It would be my second time to cross the pond, but this time not aboard a Low Cost carrier, but a legacy carrier. So what did I expect? Better food, service and seats? Just keep reading in order to find out if my expectations were met!
Arrived at Munich Airport by train, we made our way straight to Terminal 1, Module B. There were 8 check-in counters staffed, 2 of them for priority passengers (customers flying premium-eco, business and passengers with frequentflyer status), another 2 just for baggage-drop off (note that online check-in didn’t work) and 4 for main cabin customers. Altough we had been more than 3h 30 min before scheduled departure at the airport, there was already a long queue that lasted about 30 min.
Security-checks & passport control
Due to new safety restrictures all American Airlines departing from Munich Terminal 1 are boarded via a seperate building and by bus, which meant we had to go to Module C instead of B. Both passport control and security checks were actuallty pretty fast, altough there were 5 widebody-jets departing at about the same time from Module C. As already said we then cotinued to the American-flights departures-hall (which is actually pretty new), where my whole family and I were chosen by the system for another security check, which meant that we got body screened again. Then finally at the gate there was a great view on the apron so I was glad I could do some planespotting. (You can find all my pictures on my Instagram-account: @insta_planespotter)
About an hour before takeoff the airport-staff began with the boarding-process. There was a clear order of 9 different boarding groups, 6 for special customers and 3 for main cabin. As I was seated in the very back of the aircraft, we had to wait, until group 8 was called out. So finally we hopped onto a bus bringing us to our aircraft, a 5-year-old A330-243, regisered N288AY.
We were welcomed aboard by two flight attendants ands showing us our correct aisle. The crew was not from the youngest semester, but I think they’ve been one of the best I’ve ever had.
Seat & Cabin
Always remember to book rows 33 to 35 aboard AA, as these are free of charge and because of the narrower fuselage of the A330 in a 2-3-2 configuration instead of a 2-4-2 which is the most common one aboard the A330. At my seat, 34A, a blanket and a pillow were provided.
The airplane still featured the old US-Airways interior and was delivered with the older Panasonic efX2 IFE, which I can’t really understand, as these airplanes are actually pretty new,mat least the seats looked quite new. There was no univeral power outlet, but at least a usb-port in the armrest. Its alignment was pretty nasty, as it would have been easy so break the port by moving your arm up and down. The seat neither featured a coat hook, nor a headrest, however, it was quite comfortable after 8h and 30 mins flight-time. I now mentioned not the best things, but what you couldn’t complain about was the seat pitch (I’m 1,72m/5’6ft):
The cabin featured the newer seat-overhead-panel (with the new air-conditioning-outlets and the new designed windows) but unfortunately no mood lightning, but because of the dominating grey on the seats, there was a bright atmosphere in there.
Taxi, take-off, climb
A quarter to our departure-time, we pushed back and taxied to RWY 08L, as there was a slight wind from 70°. Unfortunately I was told to put down my GoPro by a crew-member, which has never been an issue till then. Also I don’t know the reason for that, as it didn’t hurt any aviation-restrictments, but well, I decided to better do what she told me. Shortly after takeoff we made a steep left-turn heading towards Frankfurt, which gave us a great view over the airport.
As already mentioned, I loved the flight attendants and the effort they put in to do their job. About 1.5 hours after takeoff we were served lunch. If you were seated in one of the front rows, you had to choose between Pasta with mushrooms or sheppard-pie. For us there was just sheppard-pie available, but I didn’t mind, as it tasted actually pretty OK. It was served with a pretzel-stick, a fresh salad, crackers and apple-pie. Alongisde with that we were also handed out a water-bottle.
The FA’s were present in the cabin all the time, from time to time they either offered water or came arround with a trolley to serve another drink (they didn’t give us just a cup of what we wanted, but the whole can!) or in order to collect any trash. At about the mid of the flight, we had the choice of a vanilla or chocolate-ice cream, and it was delicious.
While approaching the island of new foundland, there was again a service, offering mini-pretzels to us.
And last but not least, a warm snack was served about 1h before landing. We were handed out so called sliders, that’s like a mini-burger, but without lettuce, cucumbers, onions, bacon etc. Just the patty and sauce. Also tasted great!
So all in all, you can say, that you don’t get thirsty or hungry aboard AA.
Inflight entertainment & WiFi
As already mentioned, the Panasonic efX 2 system was built in here. Unfrtounately it didn’t respond very well and didn’t feature a moving map, but it came with a huge selection of latest movies (availible in many languages such as Spanish, English, Mandarin, German and French), TV-shows and music. Live-TV was also availible for free and there was also a game-section, but those couldn’t be played because of the slow touchscreen
Cruise, approach, landing
The flight itself was very bumpy. We started at our first cruising-atitiude of FL360 and made up our way until 40000 feet above ground. Unfrtounately the A330 is quite noisy when gaining speed so you’ve been always able to hear when you were climbing. About 45 min to our destination we initiated our descent near Boston.
After hitting land near Atlantic city, New Jersey, we were approaching RWY 27L of Philadelphia Airport. Apparently we were quite fast, so the pilot had the speedbrakes pulled out about 2 mins before landing. After 8h and 29 mins we then touched down gently and had a short taxi to the A-Gates at Philadelphia Airport.
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