I will say, though, I think this one takes the cake as the most ridiculous thing I've ever done. It's a close contest with my New York trip last year, and very similar. My cousin was getting married in BNA (well, Cool Springs for those of you familiar with the area), and I figured, no time better to go on another "mileage run" as I called it, but you guys are some of the only people who will actually get why I really did it.
Anyway, fare for this trip was like $470, booked on aa.com. Upgrades were a combination of 15,000 one way AAdvantage mileage upgrade and electronic upgrades. I'll keep the suspense for what I actually did, but sit back, relax, and enjoy!
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
I left for the airport about 30 minutes after my roommate did (about 4:15) and I caught up with him (this will be a continuing story throughout the TR) at the airport. I was in the terminal by 4:50. Check-in was pretty painless, 1 person in front of me in line. I saw Jordan (roommate) standing in line at the CO counters...apparently the self-serve check-in kiosks were not working. Only the first sign of a long night for him. We made our way over to security together, and were through after a short wait. He walked down to his gate, and me to mine, just to see what was going on (this was the day IAH had really bad weather, and his flight was already delayed like an hour and a half, from a scheduled departure time of 6). My flight was scheduled to leave at 5 til' seven, so we had plenty of time. I noticed a 757 sitting on the ramp with the engine cowling removed, so I inquired. Apparently it diverted here the day before due to weather in Dallas, and its #2 thrust reverser failed. It was supposed to fly out that morning, but it didn't. They were bringing in m/x people from TUL.
We reconvened at Maudie's Tex Mex, where I got some enchiladas (sorry, no pictures, but they were YUMMY!). Jordan's flight was now delayed until 8:30, due to weather not only at IAH, but low visibilities at EWR. In addition to Maudie's I got some ice cream from Amy's, which is the best on the planet. A lot like Cold Stone, but so much better (it's another local restaurant). Eventually, we had to go our separate ways, as my flight was on time, so I made my way over to gate 13 for my flight to LAX. Boarding began about 15 minutes later.
I boarded first, and found my way to 5F. I considered carrying on both my bags, as well as my camera bag, but I'm glad I didn't. I was greeted with a nice view of HOU, some 170 miles away.
Count 'em 6 WN tails. Unusual, even for AUS!
We pushed back a couple minutes early, and made our way to the under construction 17R. We backtaxied to take full advantage of the 10,248 feet available.
Barbara Jordan terminal, seen while backtaxiing on 17R.
a shortened 17R
After we completed our U-turn, our Pratt and Whitney's roared to life, and away we went into the Texas evening.
After takeoff we turned to the west to join the AUS2 departure.
KAUS (our runway is in the foreground)
Looking right up Congress Avenue (you can see the Capitol).
We continued to climb out over the Hill Country. It's pretty scary how low the lakes are.
Lake Travis dammed by Mansfield Dam. Sometimes Islands are clearly visible.
Our purser, Eileen, came by and took our drink orders, as well as a dinner order. It'd been quite a while since I'd had a proper meal in F, so this was nice, even though I just ate. I'm a sucker for airplane food!
Chasing the sun.
Yummy stuffed pasta shells. This was my second one, I forgot to take a picture of the first!
A bit later, she came back around with some very frozen ice cream
The orange sauce was frozen on the bottom, which was perfectly fine with me since I don't like orange anyway!
Sunset over Arizona, IIRC
I settled in to watch a movie on my computer, only to find out my brand new laptop's DVD drive doesn't work! Ugh! That was part of the reason I got a new computer in the first place!
Alas, I chatted with Eileen a bit about my love of aviation, and my goal of becoming a pilot.I showed her some pictures that I had taken in the past of planes, she was very interested! As much as I love the airline, people like her are what make it MY airline.
After a short time, we began our descent into LAX.
Note: sorry for the picture quality, they are actually much better pictures, but I guess when Photobucket compresses them, they lose quite a bit of quality. If there are any that you would like to have, let me know, and I can send you the original.
Downtown Los Angeles
Touchdown on 24R
Air China 744
We taxied around the TBIT, to Terminal 4, where we parked at gate 46A, 2 minutes ahead of schedule.
I had about an hour in LAX before my flight, so I used the bathroom, and perused a gift shop. A delayed flight to HNL was boarding next to our gate, and I thought about just going there, instead.
Meanwhile, back in Austin, Jordan is still hanging out at gate 18 waiting for his CO flight to leave. The plane is on the ground, but the crew has timed out, so they're having to bring in a new crew. New estimated departure time, midnight.
