Review: American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class – Jacksonville to Charlotte

AA5133
OAJ-CLT
Departure: 0653
Arrival: 0809
Flight Time: 1hr 16min
CRJ-700
Seat: 2A
August 17, 2019

My short time on the east coast had come to an end.  While I enjoyed the six days on the road, I was looking forward to going home.  I arrived at rental car return at 0515, 90 minutes prior to the flight. After recording the return mileage and fuel, I walked into the terminal. The airport appeared to be fairly new or recently renovated.

Straight ahead was the USO though it was not open yet.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
USO Jacksonville North Carolina

To the left of the USO was the rental car return. I placed the rental agreement and key in the box. I also made sure to scan the agreement with my iPhone. This was to ensure I had a receipt and because there was some documented vehicle damage on the rental agreement.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

The check in counters were to the right of the USO. There were two counters, American and Delta Airlines. The line for American was ridiculous.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First ClassAmerican Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

It took 15 minutes to complete the check-in process. With boarding passes in hand, I made my way to the second level to process security. Security was a breeze thanks to TSA PreCheck.

The security area opened into the gate area. There were three gates, gate 2 was for the 0600 flight to Atlanta, while gate 3 was for my 0653 flight to Charlotte.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

I decided to grab a bite to eat at the restaurant near the gate. I was not too hungry but needed something in my stomach for the long day of travel. The breakfast options included a combo (meat, egg, bread), sandwich (meat, egg, bread), or a burrito. I settled on eggs and bacon. The food was out in five minutes.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
Eggs and Bacon at Ellis Airport in Jacksonville North Carolina.

Everything is as expected, the eggs were…eggs, while the bacon was as transformative as always. LOL. Grand total: $5.59.

Boarding began on time with Concierge Key and any passenger requiring extra help. This was soon followed by active military and Group 1. The process was normal until I got to the airplane, where one of the staff members was waiting near the boarding door. She wished everyone a good morning and flight.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

This was awesome. I do not recall this happening on a domestic carrier within the United States.

The friendliness continued as I boarded. The flight attendant welcomed me aboard. I offered her a hearty ‘good morning’ and made my way to seat 2A.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class Seat

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

I was in seat 2A because of a complimentary upgrade due to my recent acquisition of American Airlines’ Elite Gold.

The cabin was arranged in a 1-2 configuration with three rows. I lucked out and got the second window seat. Waiting at the seat was a small blanket. The first thing that stood out to me after settling in was the lack of seatback entertainment.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

There was a small drink holder on the left armrest. This is also where the tray table was stored. The table could be used halved or whole.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class Armrest
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class Tray Table
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class Tray Table

Unlike the flight a few days ago, the air was flowing from the two air nozzles overhead.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class Overhead Panel

As I was snapping pictures, the flight attendant came by to offer predeparture drinks. I settled on a vodka and tonic. It was delivered moments later.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

At this point boarding was nearly complete. The automated welcome announcement was made 10 minutes prior to scheduled departure and the main cabin door was closed. The captain made his announcement five minutes later. He gave the weather, cruising altitude, and time to Charlotte, but never mentioned his name.

We pushed back two minutes ahead of departure.  The safety demonstration was then performed. We had a long taxi out, 16 minutes to be exact. The pilots stated that they did not initially have the necessary routing to get us to Charlotte. Once it was cleared, we had a smooth, rolling takeoff.

DSC05193

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
Views Leaving Jacksonville

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

I flight service began six minutes after takeoff with another round of drinks. I went with another vodka and tonic.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

A snack basket soon followed. I grabbed some mixed nuts.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class Snack Basket

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

I was getting a little antsy so I checked the Maps app to check out location. Why were we flying over South Carolina???

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
Where are we going???

I pulled up the WiFi as well. The pricing for this 40 minute flight was ridiculous.

American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class
American Airlines WiFi

Before too long, we began our descent into Charlotte. I should note that after the drink/snack service, the flight attendants gathered at the forward galley to eat cereal and hold personal conversations. The friendliness that was shown during boarding never reappeared.

DSC05202American Airlines (CRJ-700) First Class

We had a smooth touchdown at 0751. After a 19 minute taxi, we arrived at the remote stand on schedule.

Final Word

The short hop from Jacksonville to Charlotte was not bad at all. While the service was initially impressive, it tapered off while enroute.  The flight would have been significantly shorter if we did not spend 35 minutes taxiing.  This is a small inconvenience when I think how much time the flight saved when compared to a drive from Jacksonville to Charlotte.

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