American Airlines A319 economy isn’t for anyone looking for a thrill

American Airlines A319 economy isn’t for anyone looking for a thrill

The following is an in depth review of American Airlines A319 economy class from San Diego (SAN) to Miami (MIA) and back. It was just about as basic as you’d expect. Paying extra for better food made it tolerable.

Segment 1 of 2: San Diego to Miami

I’m a morning person. There’s nothing I like better than getting up at the crack of dawn and starting my day with a bang. That bang usually starts with a bike ride or a long walk, which for me, is the perfect kind of activity that gets the blood flowing and my brain ready for the day. I’ve always been like this – taking care of the to-do list for the day as early as possible so that I can relax and enjoy the rest of my day is how I like to do it.

I’m telling you all this because I want you to understand how devastated I felt when I got that that text message at 9am the morning of this flight informing me that the departure time would be delayed by 3 hours.

The normally scheduled departure time of this flight was already a bit out of my “morning person” comfort zone (12:40pm), but suddenly and unexpectedly being faced with the situation of waiting around all day to even begin this trip kind of sucked. I was ready to go now!

San Diego, CA (SAN) – Miami, FL (MIA)
Saturday, May 27, 2017
Aircraft: A319-112
Registration: N757UW
Duration: 4 hours, 18 minutes
Seat: 12D (economy class)

american airlines a319 side view
American Airlines A319 (N757UW) side view illustration by
SAN to MIA route map
Our route from SAN to MIA this afternoon

So yeah. A three hour delay? How in the world does that kind of thing even happen for an airline as large as American? The weather was relatively clear all over the US when this flight was scheduled to leave MIA, so weather had absolutely no role in this.

And I do understand that sometimes stuff breaks and it needs to be fixed, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that AA didn’t have a spare A319/A320/737 in the entire system to swap in and reduce this delay from something massive into something minor.

There was no sense in grumbling about it. It was only 10am, and the flight had been delayed until 3:08pm, but screw it – I still walked out the door and went to the airport anyway. That’s how I roll.

Actually, I should probably rephrase that. What I mean is…”that’s how much of an airliner nerd I am“. Sitting in an airport all day is fun! Sometimes…

SAN airport exterior
Okay, it’s waaaay too early to be at the airport, but oh well. Here we are!
Terminal 2 east SAN
Into terminal 2 east I go.
American Airlines check in SAN
American Airlines check in counter here in terminal 2 east.

Sitting around at SAN for 5 hours when I really didn’t have to wasn’t that bad actually. I started out with a delicious and slow lunch from Camden Food Co, walked terminal 2 from end to end a time or three, and just enjoyed watching the airport at work. Am I weird? I think I know the answer to that, but it was actually a nice way to spend an afternoon.

San Diego airport lunch
The “Healthwhich” from Camden Food Co. Mmm mmm good!
Apple Watch airport
I’m done eating lunch, and it’s only 12pm. What am I going to do for three whole hours??
american airlines delayed flight
This delay sure is a doozie.
SAN plane spotting
Plane spotting at SAN is always a good way to kill time…
Japan airlines 787 San Diego
I can’t believe that I haven’t tried the Japan Airlines flight to NRT yet. It’s on my list!
SAN airport vehicles
While oogling over that JAL 787, I noticed this van right below the window. Looks like nothing special, right?
Airliner World magazine airport vehicle
But if you look closely, you’ll see a copy of Airliner World magazine on the dashboard. My peoples! Nice to see airport employees with a passion for what they do.
SAN airport plane spotting
Okay, back to plane spotting…
SAN terminal 2 east gates
Ok, what time is it? I’m ready to go now.
SAN terminal 2 east ceiling
Having a lot of time to kill was actually kind of a good thing, as it made me notice things about the airport that I hadn’t seen before. Like this ceiling sculpture for example. Cool!
SAN airport spotting
Finally! She’s here! A bit beyond “fashionably late”, but still good to see her nonetheless.

The inbound aircraft (N757UW) came from MIA, and I was highly impressed in how quickly they turned that thing around. Boarding for the return to MIA commenced just 10 minutes after the last inbound passenger had deplaned. Speaking of inbound passengers, most of the people who came off that plane didn’t look happy. I suppose that’s what three-hour delays will do to customer morale.

SAN gate 28
It’s gate 28 today. The one gate in all of San Diego International Airport where it’s impossible to see any of the airplane from the gate windows.
American Airlines mobile boarding pass
I’ve literally waited all day for this. Let’s do it!
SAN jet bridge
Down the jet bridge.
SANspotter selfie jet bridge
SANspotter, still a happy guy after a long three hour delay. Gotta stay positive!
American Airlines A319 SAN
This has to be one of my favorite liveries at the moment. Looks even better up close IMHO.
boarding american airlines a319 SAN
A little congestion here at the boarding door.
american airlines 2017 airline of the year
2017 Airline of the Year? Even with three hour delays like this?
a319 boarding door
Alright, let’s step onboard and see what this “Airline of the Year” crap is all about.

