BlueJuice From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 217 posts, RR: 0 Posted (2 years 8 months ago) and read 9234 times:
Here goes my first trip report. For years I have read postings by A.net’s finest and looked at my mundane itineraries hoping to find a gem somewhere. This report came as a bit of a surprise so the photos are not of the highest quality. Seems I stumbled upon the “Bigfoot” of the AA fleet. Like an urban legend, everyone has heard of or knows someone who has been on a refreshed domestic 752. However, no one seems to have hard evidence such a plane exists. Well, here is the proof. Caught unprepared, the best I could muster up was a hacked Android phone with a wonky 3rd party phone app.
The day started as it has for the last 30 months. Every 2 – 3 weeks, I stood in the lobby of the building I live in waiting for the airport shuttle to Boston Logan International Airport. Living about a 15 minute ride from BOS Terminal B, the shuttle service always schedules me as the last pickup which is nice. The van showed up right on schedule. The driver was the first of many familiar faces that day.
Today the only other pax on the van was also flying on AA. The gentleman was very nice and it turns out we used to live in the same neighborhood back in New York City. A non-frequent flyer, he was pretty nervous and felt overwhelmed by the process. Helping a fellow traveller, I took him through the PriorityAAccess elite lanes for check in and security. Tucked in the former American Eagle space, AA has setup a dedicated area for AAdvantage and oneworld elites at BOS. Feet away is the priority security line. AA contract employees do quick checks to make sure those with the proper status use the kiosks and checkpoint. At this early hour, there were no lines and within 10 minutes of entering the terminal, we clear security.
Once airside, I guested him into the Admirals Clubs. His original plan to grab a drink to calm his nerves wasn’t necessary and he went with coffee instead. At BOS, AA tends to start boarding the 752s about 40 minutes from scheduled departure. With identical departure times, we left the club, exchanged business cards and headed to our respective gates. I reach B31 just as first class boarding was called and joined the line to the jetbridge.
As I approached door L2, I immediately noticed winged headrests on the seats in row 9. Then it hit me, I was on one of the refurbished 752s. 18 months ago, I flew on N610AA, the first refurbed domestic 752, on her 2nd day of revenue service. Bugs were still being worked out and the flight was heavily delayed. Let’s see what AA has learned over the last year and a half.
The most obvious change is in seating. Y gets the same Weber 5751 that AA uses on their newer 738s. The thinner seatbacks give pax more “living space” for the same pitch as the older seats. When reclining, the seat cushion slides forward and seatback articulates with minimal intrusion to those sitting behind. Each trio of seats shares two 110v AC power outlets.
The flight attendant, whom I’ve flown with on several flights, recognizes me and welcomes me onboard. I turn left into the first class cabin and settle into seat 3E. The F seat is the Weber 6850 also found on the AA 738s. These seats also have the sliding cushion recline. Each seat has a dedicated 110v AC power outlet. The double seat pockets were nice as it gaves more storage options. Each F pax was given a fresh blanket. Under the armrest was a slot for laptops. This is one of my favorite convenience features of the Weber 6850. Gone are the massive brown leather seats which have seen years of hard use. The dirty and scuffed leather has been replaced with clean (for now), heavy duty cloth. The number one flight attendant, also a familiar face, greets me and takes my coat. A good start to the service so far and set a nice tone for the rest of the flight.
The New F Seats as I Approached From Door L2
Flipout Drink Tray
In the old domestic 752 config, AA had 22 seats in F. The refurbed planes now have 24 seats. The closet behind row 5 on the port side is gone and replaced with two more seats. Coats for the back half of F are now hung on hooks like on the 738s. The space vacated by the closet appears to give the AB side more seat pitch. Like on the AA MD80s (or Super 80 in AA parlance), the F seats are slightly staggered but not as pronounced as on the Mad Dogs. I am guessing on the new 752s, the AB side has slightly more seat pitch than the EF side. Still, kneeroom was more than adequate at an estimated 40 inches. My mind shifts back to the cabin, the #1 FA and L2 FA take coats and predeparture drink orders. One benefit of boarding from door L2 is it gives FAs the room to conduct service in F. Instead of just juice or water, pax were offered a drink of their choice. Service was done personally for each pair of seats rather than from a tray. I went with coffee.
2 More Seats Back There
Slightly Staggered Seating
Toward the front of the cabin, the flipdown CRT TV monitor manually operated by the flight attendant between the forward closets was gone. Two 22” LCD monitors were attached to the bulkhead. The overhead CRT between rows 3 and 4 had also been replaced with a LCD screen. Fixed in place, the surprisingly bulky housing still provides quite an obstacle for tall pax. My coffee arrives in an AA ceramic mug rather than a foam cup. Since November 2010, AA has been serving Java City Coffee instead of some unknown brand. Honestly, it is only a small step up. Better but still not something I would ever order in a restaurant. Given the difficult nature of trying to brew coffee in a cramped galley, I accept this as normal.
