ATH – PHL – LAX on American Airlines: Economy is actually half decent

My return from ATH – LAX was on a British Airways ticket, but flown on AA metal. I don’t usually like to fly US carriers if I can avoid it, but this was the most direct routing available via PHL. (I also don’t like to connect coming inbound into the US since you need to go through TSA security again. Precheck helps.)

Overall though, the flight was surprisingly OK. Keep in mind, it wasn’t great, but as long as you don’t have a bad experience on a US airline, it’s considered successful.

If you read my experience on the outbound BA flight, you know I was on a basic economy ticket with no seat choice. Hence upon check-in at Athens I waited to get checked in with an agent, who unlike in LA, was able to get me an aisle seat for free, yay!! Not to mention when I got on the plane, the seat next to me was empty. Double yay!!

Only negative was she didn’t know how to put the TSA Precheck number on my boarding pass for the PHL-LAX flight. So, after I got through security, I called American to add it and asked for a reprint when I boarded the plane at the gate. A little hoop but it worked.

Typical American plane
Normal legroom

Flight was great since I had no one next to me on the 11 hour flight from ATH-PHL. Airplane was freezing, but the blanket was fleece so not too shabby. First meal was this weird Shepards pie, meat and mashed potato dish. It tasted decent and filling enough so no complaint there.

Shepards Pie type lunch

There was a snack around 6-7 hours in flight, certainly not filling enough for anyone. It was a kit kat and crackers with cheese. Luckily I brought a bagel sandwich with me onboard and ate the whole thing at this time. I had a feeling I wouldn’t get fed, and I was right! One hour before landing they serve a weird little BBQ meat pie. It was kinda gross but I ate most of it just to have some food.

Another pie…snack before landing
Looks better than it tastes, which means it was not good.

Service was fine, friendly and efficient. Attendants were smiley and helpful so no complaints there. (Despite many reviews of AA attendants being mean and unemotional.) Just nothing above and beyond the minimum level of service.

Arrivals and customs at PHL is very quick since they have so many automated passport machines now. I have Global Entry so it’s even quicker. No wait despite being last off the plane. Connections are fairly easy, and you reconnect through terminal A and walk to wherever your next gate it. Again, I don’t really like connecting in the US but PHL isn’t the worst place to do it. Lots of food options, probably more on the unhealthy side. I was going to get a cheesesteak, but there was a 10 min wait so I got a pizza instead. L

Connecting flight again I played the talk to the agent game. Sweetalked her a bit, got upgraded a few rows up to a window seat (despite asking for aisle) with no one next to me. Yay! Flight to LA was good, normal domestic flight. Free drinks and pretzels. Attendants weren’t overly friendly, but they were fine. Plane had 3 bathrooms in economy, that surprised me the most, lol.

Typical seats

Only thing was the wifi entertainment didn’t work at all. Couldn’t stream any videos. Boo, reminds me, I need to write in a complaint about that. Doubt I’d get anything. I slept most of the way though, so didn’t miss out too much.

Broken streaming video system

Despite all of the bad reviews from other passengers, I actually had a decent flight. I hadn’t flown American in awhile, and was a little afraid, but seems fine. Alaska or Delta would still be my first pick in the US. I will avoid United at any cost.

Approaching LAX

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