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

We had a fantastic long weekend in Los Cabos but it was time for us to head home. Just like our trip down, we were flying back to Austin in American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class. Though it is branded as Business Class, due to the fact it is an international flight, the seats and service are the same as what you would find in American’s domestic First Class.

Booking

There are currently two ways to travel between Los Cabos and Austin without stopping, American and Southwest both offer daily flights. Since Mrs. ATX was very pregnant during this trip, I knew that Economy was out of the question. We’d recently flown to the West Coast and back in Economy and she was miserable. This left American as our only option for the trip.

A few months prior to departure, I managed to find a (somewhat) reasonable Business Class roundtrip fare on the Austin-Cabo route. I booked our tickets, via Google Flights, on AA.com about two months before departure for $874 per person ($694 base fare and $180 in taxes and fees).

Check-In

We left The Westin Los Cabos Resort at 8:30a and made the drive up to Los Cabos International Airport. We arrived at Terminal 2, the international terminal, just after 9:00a.

Terminal 2 at Los Cabos International Airport
Terminal 2 at Los Cabos International Airport

Inside the terminal things were calm and rather deserted. There probably aren’t many people leaving the beach at 9 AM on a Tuesday. We found the American check-in counters without issue and only one person was in front of us in the Priority lane.

Interior of Terminal 2 at Los Cabos International Airport
Inside Terminal 2 at Los Cabos International Airport
American Airlines Check-In at Los Cabos International Airport
American Airlines Check-In at Los Cabos International Airport

Our bags were checked to Austin and boarding passes issued quickly and we were on the way to security 5 minutes after arriving.

people on an escalator
Off to Security

Security was painless, though I keep forgetting what has to come off in non TSA PreCheck checkpoints, and we were airside in no time. Before getting to the gates you have to navigate the duty free maze. Los Cabos even had side-by-sides for sale, though I’m not sure how you’d get that on the plane with you.

a black and white vehicle in a building
Los Cabos Duty Free Has It All; Liquor, Candy, Perfume, and Motorized Vehicles

It took a couple of minutes to get through the shops and I managed to keep Mrs. ATX from buying anything. Once we were in the concourse we took a right towards the food court, our departure gate, and the lounge.

people in an airport with luggage
Airside at Los Cabos Terminal 2

Lounge

American doesn’t offer lounge access on Business Class flights to Canada, Mexico (with the exception of Mexico City) and the Caribbean. However, Los Cabos has one lounge in Terminal 2, the VIP Lounge, which can be accessed via Priority Pass. Access can also be purchased for roughly $50 USD. The full review of the lounge can be found here.

Boarding

Our flight to Austin was departing from Gate 11, a short distance from the lounge. The airport in Los Cabos is currently under construction and we were lucky enough to get a gate with a jet bridge. Our arriving flight parked at a remote stand. Boarding was scheduled to begin at 10:15a which is when we arrived, but it wasn’t underway yet.

people in a large hall with luggage
American Airlines Boarding Gate at Los Cabos International Airport

My mobile boarding pass showed boarding at 10:25a so we hung out at the gate. Though the terminal was open, there was limited seating so we just stood by the windows. I was able to get a glimpse of N959AN, the 23 year old Boeing 737-800 that would be taking us to Austin.

a view of an airport from a window
N959AN is our ride up to Austin

Boarding began at 10:20a with passengers needing extra time down the jet bridge being invited to pre-board. This was followed by Group 1. We headed down a long, winding jet bridge before arriving at our waiting 737.

American Airlines
AA 2242
SJD-AUS (Los Cabos International – Austin-Bergstrom International)
Seat: 3B (Business)
B737-800 (N959AN)
Scheduled: 11:00a-3:25p
Actual: 10:48a-3:05p

people walking in a hallway
Off to our waiting aircraft!
a long hallway with white walls and a group of people
Still walking…..
a man walking into an airplane
Finally, an airplane!

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 3A and 3B, the third row on the left side of the aircraft.

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

The legroom on the 737-800 is good and I had plenty of room to spread out.

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

In recent years, while airlines like United and Delta have been adding seatback IFE screens to aircraft, American has been tearing them out. Instead of seatback screens, they have opted for streaming entertainment and device holders which are fixed to the seatback.

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

The holder can expand to fit almost all cell phones, including Mrs. ATX’s Google Pixel Fold. It is unable to fit a tablet however.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Device Holder
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Device Holder (Photo from an earlier flight)

A USB-A power outlet is located in the seatback, next to the device holder. This allows for easy charging, though I wish they had USB-C ports onboard.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Power Outlet
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Power

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

a wallet and a glass of water on a table
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seat storage
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class In-Seat Power
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class In-Seat Power
a snack bags in a shelf
Plenty of space to stash snacks during the flight

The seat recline button is adjacent to the storage pocket allowing you to raise and recline the seat.

a phone button on a seat
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Seat Recline

Under the armrest closest to the aisle, 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 (Some photos from a prior flight).

