All passengers seem to have to use the automated check-in machines; these print out a boarding pass and luggage tag. After that you take the bags to the bag drop. I’m sure this saves AA money but I’m missing the personal service – especially in an unfamiliar airport.

Flying economy on BA Avios, but still able to use the AA Admiral’s Club lounge due to BA Silver card: We were given one drink voucher each and paid extra for two sandwiches that also came with two small packets of potato chips/crisps. I hate the Admiral’s Club lounges.

Boarding was smooth, flight was half empty and so we had a row of three seats. A woman behind us had a constant hacking cough, so bad that we wondered if the flight would need to turn around.

Considering the flight is international and over two hours, I think the policy of only serving soft drinks in economy is a tight-fisted. AA should be trying to set themselves apart from budget airlines. Luckily we had the crisps from our lounge purchase!

The flight arrived early at Punta Cana, but there were several aircraft ahead of us waiting for a stand. It took another 45 minutes on board until we were able to disembark. We then realised how the airport, although tropically pretty, is far too small for the amount of passengers. Lines wound around the inside of the terminal. A local band played – for the first five minutes this was entertaining, after that it was annoying. It took another 45 minutes to clear immigration – a complete shambles.

Lines at Punta Cana Airport
Lines at Punta Cana Airport

Return Flight

Having just experienced a great hotel and fantastic service for five nights, it was a shock to be back in Punta Chaos (sic) airport. The terminal isn’t air-conditioned and was hot and humid, even on what I would say was a cool day in the Dominican Republic. There were only two lounges; one for Priority Pass holders, the other for TransAir passengers. So no AA lounge. I wonder how AA Business travellers feel about that? The terminal was crowded and noisy – there were constant announcements, one after another and most were unintelligible in any language.

Boarding was chaotic, with everyone joining the priority line and staff completely hopeless. We just went to the regular line and found ourselves ahead of everyone.

The return flight was also half empty – same limited service offering as outbound.

Miami airport seemed to have caught the Punta Chaos vibe as 1st March federal budgets cuts meant long lines for customs clearance.

So not the best flight experience. I can forgive the Dominican Republic for not having their airport ready, but American Airlines could do much better.