Eventually, though a little late, we began boarding AA10, to JFK.
We pushed back about 10 minutes late and taxied to 25R.
Welcome to SYD
We were #1 for departure, ahead of the BA 744.
Rolling on 25R
We turned south (it really seemed like we were struggling for altitude, more so than I've ever felt before) and then back east south of Rancho Palos Verdes.
Moving Map. I really like these new ones, they're much nicer looking.
Service commenced very shortly after takeoff since it was a redeye. I took the cheese plate with my usual glass of milk.
I declined the video player because I was planning on giving the wifi a shot. I was really excited to try it out. I'm here to tell you, it's better than the internet I've got in my apartment on campus. And for a 5 hour flight (well, 4 hr 20 min today), I think $13 is worth it, too. I got on Facebook and, of course, a.net!
A.net over CA
Then it dawned on me to check on Jordan's flight status. His flight was delayed until 1, and then 1:30. It finally took off at 1:43 central time. It dawned on me that I might very well beat him to NYC, him going to EWR, me to JFK.
The rest of the flight continued uneventfully. I watched an episode of South Park on my computer. We passed just south of Chicago and Detroit, and eventually began our descent. I picked 8A because I figured it would have a good view of NYC on approach, and it did not disappoint.
Manhattan and Long Island
Can you pick out JFK? On the downwind for 31R.
Feet dry over Long Beach
Final for 31R
Thrust reversers deployed.
We quickly taxied to gate 33, where I deplaned, still really tired because I haven't slept at all (I dozed for a bit).
The first thing I did was call Jordan. He was still taxiing in to the gate. I beat him to NYC, through LAX!!!! Sadly,that would only be a total of 18 hours worth of delays for him in that past week, and there would be more to come on Sunday.
Then, I went down to baggage claim where AA tried to lose my bag, but more came out while about 35 of us were in line at the baggage office, and thankfully, mine was among them.
Some of the more astute readers might have already figured out that AA does not fly JFK-BNA, so I had to transfer airports to LGA. Although we hit a little traffic on the Van Wyck, it wasn't too bad, and I was at LGA by 7:00, for my 8:29 flight.
Friday, March 27th, 2009
I arrived at LGA, having already bought electronic upgrades, and getting a confirmation email. However, once I got to the check-in counter, the AAgent told me that I needed two more. I explained to her that I already bought them two days prior, but it wasn't much good. Alas, I just took the exit row, and made my way through security. As soon as I was through, I called AA, to try and figure out what was going on. They didn't have any record of it, but as long as I wasn't charged, that was ok. I bought two, and when the gate AAgent appeared, I got on the upgrade list. My upgrades came through, and I was given a boarding pass for 4F. I was a little upset because I wanted to be on the left side since LGA was using 4 for takeoffs. I was the first on the plane, and fortunately was able to trade with someone and got 5A.
N????? (i'll update it when I get it).
We pushed back on time, and made our way to runway 4.
DL E170s, with ESB behind
The line we joined
Retro AA signage
The obligatory LGA tower shot
"American 1151, Runway 4, Position and hold"
DL terminal, rolling on 4
Climbing over Riker's Island
Manhattan with Central Park visible
The flight was uneventful, the flight attendant gave me a bagel and a biscuit, which was nice. The flight went by pretty fast, and soon, we were descending into BNA. We came in from the NNE, turned south, then back north to align ourselves for 2R.
On final for 2R
Looking out on 2L and 2C
TN ANG C130s
Over the runway
Spoilers barely visible
We taxied without incident to C5. I quickly made my way to baggage claim, claimed my bag, and was on my way for a fun weekend in Nashville.
Longhornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3095 posts, RR: 48 Reply 2, posted (4 years 1 month 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 10656 times:
Part 2...continued from above
Monday, March 30th, 2009
After a fun wedding, it was time to head back to school, unfortunately. It was cheaper to fly back Monday morning, and because first class isn't until 2, that wasn't a problem. I did have to wake up at 5:10 for my 7:20 flight to DFW. My parents dropped me off at 6 (their flight was at 9:45). I got my boarding pass, and after a long wait at security (I will say, though, the new security area at BNA is nice), made it through. I decided at the last minute to call AA and try to get upgraded. I bought the upgrades, but I had no idea whether they would come through in time (they say to give it two hours, I had about 20 minutes). Luckily, they did, and i was assigned 4A.
We boarded on time about 6:50, and I was on my way home.
