Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3687 posts, RR: 31 Posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 25816 times:
Although this report begins in Boston the trip didn't, as we had flown up from Richmond the previous evening on US Airways, however, as per usual with regional jet flights it wasn't worth writing up so the report begins at the Hilton Boston Logan where we were spending the night. Some of you may remember it from a report I wrote last summer as it offers excellent views over the airport and is very convenient. Well this time we had reserved a room on the corner with an excellent view of the city. As we were getting up pretty early the following morning we decided not to make the short, but inconvenient trip into the city but settled upon making use of the rather good Executive Lounge on the top floor overlooking Terminal A. Incidentally we met an AA Executive Platinum member who was also on our flight, moaning his upgrade hadn't come through yet despite being an Executive Platinum member who flies 200,000 miles a year with them. Oh did I mention he was an Executive Platinum member? He certainly didn't forget to mention it at every opportunity The staff in the lounge came over for a chat and told us that Boston was expecting a heavy snowstorm the following day. Kirstin and I almost laughed it off as we'd come from 80 degree Richmond and were flying to the equally warm Hawaiian Islands. We retired to our respective rooms after having a couple of beers and sorted out our garb for the following morning.
Route: Boston Logan Int. - San Francisco Int.
Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA183
Aircraft: Boeing 757-223
Seat: 04A (First Class)
Distance: 2704 miles
Duration: 6hr 35mins
Date: Friday 16th March
Our morning began at 5.30am with a quick shower and a trip, once again, up to the Executive Lounge for a bite to eat, just enough to carry us over to breakfast onboard the flight. We checked out quickly from the room and leapt on the shuttle to Terminal B where we headed for First Class check-in. The line had a handful of people but moved rapidly enough for it not to be an issue. As we only had a 35min connection at San Francisco I asked if there was any way our two bags could be tagged for short connection. The gentleman seemed more concerned we'd miss our connection as opposed to our bags but I assured him that as long as the flight was on time we'd be safe. He did offer us a direct flight from Boston to Los Angeles but since he couldn't get us in First Class on the earlier Honolulu bound flights it seemed pointless, plus I had BA Executive Club tier point thresholds in my thoughts With six boarding passes in hands we left our bags to enjoy the 5600 mile journey to Honolulu. Meanwhile we headed to security, thanks to a combination of oneworld Emerald and First Class boarding passes our passage was seamless and within a few minutes we were ensconed within the quiet surroundings of the old Flagship Lounge, now part of the Admirals Club itself.
The old Flagship section of the Admirals Club at Boston
For some reason all the crowds had stayed in the more open, exposed Admirals Club ignoring the 'Additional Seating' signs, but this was of course to our advantage. The small enclaves provided quite a bit of privacy with just the odd interruption from the public address system. We had a nice view over the gate area just below us where it appeared a comedy of errors was unfolding with a baggage handler and his misbehaving load. One of the cases fell off as he was driving around the ramp, and he went to place it back in the wagon only for one to fall out the other side. This happened a couple of times and provided a dose of light early morning amusement. We headed to the gate around 30mins before departure, still with no sign of our esteemed EXP acquaintance, where boarding was in progress. As we were going through 2L a traffic jam had built up in the chilly jetway but we slowly moved on and with everyone filing through the second door the First Class cabin felt quite pleasant and quiet.
Immediately I was greeted by a smiling purser, a dead ringer for Daniel Craig, who offered to hang my flying jacket along with the offer of a pre-flight drink. Orange juice for me please. First impressions count for a lot and I just knew this guy was going to be a star, helping passengers with bags and welcoming individuals as they boarded. We pushed back 5mins late, with the short connection something I wasn't hoping for but our very informative captain told us that we would be expected into San Francisco early. I did also notice that our 757 has been adorned with 'AA.com' branded winglets, something I hadn't seen before.
During our taxi out to the runway it was hard to tell which of them we'd be departing from as it seemed aircraft were using both runway 9 and 4R. The captain informed us in his best New York accent that during the latter parts of the taxi that we would be departing from 4R and then went on to describe the route in such immense detail that even if I wanted to jot it all down I couldn't have! Interspersing his conversations he decided to repeatedly gun the throttle so much so I wasn't sure if he was opting to just depart from the taxiway! Instead he settled for just rolling onto 4R and hitting the gas without stopping.
Departing Boston from runway 4R
The purser came round introducing himself to us and seemed rather impressed with the BA status my wife and I held, asking us about our travels and the like. He seemed genuine with his conversation and was rather charming, I do find with AA that the very best crews are exceptional and this gentleman was no different. Within 30mins of takeoff he had remembered all 22 passengers names by heart . He then took pre-breakfast drinks orders and those for the meal itself.
Post take-off drinks
The first thirty minutes or so had been rather bumpy but by this time we had found clearer air and within an hour of takeoff breakfast was in our hands.