New Overhead Monitors, Old Style Bulky Housing
AA Mug (Dramatic Reenactment From A Past Flight)
Boarding was completed and the door shut. Within minutes pushback began and we clear of the terminal. In the galley, the #1 and two other FAs enter a discussion around the L1 door at the front of the plane around the position of the new digital IFE control panel. I had a pretty good guess about the topic of discussion. By now the safety video should have been playing but all screens remained off and silent. A minute later, there was a fast but orderly gathering of safety equipment for a manual demonstration. Cross trained on all AA equipment, the FAs fall back into MD80 mode and conduct a manual safety briefing.
As the demo completes, the Captain tells to cabin crew to prepare for departure. The FAs took their jumpseats and we turned onto runway 9. The Rolls Royce engines spooled up and sped us down the asphalt for a signature 752 takeoff. Very little drama and we soon passed 10,000 feet. With a faulty IFE system, there was no automatic welcome video. We get the standard two chimes from the cockpit and the #1 FA gave the standard electronics now permitted message and welcome to AAdvantage and oneworld alliance pax.
The L2 FA came through the cabin, greeted each F pax by name, took drink and meal orders. The choices that morning were the egg quesadilla or a continental breakfast. In the mood for something hot, I went with the eggs. She then asked if I wanted the “usual coffee?” I smiled and accept her offer. Always nice when a crew remembers small details like that. In my case, it’s coffee with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Crème. As an additional note, FEBO was followed. Some less diligent crews ignore FEBO and do the minimum to get through a flight. Not so that day.
The #1 FA and L2 worked well together and drink orders quickly came out. A second pass was made to refresh drinks followed by hot towels. More like cheesecloth than fine linen, the quick wipedown did the job. For the pax in 3B, this was where things began to go wrong. I heard a strange “clunk” from her direction and turned my head to see what happened. With a perplexed look, she was now holding a slab of hinged metal. Her tray table had just broken off its mount. A man, presumably her husband, tried to help her figure out how to get things back together. The two FAs come around as well to help. No luck. Two other pax and I donate our blankets to help build her a tray table for her meal. Hmmm…. not good for such a new plane.
Drama over, the #1 and L2 FAs again worked as a team bringing out meal trays individually rather than serving from the cart. My breakfast was typical domestic fare. Nothing special but not terrible either. The difficult nature of preparing heating food onboard a plane was evident as usual. The eggs were nice and moist but the tortilla was soggy from the steam rather than crisp. Two skimpy pieces of chorizo sausage were served under grilled onions. The dish also included several pieces of pineapple. The fruit was the usual melon and cantaloupe with one lonely strawberry. The dish was fresh and sweet. Not shown was the bread offering. The choice was either a biscuit or bagel. The warm buttermilk biscuit was my choice that morning. Once everyone was served, the two FAs came around topping off drinks.
With F service over, the two FAs in the forward galley go about troubleshooting the IFE system. After what I guess to be several reboots, the system came to life and “The Kings Speech” began to play. As with all midcon and non-flagship transcon 752 flights, there is no AVOD. Entertainment is usually a movie followed by reruns of NBC shows. Audio is the usual mix of genres on individual channels played on a loop. The F cabin crew was soon back on duty and collected meal trays. Each pax was offered another drink refresh. Very attentive service.
IFE is alive! The King's Speech again? More NBC Reruns? Can We Kill It?
At this point I tried to head into Y to get some shots from the rear cabin. Unfortunately typical of such a long narrowbody aircraft, the aisle was jammed with people. Despite a load factor of about 75%, the prospect of getting 30 rows back wasn’t great. I contented myself with a few shots of the cabin by the L2 door and mid-cabin lavatory. The closet that is now seats 6A and 6B used to house a jumpseat. With that gone, the FA now sits on a fold down seat bolted to the lavatory. Based on my observations last year, the cabin refresh was done a bit on cheap with new seats being the most noticeable upgrade. The lavatories also received a partial update. The door is now curved which is probably a welcome change for those with extra cargo in the rear. Inside, white LED accent lights are followed by the standard fluorescent lighting when the door is locked. The new single knob faucet sink give a nice 10 second spray of water when pushed. The commode does not use the newer vacuum system. Still uses good old fashioned uhhhhh….. blue juice.
Busy Y Cabin
Curvy Lav Door
New Midcabin Jumpseat Location
Back in the cabin, there was more evidence AA cut some corners to save much needed cash. The overhead bins, still relatively new, had also been recycled. Underneath there was the usual discoloring as plastics of various types aged differently. Scuffs and other signs of wear were evident. Cabin lighting was still fluorescent rather than LED. Individual reading lights still housed incandescent bulbs. The “No Smoking” light had not been replaced with a sticker. One other small detail I noticed and a bit of a nitpick but hints at half-heartedness. Above the other F seats, there was a sticker indicating an AC outlet was available. Mine must have been overloaded as I still had a DC outlet sticker. Not a big deal but gives that “we don’t really care” feeling. Looking in the direction of the pax with tray table problems, I also noticed a piece of trim missing from seat 2A. The entire recline mechanism was clearly visible. Again, that “we don’t care” feeling came up and a bit surprising in an interior that is supposed to be relatively new.
