Flight: Norman Y Mineta Airport (SJC) to Los Angles International Airport (LAX)
Airline: American Eagle (American Airlines)
Flight Number: AA3152
Plane: Bombardier CRJ700
This is my American Eagle flight from San Jose (CA) to Los Angeles. It’s hardly flight of century to report on – in fact the flight time was just 48 Minutes – but it was a fun flight, and this post may be insightful about what you’re going to get if you’re making a short flight on American Eagle.
This flight was the 9:55am flight to LAX from SJC operated by American Eagle. There was a previous flight at around 6am, and a later flight around 9pm.
Unfortunately, the original flight I was due to get to LAX was around 4pm – but American Airlines re-scheduled it to 9pm. The issue with this was that I was flying back to London the same day – so wouldn’t catch even the last flight to London.
So, I agreed to the 9:55 flight and a long layover in LAX.
Unfortunately, checking in was rather frustrating.
I had a conference call to do at 8am, so I thought I’d get to the airport for around 6am to check out the Club Lounge and have a relaxing morning.
When I got to the Check In Desks around 06:10 they were CLOSED. A sign said that were open from 04:00 to 06:00, 07:00 to 16:00 and 19:00 to 21:00.
Annoying, but fine. So, I found somewhere to sit and do some work, and go back for 7am.
I went back to the Desks at 6:50am. As if my magic, a sign fairy had changed the signs. The counter times were then said to be 04:00 to 06:00, 07:45 to 16:00 and 18:30 to 20:15.
This is SUPER cheeky! I couldn’t be bothered to find somewhere else to sit, so I waited in line and at 07:35 the Agents returned. As far as I am concerned, this kind of trick is not acceptable. For the sake of 1 hour, why not leave the desks open? Or more importantly, why sneak in and change the signs when the desks are supposed to be closed?
Eventually, I checked in and reminded the Agent I was TSA Pre-Check, “ummmhmmmm”, she said. I got my ticket, and by the time I got to Security, realized that she’d not added the TSA. I couldn’t be bothered to go back and time was getting tighter – so I waited in line.
Security didn’t move quickly. In fact one of the agents decided to move my two trays into one (tray 1 had my bag, tray 2 had my phone, watch, belt, laptop, etc), and dropped my watch on the floor in the process! She then started shouting at other passengers for taking their laptops out of their bags – which is usually what you do in a non-PreCheck line?
Oh well, I made it!
Because I’d booked a trip all the way through to London, I was actually flying First for the 48-minute flight.
However, there is an Admirals Club in San Jose Airport. Instead, I used my Priority Pass to go to The Club, which is at Gate A15.
So basically, if you’re flying First on American Eagle out of San Jose there is NO lounge access with your standalone ticket – you’ll need something else to get into a lounge!
This was a Bombardier CRJ700. The plane is TINY – it feels more like a light aircraft when flying!
In First the rows are 1 seat on the right and 2 on the left of the aisle. In Main Cabin this is 2 abreast. I think this plane had 65 Seats – so it was very small and dinky!
Small they may be – but these planes are great fun to fly in! If you’re a nervous flyer maybe not so!
I’m not sure if it’s because its small it feels different – or if the CRJ pilots ‘rag it’ a bit – but every time I fly in one the second those engines start, the plane doesn’t stop moving.
Taxiing feels like you’re whizzing down the taxiiways at 40mph, with twists and turns and little braking, then straight into a rolling takeoff.
Takeoff is speedy. These things go like a rocket! Whizzing down the runway and airborne in just a few seconds, and then what feels like a super quick climb to cruise at rather an acute angle!
Landing is the same in reverse. No sooner have you touched down with a bit of heavy braking, and you’re whizzing along the taxiway at top speed to the gate and it’s brakes on, engine off.
Perhaps it’s my perception – but these little planes just feel like they’re whizzing around on the ground so much quicker than a 777 or even 737 – and it doesn’t seem to matter where I’m flying from either!
With that said, if you are a nervous flyer……you are going to feel every bump, bit of wind, slight movement, etc in these planes – so it may not be for you!
The seat is very straightforward. It’s spacious, for a 48-minute flight – the seat does recline. There was plenty of leg room!
The only thing I would say is that the tray tables are VERY flexible – so forget doing any laptop work on them!
Food and Drink
This is an interesting one. My flight to San Jose from LAX (with a Phoenix-based crew) had any drink you wanted and then offered a ‘basket of stuff’. The basket has cookies, nuts, crisps (chips), etc.
However, my flight on the way back from San Jose to LAX (with an LAX-based crew) had any drink you wanted and then a choice of lotus biscuits, or erm, lotus biscuits.
For a 48-minute flight is really doesn’t matter. In the UK you’d be on a flight 3 or 4 times longer than that and still get nothing!
So, it was a nice touch – but interesting to note the differences between Phoenix and LAX based crews!
There was no IFE system on this flight.
However, in the seats there were cards to join the American Wifi and there is entertainment on that……if you need it for such a short flight!
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get onto the AA Wifi for some reason. From previous experience I think Wifi can cost somewhere from $2.99 to $8.99 on regional/internal flights on American.
For a 48-minute flight I didn’t set my expectations too high.
However I was wrong to do so, Michelle was absolutely brilliant! She addressed me by name – “Mr Scrivener, can I get you a drink” – and didn’t even have a prompt on paper! The number of 12+ hour flights I’ve done and been known as “7A” – and this short hop and she’s taken the time to learn my name, remember it and address me by it throughout the flight! Impressive!
When I explained the issue with Checking In, Michelle asked if I’d had any breakfast. When I explained I hadn’t, she brought me about 10 packs of biscuits (cookies)!
Despite the 48hr flight, Michelle managed 3 refills of my drink too!
The only downside to Michelle’s service is that she asked if I was Australian! When I explained I was from the UK, she then told me when she was 19 she worked in some Texan Saloon bar in London’s Queensway, which she described as a “red light district” – that was pretty funny – but not wrong!
In summary, Michelle was great she’s the pinnacle of how Cabin Crew should be – and I wish there were more Michelles leading Cabin Crew standards around the world!
Landing in LAX
I’d previously written that Gate 52 is an island.
We landed back at Gate 52 Island. The Admirals Club was open, but I didn’t go in.
I got the Bus to Terminal 4 and went to the Admirals Club there.
As I said, this isn’t the most remarkable flight of the year. But the CRJ’s are great fun – and the Crew (in particular Michelle) were fantastic.
So very enjoyable all round……apart from checking in!
Score: 56 out of 61 – or 91%.
Sadly, the score of this flight was let down by the Check In issue, which was annoying!