After reading all these great stories over the last few months, I have at last decided to write my 1st trip report on this fab site. Although brief - as it was exactly nine months ago, I hope you enjoy what you read.....
We go back to November 2004, my then girlfriend had a 'Curves' convention to attend in Vegas. I had always promised her that we would go there some day as for nearly 3 years I had been 'bigging it up' to her as my favorite place in America to play..... I had been there 5 times in the past 10 years. So when she found out about the convention being there it was time for my 6th visit.
A very good friend of mine is a F/O on Virgin Atlantics 340's and I have been on a few trips with him always managing Upper Class or Premium but on this occasion he was unable to help as we had to book early due to the convention and high loads. We also wanted to stop off for a day or so in New York as I love the city and had not been there since before 9/11.
Checking out the various web sites, Travelocity came up trumps with a great fare on AA to JFK and then on Delta to Vegas.
So on the Sunday afternoon (31st October) we checked in to the Renaissance Hotel as this is about the best hotel with good views of the airport and runways at Heathrow. I had booked a top floor runway view room. Sods law is that the airport was using easterly operations that weekend so aircraft were arriving on 9L and departing on 9R meaning that very few aircraft actually made it as far down 9L as the hotel for good viewing. Nevermind though, I was looking forward to my 1st T7 flight.
After a very pricey sandwich it was an early night.
We had a nice but small breakfast in the club lounge of the hotel which also lookes out onto the airport and yet again it was easterly operations.
It was now time to meet up with my girlfriends parents, brother and his girlfriend who were also going to Vegas. They were going to LAX on BA and meeting us at LAS the next day.
The hotel bus took us all into the airport. They were dropped off 1st at T1 and the two of us continued on to T3. Thank god the journey was quick as the bus was packed and we all had to stand.
The terminal was also mad busy and as we arrived at the AA check in we could see that the line for economy was huge so noticing that Business was empty we went straight up to the next available agent who after looking at our AA Advantage cards, very nicely checked us in and saved us about an hour of queuing - not all us brits like to queue!!!
Although busy we went through security very quickly indeed and into a very busy and somewhat claustrophobic departure lounge. (They really need some windows in there) After a well overpriced coffee, a look round and another coffee we noticed that the flight was boarding and started our LONG treck to the gate. Once there I started taking some pictures but before long an AA staff member came rushing over to stop me
Nevermind, it was time to board, we walked straight on to the T7 and found our seats 28 A&C. The plane was very clean and fresh and on first impressions the crew despite tones of previous reports otherwise seemed very friendly and happy to be there.
My main reason for booking with AA was M.R.T.C. and this really was so much better than Virgin. Those extra few inches make so much difference.
At 11.55 exactly the doors were closed, the welcome announcement and safety briefing were given and we were on our way. Surprisingly there were only 3 planes infront of us for take off and before long we were thundering down 9R. Turning right after lifting off we headed over s/w London and onwards and up-wards. The flight was to be a short 6 hours and 40 minutes, although the seatback screens were good the IFE was pretty dull. Again after hearing so many stories about the poor food and service we found it to be very good for economy and had no complaints what so ever. After a little over 6 hours we started our decent into JFK. After touching down on a cold November Monday lunchtime we made our way to the gate and deplaned very quickly. I found the T7 to be very comfortable and a pleasure to fly. We both thought AA were great and hoped our return flight a week later would be as good.
After clearing immigration (15 minutes) and collecting our luggage we were on our way into Manhattan and after a nights stay at the 'Flatotel' it was back to JFK for our 12.45 Delta flight to LAS.
Again we had booked this flight through travelocity and found it to be about £30.00 less than the America West flight leaving around the same time.
Check in again was very swift and within about 10 minutes we found ourselves in the horrible smelly departure lounge. We had about a 90 minute wait before the flight DL447 was called. The 757 was full but at exactly 12.45 the doors were closed and we were on our way. The plane was fairly tatty but I was so excited about getting to Las Vegas that I couldn't have cared less. Again the IFE was very dull so ended up reading and listening to a few CD's.
The flight lasted for 4 hours 45 minutes and before long we were down on the ground and taxiing to D7 (I think) Before arriving at the gate we switched on our mobiles and received a text from the rest of our lot to say that they had just landed too from LAX on Southwest - Good timing...
In the arrivals hall we were met by our driver who had checked both our arriving flights and was waiting with our limo to take us to the Aladdin.
All six of us were so excited to be in Vegas and within about 30 minutes we had checked into our upgraded rooms over looking the strip and Bellagio fountains - awesome!!!!!!
Vegas was as ever great but far too busy - mind you, it was convention week.
Showed my girlfriend the sights, saw some fab shows inc Celine Dion which was amazing. Had plenty of time to play (and loose loads) but before long our 5 days in Mad land was over and our journey back to London was to begin.
Again we were traveling via New York and being a very stormy wet Sunday afternoon, LAS was mad mad busy. The lines were so slow and we just made our flight back to JFK. Again it was DL447 and a crummy old 757. The queue for departures was very long - about 50 minutes but at least we had made the flight. Once finally airborne however, it was a very short 4 1/2 hours to JKF.
We landed at midnight but it wasn't till about 1.15 that we were out of the terminal as they parked the plane at what seemed the furthest gate.
Our flight back to London wasn't till midnight so we had another 24 hours or so in New York. This time we stayed at the Holiday Inn JFK. What a mess, what a stink and what a dump!!! Couldn't wait till the morning to check out. After a disgusting breakfast we went back to the airport to leave our bags in the locker room and then traveled back into Manhattan for another day of being tourists! It was so cold but we had a laugh and I almost proposed on a horse an carriage ride in Central Park but lost my bottle...
After dinner and a drink in the sky bar it was time to head back to JFK to collect our luggage and check in for our midnight flight back to LHR. Check in was quite slow and we were told that the flight was delayed about 1 hour. Still 1 out of 4 not bad. Again the lounge at JFK for American was pretty crap and after a long day we just wanted some sleep. Once boarded the flight quickly departed. Dinner was served pretty quickly. Again it was pretty good and filling. Couldn't wait for that lights to be turned off and for the cabin to quieten which once the food was cleared soon was. For the 1st time ever in economy I managed to get about 3 1/2 hours sleep. Was woken but the brightness of the lights and the smell of breakfast which wasn't all that nice.
It was soon time to freshen up and before long we were descending into a miserable dreary London. Landing today was on the 9,s and after only 5 hours and 50 minutes we were on the ground...
All in all we were both very impressed with AA and look forward to flying with them again. It's such a shame about them removing M.R.T.C.
I hope you have enjoyed reading my 1st trip report and for those of you still reading, please forgive my lack of detail about the flights. I just wanted to have a go at writing a report and have tried to remember as much as possible.
By the way, I eventually proposed to Katie at Christmas and we are getting married next month in Spain. Flights are with Monarch Scheduled and we are honeymooning in Italy with flights on BMI, Alitalia and Easy Jet.
Thanks so much for reading