The boarding gate looked to be quite full, but such was not the case onboard. It seemed that most of the other passengers had rebooked onto something else because of the massive delay, because once the boarding door closed, the final load factor looked to be less than 40%. There were empty seats in every row – including next to me, which was very much appreciated.

American Airlines A319 economy class
American Airlines A319 economy class.
American Airlines A319 economy class seats
American Airlines A319 economy class seats.
American Airlines A319 economy class seating layout
American Airlines A319 economy class seating layout.
American Airlines A319 economy class cabin, looking forward
American Airlines A319 economy class cabin, looking forward.
american airlines a319 seat backs
No personal video screens to be found in these seats.
American Airlines A319 economy class seat pitch
American Airlines A319 economy class seat pitch. Decent.
SANspotter airplane selfie american a319
I love empty flights!

The older woman in the window seat was obviously a new flier, because she had to ask me how the seat belt worked. We all make fun of the overly-simplistic safety demonstrations sometimes, but it really is true – there are people out there who need to hear that stuff. She didn’t seem nervous or excited about flying, but she was very friendly and ended up being a nice seat mate for the ride to Miami.

American Airlines A319 safety card front cover
American Airlines A319 safety card front cover.
American Airlines A319 safety card inner cover
American Airlines A319 safety card inner cover.
American Airlines A319 safety card full interior
American Airlines A319 safety card full interior.

Sorry folks – this is another trip report where I’m in an aisle seat as opposed to the window, so there will be limited take off and landing pics for this one! I tried my best though.

SAN airport taxi to runway
Taxiing out to the runway. Something a little different than my normal “taxi to runway” pics!
american airlines a319 takeoff SAN
We’re outta here! We may have been three hours behind schedule at this point, but it was a good feeling to finally be on the way.
american airlines a319 take off pic
It was actually kind of fun being in the aisle seat and getting take off pics from a different perspective.

Once in the air and pointed east, I tried plugging my phone into the power outlets at the base of the seat. I say “tried” because it didn’t work too well. The sockets were so loose that it wouldn’t hold the plug and it just fell out on it’s own whenever I pushed it in. There’s probably a dirty joke in there somewhere, but I won’t go there. Instead, I’ll just say that it was irritating to not be able to charge my phone on such a long flight.

american airlines a319 in seat power
There are two sets of power ports in every row, but the one closest to me wouldn’t hold the plug. Not quite up to “Airline of the Year” standards, IMHO.

Drinks and food-for-purchase were offered within the first 45 minutes of departure, and I splurged on a fresh turkey sandwich. It was actually quite good – well worth the price actually, which isn’t something I admit very often. It might have been due to how hungry I was, because my tolerance for expensive food goes up quite a bit the hungrier I get.

American Airlines in-flight menu
Let’s eat! American Airlines in-flight menu.
American airlines food for purchase menu
That turkey sandwich looks good…
American airlines drink menu
The drinks menu.
american airlines economy class meal
Ok, I’m set. Bon appetit!
American Airlines turkey sandwich
The turkey sandwich didn’t look quite as good as it did in the pictures, but it was still quite tasty.
american airlines a319 forward cabin
This is what it looks like to be hurling towards Miami at 500mph. Not as exciting as one would imagine, right?
American Airlines in-flight entertainment menu
American Airlines in-flight entertainment menu. You can access this content from your own device.
American Airlines streaming content menu
Instructions on how to connect to the free streaming content.
Rear cover of the American Airlines streaming content menu
Rear cover of the American Airlines streaming content menu (for all you super-hardcore airliner nerds out there).
American Airlines streaming content welcome screen
American Airlines streaming content welcome screen.
american airlines streaming entertainment
There were very few people on today’s flight, so the system was very fast and responsive.
American Airlines streaming entertainment movies
I found the movie selections to be quite good actually. Many options!
American Airlines wifi
You can also purchase WiFi access if you just gotta stay connected.

The rest of the flight was smooth and uneventful, and actually quite comfortable due to the very light load. There was plenty of room to spread out, and I just spent the time catching up on all the Podcasts I haven’t had time to listen to over the past few weeks. Long flights are perfect for that sort of thing. Another round of drinks were served with one hour and thirty five minutes of flying time remaining.

american airlines a319 economy class lavatory
Wouldn’t it be nice if the airlines would personalize the bathrooms a bit? They all look the same!
American Airlines A319 economy class cabin pic
American Airlines A319 economy class cabin, from the rear.
American Airlines A319 wing
The woman sitting in the window seat got up to use the lavatory when I did, so I had this one chance to get a wing pic. A trip report doesn’t feel right without it!
A319 window view in flight
You know me. I can never just take one picture of anything.