Same Cabin Lighting
"New to You" Overhead Panel
DC Power Outlet Sticker
Hard to See Missing Trim Piece on Seat 3A
Despite a less than perfect hard product, the soft product was very good. The #1 FA made another pass through the F cabin collecting empty cups or offering refills. The L2 FA worked with the main cabin crew servicing the Y pax. Throughout the rest of the flight, periodic passes were made through the F cabin. I did not get any window pics as my seatmate close the shades and slept through the entire flight. Soon enough, we descended into the DFW area and the flight crew made a perfect touchdown on runway 35C and taxied us to gate D21. What I always found strange at DFW is how we never land on the correct side of the airport.
After quick tour of DFW, we pull into our gate and dock with the jetbridge. I thanked the cabin crew and stepped off the plane to catch my connecting flight. So ends yet another flight into an airport that has become my second home.
The New to Me 752 Parked At DFW Gate D21. Tail Number Unknown
Longhornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3197 posts, RR: 45 Reply 2, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 8595 times:
Thanks for the TR.
Lucky that you got one of the refurbed 757s.
Sounds like pretty standard fare on AA, but I think it's awesome your FA knew what you wanted to drink. Just goes to show there are still a lot of very good flight attendants out there. Those little attentions to detail would more than offset any hardware issues.
fxramper From United States of America, joined exactly 8 years ago today! , 7073 posts, RR: 89 Reply 3, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 7429 times:
I've never seen anyone more excited talking about a flight on an AA 752 than yourself. You need to quit drinking the blue juice AA serves! Thanks for sharing the report with us and Cam is right, your lucky to get the refurb. It's funny being offered the check - in upgrades to F knowing your going to fly an old beat up 757 on AA. I still get a chuckle.
BlueJuice From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 217 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (2 years 7 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 7088 times:
Quoting Burj (Reply 1): Never seen curved lav doors but really like the concept, those lavs are SMALL so every little bit helps!
Indeed it does. Unfortunately the forward lav still has the standard door.
Quoting Longhornmaniac (Reply 2): Those little attentions to detail would more than offset any hardware issues.
I find many of the midcon crews to be the best. Not so senior that they are jaded and grumpy but experienced enough to do their jobs really well.
Quoting fxramper (Reply 3): I've never seen anyone more excited talking about a flight on an AA 752 than yourself. You need to quit drinking the blue juice AA serves!
LOL! Guess I was giddy like a prisoner that has been receiving stale bread and water for the last 30 months only to get surprised with a croissant. As for the blue juice, it's probably tastier than the coffee in the Admirals Club.
Quoting LAXintl (Reply 4): Funny - I flew the refurb plane on the same route back in November - AA899.
BlueJuice From United States of America, joined Jun 2010, 217 posts, RR: 0 Reply 8, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 5934 times:
Quoting TOMMY767 (Reply 7): Amazing report but NOT LIKING those first class seats at all. Much prefer the looks of the classic 738 or M80 first class seats.
The Weber 6850s are hit or miss in a few respects. Some find the seats comfortable but other have complained of backpain after several hours. One friend who is 5' 2" says the seat is "too deep" for her legs. She needs to put two blankets behind her back to sit comfortably in the seat. I would prefer foot rests. Another issue is privacy. The huge gap between seats means people sometimes feel like they are in a fishbowl. You can easily see everything happening in the row in front. When reclined, you can see quite a bit of the row behind as well.
The large number of storage and tray options are nice but they are not standing up to the test of time. Besides the tray that fell apart on the the lady in 3B, I have noticed long term issues flying on the newer AA 738s. More and more of the trays will not sit level. They sometimes angle forward. The mini drink tray has a piece of plastic as its surface. I suspect spilled drinks, condensation, and hot towels kill the glue and make the surface bubble up. Once that happens, it is impossible to put a drink on the tray without it tipping. Finally on the 738s, the AC outlets are very finicky. Rated at 75w, they seem to cutout or trip the breaker at a much lower wattage. Larger laptops tend to do this.
It's not all negative. I love the slot in the seat for a laptop. The double seat pocket offers tons of storage. The headrests are nice and make naps much easier. While I am not a large person, the extra width of the seats are always welcomed.
b6flyboy From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 50 posts, RR: 0 Reply 9, posted (2 years 7 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 5285 times:
I could be wrong, but I believe the Flight Deck uses the NO SMOKING sign to signal the Flight Attendants during different phases of flights. I am sure they could use the FSB too, but it is sometimes hard to change procedures that are so accepted by two different departments.
Your Seat Cushion Cannot Be Used As A Flotaion Device...