Review: American Boeing 737-800 Business Class (AUS-SJD)

To get down to Cabo, we were flying American’s direct flight between Austin and Los Cabos in Business Class on the Boeing 737-800. The seats and service on this flight were the same as what you would find on American domestic First Class flights, the cabin is only branded as Business Class due to the fact that this is an international flight.

Booking

Two airlines currently operate direct flights between Austin and Los Cabos, American and Southwest. With a very pregnant Mrs. ATX in tow, I knew that an Economy flight was out of the question. She also vetoed connecting itineraries which limited us to American.

A few months prior to departure, I managed to find a (somewhat) reasonable Business Class fare on the direct American flight between Austin and Cabo. Our friends were also flying on the American flight which made this the clear winner.

I booked our tickets, via Google Flights, on AA.com a two months before departure. Our roundtrip Business Class tickets came out to $874 per person ($694 base fare and $180 in taxes and fees).

Check-In

Our flight was scheduled to depart Austin at 9:25a and we arrived 2 hours prior to departure. While I don’t typically arrive this early, our flight was a few days after the Southwest fiasco in Austin and I wanted to make sure we had enough time to check bags and clear security.

To my surprise, the airport was completely empty on a Saturday morning. There were only a few passengers in the standard check-in lane and even fewer in the Priority lane.

people in a terminal
American Airlines Check-In, Austin
a man standing in a line in an airport
American Airlines Priority Check-In, Austin

With such a short line, we had our bags tagged on to Cabo, passports checked, and boarding passes issued quickly. I also asked the agent to confirm that my British Airways number, and not my AAdvantage number, was present on my booking. This took a bit but it was finally confirmed and we headed off to security 10 minutes after arrival.

a person walking in a terminal
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) Security Signage

The TSA PreCheck line was also extremely short and efficient. We found ourselves airside less than 15 minutes after arriving at the airport.

Airside at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Airside at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport

Pre-Flight

American doesn’t offer lounge access to Business Class passengers flying internationally to Canada, Mexico (with the exception of Mexico City), or the Caribbean. They do operate an Admirals Club in Austin but it didn’t seem worth the visit this time.

With over an hour before boarding, we stopped at Jo’s for coffee and breakfast tacos from nearby Earl Campbell’s. Both were outrageously expensive, but quite tasty.

Signage for Jo's Coffee and Earl Campbell's in the Austin Airport
Jo’s Coffee and Earl Campbell’s in the Austin Airport

After fueling up on breakfast tacos and coffee, we headed down to Gate 28 for our flight to Cabo. Our aircraft, N904AN, had just arrived from Dallas/Ft. Worth a few minutes prior.

an airplane parked at an airport
Our Ride to Cabo Waiting at the Gate

Boarding

We mistimed our walk down to the gate and had roughly a 20 minute wait before boarding was called. With no available seats in the gate area, we just stood off to the side by the window.

a woman standing in front of a counter
Queueing to Board for Cabo

Boarding ended up being called a few minutes ahead of schedule with Group 1 being invited to board first. There was no call for pre boards and we were the first ones down the jet bridge.

American Airlines
AA 2242
AUS-SJD (Austin-Bergstrom International – Los Cabos International)
Seat: 3F (Business)
B737-800 (N904AN)
Scheduled: 9:25a-10:00a
Actual: 9:15a-9:50a

In addition to not calling pre-boards, nobody at the gate called the cabin crew either. They were sitting in the First Class cabin but hopped up as soon as we arrived.

a door to a vehicle
All Aboard for Cabo

American Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seat

American’s Business Class cabin on the Boeing 737-800 consists of 16 seats spread across 4 rows in a 2-2 configuration. I assigned us seats 3E and 3F, the third row on the right side of the aircraft.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seat
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seat

A partial plastic divider separated the Business Class and Economy cabins.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Privacy Divider
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Divider

I found the seat to be quite spacious with plenty of legroom for me to stretch out.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Legroom
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Legroom

Unlike other airlines, the biggest downside of American’s narrowbody fleet is the lack of seatback IFE screens. Instead there is a literature pocket and a personal device holder. The device holder can expand to fit almost any phone and had no issues holding my iPhone or Mrs. ATX’s massive Google Pixel Fold. A USB-A power outlet was also located in the seatback for easy charging.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seatback Pocket
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seatback
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Device Holder
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seatback Device Holder

The seat itself was nice and wide with plenty of storage for a narrowbody aircraft. On the left side, underneath the shared armrest was a storage pocket large enough for passports, phones, wallets, etc. A 110V power outlet was located in the rear of the compartment.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Storage
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Storage
a close up of a plug
In-Seat 110V Power

The seat recline button was located adjacent to the storage pocket to raise/recline the seat.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seat Recline
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seat Recline Button

Under the opposite armrest, closest to the window, is the tray table. It can be removed by pulling on the latch with the fork and spoon icon at which point it slides out.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table

When fully extended, the tray table rests on the other armrest making it sturdy and secure for full meals or a laptop. It can also be folded over in half if needed.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table
The Tray Table Was Decently Sized and had Plenty of Space for my Surface Pro
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table

When folded over, a secondary device holder is available to hold your phone when streaming movies.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table Device Holder
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Tray Table Device Holder

In between the seats, there is a small tray in the armrest that can hold beverages. If more space is needed, a secondary tray can slide out from underneath. This was great for holding our coffee during boarding and for drinks throughout the flight.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Beverage Tray
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Beverage Tray
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Beverage Tray
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Beverage Tray

Departure

As boarding was underway, the Business Class flight attendant came through the aisle offering open-bar pre-departure beverages. I ordered a mimosa while Mrs. ATX had apple juice. Both were served in disposable plastic cups.

two plastic cups of liquid on a tray
American Airlines Business Class Pre-Departure Beverages

Shortly after our beverages were served the captain announced that boarding was complete, 26 minutes ahead of schedule. Though the announcement was made, we ended up sitting at the gate for a while and pushed back 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

a truck on the tarmac
Off to Cabo!

