So, flying on the American A330 home from Barcelona to Philadelphia was part one of my basic economy saga with American. My flight to Europe from Los Angeles to London was booked on British Airways, and everything went pretty smooth. American 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 was just so happy we were sitting together and that we got the 2 seats together (window + aisle) on the 2-4-2 configuration plane! 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.
Check In Woes:
But….the bad side was that we couldn’t check in for our PHL-LAX connecting leg (for idk what dumb reason?) but apparently people we met at the airport in Barcelona also had the same issue for their connecting flights? 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??”. Well yikes we dodged a bullet I guess? Or got an incompetent agent (probably more likely). And of course, by the time we got to the airport to check in for PHL-LAX only middle seats were left. I’m actually writing this review from 7E on my PHL-LAX leg. More on that flight later…
tl;dr: Anyway long story short I’m happy we got seat assignments for the 9 hour BCN-PHL and they were together in 20AB. But, we weren’t able to check in for our PHL-LAX leg until we got to the airport so we ended up in two middle seats, 7B and 7E.
Check-in sucked so bad. I haven’t seen so many angry old people at an airport in awhile. The line was not clear, and there wasn’t designated desks for bag drop, full service check-in or just customer assistance. All the desks said “bag drop” and employees kept yelling at passengers saying “even if you don’t have bags you have to check in because of extra security due to the flight being US bound. I get that, but maybe making it more clear would be nice instead of calling every desk “bag drop”. Additionally, if we’re able to check in online and print out boarding passes, you should still say “must verify passport at airport check in” or something because I remember Delta does that. On top of it all, the line moved so slow, and ended up taking 45 minutes…
After check in and clearing passport control, I headed to the Sala VIP Miro Lounge for a quick bite and then off to the gate.
American Airlines Flight 743
Barcelona (BCN) to Philadelphia (PHL)
Seat: 20A- Window- Basic Economy
Aircraft: Airbus A330-200
Status: On Time
This is where the review gets better. We got boarding group 6 out of 9 even in basic economy! Which was nice I guess! Luckily, overhead bin space wasn’t an issue on this A330 (also because it’s an international flight). On American Basic Economy for transatlantic flights, you’re allowed a free full sized carry on bag. A checked bag will cost you $60.
The cabin had been refreshed recently and had seatback IFE! There were over a hundred movie selection to keep me entertained. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love seatback IFE! I hope American installs seatback IFE on more of their planes.
Additionally, there was ample legroom, even for my friend who’s 6-3. I also appreciated how there is good elbow room from the window seat, as well as extra space for my legs towards the window.
Pillows and blankets were provided on the flight, and Wi-Fi was available. For the Wi-Fi, a 2 hour pass was $12, a 4 hour pass was $17 and a pass for the whole flight was $19.
The boarding doors closed a few minutes before scheduled departure and we left the gate right on our scheduled departure at 1 PM. It took 20 minutes from leaving the gate to takeoff.
About an hour after takeoff, the meal service began. I opted for the mushroom pasta and not the beef with mashed potatoes. The pasta was fine, a bit too creamy for my liking.
After the meal service, it was movie time for me! About 4 hours in, they had a water + Orange Juice service with ice cream! I loved that! Then, 1 hour before landing we were served a hamburger and another beverage service!
We touched down right on time and made it to the gate just 10 minutes past arrival. Not too shabby!
The American A330 in Basic Economy was certainly not a bad way to fly a 9 hour Europe trip. I enjoy that they kept us fed and hydrated which was very nice, and the IFE was quite extensive. Minus the ground experience, I’d definitely consider trying this flight again.
Have you flown on the American A330 or Basic Economy? Comment below!
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