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I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:18 pm

AA seem to catch a lot of grief on here for various things, but having recently flown LHR-ORD-DEN-ORD-LHR in Y, I left with a very positive impression of AA and I wouldn't hesitate to fly them again on my next trip across the pond.

The good:
- The 787-8 has a very strong hard product for the most part - superb IFE system with plenty of content, on-board Wi-Fi, at-seat power, etc. The 787 is also a really quiet aircraft, and when you're stuck in a flying tube for 8 hours, every little helps!
- Decent meals and snacks - the English breakfast and warm cheese and tomato lattice on the LHR-ORD leg were particularly nice
- Frequent drinks service, including complimentary alcohol
- Friendly cabin crew
- Awesome response by AA to our delayed LHR-ORD flight which meant we missed the ORD-DEN connection. An AA staff member was waiting for us off the plane in ORD with our newly printed boarding passes for the next available flight. I know with connecting flights it's on the airline to sort it out, but for them to be so proactive with it really made the difference.

The bad:
- The 3-3-3 layout does feel a little more cramped than other wide-body jets I've been on, but it's hardly the nightmare some people on here make it out to be.
- For some reason, they dimmed the entire cabin for a good 5 hours of the UK-US crossing, even though it was a daytime flight (8:40am LHR departure), which we found a little confusing/strange.

The only real downside of the trip were the unnecessarily pedantic, rude and unhelpful border control staff at ORD, but international travelers to the US have all had this pleasure so no surprises there really.

I had a nice time on AA and from what I remember of my ATL-LHR in Y on DL in 2015, I would rate AA above them.

Maybe I got lucky? Maybe the AA hate is a little misguided? Maybe my love of flying combined with the enjoyment of a family holiday gives me rose-tinted glasses?
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:49 pm

I know friends who have flown AA transatlantic and who were quite pleased with their service. Perhaps sometimes if we don't expect much or have low expectations we are pleasantly surprised when the experience is better than expected. I know from my own travelling experiences I was very disappointed with Emirates. ..grumpy crew, lack of service perhaps it was because I'd expected better. But flew them again this year and the service was very good. I flew TAP earlier this year mainly to try them once and I was genuinely taken aback by their service both ways. So much so I prefer them over the BA option now even though as a OW FF it suits me to fly BA.

So the business of AA waiting for you with new boarding passes is a nice touch and takes away some of the issues and softens the inconvenience of the delay too. It's encouraging to hear good reports like this as we can be quick criticise at times. But balanced with the fact you could repeat the experience five times and one of those five times the experience could be a polar opposite. ..it happens. I'm sure given the right set of circumstances you could have a poor flight on QR SQ QF LH and the best of them too.

I think also some people will moan about anything and everything anyway. Give them £50 for nothing they'll moan because it wasn't £100.

So glad you enjoyed your trip that's the main thing.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Fri Sep 22, 2017 12:30 am

I have found, from my own personal experience, that AA is a little "hit and miss". They're certainly nowhere near as good as Delta, but they're a cut above United for sure.

Years ago, I met the most wonderful flight attendant on AA. She helped me overcome my fear of flying, and since then I've flown thousands of miles around the world, but if I hadn't taken that first flight with AA, none of that would have been possible. Unfortunately, I've also met some miserable individuals who really should have quit rather than continue in a job they clearly hated. I haven't flown AA in a few years now (maybe I'll book an MD-80 flight before they retire, we'll see), but from what I understand from friends who have is that they're still hit and miss.

With Delta, I've found the service to be much more consistent. And that's what I look for in an airline.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Fri Sep 22, 2017 2:21 am

For me, I have had several schedule changes on AA that made connections very long or difficult.

- STL-LAX-AKL - AA changed their schedule for my flight STL-LAX so the connection to QF LAX-AKL was less than an hour (instead of 2 hours). So they rebooked me on a earlier flight to make the connection 9 hours.

- STL-SEA-FAI - AA changed their schedule for my flight STL-SEA (connecting to AS) so the connection wouldn't work. I rescheduled STL-SEA-ANC-FAI and with the schedule change adding 3 hours to the trip and a mechanical delay (on AS, not AA's fault) I arrived in FAI after midnight, about 6 hours later than my original schedule.

