(First, can someone tell me how to make certain things bold? thanks!)
This was to be a weekend trip to visit my sister who lives in Sacramento, CA and at the last minute my parents decided to join. I was originally to leave Friday morning from LGA-DFW-SMF, but I got a call Thursday evening at my office from AA saying my morning flight from LGA was already cancelled as it was to snow 6 inches overnight in the city. They said I was already booked on a flight leaving two hours later. I was satisfied, hung up, then realized if it does snow as it was supposed to, then LGA will be really messed up and its doubtful my 8am flight would depart on schedule.
I called AA back and asked to get out of the city Thursday night. They were very accommodating (it was they who cancelled my flight after all). It is 6pm at this point, I havent packed, or anything, I am still at work! I book an intenerary that routes me from LGA-ORD-DFW-SMF. I race home throw some stuff into my rollaboard, grab my ipod, headphones, and jump in a cab to LGA.
American Airlines Flight 349
New York LGA-Chicago ORD
18 March, 2004
9:11 PM-10:50 PM
I was originally booked on flight 351 to depart at 9PM. I checked in (including my flight the next morning to DFW). I was automatically put of flight 349 which was to depart at 6PM, but was delayed to 9PM. The original flight I was booked on was delayed to 10:45PM. Very good indeed. We are to begin boarding at 8:30PM, but at 8:35 there was still no aircraft parked at the gate! By 8:40PM a S80 (OF COURSE) showed up, people disembarked, and I kid you not—by 8:55PM we were boarding! Is this a LCC? What’s with the VERY FAST turnaround of the craft? Well it turns out the door had to be shut by 9:13PM or a new flight crew would have to come in, as they were near exceeding their allowed work time. So the gate agents said “screw the groups, everyone can board now” and the agents were almost yelling “just please QUICKLY board the plane or you’ll be delayed more!” It worked, people were very quick, and very happy to be on the plane (mind you these people had been at the airport for this flight at least 4 hours by now and I was only there 45 minutes )
I found my seat at the back of the loudest plane ever, and we were pushing by 9:15PM. No one was in the middle seat next to me, luckily, and the f/as were nice, tired but pleasant. The really queeny male f/a kept bitching about how “they don’t pay me enough to do this” which could be deemed unprofessional, but luckily everyone on board were in good spirits, and no one seemed to be upset by this. Plus he was just so overtly gay and fulfilling all stereotypes of gay male f/as that to be bitchy fit with the image he projected. After a mild flirtation I was given two free vodkas to go with my diet sprite and I slept for a good hour. Over Lake Michigan, we had to circle, as an earlier ground stop at ORD wreaked havoc on traffic in the area, and was the reason the flights from LGA were all delayed. Very dark out over the lake, and saw some aircraft lights moving about erratically and VERY quickly, so I can only assume they were military craft? Well we finally land, and I make my way to find the hotel shuttles to the Westin O’Hare, where I booked myself into a room that night off hotwire.com. Very big and very nice room, but finding the zone to get to the buses was rather difficult, and the O’Hare signage could be improved.
American Airlines Flight 2309
Chicago ORD-Dallas Ft. Worth DFW
19 March, 2004
8:30 AM-11:03 AM
I wake at 6am (5 hours slept) and get ready to make my way to the airport. Missed the first shuttle I intended to get on, wait for the next, and am rudely elbowed out of the way so a lady and her family can get a seat on the shuttle. Politeness will get you farther in my opinion. I was already checked in, so could just head directly to security. Well it is Friday now, and the security line was SO LONG thanks to the start of spring break. Great. So now I have all these annoying and loud kids in front of me holding up the screening process. I know that was me two years ago, but still I was tired and cranky. I check the arrivals board, and all but two of the morning flights from LGA were cancelled, so I am thinking I made a smart choice to leave NYC the previous night. Security is uneventful, I make my way to gate K1, and try to get a seat for my DFW-SMF segment. I was thrown in the non-reclining window seat in front of the over-wing exits, but realize it too late. Its time to board, again, I am ALL the way in the back, the flight is full, and I had the fortune of getting overhead storage space again. This flight seemed VERY long because I didn’t feel like reading, there was NOTHING to look at outside the window, and I didn’t interact with the f/as and even skipped the beverage services. The landing in DFW was very smooth, and it was an overcast and depressing-looking day. We approach concourse C of Super-80 City, and I make my way down 6 gates to try and get a better seat for my next segment.
