Part II: American Airlines' Disappointing A319

Two of the four starboard video monitors were not working properly.
A surprising number of people read my review of American Airlines’ new A319 aircraft after my trip in coach two weeks ago. I had the opportunity to fly two segments in first class Saturday and I was almost as disappointed as I was in coach.

If you would like to read my coach section review it is here.

There is a larger computer screen in first class than in coach but it is somewhat out of focus except when “creepy guy” is on the screen, which is sharp. In addition, in the first segment, two of the four monitors on the starboard side of the aisle were not working properly. One plus: the screen tilts, to give you a better angle of viewing.

The seats have little or no lumbar support. This was important because there was a 2.5-hour weather delay*. When added to the boarding and flight time, I spent nearly four hours in that seat and my lower back was aching the next day. You cannot “recline” in the seat. When you attempt to do so, the seat bottom slides forward into a very awkward position while the back remains more or less stationary.

When we left, DFW, we had to fly through the disturbed air surrounding a “mesoscale convective complex” and the ride was surprisingly good, probably better than other commercial airliners. And, as usual, the inflight service was quite good as compared to other airlines'.

I also had the opportunity to fly a segment in first class on American’s old MD-80 the same day and it was superior in every way that is important to me (I don’t care about the entertainment screen) as compared to the A319.

Given its good ride, I believe that, if American Airlines were to reconfigure the plane it might be very nice. As it is, it is cramped and “unfriendly.” Wichita is one of four test markets. I suggest American Airlines go back to the future and put in regular seating with more room. As it is, when possible, I will avoid this plane.

* I want to compliment the American Airlines’ crew for handling the delay well.


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