Trip Report: AA949 MIA-CCS, in American Economy

Welcome to my latest trip report!
I quite enjoyed this vacation, but am glad to be home again.

In this report we will cover the American economy class, which is quite nice.

AA949 FRI 11 MAR 2016
MIA-CCS
DEP 1120 D37
ARR 0250 25
BOEING 737-823 NEW AA LIVERY OLD INTERIOR

We arrived at Miami airport at around 0820 AM. We were immediately attended at the Curbside Check-in, where a friendly attendant checked our documents and gave us luggage tags. Despite the fact that we had checked in online, and printed our boarding passes, Ronaldo gave us new boarding passes. I heartily reccomend Curbside Check-in, if you are on an eligible flight at eligible airports on American.

We proceeded into Miami airport’s terminal. It is a very nice airport; beautiful architechture; very well designed indeed. We were surprised by an immense queue of at least 400 people at Security Checkpoint 1. Nevertheless, it moved rapidly, and despite the ‘friendly’ attentions of the TSA in checking our hand luggage, we were through in about 30 minutes, according to my 0920 AM message on WhatsApp.

Inside the terminal we had to take the Skytrain to the D30-60 gates in the northwest. Imagine my surprise walking off the escalator… to see a gigantic oneworld 777-200 in front of my nose! It was immense, and beautiful. I have a photograph on another device of the nose, but here is one I took later from Gate D37 (the 777 being at Gate 30).

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(737-823 oneworld in the background, taxing, 777 having just completed pushback)

We proceeded quickly to Gate D37, which was quite simply empty. There had to be less than 30 people there. The flight was only about 40% full — a nice change from the 100% full flight over to Miami…

We had a few hours at this point. We had a dunkin’ donuts (my second donut, don’t worry about diaetes; I only had two dunkin’s in two weeks!) took photographs, and visited the gift shops.

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One thing which is annoying at Miami is wifi access. Nearly every airport I have been to offers some form of free wifi, be it slow or the inverse. Miami only offers 30 minutes of free wifi, after which is is $4.95 for 1 (!) hour! Too bad Admirals Club wifi needs a password login (where you open your browser and redirect to login), otherwise there would have been one extra user! It was only for about two hours, so it wasn’t quite a big deal.

Boarding was at 1035 AM — promptly on time. First impressions of the cabin were good. Everything was spotless. Legroom was spacious for a young man like me; I’d hate to see my 6’5″ uncle in this seat!

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We had assigned ourselves seats 21A through 21C for this flight, but the light load… well, let’s leave that till later, shall we?

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The doors closed promptly at 1115 AM, after which we began our pushback at 1119 AM.

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The TWA 737 pushbacked a few seconds after our flight, after which four aircraft taxied past our nose. We finally started taxing to the runway, which took around 12 minutes. There was some interesting traffic on the way.

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At 1136 AM, the captain introduced himself on the PA, gave the weather, said we were #2, and gave the ‘prepare for takeoff’. After the company 737-800 departed, we lined up and rocketed off at 1139 AM. And I mean rocketed. I was convinced we were going to Mars.

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Cargo apron

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Rocketing off

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Port of Miami

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Miami Beach

There was moderate chop / light turbulence on climbout, which persisted till about 12000 feet. The captain came on the PA again as we were passing 23000 feet, and remarked on the cruising altitude of 39000 feet.

The seatbelt sign remained on till about 1215 AM, when it finally was turned off. I got a nice photograph at this point.

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Due to the incredibly light load (40%-60%), we all got a row to ourselves — I ended up in 20DEF.

Service started twenty minutes later. To be quite honest, one of the flight attendants played games on his phone for the majority of the flight, and the other one read the newspaper. The third one sat in an economy seat.

It took about ten minutes, but I finally got this:

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The brownie was scrumptious. The sandwich (turkey and ham)? Not so much. I didn’t appreciate the lavish helpings of peppery mustardy sauce. It was barely edible and half-frozen. The crisps were good, and my standard order of Canada Dry Ginger Ale was the normal goodness.

Well, not much else happened. They played a movie, which looked interesting (Charlie Brown and Snoopy the Fighter Pilot), despite the flight attendant’s failure to deliver headsets (or even make any announcement at all during the flight. Not even welcome aboard. Just ‘esandwiche o ensalada?’.

I also looked out the window…

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Read a magazine…

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And not much else. The flight was very short.

We began descent on the short 2h30min flight (whoa! Winds…) at about 0219 PM. And well, we landed at 0248 PM with a bump.
And went through immigration. And collected our bags. And went home.

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Overview
American Airlines Main Cabin is basic, but nice. Catering could use a little improvement. The hard product was good. The flight was enjoyably pleasent. What was quite shocking was the lack of interest on the part of the flight attendants. They didn’t even smile. It’s not just that I flew business class once and got spoiled. United economy crews? They greet you with a smile, even if the product they serve is not all that could be desired. Easyjet crews? Better still.

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