Here is another domestic report on AA. In order to qualified for the triple miles promotion, I decide to do a back to back transcon flights. I flew LGA-DFW-LGB-JFK-SJC-DFW (originally ORD)-EWR in two days. Here is my report. Nothing major to report… except it was a great trip. I guess I will try to be simple on these reports.
January 28, 2004
AA 745 LGA-DFW Lv1355 Arr1651 Boeing 737-800 N968AN
Well, the trip began with a concern about cancellations and delay of flights at New York airports, due to snow the previous evening. Of course, I registered for the AA notification system, and my flight was one of the few ones that did not cancel. I arrived at LGA about two hours prior to departure. It was a good thing that I did because all the AA computers suffered a system breakdown and F/As were handwriting boarding passes. The lines were long and the agents tried to guide passengers. Well, I saw one of the Spanish TV stations interviewing the passengers – not a pretty day at LGA. Well the agent was calling the reservation line to confirm our flight and then they wrote their boarding passes. The problem was worst than I thought as I saw the long and slow-moving security lines. Well TSA apparently thought that a handwritten boarding pass meant “SSSS”… yes those were the magic words for the “full” and “enhanced” security check. Can you imagine how slow the line was, when you had everyone selected as “problematic” passengers. People were pissed and AA was not accommodating tight connection passengers. Some stupid people were jumping lines and people were screaming. I did not understand why AA could not clear us and just wrote the usual SSSS on those boarding passes. Of course, with so much pressure on TSA, I don’t think everyone was rushed… so worth… Well, I finally got to the gate, D8, about twenty minutes prior to departure. When I thought the line was over, I found out that the system was backed up and I had to stand in line at the gate to get a printed boarding pass. So much for the troubles…
Well the flight was 100% full, and we managed to close the door at 2:11pm, and pushed back five minutes after. Due to lots of cancellations, the line for Runway 31 was relatively short. We took off at 2:29pm. Flying time was three hours and twenty minutes, with a cruising attitude of 35,000 feet. Due to the minimal F/A staffing, Paula had to serve the whole F passengers by herself for a while. We started with the usual warmed mixed nuts and our choice of beverage. Then an one tray lunch was served – well, it was better than my LGA-MCO flight last year – there were two warmed choices – 1/2 roast beef sandwich w/boiled red skin potatoes or pizza, accompanied by a green salad topped with few red pepper strips and Italian Herb vinaigrette dressing, and a bag of French shortbread cookies. Well, it was an okay lunch – not so filling though… I honestly think that AA can afford to serve us a full-sized warmed roast beef sandwich. For entertainment, CBS Eyes on American was shown, followed by episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Descent began at 5:22pm – quicker than predicted, since we took a short cut somewhere. Gears came down at 5:45pm and then we landed on Runway17C at 4:49pm DFW MST. We parked at gate C21 a few minutes later.
AA 2405 DFW-LGB Lv1827 Arr1938 Boeing 757-200 N196AA/5FF
I had an hour and half at DFW and had a bowl of soup for snack. Boarding began at 5:53pm at gate C16 and this evening flight to LGB was pretty full – surprising to me, especially the JFK-DFW flights were not doing too well in terms of loading these days. Well a pre-takeoff beverage was served today – choice of our beverage too – pretty good for AA. Door was closed at 6:27pm, and we took off from Runway 18L at 6:44pm. Flying time was a quick two hours and forty-eight minutes, with a cruising attitude of 35,000ft.
More CBS Eyes on American and Everybody Loves Raymond… a full dinner was served in first class – started with a chopped green salad with olives, artichoke hearts, and cherry tomato, accompanied by a choice of ranch or vinaigrette dressing. Dinner roll was available too – soft white bread – the one I like. Then we had a choice of main courses –- Filet mignon with mashed potatoes, Maple barbecued chicken, or Tortellini with mushroom and spinach sauce. I had the tortellini, which was great. Then for dessert, there was a choice of ice cream sundaes and fruit/cheese plate (grapes, Carr’s crackers, and two kind of cheese wedges). Well dinner took amost the whole flight to serve. Descent began at 9:02pm MST, and then we landed on R/W30 at 7:32pm PST. We parked at the furthest spot soon after. That was a nice flight.
AA 294 LGB-JFK Lv2110 Arr0508+1 Boeing 757-200 N196AA
Well the same Boeing 757 would bring me back to JFK. The load for this flight was light, as reflected by the really empty boarding lounge. Well I did not mind a spread out first class cabin. I had both 3A and B to myself. Boarding began at 8:40pm and door was closed twenty-three minutes later. A full pre-takeoff beverage was offered and we headed to Runway 30 a few minutes later. We took off at 9:15pm and flying time was four hours and thirty-eight minutes, and we initially climbed to 37,000ft and reached 41,000ft after our load got lighter.
