabbed his phone and began madly texting. I suspect he was texting: “help I got a talker next to me“!

I don’t need to have a full on chat on a plane but I do like to be friendly especially when we may have to open an emergency door together! He spent most of the flight, buried in his American Airline magazine – I think he was memorising it.

American Airlines have the standard 3/3 in Coach (Economy) on their 737-800s. The 132 Economy class seats are 17 wide with 31/32 “pitch. The 16  “First” Class seats have a 21″ width and 40″ pitch.


English: American Airlines Boeing 737-800 taki...

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 taking off from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 2007..(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Take off: 8 out of 10

We sat on the tarmac for a long time with no announcement as to why.  The take off itself was stunning. We used quite a large amount of the runway before lifting smoothly off the ground. As we cleared the airport area, we manoeuvred into a slightly steeper climb. There was little bounce or turbulence.


Meals 3 out of 10

There was a drink served on this flight.  Thats it! American didn’t have any snacks nor did they offer any food for sale. I contrasted this with the meal, Qantas serve between Adelaide and Melbourne in Australia(similar time and distance flight). Even Southwest give peanuts.  I understand it is a short flight but some people may have connected from another flight without time to grab a meal or snack.


Entertainment: 0 out of 10

There was no wifi available either.


Landing 10 out of 10

With nary a bounce, we descended smoothly into a stunning San Francisco day. I was very impressed with the terminal American Airlines and Virgin America share at San Francisco (Terminal 2). Opened in April, 2011, it look fantastic. I cannot believe the transformation at San Francisco over the last two decades.  In the same time frame, Los Angeles International (LAX) looks unchanged and ugly.


The Verdict

My rating: Overall 65% (3.75 out of 5)- my overall rating of American Airlines flights is 58% (2.9 out of 5) based on 50 flights. This flight, therefore, was an improvement over  my previous experiences.

Skytrax Rating of American Airlines: 3 star

Positives:   Almost everything -especially staff

Negatives: Meal and Entertainment

Would I fly them again?  Yes! (unusual reaction for me with American Airlines)

My last trip Report: May 8th: US Airways A319: Spokane to LAX

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