American Airlines Boeing Review feature image

American Airlines Economy Review

American Airlines was founded more than 95 years ago. It all began in 1926 when Charles Lindbergh stored a bag of mail in a DH-4 plane and took off. It then became the first airline to fly the commercial flight Douglas DC-3 between New York and Chicago, and the rest is history.

Now, the airline is headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. American Airlines is the largest airline in the world when measured by scheduled passengers carried on their fleets, and the size of their fleets. 

Recently, I flew with American Airlines from Belize City to Miami, and then Miami to San Jose, Costa Rica. The connecting flight was a strange route, but the flights leaving Belize City were limited. Find out all about it in my American Airline Economy Class review below…

Snapshot Verdict

American Airlines is one of my favorite airlines, since it covers hundreds of destinations and offers a comfortable way to travel for a more affordable price. Conveniently, they offer tons of routes to Central and South America from the USA. While they’re not a budget carrier, they do offer numerous deals and discounts throughout the year. 

Their AAdvantage Program rewards you with points and miles to use on future flights. You can also reap the benefits of American Airlines by getting their Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card. 

With a membership, first class or business ticket, or oneworld status membership, you can relax in one of their lounges before your flight. 

American Airlines offers:

Economy: Basic flight amenities, fee to change, last to board  

Main:  Change your flight and choose your seat for free

Business: Larger seats, free checked bags, no change fees

Overall, American Airlines offers perks for everyone’s budget and departure destination around the world. Paired with their credit card, you’ll reap the benefits this airline has to offer. 

Where You Can Fly American Airlines

You’ll find that American Airlines operates in hundreds of destinations around the world. This is what makes them so convenient to fly.

American Airlines, when partnered with their American Eagle regional partners, offers thousands of flights daily to more than 350 destinations in more than 60 countries. These destinations include:

Flight Routes - American Airlines

AAdvantage Program

By joining the American Airlines AAdvantage program, you’ll earn reward, such as miles when you fly with American, oneworld, and 1,000 other partners. With these miles, you can obtain flights for nearly 1,100 destinations, enjoy upgrades while flying, and put these points towards vacations, car rentals, hotels, and other retail products

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

When you sign up for this credit card and spend $20,000 within the first year, you’ll get 50,000 bonus miles, a first free checked bag on domestic American Airlines itineraries, and a $125 American Airlines Flight Discount.

If you’re a frequent American Airlines flyer, then this credit card might be quite beneficial.  

With the AAdvantage credit card, you’ll earn 1 Loyalty Point for every 1 eligible AAdvantage mile earned from purchases on the credit card. You can use your miles on flight awards since there are no blackout dates. You can also redeem your miles for rental cars, vacation packages, and hotel stays.

And the more you travel, the more you earn, which means you’re getting rewarded for traveling. There’s a $0 entry fee the first year, and then a $99 annual fee after. 

Partner Airlines

Partner Airlines for American Airlines include British Airways, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, Qantas, Qatar Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, and Cathay Pacific.  With these partner airlines, you’ll be able to explore thousands of destinations with American Airline benefits. 

The perks of partner airlines extend beyond the fleets. American Airlines has partnered with British Airways to offer three new premium lounges at JFK Airport in New York. Another perk of these partner airlines is that you can earn and redeem AAdvantage miles, and use the benefits from your AAdvantage status. 

Oneworld Priority

American Airlines is a part of the oneworld Priority membership. This is where you can enjoy airport lounge access, priority boarding, and other benefits that are outside of American Airlines. This is a great membership if you travel frequently and are enrolled in a frequent flyer program. 

There are three tiers for the oneworld Priority status, which are Emerald, Sapphire, and Ruby. They serve over 900 destinations in more than 170 countries, which means your American Airlines benefits will extend to one hundred more countries!

My Experience Flying American Airlines

American Airlines Boeing Seats

Perks aside, what’s it like flying with American Airlines? I flew on two flights with American Airlines, with a short layover at Miami Airport. My experience was comfortable and pleasant, and before I knew it, I landed in Costa Rica!

I checked in online the morning of my flight. I was able to select my seats during check-in, but because I chose the free seats, I was limited with choice. Luckily, there was one window seat open on the way to Miami, and one aisle seat open on the way to San Jose. There was no way I was getting stuck in the middle seat!

Belize City to Miami, USA 

The first leg of my flight, from Belize City to Miami, was originally supposed to depart at 12:40 PM. On the way to the airport, I received a notification on my phone that my flight was delayed until 1:20 PM, which was stressful considering I had a short layover in Miami.

While waiting for the flight at the airport, I received another notification on my phone that it was departing at 1:00 PM. What I appreciated the most, though, was that I received several notifications of the flight change on my phone, so I didn’t have to rely solely on the airport screens. 

American Airlines Boeing Legroom

The airport in Belize City was one of the most chaotic I’ve been to. I checked in online, but when I got to the airport, I had to go to the American Airlines desk anyway. Luckily, there was no line. They needed to print out my boarding pass and hand me a customs form to fill out. 

The immigration line was nearly at the airport entrance, and again, there was no line. The next line was for handing over the customs form, and the following line was for security. Afterwards, I hung out at the only sit-down restaurant in the airport while I waited for my first flight to depart. 

