Half of my family are avid baseball fans and half of them aren't, my father being the leader of our rawhide worshiping group likes to take the ones that care on trips to see new ballparks, in the past we've done Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Atlanta, Ft. Lauderdale (Florida Marlins), Denver, Phoenix (Arizona Diamondbacks), Houston, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Boston, Philadelphia and Tampa as well as the local New York teams. This year the Montreal Expos are playing 18 games down in Puerto Rico so my father thought it would be fun for us to go down there and see a couple, I couldn't agree more.
FRIDAY JUNE 6, 2003
American Airlines Flight 1635
Sched Depart: 9:30 AM
Sched Board: 9:00 AM
We all awoke and my dad drove us into JFK, the ride was relatively smooth until we hit an accident on the Van Wyck near the Jackie Robinson Parkway, anyone who ever drives into JFK from Manhattan, NJ or Westchester knows that the 15 minute delay we had was no big deal at all. We got to JFK and the parking situation has improved since I was there last, now that we're not under Orange Alert more spaces were open and we found one near the exit and Terminal 8 with no sweat at all. We then went inside and checked in at the Terminal 8 Admirals Club, my dad says "I'm too old to fly coach" so he had purchased himself a business class ticket, and then he was able to sticker upgrade my brother William leaving me in seat 20A and James in 22A, I asked the woman at the desk if she could give us two together but all she could tell me to do was ask at the gate. We sat around eating bagels (cream cheese gone as a cost cutting measure) as were the doughnut holes they used to have but the coffee was good and OJ was free so I was happy. After and a USAToday later we walked down to the gate. Security was a breeze and I didn't even need to use the Elite line (I'm AAdvantage Platinum), nobody was wanded and we walked to Gate 4X. Once there I headed to the desk to inquire about two seats together and while standing there I heard "Will Charles Kurtz please come to the desk" My name is Charles Kunz so I was like hey someone has a similar name to me. The woman told me she couldn’t give me two together so I turn around and see my father walking towards me. I then realized they paged me with my name wrong, so we went to an agent and I said to my dad, I think they're going to operationally upgrade me and the woman said "I wouldn’t have paged you if I wasn't going to." James and I were re-seated in 6H and J, my first operational upgrade!
Seat 6J, Business Class
767-300, Couldn’t grab the N-number
Actual Depart: 9:32 AM
Actual Board: 8:56 AM
Flight Time: 3 Hours 13 Minutes at FL350
I walked down the jetway thinking to myself how great it is to fly oversold flights while my dad said how the upgrade was thanks to him, dream on buddy, im the one busting my butt on those two day MR's . I sat down in the last window seat on the right side (facing the front of the plane). The flight was 100% full in coach but only had 17 out of 30 business class seats taken. As this was a 767-300 it was reconfigured in the Premium Class cabin meaning there was more legroom and a better recline which I could definitely feel. As soon as most coach passengers boarded, the f/a came around with a tray of OJ's in plastic cups of which I drank two. Then the Captain came around and shook hands with every C class passenger, he and I talked a bit and I found out he was based at JFK and lived on Long Island. We then pushed back and taxied out by the IAB where not much was happening as most Europe flights had yet to arrive. We then took off and were soon over the water and all I could see was blue or white. They then started the movie Analyze That, I was interested but didn't want to see a censored version so I decided to pass. The f/a then came around offering beverages in real glasses, i had an OJ and then the meal selection. It was the same as I was offered DEN-LAX in First last year, either an omelet or a bowl of corn flakes. I went with the omelet and got a cheddar cheese omelet on top of salsa with beans and potatoes around it. Also a slice of grape fruit, some red grapes, three slices of honeydew and a strawberry. For breads they offered biscuits or cinnamon raisin bagels, I had one of each. All of the food was great, my only complaint was they could have warmed up the bagel which was a bit on the cold side, but still a great meal. My brother then went to sleep but I don't like sleeping on airplanes, I can sleep when I'm dead but I cant ride Boeings! So I sat and read A Clockwork Orange and listened to Black Sabbath. The Flight Attendants were excellent and wouldn’t let me have a dry glass so I had a cup of coffee, a water, another OJ and a Diet Coke. This necessitated the use of the bathroom but the extra space between the seats allowed me to get there without waking James, gotta love that huge pitch! Soon the movie ended, James woke up, my shade was raised, glasses were collected and I saw land. We flew over Hiram Bithorm stadium where I would be and touched down at SJU amidst a lot of AA 757's and ATRs, I haven't seen an ATR since they used to fly at JFK a few years back.
