American Eagle Airlines MQ 4318 (American Airlines AA 4318)
Embraer 145 (Registration: N620AE)
Champaign, IL, USA (CMI) to Chicago/O'Hare, IL, USA (ORD)
May 31, 2004
Seat: 8A (Economy/Aisle-Window/Group 4)
Scheduled vs. Actual
Departure: 05/31 1:00 PM vs. 05/31 3:33 PM
Arrival: 05/31 1:52 PM vs. 05/31 4:16 PM
Flight Time: 0:52 vs. 0:43
The flight arrived 2 hours and 24 minutes behind of schedule.
The weather forecast in Chicago wasn't great, so I checked AA.com before I left for the airport. The website was showing an on-time departure, so I arrived at Champaign's Willard Airport about an hour prior to departure. The wait at the line was literally less than 15 seconds. The agent was really kind and warned me of a short delay. My bag was checked to Los Angeles, and I received my boarding pass for my connection.
About 10 minutes before departure, I passed through security. The procedure was painless since there was no line. However, once I sat down, an announcement was made that our flight was delayed past 1:30 PM. I wasn't too concerned since I would still have ample time to make my connection. However, when I heard that the inbound aircraft wouldn't leave Chicago till around 2:10 PM, I became worried. The gate agents were helping people with their rebookings. When I was in line, I received a notification on my cell phone telling me that my flight to Los Angeles was delayed as well.
I had a little too much time to kill in an airport slightly too small. So, I headed to the Willard Restaurant where I ate an overpriced cheeseburger. It was an once-in-a-lifetime experience since the restaurant will be closing sometime in June.
When the plane finally arrived, the ground crew turned the flight around quite quickly. The flight attendant performed the safety demonstration. Again, due to the short duration of the flight, no beverage service was being done. So, I just stared out my window at the clouds. The clouds got pretty thick when we began our descent into the Chicago/O'Hare area.
We arrived at the gate at about 4:10 PM. However, we sat on the tarmac for what seemed like eternity because no one was available to operate the jetbridge. My Los Angeles flight was leaving at 4:30 PM, and I lost hope in making my connection. Fortunately, once the doors were opened, another notification arrived. My flight had been delayed till 4:50 PM!
American Airlines AA 455
Boeing 767-300ER (Registration: N381AN)
Chicago/O'Hare, IL, USA (ORD) to Los Angeles, CA, USA (LAX)
May 31, 2004
Seat: 4J (First/Window/Group FIRST)
Gate: K19 (Terminal 3/Concourse K)
Scheduled vs. Actual
Departure: 05/31 3:05 PM vs. 05/31 4:56 PM
Arrival: 05/31 5:30 PM vs. 05/31 7:01 PM
Flight Time: 4:25 vs. 4:05
The flight arrived 1 hour and 31 minutes behind of schedule.
After fast-walking from Concourse G, I joined the Group 3 passengers bound for Los Angeles. At the gate door, there were Bistro Bags for Main Cabin passengers. I proceeded to the aircraft door, where a flight attendant was greeting and directing passengers to their seats.
At my seat, there was a bigger pillow with American's eagle symbol. A nicer blanket and a headset were in the seat pocket. American's B767-300ERs are configured with 30 Business Class seats with 60" seat pitch. The seats are sold as First Class on domestic flights. I could notice the difference in seat width between the 767s and the 737s. However, the seat was still very comfortable. The safety demonstration video was played, and we were in the air after a little wait on the taxiway. The Captain apologized for the delay and warned us about expected turbulence right after take-off.
After the ride smoothened, the flight attendant serving my side came around for drink orders. I requested orange juice. He took orders for the rest of the passengers and delivered two drinks at a time. The drink came in a nice glass and was accompanied with a bowl of warm mixed nuts. We were left to enjoy the preview for the in-flight film, Chasing Liberty. After I finished the mixed nuts, he collected the empty bowl and asked if I would like another glass of orange juice. I gladly accepted. The flight attendant returned quickly with another glass.
A while later, the flight attendant went to the last row and began taking orders for dinner. There were three choices: chicken with plum sauce, white fish, and some pasta. I chose the chicken with plum sauce. After the flight attendant collected all our orders, he passed out warm wet towels. After the towels were collected, a cart was pushed out. He placed a table cloth on my tray table. He asked what salad dressing I would like with my salad. I opted for the herb vinaigrette dressing. The salad was served in clear plate on a tray with another table cloth. I chose the cheesy focaccia bread among a variety of breads. I was shocked when he directly placed it on my tray. I guess the table cloth was so clean so plates were unnecessary.
The salad was excellent. The lettuce was fresh, and there were a couple olives. A little while, they collected all the salad plates, and they began to serve the main entree. The chicken with plum sauce came with yams and vegetables that looked like green beans but didn't taste like them. I would've preferred potatoes over the yams, since they weren't particularly tasty. During the meal, the flight attendant continued to replace my empty orange juice glasses. I must have drunk at least five glasses.
After I finished the meal, the flight attendant collected the tray but kept the table cloth on the tray table. A while later, the desert cart was pushed out! Another flight attendant from the Main Cabin had come forward to help our flight attendant serve the deserts. She would make the sundaes while he would serve it to the passengers. I added warm fudge, strawberries, and whipped cream to my sundae. Other passengers added butterscotch, or they chose the fruit and cheese platter. I was also given a cup of hot tea to accompany my sundae. Desert was wonderful!
I was so tired from dinner and the long delay from Champaign. When the movie ended, I set my seat into full recline. The seat reclined comfortably even though it wasn't a full flat bed. I slept wonderfully, and when I woke up, we had already begun our descent into Los Angeles. My cold tea was collected, and my seat was returned to its upright position.
We were towed into the gate. I went downstairs and waited for luggage to appear on the carousel. Unfortunately, the wait was a little longer than expected, but my bag did make the connection and was undamaged.
I enjoyed this American flight the most. Dinner service was excellent and was worth the full 15,000 miles to upgrade. If I ever return to Chicago, I will definitely fly this flight again.