I enjoy traveling and earning frequent flyer miles and my social life has kind of dropped off thanks to a time consuming weekend job which is a good money maker so I decided a good trip was in the works for this weekend when work gave me the weekend off. I spent $376 on this trip and earned 15,806 miles (6,406 qualifying), equaling out to 2.38 Cents spent per mile. Plus as a Rookie AAdvantage Platinum I gotta keep this status by flying a lot, so these trips work well
American Eagle Flight 4735
Sched Depart: 9:00 AM
Sched Board: 8:30 AM
Ironically enough my parents and two sisters were going up to Boston for an Adoption Function (both my sisters are adopted from China) so I was able to bum a ride off them (saving me $48) and as it turned out they booked on my flight as well. We got to LGA in 25 minutes and my parents bickered the entire way, this was extremely amusing as they are both lawyers. Once there I helped my mom get checked in with a skycap, I mainly helped by carrying her bag which was the size of a good car's trunk, this is for an overnight trip, I'm doing the same thing and I have a backpack. I went inside and waited in the Elite/First Class line with two people in front of me, one of them my father. After two minutes I was checked in by an extremely friendly and helpful gate agent who called my LGA-BOS-JFK routing the strangest thing he'd seen in his 20 year career, I’m touched. In fact it was so strange the computer figured I had a reservation error and he had to override that. I then headed down to the C concourse through a fast security check point, I figured the best way to handle these things is grab the bin, put in my wallet, pen and pack of gum and my shoes and walk through, sure the floor is freezing but it beats a wanding. Once through I went to an Au Boin Pain which has extremely bad coffee and sat with my family while my sister of 7 asked me what every plane was, my dad surprised me by knowing the difference between a 717 and a DC-9, good man. Soon they called "All Groups All Rows for AA 4735 to Boston"
Seat 2A, Main Cabin
Photo © Rudy Chiarello
Actual Depart: 8:54 AM
Actual Board: 8:28 AM
Flight Time: 32 Minutes at FL170
I boarded and immediately hit my head on the damned ceiling of this little number two pencil, I said to the flight attendant "I forgot how damn small these planes are" trying to break the ice and have a good laugh with her but instead she said in a bored voice "boarding pass, ok 2A and jabbed a finger at my seat" I let it pass with a smile, maybe she voted no last month. We took off behind four other planes, all RJ's which isn't bad for LaGuardia at all. After take off the f/a passed around a cup of whatever beverage you wanted, I had a cran apple and read through the Admirals Club, scoring an abysmally low 2 out of 10 on the Mensa quiz. The flight went by fine as I expected it to as it's just a short hop up to Boston, RJ flights are usually un-eventful unless there's a delay before hand, at least that is my experience. Soon we flew over the Boston harbors with a nice skyline shot out my window, over a murky brown body of water and landed, on taxi I thought us being dwarfed by the 777 to LHR was very amusing.
Sched Arr: 10:15 AM
Act Arr: 9:45 AM
American Eagle has its own satellite terminal which is a one story long building in the shape of a boomerang which is connected to the main terminal by a Shuttle Bus system, I rode back with my family to the door at gate C30 where we climbed stairs and ended up in the mainline terminal. We parted ways at the Admirals Club where I was kissed and hugged and given firm handshakes and told what to do in case of emergency, you know basic family stuff. I had purchased some Admirals Club passes of Ebay, which I planned to use for my long layovers.
American Eagle Flight 4794
Sched Depart: 12:35 PM
Sched Board: 12:05 AM
I sat in the Admirals Club for two hours drinking coffee, eating pretzel nuggets and using the internet service, there were great views of AA ops and the Active landing runway, I counted eight 757's from (4 from AA, two from UA and one from NW and DL). After a while I meandered over to the Eagle Annex which has four gates outside security of the main part of the terminal. I went through security into a truly depressing place, everything is gray, there is one food place and the seats are quite uncomfortable. I only had a half hour to wait before all groups all rows were called for:
Seat 2A, Main Cabin
ERJ-135 N736DT No photo
Actual Depart: 12:30 PM
Actual Board: 12:07 PM
Flight Time: 41 Minutes at FL220
We taxied out and took off without a wait, this is definitely new to me, I'm used to a bit of a line like at LGA. The Boston based F/a on this trip was fabulous, Linda was her name and she came to every passenger and inquired if they had connections, if they did she told them where they could go to find them with an American Way she touted about with her. Once airborne she said the flight was designated no beverage service and wasn't catered but she still poured out 16 cups of ice water and passed them out which I thought was a great touch. The whole way down was cloudy (every time I travel the Northeast has bad weather) so I spent the time reading and listening to Aerosmith. Once we landed the First Officer pointed out the BA Concorde on our starboard side and everyone (including Linda) rushed to a window to see. She talked about how she'd seen the final AF flight with the SST this morning and how she wanted to nonrev a Concorde before it was retired. We then taxied for 10 minutes around Terminals 4-8 before getting to our gate at Terminal 9.