Sched Arr: 1:25 PM
Act Arr: 1:09 PM
------------------------ The Weekend, Dearth of Airplanes Commences-------------------------
We went to our hotel after getting a rental Camary, the hotel the Cabre Beach Hilton was a beautiful hotel and my room had a view of the Pacific, the rooms were large, pools and beach great, restaurants good and overall a great place to stay. The baseball games were enjoyable and extremely bizarre, the Expos beat the Rangers in both. Driving around PR is extremely hard if you don't know Spanish and the traffic is terrible, plus the people are more aggressive then New York, no turn indicators are used and people cut you off more then a rude clerk at the Post Office.
SUNDAY JUNE 8, 2003
American Airlines Flight 648
Sched Depart: 9:15 AM
Sched Board: 8:45 AM
We left the hotel after checking out on the TV, crazy stuff then drove the car back to the Aeropuerto. Once there we checked in at the nearly empty Elite line (although we coulda used the machine) then headed through security where my belt buckle and watch triggered the machine, funny that didn't happen at JFK. James's pack of Dentine Ice set the machine off so we both got the wand of doom. We went to the Admirals Club which really wasn't that good, it hard a great view but no internet access and the coffee was TERRIBLE, I made better instant in the hotel room on Saturday! Oh well no biggie, the facilities past security at SJU aren't the best, we couldn't find a news stand to buy candy bars or anything like that, just a bar and a duty free shop. Soon we went to the very crowded gate which had flights to JFK, BOS and DFW all full and all with big planes going out in an hour window, made for a crowded and confusing scene.
Seat 16J, Main Cabin
Photo © Joe Pries - A.T. TEAM
Actual Depart: 9:12 AM
Actual Board: 8:42 AM
Flight Time: 3 Hours 15 Minutes at FL280
James and my father were upgraded and William and myself were in the middle of the bus, the agent let him board with me and the Group 1's even though he was a Group 5. This was my second consecutive full flight and I had seated next to me a woman with Alzheimer’s who's husband was a stroke victim and was in 17G. Right after we pushed back the f/a told me if the woman seemed off in anyway to hit the call button, unfortunately I didn't speak Spanish so I ended up pushing it four times in flight. After take off they showed a preview for the movie 2 Weeks Notice, i said no thank you as I figured how it would end (William who watched it told me I was right). This flight was one of the first with the coach seats put back in and it wasn't too bad, more comfortable then Delta's 757 two months ago, the seats looked odd though, different then the coach seats on a 767 or MD-80. Soon the drink cart rolled around with my cranapple and the meal cart offering a choice of corn flakes with raisins or a breakfast burrito. I love burritos so I took one of those, it would have been perfect if it didn't have freakin green peppers in it! Other then that it as good and it came with two slices of cantaloupe and a tub of OJ which I pierced with a knife rather then open up and be sprayed. The meal needed some sort of a breakfast roll or muffin but oh well. I spent the rest of the flight reading A Clockwork Orange then a 70's disaster book called The Prometheus Crisis which is good so far. A second drink service commenced before landing and one right after the meal, the coffee was good as it usually is on board and the Diet Coke was served canless, how sad We then came over Rockaway, the wheels were lowered and we landed and taxied around the IAB, past the DL terminals and a Song 757 around Terminal 1 avec LH A340 but sadly sans AF Concorde and docked in Terminal 9 next to an A300 going to SJU at 2:30, quite odd that we used T9, that’s usually for LAX and SFO flights.
Sched Arr: 1:06 PM
Act Arr: 12:49 PM
Had a great trip with AA just as I expected, on both legs the crew were excellent and made me be happy I gave AA the business, I earned a good amount of miles and I had a lot of fun in Puerto Rico which is definitely worth a visit, I must say though, don't rent a car, take cabs.
Gimme the comments, I want them.