Tony Lu
Topic Author
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:48 pm

Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Wed Aug 18, 2004 12:30 am

PHL-ORD-YYZ-ORD-PHL

My family and I decided to take a vacation to Toronto so we booked a Package on Hotwire.com (three nights, midsize car, airfare) for $936 USD. Notice: Pictures (I have taken 160MB worth of pics) will come later.

August 13, 2004
PHL-ORD
AA Flight 1641
F-100
N1403M
16F

After this trip, I was sure I was going to get AAdvantage Gold because I already had 23,262 miles before the trip. Hilton HHonors was also giving me 500 miles and some points. But, this time, I wouldn’t have any elite benefits. We checked in at the AA counter in Terminal A-East after taking the Avistar Shuttle from the parking lot to the Terminal. The lines we not very long for Check-in or Security. Lunch was at CCO Pizza just next to our gate, A9 (or was it A10). Through the resturants windows, a Miami Air 737NG was being loaded at A-West so I watched it while eating a slice of hot pizza. Soon, Group 3’s was called and we boarded the worn Fokker. American really is doing a bad job maintaing these planes as my reclinewas broken and the seat design was very ugly. I know these are retiring soon and I’m looking forward to it. I think the Fokker is newer but the interior a piece of crap compared to the Super 80. My air jet and light wounldn’t work. Soon, after a delay of one hour due to the lack of baggage handlers in PHL, the loud Rolls-Royce engine came on. Take-off was loud but smooth. The flight continued uneventfully with a beverage service (full can with Rold-Gold Pretzels). No entertainment on this plane. We landed in ORD and taxied to Gate H1 or something like that. I took a picture of nearly every plane we taxied by, including N785AN, which I took to ORD from NRT a few weeks ago. We didn’t arrive that late due to the PHL delay.

August 13, 2004
ORD-YYZ
AA Flight 1956
MD-82
N446AA
24F

We had about two hours in O’Hare, so I went to all the domestic Terminals and revisited all the O’Hare attractions. Some main ones were the UAL tunnel, Butch O’Hare’s plane etc. etc.) I saw UAL’s new colors for the first time and I saw Ted the first time. In Concorse B, I also saw N309UA, the plane that I was on from PHL-ORD (flight 1641) excatly 1 year ago! Can you believe it? Same flight number, Same route, Same date (1 year apart) but two different airlines! Amazing! (You can also my trip report on the UAL flights a year ago on a.net.) After we got back to H11B, the flight waws delayed tp 6:15. The original time was 5:38. If any of you has seen H11B, the outside of the jetway is rusting, the AA plate on the jetway is cracked and a piece chipped off. None of the other gates around it is in such bad condition. Oh well, its just the Jetway. The TV moniters in the gate was showing English and French. After the delay, (caused by a pilot having trouble getting to ORD from LGA) Group 3’s were called and I got in the MD-82. The seats were very nice (with adjustable headrests) and were very comfortable compared to the Fokker’s. It reminded of AA’s 777 seats. All that’s missing is the PTV. Todays flight was flown by two female pilots (Amy and Janette, I think) and had all male flight attendents! As I found out later on, this flight was the smoothest I’ve had in my life. No bumps or shakes whatsoever. Wow! Women do fly really well! Anyway, we took off and the beverage service began. It was another Rold Gold and a cup of Apple juice for me. I really prefer Fisher’s Cheddar mix over pretzels and I don’t know why they don’t serve them anymore. There was no Duty-Free on this International Flight (I didn’t expect there would be) but we had to fill out Canadian Customs forms. We landed in Pearson safely and taxiied to Terminal 3. Customs was relatively fast. After that, we went to the Hertz garage and got the Mid-size car (we had three choices but chose the Toyota Corolla). The Canadian Hertz workers were nice and told us excatly how to get to our hotel, the Doubletree International Plaza Hotel of Toronto Airport. From our room, I could clearly see planes approaching the runway of YYZ and every minute, there was a plane flying past the window. And I was only on the 7th floor of 12 floors. I highly recommend this hotel to anyone goint to Toronto. My second check-in cookie was very tasty. (First one in Doubletree Jersey City). The check-in man was probably the best one ever and put 500 Aadvantage miles on my dad’s card. The indoor waterpark and spa was enjoyable and basiclly the hotel was like a small town. You could get anything you want from the in-hotel supermarket, resturants, nightclubs, bars, and gift shops.