Seasonal Fruit Appetizer
A Three-Cheese Omelette accented by Saffron Onions and accompanied by Sausage-Potato Hash
CEREAL AND FRUIT WITH YOGHURT
Served with a banana and fresh seasonal berries
BREAKFAST BREAD BASKET
An assortment of warm Breads
Freshly baked onboard Otis Spunkmeyer Cookies
Chilled Sparkling Water with Fruit Garnish'
I had opted for the Cheese Omelette as I was after something a bit more substantial and/or interesting than an anonymous cereal.
A Three-Cheese Omelette accented by Saffron Onions and accompanied by Sausage-Potato Hash
In fact I was rather surprised by this and it was much better than anticipated. Considering how decidedly hopeless the offerings were on my flights on this route last summer I was expecting to eat this with a grimace. Whilst it wasn't amazing by any means it was certainly decent for an aircraft heated meal Bagels and biscuits (American style biscuits for our Queen's English speaking friends here) were subsequently offered by the purser's second in command although I declined these.
The views over New York state, the Great Lakes and Michigan were pretty amazing with the breaking and patchy ice over Lake Huron making interesting viewing. There are so many amazing things to see from the window of an airplane so I like to keep my camera on hand. See my Imagestation album from the trip for quite a number of photos. CBS Eye on American was well under way by this point, quite a smorgasbord of different shows on there, although I wished they spent more time focussing in on one of my favourite shows, 'The Amazing Race'. My wife was trying to sleep so I offered to swap with her so she could prop her pillow up against the window.
Passing over the Onekama, MI and Lake Michigan
As we passed over Green Bay and on into Wisconsin the captain gave us a progress report, informing us of our estimated time of arrival into San Francisco with details of the second half of our journey. After this the inflight movies were fired up, first off was 'Happy Feet', quite amusing in parts, not the kind of movie I'd watch out of choice but it helped pass a portion of the flight.
My wife, taking a nap
After this I decided to just sit back and enjoy the ride, despite the fact that 'Dreamgirls' was running straight after. A young mother and child had boarded at the beginning of the flight and sat in 1E & 1F. Until now I hadn't even noticed them but at this point the child seemed to become alive, and not in a good way. The mother had her standing on the drinks / armrest area and leaning back reaching for the people sat behind them in row 2. She made no effort to stop the child and things got worse when just a few minutes later she sat the child back and changed the nappy ('diaper' for those in the 'West Colonies' ) whilst eating some chips at the same time! I was quite disgusted and couldn't believe my eyes. By this time the flat terrain of the midwest was becoming whiter and more defined as we approached the Rocky Mountains.
Passing over the Rocky Mountains
We were now four and half hours into the six hour flight and the smell of freshly baked cookies began to disperse throughout the cabin. My wife, who had woken up by this point, was having trouble wiping all the drool from my lips
Freshly baked Otis Spunkmeyer chocolate chip cookies
The purser offered a choice of chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin and a glass of milk to complement them. My wife was not surprised when I accepted the purser's offer for seconds, I did decline thirds though thinking it was just a touch greedy .
A great view of Yosemite National Park was offered as we passed over the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada with some nice views of what I believe to be Mammoth Mountain ski resort.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevada
Over the Sierra Nevada
We descended just north of the Fresno area before heading in a more northerly direction. At this time our pre-departure arrival drink was passed around although most of the cabin seemed to be more keen on preparing themselves for our arrival. I accepted the drink which was just a small glass of sparkling water. Quite refreshing but it did seem a little odd.
We began our turn to the right and final approach over San Jose and the southern end of San Francisco Bay. There were certainly some very interesting 'fields' out that way. I'm not sure I'd call them fields but they were very colourful, providing a nice final approach into SFO's 28R, touching down just before noon local time.
Final approach onto runway 28R at San Francisco. I'd be interested to know what these coloured 'fields' are. Answers on a metaphorical postcard...
The landing runway was just about ideal for arrival into the AA concourse and as we came back round to dock up the Virgin America fleet were visible across the 28 runways...
Getting off the aircraft was straightforward enough, and I made a visual note of the gate for our Los Angeles flight which wasn't departing for almost another hour. With the AA concourse being as small as it is the Admirals Club was the most obvious place to while away the next hour or so.
Route: San Francisco Int. - Los Angeles Int.
Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA1320
Aircraft: McDonnell Douglas MD-83
Seat: 04A (First Class)
Distance: 337 miles
Date: Friday 16th March
I've been in this Admirals Club a few times before so knew what to expect, i.e. not very much, like the majority of Admirals Clubs! The two of us were offered drinks vouchers which were subsequently traded for a couple of bottles of Anchor Steam.