It was completely dark by the time we began the descent into Miami, and we touched down exactly three hours behind schedule (just before 11pm local time). Oddly enough, there wasn’t a single apology or explanation from the flight crew about the delay.

They didn’t say a word about it, so perhaps they were thinking we wouldn’t notice if they didn’t mention it. Um…sorry American. It doesn’t work that way.

I should also mention that they never reached out to me after the flight offering an apology. I wasn’t expecting one, but I’ve been apologized to for much less in the past. Interesting.

american airlines a319 cabin at night
Darkness falls over the cabin as we begin the decent… (Ok, a bit over-dramatic, but it was better than saying “we’re landing, yo.”)
Final approach into MIA
Final approach into MIA.
deplaning american airlines a319
We made it! Thankfully my body was still on west coast time, so even though it was 11pm here in Miami, it only felt like 8pm to me.
American Airlines A319 first class cabin
This is the first class cabin. Looks pretty good, but I’ll have to try it first to confirm.
american airlines terminal interior MIA
Welcome to Miami International Airport!
terminal D miami international airport
If you’re curious, despite how big and gnarly this airport looks, a 1 hour layover is usually enough time in Miami. I was lucky that I didn’t have to attempt it this evening, but I figured it would be nice to end this review on a reassuring note. You’re welcome!

Segment 2 of 2: Miami to San Diego

It only took five minutes of wandering around the main terminal here at MIA for me to realize that there aren’t many other airports in the continental US that are as busy and chaotic as this. 

I walked up and down Concourse D here at MIA 3 times before I finally gave in and sat down in the middle of a busy gate area for a flight that was departing to Philadelphia in 30 minutes. I did check out the American Airlines Lounge near gate D30 for a bit, but it wasn’t all that great actually. 

Miami, FL (MIA) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Monday, May 29, 2017
Aircraft: A319-132
Registration: N819AW
Duration: 5 hours, 8 minutes
Seat: 17D (economy class)

american airlines a319 side view by norebbo
American Airlines A319 (N819AW) side view illustration by This is an ex-America West aircraft!
miami to san diego route map
Our route from Miami to San Diego this morning
MIA airport interior
MIA really is a nice airport. FYI, despite what your sister’s best friend’s boyfriend says, 1 hour layovers are enough time in Miami (most of the time).
Miami international airport terminal
High ceilings (and lots of natural light) make this place feel like a proper international gateway.
Miami international airport floor design
Wading through the ocean, or just walking up and down concourse D at MIA? I’m digging this floor design!
MIA airport gate
The only place I could find to sit was with these fine folks going to PHL this morning. Thanks for sharing your gate space!

As I was sitting there trying to drown out the noise and chaos around me, I realized that this flight to San Diego had the exact same flight number as the flight two days ago from San Diego to Miami. Weird.

I know nothing about airline route management and scheduling, but it gives me a headache to think about how they manage to schedule two separate daily flights with an identical flight number. 

Flight information board MIA airport
AA1815 to SAN showing an on time departure.

I arrived at the departure gate of this flight about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, and I didn’t feel much like sitting down. This was gonna be a long flight, so I didn’t mind standing and giving my legs every opportunity to stretch out before being crammed into a tiny economy class seat for five hours. At least I had an aisle seat for this flight, as that would allow me to get up and stretch whenever I felt the need.

American Airlines A319 Miami airport
That’s my ride to SAN out there through the double windows.
American Airlines mobile boarding pass
Just a few more minutes now and we can get out of here!
Boarding flight American Airlines MIA
Group 4 ready to board. Believe it or not there were a lot more boarding groups beyond 4 (I didn’t stick around long enough to see how many there really were).
Boarding flight to San Diego
Interesting shadows just before entering the jet bridge. The photographer in me finds stuff like this impossible to resist…
American Airlines jet bridge MIA
It’s always interesting checking out how different airports and airlines decorate their jet bridges. This one didn’t impress me. I’ve seen better.
SANspotter jet bridge selfie
Since I’ve got an aisle seat on this flight and there won’t be window pics, how about an extra pic of me walking down the jet bridge? I aim to be thorough!
American Airlines A319 Miami international airport
I was hoping to get a better pic of our A319 just before stepping onboard, but this was all that I could manage. Oh well.
American Airlines A319 boarding door
All aboard AA1815 to San Diego!

As far as domestic economy class flights go, this one couldn’t have been any more routine. Boarding was right on time. There was a little bit of congestion in the jet bridge. The airplane smelled like stale coffee and scented cleaning products.