Sched Arr: 1:35 PM
Act Arr: 1:31 PM
American Eagle's JFK ops are in a small ground floor wing attached to the 40-49 pier which is a definite improvement over the old Bus to the Saab/RJ/ATR farm although we had to walk down stairs to a door so if it had been raining (which it did about two minutes after I got inside) it would have been unpleasant. I went up to the TGIFridays and met a.netter Flyboy36Y for a meal, he was off to Madrid so we walked over to Terminal 8 where his AA to MIA was operating from and he went to the gate while I went to the Admirals Club and called my friend Betsy in Arizona. After getting off the phone with her I groomed myself and walked back to Terminal 9 under the Airtrain tracks, wonder if that'll ever open.
American Airlines Flight 133
Sched Depart: 4:00 PM
Sched Board: 3:30 PM
I walked down to the 40-49 pier which I hadn't been in since 1996 (not counting the earlier Eagle excursion). Let me tell you it hasn't changed at all, down to the same stained tile floors and closed in low ceiling badly lighted dingy concourse its still the same Terminal 9. I sat at the pretty full gate with a view of my 762 being splattered with rain for about twenty minutes before I was the first to board:
Seat 9J, Business Class
Photo © Andy Martin
Actual Depart: 3:56 PM
Actual Board: 3:30 PM
Flight Time: 5 Hours 13 Minutes at FL350
Interestingly enough the last time i flew JFK-LAX (March, 1996) i used this same gate, I wonder if it was the same plane... I absolutely love being the first on a plane, especially when your flying first or business I took my seat in the third row and was extremely happy to see I had two windows and only one slightly blocked area and the wing didn't obstruct my view in the slightest. I took some time getting comfortable, arranging what I needed out of my bag, getting the pillow and the lumbar support how I wanted it and then the door closed and I was very happy to note I had no seat mate in 9H, another pillow for me! Right after the last coach passenger boarded we received pre-departure drinks of OJ, water, Champagne or Mimosa, I had the OJ. I had been worried about this flight getting delayed because of the terrible weather predictions for the Northeast (heavy winds, t-storms) but the steady rain didn't mean much at all and we taxied out and took off in 19 minutes. Once airborne I got the footrest aligned and a suitable recline for a read and drink and got ready for the famed American Flagship Service which I will try to describe to you in as much detail as humanly possible. My aisle's flight attendant Marsha came around with drinks, I had a Diet Coke with a full can and two lemons and a bowl of mixed nuts. The nuts were great, nice and warm with a delicate mix of peanuts, cashews, pistashios, almonds and walnuts, Marsha walked the aisle with a tumbler of more nuts for all who wanted it. I walked to the bathroom right after my drink and when I came back I had a menu waiting for me which I was touched by.
