Review: American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Economy (DFW-SJC)

To kick off our trip, we needed to get from Texas to the Bay Area. We needed to be in Dallas the weekend after our trip so we decided to drive up from Austin the night before our scheduled departure and leave our car with Mrs. ATX’s parents.


Prices from both Austin and Dallas were sky high as we were traveling during the week of Texas’ Spring Break. I looked at booking with points but those options were equally outrageous. I ended up booking a one-way flight in Economy for $322 a few weeks prior to departure.


I received a notification from American the night prior to departure that our flight was delayed. The inbound from Orlando was on-time so I assumed that the delay was due to minimum crew rest periods.

The morning of departure we took an Uber over to Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport and were dropped off at Terminal D. We arrived at the airport at 7:30a for our delayed 10:00a flight. I normally wouldn’t arrive this early but between Spring Break crowds and the chance our flight could go back to on-time with a crew swap, we wanted to arrive early.

Our flight was departing from Terminal A, but we went to Terminal D to visit the lounge. While American doesn’t offer lounge access on most domestic tickets, aside from premium transcon routes, American Express, Capital One, and The Club all offer access through premium travel cards.

We cleared security faster than expected and were airside a few minutes after arrival. From there we followed the signs towards Gates D1-D23.

a group of people walking in a terminal
DFW Airport Terminal D

The Centurion Lounge is located across from gate D12, near the escalators for the SkyLink station. My full review of the lounge, from a previous trip, can be found here.

American Express Centurion Lounge DFW Entrance
American Express Centurion Lounge DFW Entrance

An hour before our rescheduled departure time we left the lounge and headed to our gate. Our flight was departing from Gate A39, the last gate in Terminal A. This required a 10 minute, 5 stop ride on the SkyLink train.

DFW Terminal D SkyLink Station
DFW Terminal D SkyLink Station


We arrived at our departure gate just after 9:00a and found our aircraft waiting for us. N923AN, a 24 year old Boeing 737-800, was our ride for the roughly four hour flight to San Jose.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 N923AN
N923AN Will Be Taking Us to San Jose

Our crew was at the gate 20 minutes before our rescheduled boarding time though we still waited to board, likely due to duty rest.

DFW Airport Gate Area
Even the crew is waiting to board.

Boarding started right at 9:30a with Concierge Key members being invited to preboard. American boards flights by group, numbered 1-9. We boarded with Group 4, the last of the priority groups, and headed down the jet bridge to our aircraft.

American Airlines
AA 2046
DFW-SJC (Dallas/Ft. Worth International – San José Mineta International)
Seat: 18D (Economy)
B737-800 (N923AN)
Scheduled: 9:19a-11:16a
Actual: 9:56a-11:41a

Though our plane was over 20 years old, it had been retrofitted with larger overhead bins which meant there was plenty of space for our carry on luggage.


I assigned us seats 18D and 18F, standard Economy Class seats on the right side of the aircraft. The legroom wasn’t great but was slightly better than expected. My 6’2″ frame fit without my knees touching the seat in front of me.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Economy Class Seating
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Economy Class Seating
American 737 Seatback
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Economy Legroom

Over the last few years, American has removed seatback IFE screens from almost all of their narrowbody aircraft. Instead, they have opted for streaming entertainment and added a device holder to the seatback. It was adjustable and easily held a large phone including Mrs. ATX’s Pixel Fold. However, it is not large enough for a tablet.

American Boeing 737-800 Seatback Device Holder
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Seatback Device Holder

To power these devices, American installed 110V power outlets near the floor and USB-A ports in the seatback.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 In Seat Power
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 In Seat Power
a usb port on a seat
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 In Seat Power

The tray table can be folded down from the seatback in front.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Economy Tray Table
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Economy Tray Table


Boarding took quite a while as every seat onboard was full. We ended up pushing off of the gate four minutes ahead of our rescheduled departure time. We had a long taxi over to the west side of the airport. During our taxi, the safety demonstration was performed.

We had to queue for a few minutes before departing off of Runway 18L to the south. I couldn’t see much out of the window since I was in an aisle seat, we quickly made the turn west to head towards San Jose.


As we climbed out of Dallas/Ft. Worth, I perused the entertainment guide and menu, which read as follows.

Our 737 was equipped with Viasat’s fast Wi-Fi and was available from gate to gate. It was easy to connect to through the AAinflight website. The wifi on our flight was around $22 but had no data caps. I didn’t have anything urgent I needed to do on a Sunday morning, so I passed on the Wi-Fi and utilized the free entertainment instead.

American Airlines In-App Entertainment
American Airlines In-App Entertainment

I flipped through the long list of streaming entertainment and settled on Up in the Air with George Clooney and Anna Kendrick. The pre-merger American is featured prominently in the film (the film was released in 2009).

American Airlines Streaming In-Flight Entertainment
American Airlines Streaming In-Flight Entertainment

We had some choppy air and leveled off at 26,000 feet. The Captain came over the PA and announced that they hoped it would clear in 5-10 minutes. He also asked that the flight attendants remain seated.

We eventually climbed up to 36,000 feet and the seatbelt sign was turned off an hour after departure. The flight attendants got up to begin their service and reached our row 15 minutes later. I ordered a mimosa which was served with a package of Biscoff cookies. The sparkling wine was $10 and charged to my card on file.

a computer screen with a bottle of champagne and two cups of juice
DIY Mimosa onboard our American Flight

Later in the flight, both Mrs. ATX and our seatmate had gotten up to use the restroom. This allowed me to sneak a photo out of the desert landscape below.

an airplane wing in the sky
View En Route to San Jose


With an hour remaining in the flight I also headed back to use the lavatory. American has 2 lavatories located in the rear of the 737-800 for Economy passengers. While waiting for one to open, I spotted an old school US Airways beverage cart hiding in the galley.

US Airways Beverage Cart
That’s a Blast from the Past

The lavatories on American’s 737-800 aircraft are tiny and don’t provide much in the way of amenities, space and, in this case, light. The locking mechanism for the door activated the light in the lavatory but didn’t stay engaged for more than a few seconds. You needed to hold the latch shut to keep the light activated.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Lavatory
American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Lavatory

When American first rolled out their “upgraded” interiors and lavatories many people complained about the size of the sink. This thing is comically small and it’s difficult to even wash one hand at a time.

American Airlines Boeing 737-800 Lavatory Sink
This Sink is Tiny!

I headed back to my seat and we were soon starting our descent into San Jose.


I felt descent begin with 45 minutes remaining in flight. Roughly 20 minutes later the Captain came on the PA announcing our descent. During descent, we had some light chop close to the airport and we landed from the southeast on Runway 30R.

We arrived at Gate 9 25 minutes behind schedule and were off of the aircraft and in the terminal 10 minutes later.

Interior of San Jose International Airport
Welcome to San Jose!

We followed the signage for Baggage Claim, Ground Transportation, and the Rental Car Shuttle. San Jose International Airport is a small, well connected space and we were at Avis less than 10 minutes after deplaning.


Based on my previous experiences with American, I went into this flight with very low expectations and this flight was about as average as they come. With American I have come to accept the fact that I’ll be delAAyed at some point during the trip so I didn’t factor that in to this summary.

The seats are slightly tight when it comes to legroom, but not overly so. The streaming IFE and Wi-Fi works well though I would prefer a seatback screen to keep my tray table clear. The lavatories are downright tiny and may be difficult for some passengers to use. Though, living in Austin, I still fly American a decent amount and this flight won’t change that.

In This Trip Report

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