TRAVEL | American Airlines operates four flights daily flights between Phoenix and San Francisco. The Airbus A320 (“A320”), Airbus A321 (“A321”), and Boeing 737-800 (“737”) are used interchangeably on the route, and travellers can choose between Economy (Basic and Main Cabin) and First Class. The average flight time on this route is 2 hours and 2 minutes.
On this occasion, I was flying the A321, Basic Economy.
Online check-in available for all American Airlines domestic flights via either the American Airlines website or their app. It’s a simple enough process, with the option to save your mobile boarding pass or have a copy e-mailed to you at the end. If you wish to speak to a person, there are staffed counters, as well as bag drop and check in stations at the airport.
Checked luggage is not included with American Airlines Economy tickets when flying domestic. You may receive some complimentary checked luggage allowance depending on your status.
For cabin luggage, you are allowed to bring on 1 personal item and 1 carry-on free of charge. There’s no weight limit, however size limits apply. Personal items should be able to fit underneath the seat in front of you – laptop bag, purse, that sort of thing. Your carry-on needs to be no larger than 22 x 14 x 9 inches (56 x 36 x 23 centimetres).
Service is perfectly acceptable. Friendly, efficient, and non-intrusive.
The American Airlines Economy cabin on the A321 that flies from Phoenix to San Francisco features 139 seats, in a 3-3 layout. There are enough flight attendants around so getting the attention of someone should you need assistance isn’t an issue. Colour wise it’s white, and blue, keeping in line with American Airlines’ branding. The cabin is modern, and clean.
The leather seat has dimensions of about 31-32 inches x 18 inches (78cm x 46cm). Standard for a full service US airline, and a bit bigger than comparable domestic airlines in other countries.. Like any economy seat, it doesn’t recline that far back. There’s an adjustable cushioned headrest for extra comfort.
There are small armrests, and a narrow leather pocket sleeve and secondary top plastic sleeve at the back of the seat in front to place a few things. There’s not much space to get work done with the tray down if you’ve got a laptop, but given that it’s a short flight you should be able to get what you need done.
There’s a mains power socket with a multi-country plug adaptor, but do be aware that it operates at the standard US 110V.
Main Cabin Extra seats, which provide additional legroom and priority boarding privileges, may be selected for an additional fee.
There are no screens on the back of the seats, and tablets are not included. If you want access to American Airlines’ in-flight entertainment, you will need to bring your own Wi-Fi enabled device, one that has a modern web browser installed. You’ll also need your own headphones, lest you risk the wrath of annoying those around you while playing audio through your speakers.
Connecting to the in-flight entertainment is simple, however it can drop out from time to time. On it, you’ll find a general selection of the latest movies and TV shows, plus music and a few radio stations and podcasts.
A small snack (Lotus Biscoff cookies and pretzels) and water is included with American Airlines’ Basic Economy ticket. You can purchase more substantial snacks and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages from the on-board menu. Purchases can be made by credit card.
No amenities are included with an American Airlines Basic Economy ticket. In-flight Wi-Fi is available for a fee.
American Airlines does exactly what you expect from a domestic carrier flying a short route. The plane is modern, while staff operate efficiently, and are there if you need them. My flight from Phoenix to San Francisco was a pleasant one that got me from A to B without fuss, and I’d happily fly American Airlines on the route again.