Warm Mixed Nuts to accompany your preferred cocktail or Beverage
Once that was done we got:
Mediterranean Chicken served with a fresh Mozzarella Salad and Seasonal Mixed Greens with roasted Garlic Balsamic Vinaigrette or Creamy Basil Dressing
I had this with the Balsamic Vinaigrette and a sourdough roll, the other choice was wheat. The salad was served in a large glass plate with organic lettuece, the chicken and sun dried tomatoes which once picked out of the salad made this enough for a full meal, but soon that was taken away and replaced with your choice of:
Grilled Citrus Filet
Grilled Beef accented by a Thyme Demi-Glace, accompanied by Brocclini with Butter and Horseradish Mashed potatoes
Wild Mushroom Tortellini
Cheese Tortellini tossed with Shiitake Mushrooms and Spinach, enhanced by a creamy Mushroom sauce
Roast Chicken can be added to this Entree upon request
Breaded Chicken Salad
Breaded Chicken served over a Salad of Mixed Greens, tomatoes and Corn Relish accompanied by Honey Mustard Dressing and Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing
Saying how I had just eaten chicken and I hate mushrooms I had the filet. It came with some great mashed potatoes and I don't really know what Brocclini is but it tasted like broccoli and not overcooked either. I couldn't really taste the citrus but I was given a good cut of meat which was excellent. Rolls were continuously offered as well as white wine or red wine, saying I'm 17 even though I was offered I had two glasses of water (I wasn't driving). Marsha was great, she wouldn't take the plate away until she knew you were done and she kept giving me Diet Cokes with lemons and water. I didn't have to ask she brought them to me. After this was cleared away she wanted to know if I wanted more rolls or another Entree! Then once I was ready I was offered:
Sponge Cake with Coffee Liqueur and Italian Cream Cheese
A scoop of Blue Bell Premium Ice cream
I don't usually trust desserts I can't pronounce and Liqueur is described as disgusting by my parents so I went with the ice cream. I was presented with in a large glass a huge scoop of white chocolate almond ice cream and a steaming mug (real mug not plastic) coffee which tasted smooth and wonderful. The meal was definitely a plus, I would have had to go into Manhattan to find as good a meal if you ask me and the fact that I received the best service from Marsha (who I am going to write to AA to compliment) only added to the enjoyment. By the time my lined was taken off my table cloth 2 hours had melted away. I reclined the chair fully, put on a blanket and took downtime reading "Parliament of Whores" about the US Government ( I strongly recomend this book) and drinking from the bottle of water I was given. The movie was called The Hours and I had NO interest so I listened to my classic rock collection (The Beatles, Billy Joel and The Doors). The end of the flight came just as The Door's The End finished. I saw Downtown LA covered in clouds and smog and Marsha thanked me again and I got her Employee ID so I could write to AA, she gave me a bottle of water for the road. The flight ended all too soon and I silently thanked 9J for a great time.
Sched Arr: 7:35 PM
Act Arr: 6:30 PM
I thanked all the crew I saw waiting by door 1L, including the pilot and I walked out into Terminal 4 which I also hadn't seen since 1996 and wow was it a definite improvement. Everything shined, there was lots of natural light. I walked out of the terminal after checking in and learned that AA no longer puts connecting gate information on their boarding passes, for DFW-DCA-LGA I had blanks under gate. I then walked 3 miles to Sepulveda Blvd and Westchester Avenue where on the way a Saab 340 from AA went right over me and entered a In-N-Out burger. Two double doubles were consumed while watching planes land for close to an hour. The most interesting ones were an AeroCalifornia DC-9-15 (none even near NY) and a new paint JAL 747-200F. On the walk back to the terminal I stood right by the lights and had a Mexicana 757 fly directly over head as I had my arms outstretched, that was definitely a rush. I walked the 3 miles back to T4 passing by a group of cops talking about some girl they all seemed to have dated, To Serve and Protect indeed and went back to T4 which i assumed to be deserted, wrong. I found the Security Line which was when I got there 10 thick and three minutes later over 50. Even though there was a hand written sign "Rush Hour 8:30-11:30 PM" and it was 8:50 there was no Elite lane and only one post was manned, oh well I had forever so I didn't care too much. I walked up to the Admirals Club, grabbed some Cheese and Crackers and a Coffee and parked my butt in a seat for a long duration.
American Airlines Flight 2490
Sched Depart: 12:55 AM
Sched Board: 12:25 AM
I waited around the AC for hours reading American Psycho, which is a terrible and disgusting book. At 11:15 everyone left to wait for their respective flights (a surprising amount of people were around for nearly midnight). I must say when they designed Terminal 4 it seems they wanted to confuse people, the gates go 43, 42, 45. No idea why that was done but what can I do? I sat at the gate feeling extremely tired and facing the prospect of a 100% full MD-80 better then I expected. After a while listening to the same security announcement over and over again they called First Class passengers and Group 1 for:
Seat 8F, Main Cabin
MD-80 NToo Dark to SeeAA No Picture
Actual Depart: 12:51 AM
Actual Board: 12:26 AM
Flight Time: 2 Hours 34 Minutes at FL290
I can't tell you too much about this flight, I sat down and put my pack in the overhead for extra room and the flight completely filled up. We taxied and took off 9 minutes after leaving the gate and once airborne I heard an announcement about beverage service and I was out like a light. Two hours later I woke up somewhere over Texas and heard we were 15 minutes away from the Metroplex so I dozed a bit and soon we were on the ground and my fourth visit to my favorite Fortress Hub.
