The One Flight in America to Avoid More Than Any Other

Starting in May American Airlines is launching what may be the worst flight in the world, Miami to Brasilia in South America with a Boeing 737 MAX. The flight is blocked at over seven and a half hours and spans 3600 miles.

Some key features of the new service:

  • Less distance between seats in coach, Main Cabin Extra, and the premium cabin
  • Smaller lavatories
  • No seat back video
  • An uncomfortable bare bones MiQ seat up front with a bar protruding at lower back level

Since American ordered their 737 MAX aircraft without ovens for the back galley they can no longer even serve hot meals on 7 hour flights.

Now American Airlines is launching a domestic flight that’s nearly as rough because it takes the same product and flies it nearly as long without leaving the country. They’ll be adding a second Miami – Seattle flight this summer operated with a 737 MAX.

    Miami – Seattle, 8:31 a.m. – 11:58 a.m., AA2194
    Seattle – Miami, 12:58 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., AA2194

Depending on the time of year Miami – Seattle westbound is scheduled at between 6 hours 27 minutes and 7 hours 8 minutes.

It was my expectation that the new worst flight in America(n) would be Phoenix – Anchorage service operated by the Airbus A321neo which features a similar interior. Miami – Seattle is even farther.

Since American Airlines is converting their entire domestic narrowbody fleet (“Project Oasis”) to have this new torquemada interior the year-round Seattle flight will ultimately be worse than this since part of the year it’s scheduled as a departure after 8 p.m. which means there’s not even a meal in first class and blocked at 7 hours 8 minutes.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Gary you forgot to mention that all ExPlats now get 10 instant-hot pouches per year so they can heat up their own sliced “chicken” packets to add to their salads. This is Greyhound but so much faster. A real improvement on the product side.

  2. Gary you’re wrong about the meal. American makes exceptions for flights like these, such as the post 8pm flight from JFK to SEA in summertime, which has full service in First Class.

  3. It’s long overdue. Time for foreign carriers to be allowed to carry passengers within the US. Period. In their arrogance, The legacy carriers have proven they don’t give a tinker’s damn about the American passenger. Many foreign carriers serve hot deals on flights for under one hour, comfortable seating and courteous service . With consistency . It’s not perfect. But I say let’s give it a try. The airlines will scream about it and fight it. But too bad. Maybe the mere hint that this might be possible would shake them up. I won’t mind flying Air France from Los Angeles to New York. At least I will be fed some quality food . Come on people. How much longer are we going to put up being sheep and not demand change. It’s about time time.

  4. @Gary yes they are. I just searched for it on the website and it says meals: Dinner for First Class.
    I’ve also flown the 9pm ish JFK to SEA and had a full meal.

  5. Knowing AA they probably will up the ante in 2020 putting this bird on DFW-ANC with two frequencies instead of one and spin this as a positive change for customers.

  6. I assume that Five Star designation they’re bragging about now is actually on a 1 out of 10 scale?

  7. I just flew for the first time on AA’s 737 Max on a red eye in First. Also, I was only offered nuts and a drink. Wow, the seats have 0 padding. Might as well put a wood chair there.

  8. WOW what did AA do to you, so negative. Since no one has been on an AA 321 Neo, we have no idea what the experience is like, so hold your judgement. Also, other then the bathroom, the MAX review coming from passengers haven’t been better or worse then DL and UA’s experience. Also, positives about overhead bin space and under seat space and the tablet/device holders. Seat comfort is also being rated “on par” with DL and UA.

    Any 737 from SEA to MIA or back would be torture, this should be widebody service only, but DL and UA are using the same planes and the same experience from what I am reading and seeing back on surveys. No I don’t work any one airlines, but tired of this sites continues bashing of AA.

    Do they have issues, yes, does DL and UA have issues, yes, but let’s focus a little on the good too. Can’t wait for the NEOs

  9. I surprised they don’t anesthetize you on the plane and remove one of your kidneys to gain more profit.

  10. they have a 737 max doing this flight but have a 787-8 doing a RIDICULOUS ORD-CUN flight…just swap the planes.

  11. AA needs the Star Trek Genesis project…explode all the interiors and create them from scratch

  12. To Sun Viking 82:
    Flying back from LIH to LAX this month on A321 I talked to FA who complained how S&%!* that aircraft was. Then she said: now they are going to remove the bathroom in the middle and put more seats in. She wasn’t looking forward to work on A321NEO. I wish she is wrong.
    Regarding AA widebodies: how about 16 hrs DFW-HKG in the back with 10 across? A cruel and unusual punishment? DL still has 9.
    By the way Allegiant also has 30″ pitch – same as AA B737MAX. Initial AA plan was to duplicate Spirit with 28″ pitch.
    Can someone tell one positive thing AmericaWest management team did for AA customers in terms of service and comfort since the merger except FlagShip dining to CKs? Lay-flat seat and 3-class transcons – all that was started under Horton.

  13. @Sun Viking 82 – I’ve posted the LOPA. We know the products that are going in.

    And the reason the AA experience is worse than DL/UA is because they are retrofitting their entire domestic narrowbody fleet to be worse, don’t just compare the planned entire AA product to the worst of DL/UA

  14. I don’t know… I think Hawaiian’s upcoming BOS-HNL service may be worse. Yeah it’s operated by an A330 with regular size lavs and more legroom, but Hawaiian’s seatsnare hard as rock. And they charge to watch anything on their IFE and don’t offer WiFi. And the flight is blocked at 14 HOURS. No thanks!

