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Review: American B737-800 First (DFW-AUS)

Updated: May 2, 2023

Mrs. ATX Jetsetter and I were bouncing back and forth between Dallas and Austin while we waited to move into our new house and we needed to get to Austin for the weekend. So, we’re on American and their Oasis'd 737 First Class instead of our usual JSX or Southwest from DAL, for the quick trip down to Austin as they had the best timing and reasonable fares.


Booking

We booked this flight a few weeks prior to departure for $220 each, one way. Booking was done directly through AA.com. The flight is short so we wouldn’t ordinarily buy First on a 45 minute flight, but we needed to check a bag and, with no AAdvantage status, the difference in price became minor.


Pre-Flight

We left Uptown Dallas about 4:00p for the drive out to DFW. Traffic was starting to pick up but it wasn’t terrible thanks to the Express Lanes and we pulled into the Terminal D garage around 4:45p. The garage was almost full but we found a spot on the 2nd floor and, after a quick stop at the counter, made our way through security.

Passengers on domestic First Class tickets don’t have access to any of the American airlines lounges, regardless of status, unless they have an Admirals Club membership. So we headed for the American Express Centurion Lounge nearby. Not surprisingly the lounge was packed on a Friday afternoon, but we still managed to find a couple of seats. I did a full review on a prior trip.

American Express Centurion Lounge DFW
American Express Centurion Lounge DFW

While we waited for our flight we had a couple of gate changes, and a couple of delays, but thankfully the terminal didn’t change as the Skylink train broke down while we were in the lounge. Some passengers left early to make long, hurried walks to their gate while others, like the people beside us, decided to call an Uber to take them to their terminal. Ultimately, we ended up delayed 1h and 40m and made our way to gate D38 a few minutes before our updated boarding time.


Boarding

When we arrived at our departure gate, the inbound passengers were still deplaning. Boarding ended up being called about 10 minutes after our rescheduled boarding time and we headed down the jet bridge after active duty military and Concierge Key members.

DFW Gate D38
DFW Gate D38

American Airlines

AA 2199

DFW-AUS (Dallas-Ft. Worth International - Austin-Bergstrom International)

Seat: 4A (First)

B737-800 (N974AN)

Scheduled: 6:00-6:56p

Actual: 7:40p-8:36p


Seat

Onboard, American has managed to remove any sort of premium touches from their domestic First Class cabins, leaving everything a few shades of gray. The seats were your standard American domestic first seats. While many airlines have decided to invest in the passenger experience and upgrade their cabins, American decided to rip all of the IFE out of their narrowbody jets. Therefore, it felt much more like a low cost carrier than the likes of United or Delta. Thankfully, though the cabin had been retrofitted, the legroom was still decent.

The premium experience continued even further as the curtain separating First and Economy ended up shut in one of the luggage bins by one of the flight attendants. While American's curtain is more of a see through mesh, it still shows a lacking attention to detail.

American Airlines 737 First Class
Nope, not gonna need that curtain I guess

Departure

Since we were delayed, no pre-departure beverages were offered and we ended up pushing off the gate an hour and 40 minutes behind schedule.

American Airlines 737 First Class
Something is missing here

We taxied out from our departure gate and rolled past an American 787 bound for Paris-Charles de Gaulle which was getting loaded with cases and cases of Jack Daniels.

We had a quick taxi out to runway 18L and blasted off to the south.

View Departing DFW
Departing DFW

In Flight

Once we were in the air, it didn't take long for us to get to our (low) cruising altitude. Though the seatbelt sign stayed on for a while after we hit altitude. Once the sign came off, the FAs did a quick beverage service and we began our descent before they even made it to our row. They FA working the First class cabin was hustling and still did a full drink service for the entire cabin.

American Airlines 737 First Class Beverage Service
American First Class Beverage Service

15 minutes after our drinks were served, we touched down in AUS. Thankfully, the FA waited until we were almost on the ground to collect our glasses so things didn’t feel too rushed.


Arrival

We landed and taxied over to gate 24, next to an American A320 just as the last rays of sun were disappearing behind the horizon.

American A320 at AUS
American A320 at AUS

Once off the plane, we headed for baggage claim and then off to the parking garage to grab our car.


Summary

As far as the big 3 US carriers go, American’s first class experience ranks behind Delta and United. Unfortunately they seem to be heading more towards being a low cost carrier rather than a premium airline. As a former American Platinum Pro, this is unfortunate as I’ve seen the decline in service over time. While the schedule and pricing worked the best, I’d still choose Delta or United before flying on American.


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