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GLA-ORD-BOS (Business/First) On AA (with 41 Pix!)  
User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3238 posts, RR: 22
Posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 19 hours ago) and read 7982 times:

This is the return trip of my recent visit to Scotland. You can read about the outbound trip here:

http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/61243/

This trip had a couple of firsts for me:

- Flying on an AA B767.
- Flying on AA out of GLA.

I somehow ended up with a full fare ticket for the return trip and AA allows you to upgrade from a full fare ticket very cheaply (10,000 miles + some extra UK taxes). So I thought about it for about 1 nanosecond and went for it.

----------------------------------------

Mon, Aug 1, 2005. GLA.

I got to the airport 2hr15min before the flight. I went directly to the AA check-in desks. I first had to go through a security person, who was very polite and courteous, introduced himself as Gary, checked my passport, and asked me all the "did your pack your luggage yourself?" questions. I was amused that he had a very thick Glaswegian accent and, even though I could cope with it, I'm sure other people would find it hard to understand. After Gary, check-in was a breeze. Do you have any luggage to check-in? Nope.

I then spent some time at a Starbucks (which seem to have taken over from Costa Coffee at GLA). Finally, it was time to start making my way towards the gate. Passing through security was very quick. Next to security they had a vending machine with stamped envolopes so that you can ship yourself and sharp items you might still have. What a refreshingly sane idea! All airports should do this! I walked through the duty free area and got on the moving walkways


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which took me to GLA's international peer.


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It was good to be back. The last time I was in that part of GLA was 3 years ago (for my one-way trip from GLA to BOS!). I walked around for a bit and snapped a few pictures. Our plane was at the gate, looking nice and shiny!


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A US B762 was parked at the gate next to us, an AC B762 at the gate across from us, and a Zoom B763 a few gates further down (where was CO?). I walked around for a bit and it was not too long before boarding for our flight was called. Business class passangers were invited to board first (AA's B763ERs only have business class and no first class). I literally had to fight my way through the huge crowd that had gathered around the gate. I wish people stop doing that and, instead, sit on their seats until they were invited to board. I personally don't care too much. However, they do interfere with pre-boarding, which includes people who cannot walk very well and/or people on wheelchairs who also have to fight their way through the crowds. Grrr... Anyway, the AA security people (including Gary) were at the gate, asking similar questions to what they were asking before check-in. I noticed that Gary had to repeat the questions at least two or three times to an American passanger who was having real trouble understanding him! So, my earlier assessment on Gary's accent was spot on! Anyway, it was eventually my turn, I understood (and answered) Gary's questions perfectly and a minute later I was on board.

----------------------------------------

Mon, Aug 1, 2005. AA53, GLA 1105am (actual: 1110am) to ORD 1pm (actual: 1255pm), B767-300ER (N370AA: a.net, ma.net), Seat 5J, Departure Gate 32.

I reached my seat, put my carry-on in the overhead bin, and sat down. My first though was that the seat was a bit narrow (for a business class seat that is). At the time I thought I imagined it. But further research on seatguru yields that I was right: the width of the business class seats on AA's B763s is 18.5", compared to 20" on AA's B777s (Business), 21" on CO's B767s (Business First) and 21" on AC's B763s (Executive First). Notice, however, that AA's B763s are 6-abreast in business class, whereas CO's and AC's are 5-abreast. Despite the narrower seats, the legroom was awesome at 62" (compared to 60" in AA's B777s and AC's B763s and 55" in CO's B767s).


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More information on AA's business class seats can be found here. Each seat had on it a big and very confy pillow, a blanket (which I put in the overhead bin, as I never need one), and an excellent amenity kit.

Boarding was eventually completed. Business class had only one empty seat. Economy seemed mostly full too. We pushed back around 1115am.


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The US B762 was pushing back at the same time (even though they had started boarding before us).


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We slowly taxied towards runway 05.


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We started our take off run just after 1125am. While accelerating, we got a good view of GLA's two peers (domestic and international).


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Take off was very smooth. Once in the air we flew over the Clyde.


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A couple of minutes later we did a tight left turn, which put us on a west heading and towards the Atlantic.


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About 15 mins into the flight we got gorgeous views of the scottish coast.


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After that everybody settled down for the long flight.


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The seats did not have PTVs, but the F/As gave out personal DVD players, Bose QuietConfort 2 noise cancelling headphones (which, BTW, are awesome), and a variety of DVDs. Unfortunately, the DVD selection was pretty grim and I couldn't find anything that I really wanted to watch. But, I decided to postpone the decision, as the F/As started serving lunch.

