Review: American Airlines 737-800 (First Class) – San Jose, Costa Rica to Dallas

Introduction: Pandemic Trip to Costa Rica
Review: American Airlines CRJ-700 (First Class) – Oklahoma City to Dallas
Review: American Airlines 737-800 (First Class) – Dallas to San Jose, Costa Rica
Review: Marriott Costa Rica – Double Bed Suite
Review: VIP Lounge/Copa Club – Juan Santamaria International Airport
Review: American Airlines 737-800 (First Class) – San Jose, Costa Rica to Dallas
Review: American Airlines A321 (First Class) – Dallas to Oklahoma City

Departure: 1336
Arrival: 1907
Seat 1C
Flight time 4hr 31min (+1hr)
October 11, 2021

After spending a short time in the lounge, it was time for us to make it to our respective gates. One of my guys was headed to Miami, while we were headed to Dallas. Both flights were operated by American Airlines’ 737-800s.The two aircraft happened to be parked next to another so we spent a few minutes chatting before boarding. The Miami flight was scheduled to depart 30 minutes prior to ended up being delayed. So not only did our flight from Dallas beat the inbound Miami flight to the gate, we were now leaving before them. I kind of felt bad for my buddy.

Boarding began 45 minutes prior to departure with the gate agents calling those who needed extra time or were traveling with children. Group 1 soon followed. One of the flight attendants met us at the door to hand out sanitizing wipes and welcomed us aboard. I made a quick right into the cabin and my seat was on the left. It was the aisle seat, at the bulkhead in first class. This was the same seat design as the inbound flight to San Jose.

Boarding was eerily quiet. The only words I kept hearing were “sanitizer? sanitizer?” and “please wear your mask properly”. This got old in a hurry. It got to the point, roughly 20 minutes after boarding began, that the captain came on to announce masks must stay on and no personal alcohol may be consumed. If that was not enough, a flight attendant came around a few minutes later on to remind us of seatbelt and mask wear. Talk about overkill. I will say the crews inbound and outbound were some of the crankiest I had ever seen on an airplane.

Boarding was complete in 30 minutes, which was 15 minutes ahead of the scheduled departure. The welcome announcement and safety demonstration began two minutes later and we pushed from the gate. There was not much traffic, especially since we left Miami at the gate, so we had a rolling takeoff just 10 minutes after leaving the gate.

Service started nearly 30 minutes later with drink service. It should be noted that this was the first time the flight attendants spoke to the first class passengers. I know it is not a requirement for them to acknowledge the passengers but it goes a long way. One passenger had a suit jacket on his lap since boarding that was finally placed in the closet. I requested a vodka/sprite and a water, hold the book (see inbound flight review to catch the joke).

City themed pretzels would given out nearly 10 minutes. 

This was soon followed by a second flight attendant, whom I assumed was the lead, appearing with a tray and loudly proclaiming “ham and cheese sandwich”. I asked if there was another option, she responded “not eating”. She did not blink an eye or smile as if she was joking. Wow. I really did not want the sandwich because the one on the way down were TERRIBLE. The tray included the sandwich, potato salad, side salad, and a cookie.

As I typed this information into iPhone Notes, Ms. Attitude returned to say there was a vegetarian sandwich option. What is a vegetarian sandwich? At that point, I was done dealing with her. Thanks, but no thanks. I stuck with my entree. The potato salad was familiar from a few days prior so I had it first. It was as basic as potato salad can be.

Next, I reluctantly decided to try the sandwich. First off the sandwich itself did not look bad in the wrapper. When I removed the plastic and felt the soggy bread, it was a turn off. The cold cuts and cheese were something you would find prepackaged in a local grocery store. I only ate the meat, which was meh.

The side salad was the best part of the meal and even it was not great. The service of the 16 passengers in business class cabin was completed in 30 minutes. American Airlines needs to rethink the sandwiches offered to first class passengers because they are not good.

Ms. Attitude did not waste any time getting cozy in her jump seat, playing Candy Crush. She stayed seated for the rest of the flight. The flight attendant who provided the initial drinks came through the cabin to offer refills. This was one of the most unbelievable things I had ever seen. Not only did the lead have an attitude, she did not attempt to fake caring about passengers in her section.

I figured I would rather sleep than have to look at the lead play on her phone. Before I tried to doze off, I did verify that the WiFi was working while outside of the United States. Marriott Bonvoy also happened to slide in an ad on the IFE system. 

I could not sleep so I scrolled through the movies and shows for ideas of what to watch when I returned home. The lead attendant finally got out of her seat to make a 15 minute out call for Dallas while we were more than 30 minutes away. After everyone returned to their seats, she played a recorded message for the Barclays Aviator AAdvantage Red card. She then came through the cabin with applications. Unreal.

We had a smooth landing at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport nearly an hour ahead of schedule. After a long taxi, we arrived at Terminal D 40 minutes earlier than expected.

Final Word

This flight was a pretty crappy way to end out vacation to Costa Rica. The flight attendants seemed mad at the world and not interested in performing their jobs. I know people have bad days but the attendants on American Airlines had certainly been in a mood lately. I do not understand why but the passengers should have been mad at those inedible sandwiches being served in first class. I was so excited to step off the plane in Dallas. What a shame.

What do you make of American Airlines first class sandwiches?

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