- SXM-MIA-STL - Another schedule change changed a 3 hour connection to a 2 hour connection. I barely made the flight, and we even arrived in MIA 1/2 hour early. It would have been nice to have an extra hour to grab some lunch and spend a little extra time with my brother (on a SXM-MIA-DCA routing)

- My parents also got caught up when AA moved their flights from LGW to LHR (parents had bought SAN-DFW-LGW-VCE). (There weren't any connections available LHR-VCE)

In all these cases, no notification was given for the changes - it was a good thing I was paying attention and watching the flights for changes, If I hadn't been watching, and shown up at the airport the day of travel, I would really have had headaches getting to my destination.

I haven't had these kind of issues on other airlines (WN, DL, UA, and several international airlines), even though I typically buy the tickets with about the same lead time for all airlines). Sometimes the schedule changes by 5 minutes (no big deal), or a flight takes a mechanical or weather delay (that stuff happens once in awhile, also not a big deal).

It has been because of these that I have been (more-or-less successfully) avoiding AA. When I have actually flown on AA, I have enjoyed the service and flights. Every once in awhile you run across someone who is having a bad day, but I have seen that on several airlines and other businesses.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Fri Sep 22, 2017 5:52 am

I have flown AA SYD-LAX-SYD a few times in Y, Y+ (or whatever the code is for the MCE is) and J and all were nice. Obviously I liked J better, but had no issues in Y. The only AA Y I did not like was on the B788 when I flew it LAX-ORD-LAX, that middle seat in the 3-3-3 was horrible.
An American expat from the ORD area living and working in SYD
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Fri Sep 22, 2017 1:00 pm

To be honest in my opinion 3-3-3 isn't so bad on a 787. (I never get middle seats though). The only real configs to avoid are 3-4-3 on the A350 (narrowest seat currently flying). Also 3-3-3 (A330) and 2-4-2 (B767) are bad too. However they are the three narrowest seat configurations and I personally don't mind so much 3-3-3 on 787.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Fri Sep 22, 2017 3:59 pm

I recently flew MIA-LHR in Y on the 77W. The middle seat was empty so that made the flight a lot more comfortable. Even that being said, the flight was good. IFE on the new planes is great. The meals were decent, service was fine. I flew J on the way back and the main course of the lunch was a bit sub-part but everything else was fantastic.

The problem with AA IMO is they have a lot of inconsistent products. 767 to Europe no personal IFE, old seats. 77W or 787 to Europe great IFE, new seats. New (but not brand new) 737-800 great PTV IFE and new seats. Brand new 738, less leg room, no PTV. Older 738, more leg room no PTV etc.. They have some A321 aircraft (70+) flying around with no wifi, no streaming, no power. IIRC. Some of there aircraft are really stacked in there like an LLC. The A319 has 30inch pitch, I think the 737-MAX is going to have less.

Day after day they look more like an LLC on domestic flights. Their "economy saver" which is just what old economy used to cost. Their "snack" service is still the worst of the larger airlines too. There is just nothing that differentiates them from any of the other airlines and they just follow the heard of DL and UA. These days they are all the same. But I think DL has a better product in the cabin.

I don't think AA is bad, they just are not special. That and devaluing what was once the best FF program makes them just another airline. I used to be fairly loyal to them. Now, I'll just fly what is cheaper and if price and schedule is the same JetBlue will get my money first. B6 and WN are the only two airlines that really differentiate themselves from the heard. Everyone else is either the same or an ULCC and the majors (other than B6 and WN) are trying to become more like ULCC every day.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:54 am

I happen to really like AA, but I pretty much only fly with them in J, so I also may have rose tinted glasses.
Why is flying so expensive? And why is flying well so much more?
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:06 pm

Not a bad carrier. I've flown them a few times recently, and we were pretty much on time, the agents were pretty laid back and the hard product was decent. That said, DL flight attendants seem more professional. Have not had the chance to fly MCE yet. AA in my book is still better than WN, which always feels cramped.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Mon Oct 02, 2017 3:49 am

Osiris wrote:
Maybe I got lucky? Maybe the AA hate is a little misguided? Maybe my love of flying combined with the enjoyment of a family holiday gives me rose-tinted glasses?

The vast majority of travellers -- like more than 99.99% -- have never heard of a.net.