We started with:


  • Warm roasted Nuts
  • Fresh Vegatables in a Parmesan-Peppercorn Ranch Dip


Then, we got the appetizer:


  • Grilled Scallop, hot-smoked Salmon and grilled Shrimp served with a marinated roasted Vegatable Salad.



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It was good, but I found the salmon too watery (I know it has to be moist; but it was overly so). I have to say I was surprised that there was no choice of appetizer since, even though I love seafood, some people really can't stand it.

A salad was next:


  • Fresh seasonal European Greens with a selection of Vegetables offered with your choice of creamy Bleu Cheese Dressing or Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar (I had the latter dressing).



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It was also good and fresh. But it was also humongous and I left about 1/3 of it since I didn't want to get overstuffed and I could enjoy the rest of the lunch.

There was a choice of four main courses (I'm pretty sure that the F/As had taken orders before take off; I just can't remember).


  • Fillet of Beef. Grilled Billet of Beef accented by Cherry and Chocolate Blsamic Sauce, served with a Cheddar Polenta Cake and Asparagus and Celery Medley.
  • Roasted Chicken. Roasted Chicken Breast enhanced by Bordelaise Sauce, served with sauteed Swiss Chard and Carrots and Truffle Celeriac Puree.
  • Cappelletti. Cappelletti Pasta served with a Goat Cheese Pesto Sauce, Red Pepper and Pine Nuts.
  • European Feature. Seared Fillet of Salmon accented by a Herb Butter Sauce, offered with blanched Asparagus and Spring Onion Mashed Potatoes (which I had).



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The salmon was excellent, nicely cooked, moist, and tasty. The asparagus was perfectly cooked too (not too crunchy, not too soft). And the mash was very tasty. I was impressed. The main course was washed down with a glass of Dry Creek Sonoma County Chardonnay.

Dessert followed:


  • Gorgonzola and Camambert Cheese served with dried Dates, pached Cherries and selected Crackers.
  • Ice Cream Sundae, Ben&Jerry's Vanilla Ice Cream with a choice of Hot Fudge, Butterscotch or seasonal Berry Toppings, Whipped Cream and Pecans (which I had, with Butterscotch).
  • Peaches in Amaretto Sauce served with Biscotti Stuffing.



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I could have had the cheese item too, but I skipped it as I was pretty full. The ice cream was excellent and I loved the coffe being offered in a big mug. Overall, an excellent lunch above 30,000ft!

After the lunch was concluded, I decided that the only movie that I was willing to watch was Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier, and Roy Scheider. Half-way through the movie I made my way towards the lavatories. They were both occupied. A minute later one of the copilots came out of the lavatory closest to the cockpit. He saw me waiting and told me that that lavatory was going to be unavailable for a few minutes. He hesitated for a bit and then asked me whether I could go back to my seat for a bit. I was puzzled for a second or two and then worked out that he wanted to relieve the copilot in the cockpit and, in order to open the cockpit door, the area around it had to be empty. I didn't have a problem with that. On my way back to my seat one of the F/As told me, with a big smile, not to take it personally. I smiled back and asked her whether she could wave at me when the lavatories were again available. She said that she would and, indeed, she did 5 mins later. On my way back to my seat I grabbed another mug of coffee. The movie was actually pretty good (I don't think I had seen it before).

After the movie I read my book for a bit and, before I knew it, the pre-landing meal was being served. Where did all the time go?

We had a choice of two snacks:


  • Vegetable Pizza. A personal Pizza topped with Olive Tapenade, Feta and Mozzarella Cheeses, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Onions and Zucchini, accompanied by a fresh Green Salad tossed with English Cucumbers and Cherry Tomatoes (which I had).
  • Asian-Style Chicken. Slices of Soy-seared Breast of Chicken served chilled on a bed of grilled Pineapple with Asian Slaw and Oriental Sesame Dressing.



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The pizza topping was good, but I found the base way too chewy. Dessert followed:


  • Fresh Fruit or Cookies, freshly baked on board.



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The fruit were fresh and refreshing and the cookie warm and very light. I also had more coffee. By this time we had reached the Great Lakes. The weather was very clear so I took a few nice pictures.


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A little bit later we started our descent towards ORD.


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The descent was very smooth and we eventually touched down just after 1245pm. We had a long and interesting taxi towards our gate. There was an impressive number of UA planes at ORD.


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We also went past a United Express ERJ-170 (N631RW, which apparently is the first ERJ-170 delivered to United Express).


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We then taxied over the freeway (which was really cool!).


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Near our gate we saw a Spirit MD-82 (with a gorgeous-looking livery!) and a DL MD-90 (at the back; I love the fat engines of the MD-90s!).


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We finally reached our gate (M1) at 1255pm


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and started deplaning shortly after that.