We taxied over to the west side, past the west side expansion construction. It is one of the many projects underway in Austin to try and catch up to the capacity needs of the airport.

a large crane on a building
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport West Side Gate Expansion

We held short of Runway 18R for some arriving traffic before being cleared for departure a few minutes later.

a runway with a city in the background
Holding Short of 18R With Downtown Austin in the Background

We took off to the south before making a turn to the east. We hit a couple of light bumps as we ascended through some spotty clouds on departure.

an aerial view of a city
View Departing Austin
an airplane wing and a city
View Departing Austin

As we climbed, I perused the menu and entertainment options on the flight, these were printed on cards in the seatback pocket.

American Airlines In-Flight Menu
American Airlines In-Flight Menu
American Airlines In-Flight Entertainment List
Streaming Entertainment List
American Airlines In-Flight Entertainment List
Streaming Entertainment List

In-Flight

Drink orders were taken immediately after departure. I ordered a mimosa and a coffee. The rest of the cabin had a similar thought as the flight attendant told us all that they had no more prosecco available after that.

We continued our ascent and turned southwest, overflying Canyon Lake and the San Antonio metropolitan area.

an aerial view of land and water
Overflying Canyon Lake
an aerial view of a city
Overflying San Antonio

The first two rows received their drinks quickly but there was a pause in service afterwards. Our row ended up receiving drinks 30 minutes after departure.

a tray with drinks and a laptop on it
American Airlines Business Class Beverage Service

A few minutes later, we crossed over the border into Mexico.

aerial view of a city from the sky
Crossing into Mexico

20 minutes after the initial beverage service the cabin crew came around with some Biscoff cookies.

a glass of orange juice next to a biscoff
Biscoff Cookies in American Airlines Business Class

After an hour and a half in the air, and a couple of mimosas, I headed to check out the forward lavatory. Unlike my recent American 737-800 flight in Economy, this lavatory actually had a sink that you could wash your hands in.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Lavatory
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Lavatory

Back at my seat the scenery down below began to change with plains giving way to large mountain ranges.

aerial view of a mountain range
View En Route to Los Cabos

American doesn’t serve meals in First/Business Class for flights under 900 miles. At 888 miles, the Austin to Cabo route falls just short of this threshold. Instead, American offers a snack basket which didn’t make the rounds until 45 minutes before landing.

The snack basket featured a selection of chips, cookies, nuts, fruit bars, and sweets. I selected a bag of PopCorners and Ruffles chips. Since they had run out of prosecco the flight attendant asked if I’d like anything else and I ordered the Goose Island IPA.

a group of chips and a soda can on a table
American Airlines Business Class Snacks

Shortly after the snack service we headed out over the Sea of Cortez on our approach to Los Cabos.

an aerial view of a body of water and land
Overflying the Sea of Cortez

We crossed the sea in roughly 30 minutes and the Baja California peninsula came into view as we began our descent.

an aerial view of a land and water
View Approaching Los Cabos

Arrival

We approached Los Cabos International Airport from the north and lined up for final approach. The terrain was barren and flat with large mountains flanking the valley.

an aerial view of a desert
View Approaching Los Cabos
a large desert landscape with mountains in the background
View Approaching Los Cabos

We touched down on Runway 16 ahead of schedule and had a short taxi over to our arrival gate, which ended up being a bus gate, where we arrived 10 minutes early. We pulled in next to an American Airbus A321 that had just arrived from Phoenix.

a group of airplanes on a runway
Welcome to Cabo!

We deplaned via air stairs and boarded a waiting bus. There were no separate busses for First/Business class and they instead held each bus until it was full before releasing them.We got a tour of the airport (or at least it felt that way) before we arrived at the Customs and Immigration entrance.

a group of people standing next to a bus
Bus to the Terminal at Los Cabos International Airport

Customs was seamless and our bags were waiting for us on the luggage belt by the time we arrived.

a person standing in a terminal
Los Cabos International Airport Baggage Claim

Even with the delay on the shuttle, we managed to get off the plane, clear customs, retrieve bags, and make our way curbside for our waiting shuttle to the hotel

people standing in a parking lot
Los Cabos International Airport Arrivals

Summary

Our flight from Austin to Los Cabos in American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class was pleasant but somewhat quirky. We had a very well intentioned crew and great ground staff in Austin but the overall service flow was slightly off. A bus gate in Cabo detracted from the experience a bit but that should be resolved once the new terminal is fully opened. Overall, it was a great flight.

In This Trip Report

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