American Airlines Flight 2947
Dallas Ft. Worth DFW-Sacramento SMF
19 March, 2004
12:14 PM-1:50 PM
I luck out and the agent has a son who is attending Dartmouth (I am wearing a Dartmouth sweatshirt) and was chat a bit about that. She scores me a non-reclining emergency exit row seat—which at 6’3” I will take any day over any other row. She is so fun and pleasant, I stand there chatting to her for another 10 minutes, until she has to grab the mic thing and start the boarding process. I am in group 1 (exit row people) so I get good overhead storage again. I am surrounded by army guys just back from Iraq. The window seat is sort of annoying on that side of the plane because the wall curves in too soon and I feel a bit cramped, but I have SO MUCH leg room. But I am thankful that I am no where near the back raucous engines for once. I take a beverage in the first service, the bistro bag was boring (my vegetarian meal wasn’t loaded on this flight) and my options were the snackwells cookies (yum), ruffles potato chips (eww), and some ham/turkey sandwich (uhh, its meat). We pass over some beautiful scenery including eastern New Mexico where there is an old volcano…the four corners area which includes monument valley in Arizona and some of the reddest dirt ever…onwards to the Grand Canyon, then turning north to Reno, over a still-snowy Lake Tahoe westward to SMF. Thanks to a.net I am much more aware of planes flying by mid-flight. Saw many a contrail, and some interesting climbs over us! On approach there was a Southwest 737 making its final approach on the parallel runway. The surrounding area in SMF is EXTRAORDINARILY green and beautiful. The small airport makes it easy for my to make my way to passenger pick up where my family is waiting. I’m starving now (hadn’t any breakfast and only had the cookies in my bistro bag in the 10 hours I have been awake now).
American Airlines Flight 840
Sacramento SMF-Dallas Ft. Worth DFW
22 March, 2004
10:08 AM-3:15 PM
My wonderful trip came to an end, and I checked in online at aa.com, but this time I was worried about my rollaboard which was REALLY overpacked with the 6 bottles of wine I bought while touring wine country. I board before my group is called to ensure I get overhead space. Well my rollaboard BARELY fits, as the bins get smaller at the back of the S80’s. But I wedge it in there, and luckily no one else uses the bin. The petite girl in the middle seat seems like a promising row companion as she is so small, but she sleeps the entire flight and manages to take up so much room with her huge jackets being used as a blanket, and her nodding head keeps falling on me. Oh and she did have some body odor issues. Eww. This of course is back again BY THE ENGINES where you have to scream anything to be heard. I apparently was on board with Cpt. Chatty. He talked so much during the flight, but was rather funny “well folks, we will be taking off in a few moments, our initial climb taking us south before we turn left and head into the Sierra Nevadas—don’t worry, we’ll go over them…” not many peope got it. Whilst in flight, the Cpt. Played trivia games. First question: what is the name of the volcano in Finding Nemo? A: Mt. Wanna-hawk-a-loogie (sp?) So some SNOTTY little 8-year old sitting in front of me hit the call button before I did, so he won a can of coke. Good job kid.
A few hours later, the second question was: name the states of the US that are the southernmost, northernmost, westernmost, easternmost. People kept getting it wrong, as I knew they would, but at that point, I was already carrying home 6 bottles of wine, and I just didn’t want to be weighed down anymore. BUT NO ONE WAS GETTING IT RIGHT. So finally I rang my call button, and of course answered correctly (trick is Alaska extends into the eastern hemisphere, making it technically the most eastern as well as western and northern). Everyone on the plane was stumped. Whatever, the pilot congratulated me and I won a bottle of wine. He was fun. Landing he came over the PA and said “last game folks, the co-pilot claims he can make this landing a greaser, so on a scale of 1 to 10 let him know what you think as you de-plane, 10 being great and 1 being ‘even I could do that.’” It was an 8.
Oh, I also felt bad to the non-rev who had to take the rear jumpseat between the lavs, where she had to stay the whole time (the flight was full) but she had to get back to DFW as she is a f/a on the DFW-AA), Japan">NRT flights. But people kept hitting her with the lav doors which is easy to do when someone is riding in that seat.
American Airlines Flight 750
Dallas Ft. Worth DFW-New York LGA
22 March, 2004
4:08 PM-8:15 PM
For whatever reason, I was booked on flight 760, leaving DFW at 5:44PM which I was VERY EXCITED for as it was to be the only segment on something other than a damn S80! Alas, I land and see a flight to LGA that can get me in almost two hours earlier. So I run the damn long concourse to the LGA gate (heavily weighed down by now 7 bottles of wine) as they already commenced boarding, I assumed I wouldn’t be able to get on. Well I ask the agent with all sincerity and charm I could muster if its possible to get on the flight so she types a lot of stuff as per usual, and voila, she produces a boarding pass with a window seat no less! I run to the bathroom, and run back to board. Miraculously there was overhead space above my seat, which I was worried about because the bins are shorter on that side of the craft, and the rollaboards don’t fit in wheels first there. A very nice, and quiet flight away from the engines. Extraordinarily smooth, and with the exception of final approach with is never smooth into LGA, we made an odd approach to LGA, then turning NE to fly out over Long Island, finally making a 180 degree turn where I could see JFK to my right, and finally down at LGA. I only wish my camera were at the ready to snap some great shots of the city as it was a rare crystal-clear night.
Now, I HATE the S80, and am so sick on flying them. They are just not my cup of tea. I was very pleased with the MRTOC on AA, and all people I interacted with at AA were VERY pleasant, and VERY helpful. I cant stress enough how much of a pleasure it was to travel on AA for this long drawn-out journey. If you made it this far, congrats!