----------------------------------------

Mon, Aug 1, 2005. ORD.

As soon as I got out of the plane, I started making my way towards immigration as quickly as I could. From past experience, the quicker I get there, the less time I have to stand in line for. And I was right. It took me 10 mins to reach the immigration area, which was a total zoo. I eventually went through, went through customs, and made my way towards the train which took me from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 (IIRC). It was pretty hot and humid and the train was very crowded.

The line at security was very long. Thankfully, the elite line was not, so it only took me a couple of mins to go through. The guy behind me got hassled by the TSA guys for something (maybe about not taking off his shoes? I can't quite remember) and he made a comment like "You are not happy, if we are not happy. We are the TSA!" Interestingly, the TSA guys laughed instead of hassling him. I asked him, jokingly, whether he was really desparate for the body cavity search. He laughed and wished me a good flight. I wished him a good flight too.

On my way to the gate I grabbed a large iced coffee from Starbucks. It took me some time to reach the gate, as it was at the very end of the peer. The area around it was very busy. I snapped some pictures of our plane:


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Boarding was eventually called around 3pm (IIRC) and first class passangers were invited to board first.

----------------------------------------

Mon, Aug 1, 2005. AA1230, ORD 325pm (actual: 320pm) to BOS 654pm (actual: 650pm), MD-82 (N950U: a.net, ma.net), Seat 5F, Departure Gate K19.

I reached my seat, put away my carry-on, and sat down. The flight was, apparently, full so it took some time to get everyone on board. At the gate next to us (K17), another AA MD-82 arrived and was being serviced.


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The doors eventually closed. I noticed that the F/As seemed upset about something. Then, they made the announcement that they couldn't find the safety demonstration equipment, they said that without a safety demo we could not leave, and asked whether any of the passangers had seen them or had taken them accidentally. They eventually found them (back in the economy cabin, so I couldn't see how) and we pushed back just after 325pm.


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As we were taxiing, I spotted an impressive number of widebodies (UA B772, UA B744, SK A340, AI B744, BA B744, KL B744, etc. the wing you see at the very left of the picture is of an IB A340).


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We eventually reached and stopped short of the runway. A DL MD-82 was also waiting to take off in front of us. I saw a few planes landing, including a UA B744 which burned rubber quite spectacularly.


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Then, the pilot made the announcement: "Flight attendants, prepare for landing! Eh, I mean: prepare for take off!" A couple of minutes later we were in the air. I was pleasantly surprised how quiet the front cabin of the MD-82 was during take off (courtesy of the engines being at the back). As we were climbing, we got a nice view of MDW.


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After that, the F/As offered post-take off drinks, along with warm nuts. I had a couple of glasses of Cabernet Sauvignon and enjoyed the nuts very much.


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Eventually, we got dinner. The choice was either beef or vegetable pasta. I had the latter.


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It came with a small Greek-style salad, a choice of bread (I had the cheesy one and it was so good that I asked for seconds), and a cheesecake. The pasta tasted better than it looked. Overall, it was good, but nothing to get overly excited about. Of course, at "the back" they only got a drink service, so I was not complaining too much.

By this time we were getting close to Boston and there were some impressively large clouds around us. Thankfully, it didn't get bumpy.


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We started our descent and approached BOS from the North. The sun was hiding behind the clouds and, because of that, we got some dramatic views of the Boston area.


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We landed on runway 22L just before 640pm. There was a long line of planes on the taxiways waiting to take off.


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After a 10-min taxi we reached our gate, about 5 mins early.

----------------------------------------

Mon, Aug 1, 2005. BOS.

The terminal was not very busy, I got out very quickly, and I was in the cab I had ordered before 7pm. Very nice.

----------------------------------------

Final Thoughts.

In my last two trip reports I slagged off AA's economy class quite a lot (and rightly so I believe!). However, this time, I really cannot fault them. I found their business class product really excellent. I was actually surprised. The last time I flew AA in business class long-haul was NRT-ORD almost two years ago (on a B777-200ER). However, in this trip, everything seemed to have been considerably improved: the food was tastier and better presented, there was more attention to detail, and the amenity kit was much better. Is it maybe the case that they put a bit more effort in their business class product in planes that do not have a first class cabin?

I should also say a couple of words about the crews. All the F/As I interacted with (on both flights!) were pleasant, courteous, polite, professional, and did their job with a smile. So, absolutely no complaints about the crews!

Well done, AA! This time you did really well! Thank you for a great trip!

Tony

PS I went a bit overboard when writing this trip report... I hope I didn't put everybody to sleep!