The Admirals Club at SFO
Whilst my wife made a couple of phone calls I noticed all the JFK & BOS bound flights had been cancelled. I considered myself very lucky that we'd escaped when we had done, or else we'd really have been stuck when it came to boarding our cruise in Honolulu! With my eyes on the screens I'd noticed our LAX bound flight wasn't noted as boarding yet it seemed to go straight from this to a PA for final boarding. Luckily Gate 61 was just around the corner and we appeared to be amongst the last to board. First Class was full with the usual cellphone addicted types talking until the very last second. You know the types of people, those who have a mobile phone attached to their swimshorts at the beach. Settling in to the seat it felt rather odd. The plane itself smelled like an old car and the general ambience of place is best described as 'battleworn'. The seats were a little lumpy and I felt almost scooched down ('Beverly Hills Cop II' fans will know what I am talking about) in the seat. Somehow and despite flying AA on a semi-regular basis over the last 15yrs or so I'd never been on one of their omnipresent MD-80 aircraft before.
The crew made their first appearance at the front of the cabin with safety card in hand doing the obligatory demo. They didn't seem too bothered about going beyond the very minimum duty, barely breaking a frown for the entire flight. I was hoping we hadn't already used up our personal quota of good crews on this trip...
The taxi out to runway 1L was interrupted by an apparent order from ATC to hold back due to the weather in Los Angeles and so a couple of AA 757s passed us departing for somewhere east whilst we sat awaiting clearance. Our takeoff and ascent offered a great view of SFO itself as we basically encircled the whole airport before heading south east.
A great view of San Francisco Airport
As we climbed with San Francisco Bay on our left a parallel landing was visible on the SFO's 28 runways, something that all aviation enthusiasts seem to enjoy. An announcement was made that due to the short flight time passengers would only be allowed to make one drink order, this was to allow everyone to get a chance to enjoy a beverage on the flight.
When we reached our cruising altitude an announcement was made for passengers to only use the lavatories in their ticketed cabin. I guess some AA crew didn't get the memo The view from 33,000ft whilst quite monotonous was interesting for the first twenty minutes or so, the San Andreas Fault clearly visible below to the port side with the snowcapped Sierra Nevada acting as a backdrop.
AA's 'Premium' Snack Mix
So called 'premium snack mix' was handed out with our drinks orders, in my case a Coke. I'd have thought hot nuts, being the staple of First Class cabins throughout North America, would have been more appropriate. For the remainder of the flight I did some Sudoku with my wife. It is a new hobby of hers and certainly helps pass otherwise dull flights.
We were quite a way west of Los Angeles and as we descended we turned east, with the Hollywood Hills off to the port side, banking with the high rise buildings of Los Angeles itself on our left. The city seemed to be shrouded in fog, or smog, or low cloud or something. It wasn't quite one or the other, most likely a combination of all three, mixing in the geographical lie of the place for good measure.
Downtown Los Angeles - The Staples Center and Convention Center visible in bottom left corner
We landed on runway 24R, taxiing right round what seemed to be every single building on the LAX property. At one point it seemed as though our taxi time would exceed that of the inflight portion of the journey! A few AA 767-200s seemed to be parked up away from the terminal, most likely marooned there following the slew of cancellations on the New York JFK bound flights.
We parked up at the end of the main concourse in Terminal 4 and disembarked pretty quickly making our way towards the Flagship Lounge.
Route: Los Angeles Int. - Honolulu Int.
Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA297
Aircraft: Boeing 757-223
Seat: 05E (First Class)
Distance: 2556 miles
Duration: 5hrs 40mins
Date: Friday 16th March
The Flagship Lounge at LAX is always rather quiet, much more so than the Admirals Club across the way and today was no exception. If there were half a dozen people in there I would be overestimating it!
As Kirstin and I were yet to get anything to eat for lunch we took a look at the selections on offer, and unlike the Admirals Club it was open bar and snacks aplenty. Today on offer was smoked salmon and a selection of sandwiches, plus the usual snack type items. I took a quick peek at the champagne and wines on offer today and they seemed really average, especially considering this acts as the international First Class lounge for both AA and Qantas. I was hoping the latter would have kept the place in goood shape for the premium passengers. Instead I opted for a Amstel Light, as it appeared the Coronas were out
Smoked Salmon, sandwiches and Amstel Light
Kirstin and I flicked through the guide books we had brought with us for Hawaii but couldn't help but people watch every now and then. The most amusing part for us was when a guy gatecrashed his way into the lounge without having his credentials checked. The staff member eventually caught up with him whilst he was scarfing down as many sandwiches and beers as he could get his hands on. It was amusing watching her eject him from the lounge as he decided to pick up more food on the way to get his bags and ate the whole plate load in one go! He didn't leave in a good mood!
I realised at this point I'd need some cash for the taxi from Honolulu Airport and the guy manning the lounge gave me directions to an ATM right by the entrance to the lounge. Unfortunately it was out of order so I asked a cop who was nearby, he directed me out through security and downstairs. I already had my BP in my pocket with my passport so went to withdraw the Benjamins. Thankfully security was completely empty this afternoon although I did get an odd look from the TSA staff who wondered why I only had a boarding pass on my possession for a trip to Hawaii! Back to the lounge and CNN where footage was being played showing the weather on the East Coast and the havoc left in its wake. A few more beers and some more smoked salmon were certainly in order...