A.Net is teeming with whatever you want to call them -- nuts, fanboys, etc., you pick the term -- who post frequently and can create the illusion that they represent the general population. If you believe the general public is represented by a.net posters then you would also believe that AA is going out of business for flying empty planes, nobody would ever buy a ticket on a single-aisle plane flying across an ocean, nobody from Manhattan has access to either EWR or JFK (take your pick), there is no market for "basic economy", Boeing will go out of business for stopping 757 production, and a whole host of other fallacies.

Read this board for entertainment, not for facts.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:03 am

I like AA too. Flew them to UIO a few years ago and they were fine. I'm flying them to New Zealand this December with connections LAX-SEA, so I'll have a better idea of how they are now.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Mon Oct 02, 2017 8:03 pm

I've been wondering this myself for a long time.

I hve had pleasant experiences with AA in Y most especially for TATL flights- much more so than British Airways. I regularly go to NY 3 times a year and I almost always pick AA over BA especially with the recent cutbacks of the latter airline. AA Main Cabin Extra is pretty decent and so is the Main Cabin; though 3-4-3 isn't really ideal for most but I am 5'8 with a medium built (31 inch waist) and I find the product sufficient for the 8 hour crossing; again much more comfortable compared to BA. BA's Y product (old one) does give me itches and I find them to be very dirty althought their new Y product is almost as good as AAs new one. IFE on AA is tons better compared to BA with much more selections of movies and such. BAs old and new IFE seem to have very limited selections. Meals on AA is pretty decent compared to BA since Alex Cruz took over the airline. The only disappointing thing with AA are the flight attendants, I find them to be extremely rude compared to BA who seem to be much more engaging with passengers. However, flying back to the UK, I tend to prefer flying back with BA because the flight attendants give me the 'feel at home' service hospitality which AA flight attendants can't seem to offer.

A few of my friends who flew AA DL and UA have all said they would rather fly with AA themselves. I personally haven't tried DL and UA to compare but AA will always be my top carrier of choice for flights to the USA, partly due to being a oneworld frequent flyer which is biased :lol:
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:50 am

I'm a big fan of AA too. I'm about 99% premium cabin flyer and they've invested a lot on the premium side and it shows.

I'm a JFK based OW Emerald I love being able to use Flagship Check-In on all my flights. T8 is swish with new lounges and decent F&B options in those lounges. The A321Ts are great, though it's close between it and B6 for my money on those routes, AA definitely have a more complete product.

MCO is one of my regular routes and the new AC there is decent.
I like the new 77W, seat almost as good as BA First (!), and to think 5yrs ago I'd have been crazy to pick AA over BA on TATL!

I've always had very good luck with crews on AA, some I've had are downright exceptional, even compared to CX et. al., I kid you not.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:18 pm

AA is a hit or a miss. Really depends on the aircraft, routing, and the crew. It could be an awesome or miserable experience, so for that lack of consistency it will really never be a global competitive airline, just like Delta and United.
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Re: I don't get the hate for AA - recently had a nice experience in Y

Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:59 pm

I've had many flights that are ok on American, unfortunately when things are bad they tend to be dreadful. That is what sticks in your mind.

As a OneWorld member Anerican tends to be my US airline of choice. However some challenges I've had to endure are:

Spending an hour and a half speaking to four different individuals to try to get my itinerary changed to something that worked. The flight I was connecting to had been cancelled so they rebooked me on an earlier connecting flight that departed before my first flight even landed. Bizarrely I had to spend a solid 15 minutes trying to point out to customer service agents why this would not work. To make matters worse, I was then bounced around to various departments because changes to flights booked using a currency other than US dollars (British pounds in this case) could only be dealt with by one particular office. This was only discovered after two agents tried and failed to amend my booking.

Another example is being chided while travelling in first class when asking for a glass of water. The flight attendant was annoyed that I didn't request water when she passed through with the drinks trolley 30 minutes previously. I'm not pretentious by any means but I don't think a glass of water is an unreasonable request.

When on a flight between NY and Toronto I accidentally moved the little curtain that separates first class from economy. Not the part that closes off the aisle, but the little frilly section that sits just above the seats. The flight attendant came over to me snapped the curtain closed, pointed his finger at me and said "do not touch my stuff". Again, just bizarre.

As mentioned above, I've had perfectly adequate flights on American but these slowly accruing moments of poor service are very much what sticks in my mind.


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