[Edited 2005-08-05 07:39:47]


Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTsaord From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 7873 times:

great trip report!!!!! i came into terminal 5 during my work hours!! the recheck area after customs is a mad house to say the least! your lucky to get that shot of air india, we had 2 flights for them that day..i saw them coming in when i was on the kennedy, i was not happy lol. we werent expecting them untill later in the day!

maybe ill add glasgow to my trip list, if i ever get the nerve to get on a long hual flight


User currently offlineJamman From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 142 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 7800 times:

Quoting SNATH (Thread starter):
I hope I didn't put everybody to sleep!

Not at all, great trip report!

I'll be retracing your trip to a certain point next October when I have to connect through ORD from MAN, my finial destination is CLE.

Just out of interest (because I've never connected before) what do u do with your bags after you land at Terminal 5? do you have to re-check them in at Terminal 3? (i.e. cue up at the check-in desks)

So the 767 was definitely better? How did economy look if you sneaked a peek?



Phoning it in from a place with no phones.
User currently offlineSQNo1 From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2004, 687 posts, RR: 1
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 7778 times:

A excellent trip report SNATH.

I was however surprised to see stems of broccoli in your salad, that one puzzled me.  confused 

With Regards,
Alex.B


User currently offlineGLAGAZ From UK - Scotland, joined Feb 2004, 1982 posts, RR: 11
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 7660 times:

Stunning report!! Maybe I've missed it but how full was the GLA-ORD segment of your trip?

On a Monday CO are 1x 757 which arrives at 0730 and departs at 0900.

Gaz



Neutrality means that u don't really care cos the struggle goes on even when ur not there, blind and unaware
User currently offlineWrighbrothers From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 1875 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7248 times:

Another out standing and detailed report with high quality pictures .
And this time on a 767 , Did you enjoy it more than the 757 ?
Anyway great trip report !

Happy Flying !!  wave 



Always stand up for what is right, even if it means standing alone..
User currently offlineMexicana757 From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 3029 posts, RR: 29
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 7038 times:

Another great trip report SNATH, and pictures. Great pictures of the food.  wink 

User currently offlinePlanesarecool From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 4119 posts, RR: 11
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 6973 times:

Great report and excellent pictures. Glad you enjoyed your return trip!

-Stephen


User currently offlineSNATH From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 3238 posts, RR: 22
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 6825 times:

Hi guys,

Quoting Tsaord (Reply 1):
maybe ill add glasgow to my trip list, if i ever get the nerve to get on a long hual flight

Glasgow is definitely a very cool place to visit and it's pretty easy to do day-trips to nearby places too. Get in touch, through my profile, and I can advise on things to do/see (I live near Boston now, but I lived in Glasgow for 11 years until recently).

Quoting Jamman (Reply 2):
Just out of interest (because I've never connected before) what do u do with your bags after you land at Terminal 5? do you have to re-check them in at Terminal 3? (i.e. cue up at the check-in desks)

I only had hand luggage so I didn't pay too much attention on how they are rechecked in. I think, after immigration and customs, there's an area where you drop it off (so I don't think you need to carry your luggage to Terminal 3; someone else can confirm/deny this).

Quoting Jamman (Reply 2):
So the 767 was definitely better? How did economy look if you sneaked a peek?

Economy had the standard new AA economy seats. If you do a search on a.net, you'll get see what the seats look like.

Quoting SQNo1 (Reply 3):
A excellent trip report SNATH.

I was however surprised to see stems of broccoli in your salad, that one puzzled me.

Thank you. The broccoli had been blanched, so it was not too bad. But, I'm really not a big broccoli fan...

Quoting GLAGAZ (Reply 4):
Stunning report!! Maybe I've missed it but how full was the GLA-ORD segment of your trip?

Thank you. You did miss it.  Smile

Quoting SNATH (Thread starter):
Business class had only one empty seat. Economy seemed mostly full too.

To be more specific. I was originally booked in economy and, when I used AA's online system to choose my seat, there were less than 10 seats available then (that was less than two weeks before the flight). So, I'd guess, in the end, it was full or almost full.

Quoting Wrighbrothers (Reply 5):
Another out standing and detailed report with high quality pictures .
And this time on a 767 , Did you enjoy it more than the 757 ?
Anyway great trip report !

Given that the B767 had the new business class seats, and full business class service, it won hands down!  bigthumbsup 

Quoting Mexicana757 (Reply 6):
Another great trip report SNATH, and pictures. Great pictures of the food.



Quoting Planesarecool (Reply 7):
Great report and excellent pictures. Glad you enjoyed your return trip!

Thank you! Glad you enjoyed them!

Tony



Nikon: we don't want more pixels, we want better pixels.
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