American Airlines Flight AA 0955
Scheduled Departure: 10:10PM
Actual Departure: 10:09PM
Scheduled Arrival: 9:51AM
Actual Arrival: 09:41AM
Aircraft: B767-323ER - Departure Gate 7, Terminal 8, Arrival Gate 3
Last month, my friend and I took a two month trip to Argentina. Neither of us have preferred status on American Airlines but they are the only airline with a daily, nonstop flight in the JFK-EZE market. AR operates a nonstop in the summer time (northern hemisphere) and three times a week in the winter time, via Miami.
We arrived at JFK at 8:00PM. Check in was a breeze. My friend has AAirpass, thanks to his company, so we went to the First Class line in the old Terminal 8 (really gross place, by the way). Check in was quick. Our bags were tagged with premium tags. The check in lady was efficient, but really not that pleasant. She made us weigh our bags and told us we were very close to the limit in weight. After walking our bags over the x-ray we headed to Gate 7. The area is windowless, poorly ventilated, and stiflingly hot. There were passengers there waiting to board flights to London, Sao Paolo, and Zurich. American and the PANYNJ recently opened the new Terminal 9 yet it seems most of AA's premier international routes use the old Terminal 8. This is probably due to US Customs/Immigration facilities, which I do not think are fully operational yet in 9. Boarding was chaotic, as the place was crowded and the flight very full. Our aircraft, a Boeing 767-300ER arrived earlier in the evening from Paris CDG. Boarding started a bit late, as a flight from Santo Domingo had arrived at an adjacent gate that uses the same walkway.
The aircraft was in the old-style, not one of the 9 new look interior aircraft. The plane was tidy, in relatively good condition, and yet at the same time, very much lacking in any kind of amenities. The Business Class cabin looked worn, untidy, and not all that comfortable. I took my seat in the first coach section, row 12. This is actually a nice, small section with 6 or 7 rows of seats, between two cabin walls. My seat mate was an agitated man, who kept fretting about his laptop, which he had placed in the over head bin.
Push back was about a minute early. We were told that there would be no in flight entertainment as the projector screens were broken. It did not matter as this was a late flight and all I wanted to do is sleep. Taxi to the runway was quick and by 10:30, we were rolling down the main runway and on our way to BUENOS AIRES!!!
Take off was powerful, quick and smooth. The dinner service began very shortly afterwards and it was GROSS!!! The extra large trays featured small portions with virtually no meat. The garbage AA calls food was quickly removed (I did not eat it, but I also do not really like plane food anyway, so it was not a big deal) and the cabin went dark. People were mostly asleep as we proceeded on our 10 hour 44 minute flight to EZE by way of the Carolinas, Puerto Rico, Caracas, Manaus, and Asuncion, and finally into EZE (these were the route markers the pilot gave us). The cabin crew disappeared and were not seen again until breakfast was served an hour before landing. No in flight beverage service. Just bottles of water in the galleys with cups.
Breakfast consisted of a soggy croissant, over ripe melon chunks, and coffee. We began our descent into a sunny EZE around 9:10AM and landed at 9:41, 10 minutes early. Landing was smooth and we taxied to the terminal, parking next to a Delta 767 in bound from ATL, an LH 747-400, and another AA 767-300, which was headed for MVD.
Passport control and baggage claim were very easy and within 20 minutes of landing, we were in a taxi, on our way to Aeroparque Jorge Newbery for our AR flight to Mendoza.
Overall, I would rate this flight well in that in left on time and arrived pretty much on time, even a few minutes early. The cabin was clean if dull. The crew were OK. Nothing great, nothing bad either. Food was horrible and comfort level...well, that's the state of US legacy airlines today, minus Continental.
The convenience of the nonstop was worth it.
I will post my AR flights (AEP-MDZ, MDZ-AEP) and LAN Argentina flights from AEP to IGR and back, as well as my return, on AA 956, soon.