My trip to New York went pretty well despite some delays at O'Hare two days ago. I flew out of Brussels on AA89, a 767-300ER, the weather there was partly to mostly cloudy. The load factor was about 50%. I had the seat 30J, a window seat behind the wing, and there was nobody next to me. Schedule departure time was 240PM local time. At 300PM, the Boeing 767 rolls down RWY 25R and lifts off in the well known gray skies of Belgium. After take off, we turn a little bit to the right, we fly over England followed by Scotland, before commencing our Atlantic crossing. Me must have joined our entry point in the Shanwick Oceanic Control Airspace near Scotland. Shanwich is an abbreviation for Shannon-Prestwick. Initial crusing altitude is 31000ft. On our way across the North Atlantic, beverages are served with peanuts along with a hot towel. I had a full can of bloodymary mix with ice. International flagship followed, choice of entree was either chicken or beef. I had the chicken, which came with boiled potatoes and beans. Quite good, with French red wine. Included in my meal was a salad with creamy italian dressing, butter, cheese and crackers. Desert was a chocolate mousse consisting of both white and dark chocolate. Coffee followed.
I take a quick nap after eating, the nice and beautiful silver bird continues its way across the Atlantic, we are now over Greenland. Seated on the right side of the Boeing, I had specacular views of Greenland. During the whole flight, we were following the sunset as we were flying westbound. A couple of hours after take off, I figured that it was already getting dark in Brussels. Passing the 30 degree longitude west of Greenwich, American 89 is switching to the Gander Oceanic Control Area. No altitude announcement was made but I figured that after getting rid of some fuel, we would upon reaching the Canadian airspace climb up to FL 350 or even 390 because the aircraft wasn't so heavy since the load factor was less than 50%. We did climb higher, either FL350 or 390, one of the two, not 370 because that's a flight level reserved for eastbound flights.
So we are now over the Canadian airspace, Chicago was four hours away. While looking out the window I enjoy the audio entertainment channels, I had Britney Spears (Crazy, I just can't sleep, I'm so excited...), Christina Aguilera (I'm a genie in a bottle...), and so on...It was fully cloudy over the Canadian airspace, the landscape was covered with overcast ceilings. I had in the meanwhile five glasses of water, with Toblerone chocolate. It is recommended to drind a lot of fluids while flying. An couple of hours before landing in Chicago, the flight attendants began serving afternoon snacks. It was pizza, unlike on other transatlantic flights. Usually the second meal is a hot turkey with cheese sandwich, a bag of potato chips and grapes. I had a diet sprite with my pizza.
So we now overfly American soil, we are over Northen Michigan, the last items are collected by the flight attendats and the captain announces on the PA that we are over Northern Michigan and slowly starting our descent to OHare internatinal airport. "Thanks for flying with us and we hope to see you on an other American Airlines flight" he said, as usual. It was moslty clear over Michigan and Lake Superior, the sun was setting, the cities were alreay getting their lights on. It was beautiful to see, it always is. We pursue our descent on lake Michigan, flaps are coming out (oh that's something amazing to see in flight), we intercept the ILS localizer of RWY 22R, and gears down, full flaps down, we land at 450PM local time. It was getting dark in Chicago when we landed. We clear the runway and we taxi towards Terminal 5. I saw a Lufthansa 747-200 and a Lufthansa A340 at United's Terminal 1. So there we are, parked at the gate at Terminal 5. I clear the customs without hassle, grab my luggage and recheck it to New York La Guradia. Scheduled to leave at 7 O'Clock, I was thinking of getting on the 600PM flight but I had to wait too long on the business class check in dest because the agent was busy with somebody else, so I decided not to change my flight. I recheck my luggage before transferring to Terminal 3. It was night already.
So I'm in Chicago, customs are cleared, I'm relaxing, waiting for my 700PM departure on flight 346 to LGA, the aircraft was an MD-80. I asked to get an upgrade but there was no seat available so they put me on stand-by. The flights was delayed initially until 730PM because of a mechanical failure, other passengers were changing to another flight, but I kept on waiting because it was still scheduled to depart at 730PM. Then it got postponed at 800PM, I had a bear while waiting. At 750PM, the agent announces: "Flight 346 to LGA is canceled". So I decided to do this: ask the agent to put me on the 830PM flight which was a 757. There was a flight at 8PM but nevermind, a half hour woudn't make any difference. My luggage got automatically transfered to flight 340. Flight 340 departed the gate right on time, at 830PM. I was not surprised to see that the flight was full because the 700PM flight was canceled. No upgrade, but never mind, I had a window seat 30F. We taxi to RWY 22L and we are airborne. Skies condiditons were clear, I had a fabulous view of downtown Chicago and the suburbs, it was a magnificient view. On our way to 37000ft, we proceed on course towards Southern Michigan , Cleveland OH, Pennsylvania before starting our descent into La Guardia airport. Overflying Cleveland, beverages were served, I had red wine. I nomally had to pay for it but I didn't. "It's 4 dollars" the stewardess said. "What?" I replied "They don't charge on international flights". She explained me that they do on domestic flights but she gave it to me for free this time. I explained her that I had just flown internationally and didn't know about that. She was blond, kind of attractive and friendly. I told her I was coming from Brussels. "Oh I love Brussels" she said. "Nice wafels and mossels...". I gave her a complement card I had received in the mail from American Airlines. "Is that a Chrismas present?" she asked. I knew she was making a joke, "yes, sort of..."I answered. She said "Thank you" and she said also that she hadn't received something like this in a long time.
So we are now over New Jersey, skies were clear, we start our descent into La Guardia, we pass just over Manhattan. Oh boy, it was beautiful to look at. We keep flying North before turing South towards La Guardia. At 1130PM local time, we touch down on RWY 22. I could see a few MD-80's being serviced in the AA maintenance hangar. A few minutes later, we park at the gate next to another 757. I deplane, grab my luggage and catch a cab. A half hour later, I was in Manhattan. I went to bed at 100AM local time. 24 hours after getting up, before leaving Brussels! That was another nice trip despite the delay, I was again happy.