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

Unlike our flight down, the tray table on this flight had some serious sag and it hung at an angle throughout the flight.

a laptop with a screen on
This isn’t going to be easy to work on.

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.

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

Departure

As we settled into pour seats, the cabin crew came around taking pre-departure beverage orders. I ordered a mimosa but was told, in a very condescending tone, that there was no alcohol allowed on the ground due to local rules. Though I’ve had open-bar PDBs when departing Mexico in the past. Instead, we both had sparkling water.

two plastic cups of water on a tray
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Pre-Departure Water

Boarding wrapped up early and we pushed off of the gate 12 minutes ahead of schedule. After pushing back, we were held on the ramp for 10 minutes before starting our taxi to the runway.

an airplane wing on a runway
Pushing back from the gate at Los Cabos International Airport
a runway with airplanes in the background
Taxiing to the Runway at Los Cabos International Airport

At 11:00a local time we turned onto Runway 34 and blasted off to the north.

a road with mountains in the background
View Departing Los Cabos
a landscape with mountains and trees
View Departing Los Cabos

As we climbed out of Los Cabos, we made a sweeping turn to the right and headed out over the Sea of Cortez.

an aerial view of a beach
View Departing Los Cabos

In-Flight

Once in the air, I took the time to peruse the menu as well as the in-flight entertainment brochure. These read as follows:

American Airlines In-Flight Offerings
In-Flight Offerings
American Airlines In-Flight Entertainment Menu
American Airlines In-Flight Entertainment Menu
American Airlines Inflight Entertainment Menu
American Airlines Inflight Entertainment Menu

As we neared our cruising altitude, the person in 1E decided it was time to toss his feet up on the wall.

a person sitting in a chair with their foot on the wall
Not only is this disgusting, it seems uncomfortable.

The cabin crew came through the aisle taking drink orders during the climb and I ordered a black coffee and a prosecco.

a glass of coffee and a glass of liquid on a napkin
American Airlines Business Class Beverage Service

Despite the smooth climb, the fasten seatbelt sign stayed on for a long time. It wasn’t switched off until we hit our cruising altitude of 37,000 feet. This gave me plenty of time to look around the cabin and notice all of the wear and tear. The overhead bins appeared to have been duct taped shut at one point.

a white object with buttons and switches
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class Overhead Bins

Finally, the fasten seat belt sign was turned off and I headed to check out the forward lavatory. Unfortunately, it appeared that the lav hadn’t been cleaned between flights and was fairly dirty.

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

Out of the window it was a beautiful day to fly.

clouds and clouds in the sky
View en-route to Austin

The crew came around with the snack basket (Los Cabos-Austin is just under the length for meal service) and I had some chips. They also offered beverage refills though, like our flight down, they had run out of sparkling wine.

American Airlines Business Class Snacks
American Airlines Business Class Snacks

After the snack service, I paid $19 for a full flight wi-fi pass and attempted to get some work done on the crooked tray table. After about 20 minutes I gave up and spent the remainder of my time poking around on FlyerTalk instead.

a laptop on a table
The leaning tray table made it difficult to get any actual work done.

Arrival

As we began our descent into Austin, blue skies gave way to gray clouds. We overflew downtown before circling back around to land from the north on Runway 18R.

aerial view of a city and clouds
View Approaching Austin
a highway with many cars and trees
View Approaching Austin

We touched down 40 minutes ahead of our scheduled arrival time and had to hold on the taxiway for 10 minutes while we waited for our gate to open up. This gave me a great opportunity to do some planespotting.

airplanes on a runway
Southwest Airplanes at Austin Bergstrom International Airport
a plane on the runway
A Delta A320 Taxiing at Austin Airport

We were eventually cleared into our gate where we arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule.

an airport with a walkway and luggage
Welcome to Austin!

From there, we were off the plane quickly and headed for Customs and Immigration.

a long hallway with a sign
Off to Customs

Our priority tagged bags were some of the first off of the belt and we were through customs and headed to our house in no time.

Summary

We had a smooth flight in American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Business Class from Los Cabos to Austin. While it was slightly less refined than our flight down, it was still enjoyable and we arrived 20 minutes ahead of schedule. WIth American operating the only direct route between the two cities with Business Class, we’ll likely fly them again should our travels take us to Cabo in the future.

In This Trip Report

2 comments
  1. The ground crew in Cabo does an excellent job of cleaning aircraft between flights. However, many travelers only think about themselves and are just nasty. Case in point, your photo of passenger with foot on wall. They were probably just in the lavatory missing the toilet.

    1. I really don’t understand why people feel the need to throw their feet up on the bulkhead wall. Seems uncomfortable and rude. Though he wasn’t as bad as the guy that took his shoes off and kicked his feet out in the aisle on a recent British Airways flight.

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