Absolutely nothing out of the ordinary happened, which when it comes right down to it, is just how I like it for an early morning flight like this. Yes it does make for slightly dry trip reports, but it was early and I was tired, so the less drama the better.

American Airlines A319 interior
American Airlines A319 main cabin.
American Airlines A319 economy class seats
American Airlines A319 economy class seats.
American Airlines A319 seat design
I actually find these seats to be quite stylish. The red stripe in the headrest is a nice touch.
American Airlines a319 seat pitch
Its a bit claustrophobic back here in economy, but not too bad.
American Airlines a319 high seat backs
The high seat backs don’t help to make things feel very spacious.
American Airlines a319 cabin
It’s not impossible to look over those seat backs if you are at least 5′-10″ though. My condolences if you are shorter than that.
American Airlines a319 economy class leg room
Space for my knees!
American Airlines a319 safety card
Ok, I know we just did this in my SAN-MIA segment two days prior, but I’m aiming to be thorough again. Safety card check!
American Airlines a319 safety card inner cover
American Airlines A319 safety card inner cover.
American Airlines A319 safety card full interior
American Airlines A319 safety card full interior.
American Airlines a319 boarding
Just waiting for boarding to complete.

Voluntarily choosing an aisle seat means giving up any opportunity to look out the window. I know that. But I’ll never understand the kind of people who immediately close the window shade upon sitting down and don’t open it again until parked at the gate at the destination airport. The guy in 17F was that kind of guy unfortunately, and there was no natural light in our row for the entire journey across the country today.

Window shade down
No natural light in our row today…
American Airlines a319 passengers
The guy in the window seat across the aisle was plenty interested in the view outside though. This represents the one and only takeoff pic for this trip report.

Complimentary drinks and meals for purchase came through the aisles 45 minutes after departure, and as tempting as the turkey sandwich looked, I passed on it considering that my belly was still full from the bucket of oatmeal that I had in the lounge. On top of that, there are some pretty good restaurants at SAN nowadays and I was looking forward to a big lunch at the airport upon arrival.

American Airlines menu
A quick look at the menu, even though I know that I’m not going to get anything on today’s flight.
American Airlines food for purchase menu
I had that turkey sandwich on the flight to Miami, and it was good, but…not today.
American Airlines in flight snack
This is as wild and crazy as I got. Plain water, no ice. I live on the edge, don’t I?

What is it about podcasts that makes time go faster? My original plan was to sleep for most of the flight, but I started listening to a podcast in the first hour flight that ultimately led to another, which eventually led to three more. Every time I checked my watch I was amazed at the progress we were making, and I made a mental note to subscribe to more podcasts before my next big trip. A good podcast definitely eats up the time!

SANspotter and his iPhone
Thank you Apple for inventing the Podcast. It’s the perfect thing to listen to while traveling!

At least 30 minutes of this flight was dedicated to me thinking about how hard it is to write a good trip report for a flight as dull and routine as this one. I was in an aisle seat on a generic A319, not partaking in any food or entertainment provided by the airline, and I was lost in my own little world sitting there motionless in that tiny little seat with my earbuds crammed into my ears listening to podcasts.

How in the world was I going to write an interesting trip report about that?? I’m even struggling a bit as I write this, but I’d have to think that if you’ve made it this far I’m doing an okay job documenting the experience. Don’t bail me on me yet though – we’re landing soon and the trip report is just about over.

American Airlines a319 looking up the aisle
A perspective I’ve never shot while in flight. Gotta do what I can to keep this interesting!
American Airlines A319 lavatory
American Airlines A319 lavatory.
American Airlines a319 interior
American Airlines A319 interior, as seen from the very rear of the aircraft.

So yeah. Landing. Since window seat guy refused to open the window shade, I had to make use of my other senses to get a feeling of where we were in the landing process. Have you ever closed your eyes and just listened and felt the plane descend and then touch down?

If you have, you’ll know that airplanes make some pretty scary noises as it transforms from high-speed mode into landing configuration and you start to really appreciate the miracle of flight. At least that’s what I was feeling during this landing sequence. It’s especially fun to guess when the wheels are going to hit the pavement. If you’re not looking out the window it’s a lot harder than it seems!

American Airlines a319 cabin pic
The last few minutes of flight. Almost home!
SANspottr deboarding American Airlines a319
Another trip has come to an end. Thanks for the ride AA!
SANspotter jet bridge selfie
I’ve been told I need to smile more in my selfies. Oddly enough it feels like I’m grinning ear to ear in these pics but reality is somewhat different. Lol!
Terminal 2 east SAN
The familiar sight of terminal 2 east. Make way people…I’m headed to the food court in terminal 2 west!

Overall I’d have to give American Airlines an A- on this particular flight. They got us to San Diego on time, well-snacked, and we didn’t even crash into the desert on the way in. That’s a good flight in my book.

Give a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.