Purdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 8 Posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 1723 times:
Well, after a week and a half without internet access while on vacation, I am back with 9 short tales of the flights I took, including my first international trip...
May 8, 2000; AA 1224; SAN-ORD; 11 pm; MD-80; 18F
It all started with a Super 80 flight only two days after returning home from school. I was to fly overnight to Chicago, where I would meet my friend and head off on vacation. This was a very uneventful flight... There were about 30 people on the plane, and it was a redeye, so there wasn't really any service to speak of. I stretched out across my three seats and took a nap, knowing that I faced a long day.
May 9, 2000; AA 374; ORD-LGA; 12 Noon; MD-80; 28F
After meeting up with Jon, who flew American Eagle in from Indianapolis, we headed for our first vacation destination, New York City. We tried to go First, but it was totally full, so we flew coach. While it seemed disappointing at the time, it was actually a good thing because we really got to experience the changes American is making. For the first time in a long time, I was on a Super 80 that didn't have the new seats. This was a lunch flight, and the service was typical. We were served Turkey calzones and beverages, along with Sun Chips and a cookie. After the meal, flight attendants were through again to offer beverages. We flew a different than normal approach into La Guardia, so we didn't get the great view of Manhattan that is typical on this flight.
May 11, 2000; AA 677; JFK-SJU; 6:10 am; 767-200; 35G
We had two great days in New York, where we saw some sights and attended a taping at the MTV studios in Times Square, but the time came to press on. We had planned on a non-stop flight from Kennedy to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. However, due to some horrible weather on the 10th that caused a lot of air traffic problems, the non-stops were full. So too, were all of the flight from JFK to Miami and San Juan, American's other gateway cities to SDQ. As such, my friend and I went to the airport for the earliest flight we could, just to get on the stand-by list. Much to our surprise, we got on the very first flight! While First Class was full, we did get opposing aisle seats in the main cabin. This aircraft had the great new interiors, and made for a very nice flight. It amazing what a difference the new seats and blankets make in comfort! We were served breakfast on this roughly four hour flight; a choice between cereal and a muffin or a sandwich. I had the sandwich, which was good. Beverages were served on several occassions, but after only about 3 hours of sleep (we left for the airport at 4 am), all I wanted to do was sleep, which I did on and off. This flight was full (I think there was actually one open seat in the Business Class section of the main cabin), so there was no room to stretch out. Even so, I managed to get a little rest before arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
May 11, 2000; AA 1019; SJU-SDQ; 12:40 pm; A-300; 1J
Finally, we got into First Class (which, for future reference, is actually business class on AA's Carribean flights. It is a downgraded, albeit less expensive, version of American's domestic First Class product). It's not as grand as it seems, though... This flight was delayed a whopping three hours! Our aircraft, scheduled to arrive from Boston in time for our 12:40 departure, was held in Boston on an ATC delay (verifiable by looking at the ATC System Command Center advisories) for about an hour. After launching, the A-300 flew to SJU, where bad weather prevented it from landing. After trying an approach to no avail, the plane held over San Juan in hopes that conditions would improve. When they didn't, it diverted to St. Croix for fuel, then came back to San Juan. We finally boarded around 4 pm, and were on our way by 4:15 or so. Because this was a short flight (200 someting miles, 59 minutes gate to gate), there was only a beverage service. It's amazing how much Coke you can drink in an hour, though, if you try.
As much as I hate to say this, I had a horrible experience on this flight. I was so excited about flying on the A-300, the only plane in American's fleet on which I had never been a passenger, that when I realized what a piece of crap the plane is, I was devastated. Unlike the more graceful 767, which I expected the A-300s interior to resemble, the A-300 has overhead bins in the center of the plane that hang way down, making the aircraft seem much smaller that it actually is. The normal effect you get from a wide-bodied aircraft was all but non-existant. Further, the cabin walls sloped in so steeply where I was seated that I felt very crowded in by the wall. I can now say this... I am glad that I didn't fly non-stop from New York to SDQ, because I wouldn't want to spend four hours on that plane. Further, I will make a point of avoiding the A-300 onb future flights when possible, as I did on my flight out of the Dominican Republic.
This was my first international flight, and I was surprised by the ease of getting through customs. First, I had to buy a "Tourist Card" from the Dominican Government for US$10. Then, an inspector checked it and the passport, and stamped the passport. After claiming bags, my friend and I went to the customs line, where an inspector asked us a question in Spanish. We had no idea what he said and asked if he spoke English. Knowing then that we were American, he laughed and waved us through the line.
May 14, 2000; AA 1516; SDQ-MIA; 12:12 pm; 727-200; 3E
My second international flight, and we got Business Class again. Not wanting to deal with the A-300 again, my friend and I chose this flight over the earlier one that we had planned on. This flight was about three hours long, and lunch was served. We had an option between a Dominican beef dish and a chicken and rice dish, and I chose the beef. It was served with red beans and rice, as well as fried plantains. For dessert, we had a great orange cake of some sort. The flight attendants were very attentive, and kept my glass full of Coke for the whole flight. This being my first visit to the Carribean, I was in complete awe over the beautiful colors in the water as we flew the route from the island to Miami. Upon arrival, our landing was so smooth that you couldn't even tell we were on the ground when we turned off the runway... the pilots did a great job! After getting off of the plane, we walked through a great glass maze to customs, and got through just as quickly as we had in Santo Domingo.