August 14, 2004: CN Tower
August 15, 2004: Niagra Falls

August 16, 2004
YYZ-ORD
AA Flight 1371
MD-82
22F

After the best vacation (I say that every year, but this I think is TRULY the best), I had to go home. After the quick trip to the airport, we returned the car to Hertz and went to the AA counters to check-in. YYZ’s T3 check in area remined me of Shanghai Pudong’s Check-in place. Since YYZ travellers connecting or going to the US pre-cleared customs in YYZ, we got into a long line for US customs. After a long time waiting, we finally cleared it and went to check our bags and proceeded to security. My carry-on was searched and nothing was found so we went into the Gate area for US departures. Before boarding, I consumed a Bacon Cheeseburger and fries from “Friday’s Bar”. Business class was called. (Why is it called Business Class on Canadian flights when it’s supposed to be First Class?) After a while, Group 3’s were called and we boarded the overwater equipped MD-82. In the jetway area, my dad was searched (like a lot of other people) while my mom and I went to row 22. Next to us was an Air Transat A310 that was going to Fort Lauderdale. It boarded before our MD-82 and was still sitting at the gate when we left. Once again, our flight was delayed because 26 passengers didn’t show up yet. They were stuck in the long lines of the US customs in YYZ. Our plane then taxiied to the runway behind a few other planes and took off. The flight was uneventful (again) with a beverage service with the Rold Gold pretzels (yuck!) and a cup of Coke. (I ended up with 6 bags when I got home.) We cruised at 31,000 feet (FL310 I think it’s called) and landed at O’Hare a bit fast. Lots of reverse thrust was applied and we came to a stop.

August 16, 2004
ORD-PHL
AA Flight 540
MD-82
22F

Our plane to PHL was at L1, isolated from all other gates. The L concuorse was (not surprisenly) empty except for our plane to PHL and an Alaska Air 737 to Sea-Tac and then onto Oakland. Once again, we boarded the MD-82 and got into our seats. There was no time to spare this time at ORD. They boarded Group 3’s just as we walked to the gate. The plane taxiied to (I think) runway 22L and we took off. After maybe a half hour, the F/A’s came around with (ANOTHER) bag of pretzels and a cup of Coke for me. The flight was actually (I can’t believe I’m saying this) boring. There is absolutly nothing to do on AA’s Super 80s except for eat, drink, and read. I was also pretty sad that our vacation was coming to an end. So, we landed in PHL and got off the plane. We went to the Baggage Claim 3 which I’m very used to now since I’ve been to PHL 5 times this summer. We got on the shuttle to Avistar PHL, got our car, and left for home. This was a great (the best) vacation and I hope to get my Aadvantage Gold card in the mail soon. Thanks for reading! Please comment!

Tony

[Edited 2004-08-17 17:40:03]
 
bluejackets
Posts: 279
Joined: Tue Mar 23, 2004 1:24 pm

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Wed Aug 18, 2004 3:01 am

Great trip report!! What a cool view out of your hotel room!

Also, last time I was at ORD I don't remember being able to go from the AA gates to the UA gates without passing back through secuirty... how did you get over to Terminal 1?
It's funny when I tell people I love planes and they think I'm weird.
 
JBLUA320
Posts: 2997
Joined: Mon May 27, 2002 8:51 am

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And B

Wed Aug 18, 2004 3:34 am

Nice report!

But dont get your hopes up about the AAdvantage miles. Usually, Hotwire tickets dont qualify for miles!!