AA Flagship Lounge at LAX
By this point the wife and I were the only passengers in the lounge itself although it wasn't long before a couple of ladies were escorted in by an AA Special Services agent and sat next to my wife and I. Once the dark glasses and hat were removed it was pretty obvious one of the ladies was Queen Latifah, obviously trying to travel somewhat incognito. She didn't seem too needy and fussy although the Special Services Agent did come in to check on the two of them to make sure that everything was in order. They were in the lounge for about half an hour before going down to the gate at the last minute for their flight.
AA 757 just arrived at LAX pulling up to the gate below the Flagship Lounge
Around 5.30pm the friendly chap manning the lounge came over to tell us that our flight was just about to board, so we gathered our belongings and went down to the gate at the end of the concourse. It was perfect timing because just as we arrived at the gate area boarding for First Class passengers was announced so we went and settled down in row 5 with our large blankets and pillows. All passengers were handed customs forms to fill out, which I left my wife with as I looked out the window at what appeared to be the ever decreasing visibility. Aircraft were disappearing into cloud once they got maybe only 200-300ft off the ground!
The weather is a coming in...
Boarding took a while thanks to the fact the entire plane in both First Class and economy was full. This did give us time to enjoy two rounds of pre-flight drinks, not bad considering the F crew had to fight the economy passengers who were boarding at this time.
The purser gave his pre-flight spiel introducing himself as 'The Hairy One' and he did seem very jovial. Apparently he was due to fly to London that evening but was chosen at the last minute to go to Honolulu. He seemed pretty at home on the 777's smaller brother though and even added the 'Aloha' and 'Mahalo' touches to each of his announcements
We pushed back quite a way behind schedule and taxied round the back of TBIT before getting in line to depart from 24L. Was a fairly busy evening at LAX and it was 6.50pm by the time we were airborne, passing through thick layers of cloud before emerging and a beautiful sunset becoming visible to the starboard side.
The RB-211 on this 757, shortly after departure from LAX
Our #1, "the hairy guy", announced that apparently some were having technical problems with the audio channels on the flight, with one ear being Spanish and the other English. A light hearted swap or earphones with a Spanish speaking neighbour was mooted which got a bit of a chuckle.
The climb up to 35,000ft was smooth, well it was for me in the window seat. My wife was suffering somewhat with an elderly gentleman sat behind her and his fits and starts which she felt all too regularly through the seatback. With only 38" pitch on these 757s these little annoyances can cause a few problems.
The dinner choice this evening was ribs or pasta; playing it safe once again I went for pasta. At this point, around forty minutes into the flight, hot nuts were delivered along with hot towels and a post takeoff drinks order was taken. Being en-route to the Hawaiian Islands it seemed appropriate to order Mai Tais, well almost, as AA don't carry all the ingredients it was a bit of a bodge job but it turned out great! I was happy!
Mai Tais, AA style...
A Greek salad made up the first of the offerings in the meal service on this flight which began just about one hour after takeoff. It had a tomato based dressing/vinaigrette which was quite tasty. A few too many cucumbers and tomatoes for my fussy tastes though
Greek salad with cheesebread
Brownie laden ice cream with raspberry sauce
I have to say I found this dinner to be very tasty! Sure it wasn't gourmet cuisine by a long shot and if it was on an international route I'd have been quite disappointed but it tasted fine and I was hungry! I just love the ice creams AA serve too. I don't know if the sauces are meant to be frozen to the glass dish but it just tastes SOOO good like that
After the dinner had been tidied away I went to the bathroom, reclined the seat a touch and fell asleep for all but the last twenty five minutes of the flight. I certainly wasn't the only one to fall asleep during our hop across the Pacific and a few weary faces could be seen in the cabin.
We descended into Honolulu touching down on runway 4R. It was gone 9pm Honolulu time, and approaching a 24hr day for us and I felt quite tired. We arrived into gate 17, at the end of the concourse that the AA flights arrive into and it was short walk through the airport and down into the baggage claim area. All the passengers from our flight, some looking more worn out than others, had arrived at the belt before it began to spring into life. Fortunately the two bags I was on the look out for arrived fairly promptly and we were soon sitting in the back of a taxi en-route to our hotel on Waikiki Beach where we were spending the night.
Route: Honolulu Int. - San Francisco Int.
Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA28
Aircraft: Boeing 767-323/ER
Seat: 03J (First Class)
Distance: 2399 miles
Duration: 4hrs 15mins
Date: Sunday 25th March
The day began all in a bit of a rush, we had slept in and our driver was due to meet us in the lobby of our hotel. Usually I'd be happy with just taking a cab but a guy had advertised a stretch limo from Waikiki to the airport for just $25 which was less than a cab, so I figured there was a catch. Well there wasn't a catch, it was quite new and in good condition but a bit pimp for my likings! The boot and cushions were all zebra print! My wife thought it was all very amusing though!