Sched Arr: 5:48 AM
Act Arr: 5:37 AM
Of course my next gate had to be a whole terminal and then some away, but no matter it was good to work that coach class syndrome out of my legs, which had remained mostly motionless for the last three hours. Halfway to my gate at Terminal C I grabbed some McDonalds and rode a golf cart to my gate. I was at the last gate in C, two gates down from where my flight from DCA arrived three months ago on my February Mileage Run. The MD-80 looked great in the rising sun and soon we were called to board:
Seat 9A, Main Cabin
Photo © AirNikon
Actual Depart: 7:12 AM
Actual Board: 6:45 AM
Flight Time: 2 Hours 29 Minutes at FL330
I grabbed a Bistro Bag, mm Bistro Bag and walked into my third row two seater. A man sat down next to me but he quickly moved to an empty aisle with a middle seat open as soon as the door closed. We taxied out past numerous MD-80s from three airlines (AA, CO and DL) and took off and started the trek to my third state of the day. Once the beverage cart came around and I got my OJ with a lot of ice from an extremely great Male F/a I opened my Bistro bag and took out a granola bar (apple), raspberry yogurt and raisins. Not bad as far as the bag goes, more then I got in 1998 DEN-DFW. Unfortunately the yogurt exploded all over my shirt so I had to spend a while in the bathroom cleaning it off. Afterwards I tried to grab some ZZ's but my brain said "Ok Charles, sleep is for the weak, enjoy this flight" so I sat with coffee and music and read while Led Zeppelin took me back to the 70's. Soon MEM melted into BNA which turned into West Virginia outside my window and then we were right over IAD then DCA and we ended up flying into Rural VA and turning around 60 miles east of the airport before we landed amidst 35 MPH winds which had me feeling a bit queasy.
Sched Arr: 11:04 AM
Act Arr: 10:57 AM
I deplaned and went to the Admirals Club where a friendly staff, good coffee and Terra Cotta chips waited for me. I would have purchased the sandwiches they sell there now but the club is nearly empty on weekends so its not an option unfortunately. After two hours of reading at what I call the best airport for narrowbody spotting, I walked down to the concourse and got an $8 Cheese Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen which although expensive was very good.
American Eagle Flight 4498
Sched Depart: 2:00 PM
Sched Board: 1:30 PM
I was seated at the gate next to a family of four where a 5 year old boy kept asking his father to name planes out the window hearing "dad is that a seven-forty-sixty-seven" was very cute. Even though the father misidentified two planes I was nice and didn't correct him. As usual with my six segment mileage runs every flight is fine until the last one where due to bad northeastern weather we got delayed. After about 45 minutes in the boarding area since the first announcement during which I finished one of the worst books ever (American Psycho) we boarded another blasted ER3
Seat 2A, Main Cabin
ERJ-135 N734EK No Picture
Actual Depart: 3:00 PM
Actual Board: 2:27 PM
Flight Time: 38 Minutes
Our delay was attributed to a ATC stack up over New York and an hour isn't too bad. We had to wait an abnormally long time between the jetway being removed and push back but once back we taxied out to the runway, which we even turned around on the end of, a first ofr me and soon we were flying over the Pentagon northbound towards my home. Once above the clouds we were given a cup sans can of whatever we wanted. I then kind of zoned out and stared at the wall for twenty minutes without really seeing it, then we came out of the clouds and paralleled Manhattan before over flying LGA then JFK and out to middle Long Island before coming around and landing a bit under an hour behind schedule
Sched Arr: 3:15 PM
Act Arr: 4:02 PM
My plan was to take a cab to Grand Central and take the 4:40 but I really didn’t know if I could do that, thankfully right by the baggage claim I ran into none other then my father and brother James with the car, needless to say I was totally relived.
I loved the trip, everything went smoothly except the last flight and that wasn't that bad at all, I had mostly great service, the food was good and the miles were excellent. No real complaints at all, just good AA service I know I can depend on.
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