JBLU
 
Tony Lu
Topic Author
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:48 pm

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Wed Aug 18, 2004 3:48 am

Bluejackets,
There is a walkway just after security linking Terminals 1,2, and 3. It's very convenient. Just follow the signs.

JBLUA320,
I haven't seen a change in my mileage points yet. On aa.com, it says that Deep-Discounted economy still earns 0.5 points for every mile. Is there anything still below that?

Thanks for the comments!
Tony
 
tekelberry
Posts: 1309
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 6:37 am

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:08 pm

Excellent report!

Unfortunately, airline tickets booked on Hotwire are not eligible for frequent flyer miles. In the Hotwire Terms of Use (http://www.hotwire.com/travel-information/terms.jsp), under Section B - Travel Services, in the Airline Ticket Restrictions segment, it reads:

d. Airline tickets purchased through Hotwire are not eligible to earn frequent flyer miles. Upgrades, standbys and other uses of frequent flyer miles will not be permitted;

Just to clarify, AAdvantage elite status can be gained either by 25,000 Q-Miles, 25,000 Q-Points, or 30 segments. All economy earns 100% Q-Miles, but deep-discounted economy only earns 50% Q-Points. However, this excludes "blind" websites such as Priceline & Hotwire.

[Edited 2004-08-19 12:11:03]
 
Tony Lu
Topic Author
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:48 pm

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:39 pm

Oh. Okay.  Sad Do you think I can get some AAdvantage Miles from HHonors? The check-in guy asked for my frequent flyer card (AAdvantage Card). Thanks!

Tony
 
tekelberry
Posts: 1309
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 6:37 am

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Fri Aug 20, 2004 3:58 am

Tony Lu,

Hilton doesn't award any HHonors points/airline miles if the hotel was booked through a "blind" channel such as Hotwire or Priceline, or pre-paid websites such as Expedia, Orbitz, etc. Sorry.
 
Tony Lu
Topic Author
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:48 pm

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Fri Aug 20, 2004 7:14 am

Oh. I wonder why he asked for my Frequent Flyer Card...

Tony
 
tekelberry
Posts: 1309
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 6:37 am

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Fri Aug 20, 2004 5:49 pm

Most likely he wasn't aware of the HHonors rules. You may still get the 500 miles anyways but I wouldn't count on it. Those 500 miles don't go towards your elite qualification points or miles.
 
WidgetBoi
Posts: 1395
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:57 am

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Fri Aug 20, 2004 11:25 pm

great report  Big grin

jeremy
 
Tony Lu
Topic Author
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:48 pm

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Sat Aug 21, 2004 1:07 am

Thanks WidgetBoi and Tekelberry!

Tony
 
venuscat2
Posts: 461
Joined: Fri Sep 08, 2000 1:44 am

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And B

Sat Aug 21, 2004 2:51 am

Great report!

Orbitz isn't a pre-paid website for hotels, at least the time I used it.

Can you get airline miles for booking on Orbitz? I'm pretty sure that with NW you can.

Thanks!

-Jordan
 
tekelberry
Posts: 1309
Joined: Tue May 13, 2003 6:37 am

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Sat Aug 21, 2004 3:08 am

Venuscat2,

Absolutely. The only time you will not earn frequent flyer miles on airlines is when you purchase the ticket not knowing what airline it is beforehand.
 
Tony Lu
Topic Author
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:48 pm

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Thu Sep 16, 2004 10:48 pm

Well, I finally am getting AAdvantage Gold. I applied for AAdvantage Citi Bronze which comes with 2500 miles with first purchase (and no annual fee)!
No miles were given for this trip! Not even HHonors miles.

Tony
 
Tony Lu
Topic Author
Posts: 473
Joined: Sat Sep 09, 2000 8:48 pm

RE: Vacation To Toronto With AA. PHL-ORD-YYZ And Back.

Tue Sep 21, 2004 7:09 am

Correction:
I just checked American's web site and saw that Doubletree added 500 miles to my account. Sorry for the double post.

Tony

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