New York-Orlando with American Airlines
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New York-Orlando with American Airlines

This flight took place way back in 2011, August 17 to be exact. Just as a heads up, I didn't take many photos at the time, so part of the pictures here were collected fr om the web in an effort to make the review more detailed.

Anyway...]John F. Kennedy International Airport:// Airport

The airport is really vast, with 9 terminals.

New York John Kennedy airport

The terminal buildings themselves are huge, with loads of check-in stands. Our flight, AA-1813, was departing fr om Terminal 8. Terminal 8 is reserved exclusively for American Airlines.

American Airlines

AA is the world leader in terms of passenger-kilometers (224,300 million in 2006) and air fleet size (655 aircraft). The company's headquarters are located in Fort Worth, Texas, not far fr om Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. American Airlines is a founding member of the Oneworld airline alliance.

The company's fleet is composed exclusively of American-made Boeing aircraft. The company is also the world's largest operator of MD-82 jets.

As for the flight:

We arrived at the airport 1.5 hours before departure. It was deserted, relatively speaking.

New York John Kennedy airport

This is wh ere the surprises started.

Upon approaching a typical AA check-in stand, each of our bags (we had two) were weighed, and we were told, "$60 please".

Confused, we wanted to know why we had to pay a fee. Turns out that only carry-on is free. Stowed luggage must be paid for ($25 for the first bag, $35 for the second). After weighing ALL of our bags, including the carry-ons, we received boarding passes and were finally allowed to go through the security gate. Needless to say, this is very unusual for any except the cheapest carriers in Europe.

The interior design of the terminal is rather bleak and industrial, but there were a few murals to spruce things up a little.

New York John Kennedy airport

Next, we went through the tough American security check and found ourselves in a long corridor leading to the gates.

Droves of AA Boeings were rolling past outside:

New York John Kennedy airport

By the way, there were only about 2-3 eateries along the way to the gates, which was surprising for me.

By the time we got to our gate (luckily boarding was via jet bridge) there was already a long line of passengers waiting to board with their carry-ons, even though boarding hadn't even begun yet.

A Boeing 737-800 (there are currently only 204 of these airliners in service) with tail number N929AN was already waiting outside (photo courtesy of

Boeing 737-800 of American Airlines

And here it is just before takeoff:

Boeing 737-800 of American Airlines

Then things really took off. Unlike most other flights, we weren't assigned any boarding groups, so everyone boarded haphazardly. The Americans quickly filled all the overhead baggage shelves with their hefty carry-on bags, and when we asked wh ere we could put our own carry-ons, we were told "wh erever you want".

But no matter. We took our seats, 2A and 2B. There was plenty of leg room. At the time, this plane was 11.5 years old, but you could see that the airline puts a lot of effort into maintaining an immaculate interior, and, I must say, does a good job of it. Everything was very well kept. The plane, by the way, had a 2-class configuration: 3-3 seat arrangement for economy, and 2-2 for business class. A total of 148 seats.

The upholstery was leather, without antimacassars, which was also surprising.

Next the crew ... nope, the small overhead screens showed us the emergency and safety procedures in two languages: English and Spanish.

During the flight these screens would fold and unfold and ran some sort of American TV show.

Takeoff was right on schedule at 2:50 PM

New York John Kennedy airport

During taxiing I could see some long haul 777s operated by JAL and Air France

New York John Kennedy airport

We climb. Unfortunately, my side of the plane didn't get a view of Manhattan.

Sky view of Manhattan

Then came the smell of food, but it turned out that only business class was getting meals. Economy class was served drinks only:

Overhead was the standard Boeing panel:

Cabin of a Boeing 737-800 of American Airlines

Next, the restroom. It was unpleasantly dirty, with water and paper towels everywhere:

Restroom of a Boeing 737-800 of American Airlines

We begin to descend:

Descending to Orlando airport
Descending to Orlando airport

Planned developments in the Orlando suburbs:

Orlando suburbs

This sizable intersection caught my eye:

Intersection in Orlando

Touchdown on the runway of Orlando International Airport was at 5:45 PM (10 minutes ahead of schedule, total flight time 3 hours). A big thanks to the crew for the smooth landing.

Arriving at the Orlando airport
Arriving at the Orlando airport

There was a small body of water on the territory of the airport

Arriving at the Orlando airport

Arrival at the jet bridge:

Arriving at the Orlando airport

Our first impression of the airport was that it seemed rather small. Next to us was a small American Eagle airliner and a JetBlue Airways A320. However, as it later turned out, the airport consists of 4 terminals and we were only seeing one of them. Orlando International Airport also doubles as an emergency landing area for space shuttles.

Orlando International Airport is made up of four passenger terminal buildings (called "Airsides"), connected by a 4-stop monorail. The main terminal building consists of two wings: A (northern wing) and B (southern wing), which hold the registration and check-in areas.

Inside the big terminal there is also a Hyatt hotel.

Orlando airport
At the Orlando airport

In Conclusion

This was my first flight with an American airline, so I've got absolutely nothing to compare it to. I'll definitely say that the smoothness and timeliness of the flight is worth the $150-$170 cost of the ticket. American Airlines reminded me of typical low-cost carriers. Minimum comforts, for minimal prices, which is what guarantees 100% occupancy on flights. The average age of their planes is about 14 years, although their pool is constantly being renewed.

It would've been nice to get a meal, but it's something you can live without (for a time, anyway).

Thanks for reading, and be on the look out for future reviews.

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American Airlines

Boeing 737-800

New York John F. Kennedy International Airport

Orlando International Airport

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