Pros: Many flights BOS-MIA, nice Boston gate area, self check-ins easy, we actually arrived
Cons: Old planes, small snacks, understaffed security (BOS), too many commercials
This August, my family and I took a trip to Miami (MIA) from Boston's Logan Airport (BOS). The trip was good, but I can't say so for the flight. While the flight was not terrible, it definitely wasn't great.
We left our house about 20 miles east that morning for Logan Airport, using the convenient Logan Express bus service run by Massport, the owners of Logan. We left at 7AM for the 11:50AM flight.
When we got to Logan, we departed the bus and entered the American Airlines half of Terminal B. The corridor was older and crowded, but the line moved at a fair pace. We used the self check-in machines, as our tickets were purchased online via Expedia.com. The sole reason that we chose AA was because Miami is a hub for them, so the tickets were inexpensive and there were many choices for times. Although it was a pain to put in my AAdvantage number, it finally got done. We then walked over to the security checkpoint.
As many know, Boston was where the planes that crashed into the World Trade Centers left. Alas, you can expect extra security at the American Airlines checkpoint. This security was absurd. The line was extremely long and the process took forever. First, I had to take my laptop completely apart in the case so they could look at it. Then, take your shoes off to walk through the scanner. Afterward, they examine not only computers but cell phones and cameras. This went on for probably 20 minutes. Even the Canadian border has less security than Terminal B! While the security is most likely a good thing, the checkpoint was very understaffed and the people at the counter broke the rubber band that my power cable was in. While this may sound abstract, it hints at their behavior.
Following this, we proceeded into the American Airlines gate area. This part of the terminal was nicely designed and new. However, there was only one restaurant, an extremely overpriced Burger King/Pizza Hut, and a news store that resembles a Hudson News but isn't.
Finally, the plane was ready for boarding, so we boarded. Once we got in the gateway, it was very crowded and there were many rude passengers. This plane was an old Airbus A300-600, in which economy class seats run 2-4-2. My family took the middle four. Unfortunately, they were at the end of a section and did not recline all the way. This was bad because I love window seats! Also, their more legroom campaign? More legroom my buttocks! These were likely the worst seats on the plane.
The plane got running late, typical for Logan Airport. Finally we got up. Once we did, the personality-lacking Flight Attendants served beverages and gave the entire can of soda, but only one bag of Rold Gold pretzels, containing an amazing 8 pretzels. The flight was filled with "Eye on American" programming, CBS Comedies with a ton of advertising. Also, the radio sounded like crap because not only were the sockets bad, but the engines were so loud that the music was hard to hear, of course, the music was so bad anyways with few songs that even on the pop music channel, a 14-year old like myself could not even identify. The flight had no turbulence and was decent for the rest of the way.
Arriving in Miami, we got out at gate E11. We then went downstairs to the new baggage claims. The trip was good and all was well until we went back to Boston.
We checked in also using the self-check-in units, and it automatically entered my miles. We were then sent to something like gate E20. This gate was located in an area which you have to take a tram to, after going up the "Escalator to Heaven", the steepest and longest escalator I have ever been on. Luckily, nobody was there so passing through security was short. When we arrived at the gate, the lettering stated that the flight was going to Newark NJ. We then asked where the Boston flight was, and we were informed that the gate had changed. Now, we went back over the tram, down the "Escalator to Hell", and had to go through a very long security line. Finally, we passed through.
This section of Terminal E had severe problems. It was the section which we had arrived in Miami through. However, it was now raining outside. There were large garbage pails in the terminal holding rain water which leaked from the roof. In the seating area, most of the seats were in an area which the roof leaked onto damp seats, leaving few seats for waiting passengers to sit upon.
Finally the plane boarded. This time on the A300, the seats sucked even more. Now, the seats reclined the whole way, but one of our family's passengers had to sit in the same row, but on the other side of the aisle next to a large passenger. After an excessive boarding session, and fixing some part of the plane, the door shut and the gate moved away from the plane, and the plane moved back, helped by the tow.
Then, the pilot announced that lightning had hit the terminal (likely the leaky one!) and the plane would not be moving. So we were stranded, nobody could leave the plane. The flight attendants then decided to forget about the safety video and show the ad-filled Eye on American programming.
About 30 minutes later, the airport re-opened the runways, but the pilot was unable to get tow to come again before the airport re-closed the runways. About 45 minutes later, the runways opened again, and the pilot once again called American to send a tow, but they took their time and we were the last delayed plane to get finally towed. After an hour and 30 minutes, the plane finally left.
For the rest of the flight, it went as planned and we finally landed in Boston. I can't say that I would ever take American again. First of all, in both cases, the planes were late. Secondly, all of the other factors. Finally, we now have JetBlue in Boston and I would much rather fly them with satellite TV even if, as other reviewers say, the channels are not very good. I did fly American back in 1999, and it was quite good. But, with services like JetBlue now in effect, American is no longer needed here.