I booked a Basic Economy fare for my European Adventure, as $326 was just too good to pass up! We flew British Airways on the A380 from Los Angeles to London nonstop which was a great flight. Coming home, we ended up AA metal with a A330 from Barcelona to Philadelphia. The A330 flight was nice, but this flight on the American A321 was the complete opposite!

Check In:

As I wrote in my last review on flying the American A330 from Barcelona to Philadelphia, it started off okay, as I checked in 24 hours before for my BCN-PHL flight and was assigned a seat next to my friend! No “standard” blue seats were left at check in, so we got a “preferred” green seat in row 20 (last row before lavatories). I recommend waiting to check in if there are only poorly located “standard” seats left on the flight because I’ve read reports in which American will assign all those standard blue seats first before touching preferred green seats.

The negative part was that we couldn’t check in for our PHL-LAX flight (this one!). I called the night before and the American agents just said “we can’t check you in until the airport”. But, I said then how can I check in for BCN-PHL though, and the phone agent literally said “idk how you actually were able to do that you weren’t supposed to??”. And of course, by the time we got to the airport to check in for PHL-LAX only middle seats were left, so we got assigned 7B and 7E.

Flight Details:

American Airlines Flight 1997
Philadelphia (PHL) to Los Angeles (LAX)
Seat: 7E- Middle-Basic Economy
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Status: Late, 1 Hour 30 Minutes

The American A321 Flight:

The captain said it would be a 6 hour and 30 minute flight due to FAA setting a flight plan to avoid a storm in Colorado and large headwinds. Yikes! 6 and a half hours from takeoff to touchdown is so long for Philadelphia to Los Angeles.

The plane has seats that look recently renovated with new-ish cushions. Yet, there is no seatback IFE, or power plugs. They do provide Wi-Fi though and movies that you can stream to your device. Wi-Fi on this flight was provided by ViaSat and cost $12 for an hour or $16 for the whole flight. I thought $12 for an hour was quite steep!

Now how does American expect me to stream content to my phone when I cannot charge it?! Ridiculous!! The lady next to me was so frustrated 2 hours in because her phone died!

American A321

No seatback IFE 🙁

We left the gate on time, but were stuck on the runway for 40 minutes. A beverage and pretzel service was provided about an hour in. There was also a water service midway.

I occupied my time by trying to take a lot of mini naps lol, and play games on my phone while trying to preserve my battery life.

There was a final beverage service before landing! Thank goodness because I was thirsty, as we’ve been on this plane for 6+ hours.

We touched down almost an hour late, and the captain told us there was no gate because of course there’s no gate right!? The captain said he would try his best to find a gate, saying that he would try to get us priority as our flight has been delayed by over an hour already. After 45 minutes, we finally got to the gate….

Total time on this plane: 7 hours and 32 minutes. The pilot jokingly said, wow guys I’m sorry we could have taken you to Paris in this amount of time lol!

The Verdict:

Overall, the service was the only quality that made the flight a little more bearable as the crew was very kind and understanding how frustrating the delay was. No seatback IFE and no power plugs is ridiculous on a 6+ hour transcon and I will make sure to try to avoid this plane at all costs. American needs to step it up or I bet people are going to choose to avoid them.

Have you been on the American A321 with no seatback IFE and power plugs?

Happy travels,