The AA check-in was fairly quiet, a number of people were self checking in but I needed to see an agent so went to the regular line. There was one desk marked 'AA First Class' which was dealing with both Economy and First Class passengers. There were some staff flying today who were checking in when we arrived and they seemed to take an AGE. I don't think I've ever waited so long behind a group, and a few people had opted to self check as a result.
When the staff finally finished being dealt with the wife and I were called forward and all our boarding passes were sorted out. Appeared we had made an amateur mistake though and hadn't put our checked bags through the agricultural inspection so back we went. A quick scan and two blue stickers later and we were able to exchange cases for boarding passes.
Security was a breeze and we enjoyed the fact that Honolulu is somewhat open air with a nice Japanese garden adorning a courtyard area in one part of the airport. If BAA ever took bought HNL there's no doubt it'd be flattened in favour of a 'World Duty Free' store
The Japanese Garden at Honolulu Airport
The oneworld lounge at Honolulu is over in a different part of the airport to where AA flights go from and we walked over in the direction advised by the check-in agent. After unnecessarily taking the Wiki-Wiki Shuttle to get to the Admirals Club/Qantas Club (thanks to some dodgy directions from a HNL member of staff!) we eventually made it. The lounge itself wasn't too bad, not one of the better oneworld lounges by any means but not dreadful. I helped myself to a couple of magazines and called my parents to tell them about our trip.
Qantas Club and Admirals Club at Honolulu
Around 12.15pm, around 30minutes before departure we made the walk, yes walk ( ) back to Gate 17 where our flight was boarding. The front galley where we'd pass to take the starboard aisle was blocked by the FAs so we had to clumsily hop across the folks in the E and F seats. Sorry! Looking over it turned out there was a guy in my wife's seat. I remarked that there must be some mistake and he retrieved his BP for 3H. Oh bugger, not again! (Read my BA First report from CPT-LHR for a similar event) The FA came over and examined his boarding pass and it was for AA39 in seat 3H. Either way he had apparently upgraded using stickers and so removed all of his AA Gold tag adorned bags to the overhead locker above seat 2B. Even from this briefest of interactions with the FAs I could tell they weren't going to be up to the standard of the superstars we'd met on the flights out here.
I went and changed into my pyjamas and settled in whilst boarding completed and supped on my pre-flight water. It was nice to get aboard a 767-300 on this flight, far superior to the 757s that the longer flights had been on so far. For those unfamiliar with the seat it is the international business class seat in a 2-2-2 configuration with 60" pitch. Quite excellent and very comfortable for a domestic flight.
The seat and cabin on the Boeing 767-300
As we taxied away from stand the safety video was played and it was announced that we'd be getting the International Flagship Dinner in First Class. Hang on! Since when has Hawaii been an international destination when flying to/from the US mainland?
Taxiing out to the Reef Runway
The taxi over to 8R, better known as the Reef Runway was quite long, however was more scenic than most trips to runways at large airports
Reef Runway departure on AA28
After heading out from HNL I was taking note of our climb rate quite closely, a few days before we had been up to the top of the Haleakala Crater on Maui, just over 10,000ft above sea level and I was surprised how many minutes it took our 767 to reach that altitude. Alas when we did the Maui crater was quite visible as we turned just north of Molokai and headed north east towards the West Coast.
The north coast of Molokai
A trailer for the movie, 'Night At The Museum' played, something I was quite looking forward to seeing so I kept my eyes on the skymap to make sure I didn't miss the end of CBS Eye on American and the beginning of the movie itself.
Around 30 minutes after takeoff our hot nuts and post takeoff drinks were handed out. In the absence of decent beers I went with the best of the worst Heineken...
Post takeoff drinks and hot nuts
We were given some time to enjoy our hot nuts and offered a couple of top ups before the 'International Flagship Dinner' itself began. FEBO was observed on this flight, as with all other flights on this itinerary, and I asked for the BBQ chicken, the other option being the apparently omnipresent, pasta. For some reason hot towels weren't given out on this flight, maybe that was all part of the Flagship service mentioned earlier
Garden salad with cheese bread and Heineken
Barbeque Chicken with rice
The salad itself was quite edible, hard to screw up a salad to be honest, unless you make it with courgettes, tomatoes and then douse it in lighter fluid, obviously...