  15. If you have a flight over two hours, pick another airline. I have switched my AA credit card for one from Delta………..

  16. An even worse AA 737 MAX flight will begin May 3 with Miami to Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Scheduled at 7 hours and 39 minutes.

  17. I have flown the MAX or the reconfigured NGs with MAX like interiors several times now. My verdict is that it’s fine. Better than a LUS plane, better than a pre-reconfigured NG 737, and with some features that I prefer and some features that I don’t like compared with a A321 Sharklet.

    I like the bigger bins. I like that there’s seat power. And I think that the extra underseat room, the streaming entertainment, and the media holder is, on balance, better for me than a seat back screen. The small bathroom doesn’t bother me at all but I’m tall and skinny and not stout. The negatives to me is that the premium seat ratio is lower making upgrades and MCE more difficult.

    That said, I wouldn’t want to be on it or any narrow body for 5+ hours. I think it is a mistake to use any plane configured this way on a long haul, international flight and attempt to sell the front cabin seat as anything other than premium economy. After all, it’s the same seat. Now, if you end up getting business class treatment (mileage earning, lounge access, etc.) but paid a premium economy price, that would be fine, but AA wouldn’t ever do that.

  18. I can’t say I would never fly AA economy. I would have flown them if they had been the last flight out of Saigon in 75 or Havana as Castro was approaching. If I was in Portland with Mt. St.Helens on the verge of going off again, I would fly them.

  19. @Robert: “Time for foreign carriers to be allowed to carry passengers within the US. ”

    Do you really want airlines like WOW or Ryanair to start flying within the US? Be careful what you wish for.

  20. Gary,

    You know that Gol, Delta’s South America partner operates the same max 8 from Florida to Brazil. No complaints.

    We get it. You can’t stand AA. Time to move on.

  21. No TV screens for 7 hours? There’s no way I’ll take this flight with my kids — they’d drive me nuts. Thanks for the public service announcement; very much appreciated.

  22. @Robert. Do you really want a foreign carrier to do domestic flights in the USA. When we can’t do the same in their country. These foreign airlines are taking advantage of the size of the USA market. With their one airport destinations when they can fly into 20 different airports in the USA

  23. Gary,

    I noticed the flights operating the new plane were not in/out of DFW. Have you heard if competition from Southwest will prevent AA from changing to the max? Trying to decide if I should switch loyalty from AA to SW starting now.

  24. Someone has got to pay for AA’s NEW HEADQUARTERS BUILDING in Dallas .. it’s costing hundreds of millions of dollars for THEIR COMFORT ..It will have an in door track ..heated swimming pool..plenty of space ..no tight quarters ..plenty of hot meals at the brand new cafeteria..and they don’t even really need it ..just spending money for the top execs to enjoy ..

  25. Yawn.

    Can’t you find something other to post about other than your fixation with the AA 737MAX?

    Your point – such as it is – has been made. Serveral times over.

  26. @MBS – The MAX initially based primarily out of MIA, they try to keep an aircraft type at an airport as they introduce it for maintenance and efficiency reasons. However the same interior is going into all of American’s 737s so you’ll be getting the same experience out of DFW.

  27. SCARY DANGEROUS PLANE AND ASSHOLE COMPANY DIDN’T TRAIN PILOTS CUZ WOULD COST FEW BUCKS MORE

  28. Dear passengers,
    The flight crews feel the same as you. Dan bean counters in Dallas dont give a rat’s ass about you or us.

  29. Interesting to read some of the the comments. There are highly regarded US carriers that never had seatback video. Somehow AA is the bad guy for moving away from, like the Wall, medieval technology. Like it or not and unlike the Wall, we will see this become reality across many airlines.

    Ironically, the fact that the entire legacy US Airways fleet does not now have seatback video and did not have it five years ago when the merger was finalized. And many of the AA 737 did not have It. The reality of flying AA 737 is a crapshoot to know what version it will be when walking into a plane. It would be interesting to know the statistic, the percentage of how many AA/US narrowbodies had the feature.

    There are also many other airlines that are using slimline seats. With the effort to densify the narrowbodies, it’s good to give back the personal space that was robbed by the archaic hardware. (Do you know AC has a dense 400 seat 777 configuration for certain markets?)

    I have flown the “Oasis” configuration and honestly, was more comfortable than the previous configuration. Plus, I can watch what i want on my device if I prefer something other than the streaming inflight options, I use my device to connect to Sling TV or Netflix. (I use Sling at home rather than high price cable providers)

    To be honest, 3+ hours is my limit on any domestic narrowbody unless I can be up front, which is rare.

  30. AA stinks! You have to pay in person for pets and if you are flying multiple carriers you still have to go AA ticket counter to pay. If you start on a different carrier this is a huge pain! Never flying AA agin anywhere. Your article confirms I have made a good decision.

  31. I am on AA305 MIA > SEA June 18. It is scheduled to depart MIA at 8:36pm (6h 25m). A few days ago AA swapped the original 737-800 with an A321 (I think it is the version with 38″ pitch up front and IFEs, Layout #1 on SeatGuru). This is a Business Class award with AS miles.

    Now you have me worried that they’ll swap the A321 for a MAX.

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