May 14, 2000; AA 5391; MIA-RSW; 4:11 pm; ATR-42; 3C
This, like my flight to Chicago, was very uneventful. The flight is only scheduled at 45 minutes gate to gate, so there was no time for a beverage service, though the flight attendant did offer to serve anyone who asked him for a drink. This was my first time to Florida, so I stared at the scenic Everglades as we over flew them. Really nothing else to say on this flight.
I've been writing for quite a while now, so I'll finish up with my trip from Fort Myers to San Diego later on tonight. When I do, you'll see why I'm so tired now!
American 767 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3505 posts, RR: 13 Reply 2, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1494 times:
Nice travel tale, Purdue Arrow. I was surprised you didn't like the A300. You really don't like it, do you? I like it. I like all Airbus aircrafts. I've flown a couple of times on American's A300's to MIA, once from JFK and once from EWR, I enjoyed the aircraft. I found it quiet and comfortable, you know...a lot of people like the A300. I wouldn't mind flying on one again.
Glad to hear your trip went well.
Purdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 8 Reply 7, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1470 times:
Ben - I really expected to like the A-300, but I just didn't. My friend who I was travelling with felt the same way. The other thing that I forgot to add, but this is specific to American's A-300s rather than a generalization about all of them as my other complaints were, is that the A-300 really shows its age much more than other aircraft seem to. The 727 I was on, though older than the A-300 didn't seem as old from the inside. I have flown on an A-320 once, on Northwest, and I liked it, so it's not all AI aircraft that I don't like... just this one.
Ken - My father is an employee of American Airlines, so my friend and I were flying standby on employee passes. Essentially, then, we just went to the counter and tried to get a seat.
Teahan - As I just wrote to Ken, yes, I'm a non-rev.
FlyAA757 - Sorry, I didn't get the registration. I'm not sure whether it was an ER or not. I love that 767, though!
Anyway, back to the trip...
May 17, 2000; AA 5350; RSW-MIA; 6 pm; ATR-42; 3A
Here's where the real adventure began... At the end of our vacation, my friend stopped flying on the non-rev pass and used a ticket that he had purchased from Delta to return to Louisville. I, however, was to return to San Diego on a pass. When we got to the airport, I looked at the information monitor and found that my planned flight, a 2:45 departure to Miami, had been cancelled. As a stand-by passenger, I have come to be prepared with alternatives when flights look full. I have not, however, ever missed a flight due to a cancellation and had not planned for this. As I waited in line to speak to an agent about getting home later, I learned that, while many passengers were accomodated on other airlines, many were also rolled onto the 5:22 flight to MIA. To my detriment, the number of passengers reaccomodated on the later flight made non-revving on it impossible, and I missed my last chance for a sure connection to San Diego that night. I finally got out on the 6 pm flight, the last of the evening. Like my flight to Fort Myers three days earlier, this flight was too short for a full beverage service and was quite unremarkable. We landed in Miami on time, and I headed to my connection...
May 17, 2000; AA 910; MIA-LAX; 7:20 pm; 757; 33A
Due to the abundance of full fare and AAdvantage upgrade passengers in First, I was not able to sit up front for this flight. I was assigned seat 33A, in the second to last row of the 757. This was my first time on an aircraft that had More Room Throughout Coach, and it was a very nice change. My only complaint about the interior was that, although the legroom had been expanded (I've had a revelation about this process... I'll post that separately in a moment...), the seats were not the new ones. Does anyone at American know whether the 757s will be getting new seats? If not, why not? Anyway, this flight was on time, and we took off from runway 12 and flew out to Miami Beach before turning westbound for our trip. We headed across Florida and entered the Gulf of Mexico just North of Fort Myers. We flew just sout of the coastline until entering Texas, then over Houston, over Phoenix, and into LA. Dinner was served, and I had pasta with a salad, a roll, and a brownie. It was pretty good. Also, beverages were served with the meal, then flight attendants came offering water about every 45 minutes and to take drink orders about every hour and a half to two hours. They only used the beverage cart when the meal was served... After that, they came row to row taking orders, and came back with drinks from the galley. After a pretty nice flight, we arrived in Los Angeles 30 minutes early. Despite the fact that the scheduled connection was too tight to be doable, we may have arrived early enough for me to get to San Diego after all, I thought...