The Barbeque chicken was unremarkable, the chicken itself was quite rubbery and rather a small piece. I did enjoy the barbeque sauce though, a different take on BBQ sauce, in the same way airline food is a different take on cuisine I did know that the best was yet to come with ice cream due out as the finale I was slightly confused when all our tray tables were cleared away, thinking perhaps the ice cream hadn't been loaded. This was beginning to look more and more clear when bottles of water were handed out. Then all was well, a tray with ice creams was being prepared in the galley
The mysterious but oh so good ice cream flavour
I thought the ice cream on the LAX-HNL flight was good but this was amazing! Maybe altitude had got to my taste buds, maybe I just love ice cream, I'm not sure...but I am sure that this ice cream tasted great! I even asked nicely if I could have another and my wish was granted. My wife who was trying to avoid it altogether was giving me evil looks at this point...
After this was cleared away I reclined the seat a touch more and watched the aforementioned movie. Quite a fun film with some good one liners, although we did experience a few audio problems that meant we had to go back a few minutes a couple of times. Apparently the problems were only restricted to one set of seats...
The movie hadn't finished and we were beginning our descent into San Francisco. I needed to go back and change into my clothes but didn't want to miss a key part of the film! In the end I rushed as fast as I could and as soon as the movie ended I packed away the rest of my things. Although we had arrived early into the Bay Area we were put into a holding pattern with a number of other aircraft off the Pacific coast. Eventually we headed inland, turning somewhere over San Jose, across the San Mateo Bridge and onto runway 28R. The aircraft made the short taxi over to Gate 66 and we left the secure area to meet my brother-in-law who had made the trip to the airport to come and see us during our 2hr connection. He was born in Kaua'i and worked in Honolulu for a few years so we were telling him all about our trip, flicking through pictures on my digital camera.
Route: San Francisco Int. - Boston Logan Int.
Airline: American Airlines
Flight Number: AA150
Aircraft: Boeing 757-223
Seat: 02E (First Class)
Distance: 2704 miles
Duration: 5hrs 20mins
Date: Sunday 25th March
After chatting with my brother-in-law for a good hour and quarter it was 10pm and time to head airside in time for the 10.35pm departure. Knowing the AA concourse at SFO pretty well I knew 30mins before departure gave us plenty of time to spare, and I was right, even with all passengers being funnelled through the priority line we arrived at gate 60 a short time before boarding began. Being in Group 1 I wanted to get close to the gate itself to avoid the crush and so positioned myself accordingly, noting that it was a beverage service in both cabins this evening. Boarding was called and as I was about to hand my boarding pass to the gate agent a small, bald chap barges right into my way with his BP out ahead of him, this was just the beginning of the mini saga with this guy
First Class was busy thanks to a number of people being upgraded at the gate, judging by the seatmap I saw a couple of days before. I grabbed my pyjamas and fought my way to the front bathroom to get changed. The flight attendant was working her way from row 6 forwards offering to hang coats. She was rather taken aback when I handed her a shirt and a pair of trousers! She said in twenty years of flying she'd never seen anyone change into pyjamas on an overnight flight! I was really surprised by this as the flight was of similar length to an eastbound transatlantic flight where many passengers on every flight change into pyjamas. As I turned to sit down the gentleman (in the loosest sense of the word) from the gate, now sat in 2B was rolling his eyes at me and shaking his head. The attitude of those around me was if I'd committed some form of heresy!! My view was that I wouldn't intentionally fall asleep in my clothes at home so why do the same on a 5hr flight? Most annoying was that on the overnight flight we were given the 200% polyester red blankets and the hopelessly thin pillows so small 'The Borrowers' would have a hard time sleeping with them! Why did we get nice thick duvets and proper pillows on all our other flights yet the one flight they are necessary they aren't there?!?
As the rest of the aircraft boarded the wife and I did some more Sudoku, which we continued through the taxi right out until we were about to depart from runway 1R. We were off the ground just before 11pm and a number of passengers had already tried to sleep although a couple of announcements were made which didn't help them, incidentally another one of which was to use the lavatory in ticketed cabin! Another memo appears to have gone astray at AMR Corp
We were experiencing some mild turbulence for some time after takeoff, nothing major but just enough to keep the seatbelt sign on and to help rock those tired passengers to sleep. Unfortunately Mr 2B was one of those passengers but instead of snoozing like a baby he was snoring like a traction engine I did have a pair of noise cancelling headphones with me but as others who own them will know they don't cancel out noise of varying frequencies like errr, snoring! I did happen to have a pair of earplugs which did help a little but not quite enough.