The evening flight was really quiet and F/As handed out water bottles first for those who wanted to go to sleep and then began the beverage service with warmed mixed nuts. Then for snack, we had a choice of breaded chicken over salad or a warmed spinach quiche. I had the quiche, which was accompanied by a Caesar salad, a bowl of chopped fruit salsa as a “sauce” for the quiche, and a choice of rye or sourdough rolls. It was too much food… I guess a nice fruit bowl can do it – bread rolls seem to be redundant – maybe only a roll to accompany the other entrée, which was a salad. Then cookies were served – peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies. It was a nice quick service, and during snack, the movie, “UpTown Girls,” was shown, which was followed by “CBS Eyes on American” and more episodes of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” After a few hours of nap, I awoke and the F/As offered us orange juice and coffee. Descent soon began at 1:34pm PST, and we landed on Runway 31R at 4:53amEST. We parked at gate 10 a few minutes later. Well surprisingly, terminal eight was not quiet as I thought – a couple of flights were departing for Latin America in the early morning.
January 29, 2004
AA 287 JFK-SJC Lv0700 Arr1026 Boeing 757-200 “622”
I checked in at AA’s terminal nine’s elite line… tried to use the kiosk, but the machine could not take VIPOW. So I headed back to the first class line. The departure gate was 48 this morning and the TSA line was fairly light. Boarding time was 6:32am and there was a pre-takeoff beverage of orange juice or water. The F cabin was full and the Y cabin was 70% full as well. MRTC was still available on this flight. Door was closed right on time and pushed back a few minutes later. After an AA’s Boeing 757 “N626AA” took off, we lifted off from Runway 31L at 7:26am. Flying time was six hours and eleven minutes with a cruising attitude of 39,000ft.
Seat belt sign was turned off at 8am and breakfast started soon after. Beverage began first, followed by hot towels, linen and a fruit appetizer (grapefruit and kiwi), and then main courses – a choice of Cheese Omelet with vegetable and sausage, scrambled eggs with sausages and pancakes, and a bowl of Rice Krispies cereal with a box of raisin, a frozen “blueberry” blended yogurt, and a cartoon of milk. For bread, we had a choice of bagel or bran muffin. Water bottles were served after breakfast.
Movie, “Road Range,” was shown after the usual episode of CBS Eyes on American. More “Everybody Loves Raymond” was shown after the movie. Snack was served about an hour prior to arrival. Well there were some minor changes – there was a choice of fruit and cheese plate (grapes), oatmeal raisin or peanut butter cookie. We used to have a fruit and cheese plate, followed by a choice of cookies. I honestly don’t see how much AA can save by loading eight less fruit and cheese plates. Well I chose to have a cookie. Descent began at 12:44pm and we landed on 10:19amPST at Runway 30L. We parked at gate A9 four minutes later.
January 29, 2004
AA 630 SJC-DFW Lv1217 Arr1740 McDonald Douglas MD-80
Well I was originally confirmed in first class on the noon SJC to ORD and then to EWR flight. Unfortunately, the flight was cancelled due to bad weather in Chicago. I was rebooked on the flight via DFW, but no first class was available. I was stuck at a middle seat as well. Thankfully, the friendly gate agent, Steve, managed to find me a seat all the way towards the front at 8D… Boarding began at 11:44am, due to the late arrival of the DFW arrival flight. Although we were all boarded by 12:15pm, there was a mechanical issue in the plane. There was a burnt smell towards the aft of the cabin, so the mechanics were checking out everything. Fortunately, we were able to close the door at 12:46pm. We took off from R/W30R at 12:56pm. Flying time was three hours and seven minutes, with a cruising attitude of 29,000ft.
I confess that this was my first bistro flight. I managed to avoid them for a while, but not today. It was not as bad as I thought, but two bistro bags in a day could be boring. Well my bistro bag had a Perdue turkey and cheese on a French roll, accompanied by an apple, a pack of Ruffles’s potato chips and a four-Oreo cookies’ pack. I was surprised with the three different beverage services – one full beverage service after takeoff (full can), then a coffee/orange juice/water service, while F/As picking up trash, and then a full final beverage was served prior to arrival. Descent began at 3:34pm and we landed on Runway13R at 6:03pm MST. Well, I thought I was saved for my connection, but since we landed on a really faraway runway, it took eighteen minutes to taxi into the gate, C35.
AA 179 DFW-EWR Lv1849 Arr2256 MD-80 “433”
Well, I was running to my gate, C14, and boarding was almost completed when I walked in. The flight was not too full in the back. I had 21F – the really nice emergency exit row. The flight was closed at 6:46pm and we wasted no time to taxi into Runway 17R for the long line of AA’s MD-80. After five or six AA’s MD-80 taking off, we took our turn at 7:05pm. Flying time was two hours and thirty-nine minutes with a cruising attitude of 33,000ft.
Well, another bistro bag with a different perdue turkey sandwich – Ham & cheese on a honey wheat roll, a bag of mini carrot sticks, Lay’s Classic chips, and a twin pack of Oreo cookies. Same triple beverage runs… Descent soon began at 9:11pm and we landed on R/W22L at 10:41pmEST and parked at gate A34.
Well, that was my brief AA report! I guess the service was pretty good at all and AA handles the cancellations fairly well. AA’s coach was a tolerable product, and the MRTC was really great. It would be a worst story if I had to fly those LRTC’s Boeing 757 or Airbus A300-600R. Now I was qualified for triples miles and Hawaii was the destination of my next trip report.