May 18, 2000; AA 3211; LAX-SAN; 6:20 am; Saab 340B; 6C
Well, as it happens, I didn't arrive in time to get to San Diego that night because all of the gates were occupied due to our early arrival. We waited 20 minutes for a flight to MIA to push back so that we could get our gate, then taxied in. As I was seated at the back of the plane, I had to wait for everyone else before getting off. After doing so, I went as quickly as I could limp (I injured the bottom of my foot on some sharp rocks in the Gulf of Mexico while in Fort Myers, so I'm having a little trouble walking quickly) to the gate where the bus takes passengers to the American Eagle terminal. I arrived at the bus gate just in time to see it pull away. I boarded the next bus, but we sat five minutes until it was time for it to go to the Eagle terminal. As we pulled up in front of Eagle, I saw a Saab push back, and knew that it was my flight. Indeed, the door shut only a few minutes before I arrived at the gate. However, due to the complications in Fort Myers with flights being cancelled and full, I was never appropriately listed for the flight and the gate agent didn't know to expect me.
Anyway, after a long night of trying to sleep on the floor of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the only carpeted area that was open, I boarded American Eagle's 6:20 am flight to San Diego today. We left on time and were served beverages and biscotti during the 27 minute flight into America's Finest City (I love San Diego so much now that I go to school in Indiana!) Upon my arrival, I was dismayed that my bag didn't come out in the baggage claim. Thinking that the confusion caused my bag to be "misplaced", I spoke to a baggae agent and found that, much to my surprise, my bag had flown down on the flight I missed the night before... I couldn't believe that luggae made such a tight connection!
Well, that's it for the trip. Upon my arrival in San Diego, I headed from one airport to another, beginning classes for my flight instructor certification at one of San Diego's many GA airports at 9 am. Now, a few observations that I dodn't fit in before...
The renovations in American Eagle's concourse G are going great, and it really looks beautiful. I can't wait to see it when they're done! Speaking of terminal renovations, I think that the LAX terminal is going to be very nice when it's finished, too. You can already see such improvements, and I think that they're still years from completing it. I was really surprised by the San Juan hub, also. I guess I didn't expect much out of it, but it is really a nice airport. The American terminal is very tastefully decorated, and there is a huge lighted metallic map on one wall that shows all of the places that American and Eagle fly to from SJU. I wouldn't mind having layovers there more often, if it wasn't in the middle of nowhere. The additional legroom in the 757 was great... it was noticable as soon as I sat down. Upon boarding, I assumed that this plane didn't have the added legroom because it had that old seats, but as soon as I sat down I knew it did. For verification, I looked in the AA timetable and saw that the number of rows (34) matched that of the reconfigured aircraft. I would say that there was about 5 inches between my knee and the seat in front of me when I had my knees at a 90 degree angle, and considerably more when I straightened my knees and stretched my legs out. It was really a big difference. One last thing that i can think of right now... The gate we departed from in Miami (D7), had the warning that widebody aircraft and 757s must be towed into place, that pilots were not allowed to taxi such aircraft all the way to the parking spot. Does anyone know why this might be? That's all i have right now... any questions? Just ask if I've left something out.
BOS-CDG From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 9, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 1426 times:
I like the A300s although I much prefer B767. I guess though you dislike equally an old A300 and an old 767...I feel that some of the A300 currently used by AA are not always looking good, the interior looks a little bit worn out sometimes...You can feel it has been used and used....
Purdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 8 Reply 10, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 1414 times:
I didn't think it was worth getting a hotel room because I really wouldn't use it very long... It would have been around midnight by the time I got to my room, and I had to be at the airport at 5:20 for my flight, so I wouldn't have gotten much sleep.
Purdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 8 Reply 11, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 1380 times:
BOS-CDG - I think that i would prefer to fly on an old 767 than an old A-300 because of the differences inside the cabin. The three biggest drawbacks of the A-300 compared to the 767 for me were:
1) Overhead bins in the center of the aircraft that hung down a great distance from the ceiling, rather than closing into the ceiling as they do on the 767. This makes the cabin feel much tighter.
2) Lack of movie screens - even on the bulkheads, the A-300 just had a TV attached to the wall. It was not as good for viewing, especially in close proximity, as a projection screen.
3) Sharp curvature of the cabin (only a problem in the first row or two). The side wall of the airplane curved in so steeply that, from the back of my seat to the front of my seat, it came in about 8 inches. The back side of my seat was touching the wall, while there was a gap of 6-8" between the front of the seat and the wall. Further ahead, at the bulkhead wall, the cabin was even narrower. This curvature also applied to the top of the cabin, so the ceiling came down in front of me.
Trvlr From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 4430 posts, RR: 22 Reply 13, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1370 times:
As always, a great report. One reason I don't want to go to college in the Midwest or East is because I'd have to leave the beautiful weather of San Diego! Also, I've never been served anything on a SAN-LAX or vice versa flight. That will be a welcome change (for me, at least) if I go there again...I actually thought the A300s would be good planes from a passengers point of view; I thought that was why they were keeping them in service so long! Well, anyway, I'm going SAN-ORD and back in June and SAN-LGW and back in July. Maybe I'll try my hand at a trip report!
Purdue Arrow From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1574 posts, RR: 8 Reply 14, posted (13 years 6 months 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1359 times:
Aaron - Have you flown SAN-LAX on American Eagle? They have always had beverage and snack service (pretzels in the afternoon/evening, biscotti in the morning) on the flights I have taken over the route. Even when AA used to fly 757s, 767s, and DC-10s on the route, they had this service.