The seats on the 757 are not suited to sleeping in anyway whatsoever, especially if you are in the aisle seat. My wife managed to prop her pillow up against the window. I tried everything short of lying across the floor before settling with putting my bag on the blanket I had placed on the drinks table between the two seats and lying my head on this. It worked quite well although my wife was awoken by the sound of meals being prepared around 1hr after takeoff. Judging by the screen at the gate I didn't think this was the case but yes, row 1 were handed trays of salad. My wife was very hungry by this point and so wanted to eat, I wasn't bothered but she had to get her tray table out from under my bag so I had little choice in the matter...The flight attendant comes over to offer us the choices and Mr Snorer who has awaken somewhat now interrupts the flight attendant telling her he wants such and such a meal The choice when it came was quite surprising; Chateaubriand salad or a cheese platter. The former was the obvious choice and it was joined by a small box of truffles. I was quite impressed, especially since I didn't think we'd be getting any food whatsoever. The Chateaubriand itself was actually pretty good and quite well presented (sorry no picture). Meanwhile Mr 2B had his bowl up in the air in one hand and was spooning the stuff nearly continuously into his mouth. I really did feel bad for the guy sitting next to this chap. The meal itself worked very well with the salad and the chocolates weren't half bad either. Especially when my wife handed hers to me Something that I hadn't seen for a while was individual salt and pepper shakers. They were kind of clipped together and were plastic but it was a nice touch in an apparent every cheapening era of domestic flying.
After the meal was cleared away I put my bag back on the blanket beside me and slept once more. The next thing I am aware of is waking up and it being 6.30am, or 3.30am or 12.30am depending on which time zone I chose to be part of The blinds were going up and we were descending in the morning sun over New Hampshire around 30mins before landing. Patchy turbulence meant the seatbelt sign remained on and I'd have to leave the plane in my pyjamas
The city of Boston with Logan Airport in the back left
The financial district of Boston and Logan itself appeared to the starboard side, bathing in the early morning light. The aircraft passed almost directly over Logan heading out over the Atlantic briefly before turning and landing on runway 27. This gave us a short taxi in to the AA concourses and we parked up on stand right beside the security checkpoint. With clothes in hand and feeling a bit nasty we headed for the Admirals Club and guess who was there just behind us? Mr 2B and his antics weren't up yet. He was behind my wife and I as we waited to be called forward, as I was given the wave the chap tried to barge his way in front of us. What was this person's problem for crying out loud? ? Thankfully the ever friendly Hector was on hand to put the guy in his place and we were welcomed into the Admirals Club even though technically we shouldn't have. I freshened up and changed back into my clothes and had a couple of glasses of water before going downstairs to wait for our bags to come through. Miraculously they were two of the very first through and the next stop was Terminal C for our flight back to Richmond...where I almost got arrested!
Is AA First Class a good product? Well it hinges on two things, getting a good crew and getting the right aircraft! The 767-300 is a real treat for domestic flying and it is regularly scheduled on a number of flights across the country. The 757 and not-so-Super 80s are so prevalent on AA's route network that it is hard to get away from them. The former is still quite comfortable on dayflights but with no legrest getting any form of sleep on the overnights is tough.
Fortunately we did have a couple of excellent crews on this trip, particularly the purser on BOS-SFO who was a real star with "The Hairy Guy" on LAX-HNL being a fun guy to have onboard also.
Jsnww81 From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 1856 posts, RR: 17 Reply 5, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 25089 times:
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter): I thought the ice cream on the LAX-HNL flight was good but this was amazing! Maybe altitude had got to my taste buds, maybe I just love ice cream, I'm not sure...but I am sure that this ice cream tasted great!
I know just what you're talking about... I think it's vanilla ice cream with chocolate-and-granola chunks, and some kind of icy peach slush on the bottom. I've had in Business Class ORD-LHR and a few times in First on ORD-MIA flights. You're right, it is pretty tasty.
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter): If BAA ever took bought HNL there's no doubt it'd be flattened in favour of a 'World Duty Free' store
Ha! Just think of how many Sock Shops and faux Harrod's stores they could fit in there! All windows and greenery must be destroyed, that's BAA's mantra.
Nice report, by the way. Although the seats are older, I find AA first class on the 757 to be much roomier and more comfortable than the 738 or the MD80. You're exactly right - the MD80 F seats have a weird "scooped out" feeling that doesn't give enough back support. Give me one of the old leather seats on the 757 any day!
We had passed through security and noted the gate where our flight was departing from. It was around 30mins before scheduled departure time and I asked the GA about boarding. She said the plane hadn't arrived yet and to check the various monitors in the terminal. The wife and I went to the Red Carpet Club around the corner and were following the status of the flight. The flight was due to depart at 8.55am and was showing as being on time. At around 8.40am according to my watch the flight had disappeared off the monitors! I then noticed the clock on the monitor was 8.51am! When we were coming in to land in Boston I'd mistakenly not put my watch forward a full 3hrs, but only around 2hrs 50mins. We ran up to the gate and the display behind the podium where it had previously showed our flight destination was now a blank 'Thank You For Flying United Airlines'. I went into 'Oh shit' mode at this point as the gate area was fairly empty. I asked someone if they were on our flight and he said he wasn't so I presumed it had already boarded or closed. There was no GA to be seen and the jetbridge door was open, the BP reader showed 'Boarding UAXXXX' as well. I ran down the jetway with boarding passes in hand thinking I was the very last to board. The CRJ was there with the door open and GA chatting with the FA. I held the boarding passes out to her and said we were here apologising for the delay. Then things went a little bad, the GA said the flight had only just arrived and boarding hadn't started, she shouted at me saying if I didn't return to the gate area she'd call the police. I tried to explain why I'd done what I did but she again she'd call the cops if I didn't go back this second.