We pushed back, and because it had been below freezing the night before, we made our way to the deicing pad. This was my first de-ice experience, being from Texas and all.
After our deicing, we taxied to 31, where we were #1 for departure.
Turning onto 31
Cruising over TN
We were given a drink and the Biscoff cookies, but nothing more. A pretty piss-poor offering if you ask me.
FX ramp at MEM, Holla Drew!
Busy skies over Arkansas.
Can you make out what it is? It's an Air Transat A310, flying TSC171 PVR-YYZ. I was surprised to see it!
Shortly thereafter, we began our descent into DFW from the NE.
Descending over Lake Lewisville, IINM
Neat looking clouds
Coming through that last cloud layer
After landing, we had to sit and wait for the gate to clear. I was getting nervous, because I really wanted to make the 10:00 flight to Austin, I was booked on the 11:15, but I was carrying on all my bags this time, so it seemed like a possibility.
We finally pulled up to the gate at 0940.
I checked the FIDS board and saw that the flight to Austin was at C19. I started walking that way, and then I saw out of the corner of my eye the flight below it, which was also an Austin flight, and in the status column, I saw flashing red. Uh oh! I stepped back, and saw the my flight was indeed canceled. At that point, I set off in essentially a speed walk (I refuse to run in airports, though I have before). The gate AAgent was was waiting at the desk with a boarding pass for me. 20A, the first exit row. When I made it to row 20, some lady was sitting in my seat. She thought she was in row 19. I was tempted to ask for my seat, but 19 A & B were empty, and it was only a 30 minute flight, so the legroom didn't really matter.
Atrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5613 posts, RR: 54 Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 9242 times:
I wish I could say "you sir are NUTS!" but, I probably would do the same if time/cost allowed me to do so.
Great Report, and glad you enjoyed AA all around.
Only thing that threw me off was if you were trying to earn miles, based on these segments. why give up 15K to get upgraded, does it not defeat the purpose or did you just not care for losing those miles?
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
Super80DFW From United States of America, joined Oct 2007, 1637 posts, RR: 12 Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 8830 times:
Great TR. I'm not the biggest fan of AA, in fact I'm not even a fan of AA really, but you're TR portrayed AA as a decent airline. Great pictures.
Ever since I moved to the Metroplex 2 years ago, I've been waiting for a picture just like you took.
I was in Webmastering when you flew over and took that picture. I must say, the ground looks really far down there. The planes look alot lower when they fly over, but I guess it's all the angle and perseption.
Thanks for sharing!
Right now there is an AA MD-80 flying over my house.
AUSisAwesome From United States of America, joined Jan 2009, 82 posts, RR: 0 Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 month 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 8346 times:
California, eh? Hmmm. what could I have done????? On my dads schedule, nothing! The trips purpose was to pick a dark blue bus he purchased on eBay and drive it back (sounds like fun)! Hopefully we will meet again, I am always here!
GuitrThree From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 1988 posts, RR: 9 Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 20 hours ago) and read 7153 times:
Great Trip Report!
Glad you got to fly over my house via the Guitr4 Arrival!
Oh, yea... one little tid bit... One of the pictures you posted I have to comment on:
Due to my job (non Airline or Airport related), I have a BNA Ramp pass for both myself and my car. I can sit at any of these hangars and watch jets from the comfort of both my car and directly standing on the ramp. One of these days I might just by a real camera and shoot some pics... This is a GREAT spot to watch the Air China 747 arrive with all the Dell Laptop shells around 6AM as 31 is the preferred nighttime arrival runway.
Did you know Taylor Swift has a STAR to BNA named after her? No, I'm not kidding.
I had the best service on multiple flights today after doing some joy-riding in the system. Excellent food and excellent service. I agree with you that AA flight attendants and service is getting better. Of course I am biased.
DLHFLYER From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 184 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 month 1 week 5 hours ago) and read 6887 times:
I wonder why AA doesn't give Wi-fi to first for free??
Were the embraer 175's Delta's shuttle aircraft? I am unfamiliar with LGA, but if that was the marine terminal, then those had to be the shuttle planes, right? Of course, I don't think the Embraer are designated for the shuttle flights anyway.
I wonder why AA doesn't give Wi-fi to first for free??
A great question. I'm sure it's because they know they'll pay for it. I agree, though, it'd be nice to get a voucher for it in F. But then again, those are probably the most consistent customers willing to pay for it, so if they can and do pay for it, why not charge them!
Quoting DLHFLYER (Reply 20): I always wished that I flew on a Dornier when I had the chance with Midwest.