One of the coolest parts of living in San Juan, Puerto Rico, is the variety of aircraft that fly there. From United’s 777s, to American’s A330s, to Delta’s 737-900ER, there are a wide number of aircraft serving SJU. One of the most fun experiences I have had flying to Puerto Rico was on an American A330 in Business Class. This kept my eye open for different aircraft that could fly to PR from Charlotte or Philadelphia.
A few months back, I had a chance to fly on American’s 757 to SJU from CLT. Bear in mind, I have flown AA’s 757s before, but this one was a special treat. The aircraft I would be traveling in was an un-retrofitted US Airways 757. The aircraft had only 12 seats, and according to Google Flights, were angled-flat. When I read this, I decided it would be a great chance to try it, since there were hardly any pictures online of the interior.
Flights to SJU leave from concourse D in Charlotte Airport. This is usually the international concourse. My aircraft had arrived the night before from a long haul flight to Dublin. When I saw that, I thought that the seats must actually be angled flat, especially for a flight that long. Boarding was typical for a flight to San Juan: crowds all around the boarding door, but no groups called yet. When they started with Business Class, everyone crowded to the gate all at once. This made boarding hectic, and I can’t imagine they would be able to enforce group numbers later. They did, however, enforce premium passengers only, and then priority passengers.
We boarded through door 2L. This meant I was able to turn left at the door, one of the coolest feelings when traveling. When I saw the seats, however, I was astounded. These seats were quite old, well past their prime. The seats were not flat, not by a long shot, and the angles were weird. The seats did not have a shell, so they reclined back on the person behind you. I was lucky that I was seated in 1F.
The seats had a stand for an IFE device, that was only used on international flights. There were overhead TVs on the aircraft, and the seats had controls for viewing the movie they showed. The seats had electric controls, and reclined to about 165 degrees. Legrests were attached to the seat, and extended electronically.
There was ample legroom, especially on the bulkhead row. A reading light stuck out from the back of the seat. It was not very bright, so I would recommend using the overhead light.
Boarding went by very quickly. We left the gate 15 minutes ahead of schedule. We lost some of this time taxiing to the runway, however, because of the storm. Departures were generally delayed, and we had to deal with this as well. After takeoff, we experienced quite a bit of chop. Once we passed the cloud level, the captain turned off the seat belt sign. The flight attendant working business class began taking our orders. She was extremely kind and attentive.
I ordered the pasta entree, since it is the only hot entree during lunch. She brought us the ramekin with nuts, and our preferred drinks. She was very diligent, and brought each passenger his meal when he or she was done with their nuts. The meal was unsurprising, but tasty. I do tend to like AA’s lunch pasta. The flight attendant regularly came down the aisle to make sure everyone was set with their drinks.
After lunch, I reclined the seat to rest. It wasn’t as uncomfortable as I was expecting, but it still did not meet the international standard. The seat was fine for a 3.5 hour flight to the Caribbean, but would not be enough for a 7 hour flight to Europe.
When we were preparing for landing, the flight attendant came by each passenger and asked us how our flight was. After, she thanked us for flying American. On our approach we got some really nice views of San Juan and Puerto Rico. We arrived at the gate 10 minutes before schedule.
American’s 757s (both legacy AA and legacy US) are not up to par. Their new configuration, which you can see all of them here, is more to speed with its peers. The seat was nice for an otherwise short flight, and the food was perfectly fine. What made the flight so amazing was the flight attendant. She was hardworking, kind, and attentive. I truly wish all American employees were like her. All in all, a great experience to San Juan. As I mentioned, I have flown the A330 to San Juan, and that still is the best way to get to Puerto Rico.
What do you think? Have you ever flown on an American 757 in business class? What did you think of the seat?