Rather embarassed I went back to the gate area and waited for other passengers to disembark. Boarding was called and once again I tried to explain my actions again but was told that I should never enter a jetbridge without permission. OK, but I've flown enough to know that everything presented to me gave the indication that the flight was closing. Do I just stand in the gate and watch my aircraft push back, which could quite easily have happened. Personally although I was in the wrong, if the jetbridge is such a hallowed area perhaps she should have shut and locked the door behind her when she went to attend to the arriving aircraft.
I'd be interested to know what anyone here would have done in my shoes....
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter): She made no effort to stop the child and things got worse when just a few minutes later she sat the child back and changed the nappy ('diaper' for those in the 'West Colonies' ) whilst eating some chips at the same time! I was quite disgusted and couldn't believe my eyes.
Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter): I've been in this Admirals Club a few times before so knew what to expect, i.e. not very much, like the majority of Admirals Clubs!
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3687 posts, RR: 31 Reply 11, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 24475 times:
Quoting JetsGo (Reply 9): How was it after flying for so long, only to arrive in BOS with a whole day ahead of you?
I flew to Richmond, changed into my suit and went straight to work. I don't get jet lag I probably slept for about three hours on the overnight flight and that was enough to keep me going for the day.
Quoting MDL412 (Reply 7): I've been on a few overnight flights and have never seen anyone change clothes (in any of the classes) .
Internationally is a different story though, and frankly at over 5hrs this is not much different in length to say BOS-LHR. On those flights you'll find a number of people on each flight changing into pyjamas, especially in J & F. Why the difference when flying domestically? If anything with less comfortable seating I'm surprised people don't make more effort to get comfortable!
Quoting Collin260 (Reply 10): I am going to Hawaii on AA First Class next week. Now I can't wait!
I'm jealous. I want to go back Which islands are you visiting?
Crdaus From Australia, joined Jan 2006, 142 posts, RR: 3 Reply 16, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 24051 times:
Nice report! Your BOS-SFO leg reminds me of the one I did about this time last year. The AA Club in BOS is OK - just. I think they could offer more food, especially so early in the morning. The AA 757s are not very good - no leg room and inferior 1st class service compared with AA's premium product yet the price is the same! How was Waikiki? Just love that place.
Fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3687 posts, RR: 31 Reply 17, posted (6 years 1 month 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 23669 times:
Quoting BA380 (Reply 13): I am v jealous that you got the 767 on one leg. I had 757 both ways from LAX-HNL-LAX last year. Guess I should have booked via SFO...
AFAIK there is still a 763 or two pedalling the LAX-HNL routes, you just need to hope there is no a/c substitutuions. AA have been reducing the 763s on this route recently.
Quoting BA380 (Reply 13): I think HNL is such a cool airport - the outdoors-indoors area is fab.
It is certainly different but I am surprised it is allowed. I'd have thought it'd be susceptible to some serious FOD issues.
Quoting Collin260 (Reply 14): I am going to Maui and then making a day trip up to Oahu. I got a direct flight from Dallas right into Maui with AA so thats a plus.
Please say you've been to Kaua'i! Was my favourite island by a long shot. I took an 1hr long helicopter tour of it with my wife and took a ton of pictures. Had a thought I might do a report on that flight as it was so spectacular but feel I need a rest from reports for a while....
Quoting Crdaus (Reply 16): The AA Club in BOS is OK - just. I think they could offer more food, especially so early in the morning.
Well 98% clubs in the US have a similar MO; no alcoholic drinks for free, food limited to snacks etc etc. Maybe I'm just used to lounges in the US now and just expect them to be somewhere comfortable to sit for a short period of time. Next time you are there go to the 'Additional Seating' area like I did. More private, less people and nicer bathrooms
Quoting Crdaus (Reply 16): The AA 757s are not very good - no leg room and inferior 1st class service compared with AA's premium product yet the price is the same!
The legroom isn't bad but not great either, then again in Europe the seats are pretty similar in J or Y for a four hour flight. Sure I preferred the 763 but for a dayflight the 757 isn't that bad...presuming the people in front don't use all their recline
Pretty cool although we only stayed there for one night at each end of our cruise. We stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village which is right on the beach, so convenient...was nice just to be able walk 30ft from where we were staying to the beach, then swim another 30ft off the shore and see the little reefs. Plus it isn't every day you wake up and your view out of the window looks like this
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
I was there at a conference last year - I don't know what I really expected, but I suppose I had assumed it would be a slightly more built-up version of, say, Barbados, or Antigua. I was disappointed by the high-rise nature of Waikiki. It's not a bit like it looks on 'Lost'! I guess Maui etc are more low-key. May have to go one day!