During the flight, I sat in the window seat but had the entire row to myself, which was a huge plus! The seats were pretty comfortable, especially considering I could stick my legs out to the side to make the most of the fluke extra legroom.

There was no in-seat television. You had to access their Wi-Fi on your phone in order to use in-flight entertainment. They handed out complimentary snacks and drinks halfway through the flight.

Despite the original slight delay, the flight made up the 20 minutes and landed in Miami right on time. 

Snacks On American Airlines Flight

Miami, USA to San Jose, Costa Rica

The second flight departed in the evening. Upon entering Miami, I had to go through immigration to get to my connecting flight. The walk from the plane to immigration was long, but once I was through, I was at my gate with 45 minutes to spare. 

The second flight was seamless. Boarding was easy, we left on time, and I sat in the aisle seat. They handed out complimentary soda, water, and snacks. I ate pretzels and cookies, and before I knew it, we landed in San Jose, Costa Rica.

American Airline Lounges

One of the benefits of American Airlines is that their broad network extends to countries they don’t even fly to. For example, you’ll have access to lounges in airports around the world, even if AA doesn’t fly there. 

There are several ways you can access an American Airlines lounge:

  • Membership: With an Admirals Club membership, you can access over 100 clubs and partner lounges.
  • First/Business Class Ticket: One of the perks of flying first or business class is having access to premium lounges.
  • Oneworld Status: If you have oneworld priority status, you can fly on qualifying itineraries and access more than 650 lounges.

Meals on Board 

My flight from Belize City to Miami did not offer any meals. Instead, they handed out complimentary pretzels and water, coffee, and soda.

Depending on the timing of your flight, you could purchase a Breakfast Bag (5 AM – 9:45 AM), which has a Chobani Vanilla Yogurt, Nature’s Bakery Fig Bar, and Wildway Coconut Cashew Granola.

American Airlines Flight Menu

Or you could purchase other items (9:46 AM – 9:00 PM), like the fruit and cheese plate, sea salt almonds, and Pringles Original. They also sell red, white, and sparkling wine for $10. 

Entertainment on Board 

My flight from Belize City to Miami did not offer any in-seat entertainment. Instead, I could connect to the Wi-Fi on my phone and watch movies that way. Because the flight was so short, I decided to look out the window for the duration of my flight and watch the clouds and the gorgeous color of the sea.  

American Airlines No TV on Board Wi-Fi instructions on seat and window view from plane seat

Checking a Bag 

Before you enter the line to check into your American Airlines flight at the airport, they have bag measurers at the start of the line. One is for personal items, and one is for a carry-on.

I did not check my bag, and boarded my flight with my personal item and carry-on. Luckily, the staff at Belize City airport did not ask me to weigh my bag or check the measurements. 

Bag Checking Fees

If you’re traveling within the USA,
or between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands,
then the first checked bag is $40 at the airport ($35 if you pay online)
and the second checked bag fee is $45.

If you’re traveling to and from Canada, the Caribbean,
Mexico, Guyana, and Central America,
then the first checked bag is $35 and the second is $45.

Similar fees apply for destinations in Europe and Asia.Â

Paying for Seats 

You can buy your seat when you’re buying your flight, or when you’re checking into your flight. There was also an option to select unpaid seats, which I did when I checked in online. The other seats you could pay for start around $10 and are upwards of $20. 

How to Book with American Airlines

It’s easy to book a flight with American Airlines. Their website is coherent, user-friendly, and efficient. All you have to do is select the departure airport, the date, and your arrival destination.

You can also select between the lowest fare and refundable fare. 

There are three different levels of ticket: Basic Economy, Main, and Business. Basic is the cheapest fare with the most limited luxuries, while business offers the biggest perks. 

This is the most affordable flight ticket and is a great option if you’re traveling on a budget. But please bear in mind:


  • No changes allowed
  • Pay for seats
  • Pay for checked bags
  • Board in the last group

This is a great option if you want to choose your seat for free and be more flexible with your flight date since there are no change fees:


  • No change fees (difference in ticket price may apply)
  • Choose your seat for free
  • Pay to check bags 
  • General Boarding

This is a great option if you want all the benefits of Economy and Main, plus larger, more comfortable seats and free checked bags:


  • No change fees
  • Larger, more comfortable seat
  • 2 free checked bags
  • Priority security at participating airports
  • Priority boarding

Conclusion

If you want comfortable, affordable travel, with tons of perks, then American Airlines is the best option out there. Their staff is friendly and efficient, always ensuring they keep us passengers fully informed of any flight changes.

And if you miss your connecting flight because your first flight was delayed, American Airlines will reschedule on the next flight, and even put you on another airline if needed. With 350 destinations across 60 countries around the world, American Airlines has you covered. 

My experience flying with American Airlines from Belize City to Miami, and Miami to San Jose was seamless, comfortable, and fast. Because my first flight was nearly empty, I got to stretch across an entire row of seats by myself! (Although of course, this was pure luck…)

You can choose between Economy, Main, and Business seating while flying American Airlines. Despite the lack of entertainment in the seat and needing to use my phone, I found it to be comfortable. Their snacks were sufficient for a short flight. 

Overall, American Airlines offers a cost-effective, efficient way to travel, no matter your budget or destination.

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