29 January 2006
I arrived at LAX
nice and early, and waited for about two minutes in the First Class check-in line, before receiving my boarding pass for seat 4F. As a First passenger, I was allowed to go through the First Class security check point, which was very quick, and from there I went to the Admirals Club.
As I am a Qantas Gold Frequent Flyer, I was given two drinks vouchers for the lounge. I went upstairs and right outside the lounge was a QF
747 sitting at the gate. I immediately used the Internet, which are terminals at a stand-up type area. Checked my e-mail and all the rest of it, and decided to have a couple of drinks, while doing so I read a book.
Soon it was time to board, and I went off to the gate and was straight onto the plane. I handed a Flight Attendant my coat, and sat down. The seats are quite comfortable and the dark red AA
blankets are in the seat in front above the seat pocket.
I started my in-flight experience with hot nuts that were served, and champagne to wash it down. We also received hot towels - they weren't linen towels, more like hot versions of the KFC refresher towel. Interesting. The pilot came on and announced there was a thirty minute delay, due to ATC having them scheduled for a 12:45pm departure, rather than 12:15pm. We pushed back, taxied out to a holding area and the engines were shut down. I declined another drink, but soon after I caught the F/As eye and was told there was no more champagne, so I had a white wine instead.
Soon enough, we moved to the runway and were in the air. There is no IFE on the MD80, which is a shame. Lunch was served - a kiwi fruit, strawberry and mango salad, and a wrap. You could have either a turkey wrap or a deli wrap and I chose the turkey and asked if I could have the other wrap as well. She said she'd come back to me.
Ate the meal, which was very nice, and washed it down with an Amstel Light beer. At the end of service, the F/A came back with the deli wrap for me, which I found to be salty, as opposed to just nice like the other one. Had another beer, and settled in once the trays were taken.
I found the flight quite boring as there was little to do. I noticed two other high status (a Gold and a Platinum) QF
FFs in First with me, identified by the luggage tags that Qantas send you when you move up a status. I had another beer and some water, and soon enough we were at Chicago O'Hare.
The flight was enjoyable, seats were comfortable, food was great and the drinks were nice. I thought the F/A saying, "Sir, would you care for a beverage?" over and over again was a bit annoying, but what can you do?
03 February 2006
I arrived at SFO
at 5:15am, and waited in the First line for a good five minutes before an Economy check-in attendant beckoned me over. I checked in, and she made a comment that I would have to take three pounds out of my luggage as it was overweight at 53 pounds. I told her I'd taken the same bag before and had no problems and she said, "Not with American!". I told her that I had indeed travelled American First and had had no problems. I mentioned I was on an around the world ticket and she said, "Oh well then, that's fine!" and off my bag went. I was seconds away from getting the First agent to come over as this woman had no idea.
Passed through security, and unlike LAX
, I had to remove my shoes. The First line actually merged with the Economy line as they had only one station open, so that elicited some complaints from my fellow First passengers.
Walked down towards the gates and arrived at the Admirals Club, quite near to gate 62 where my flight would be leaving from. Unfortunately, it was 5:15am and they don't open until 5:30am. I hit an airport cafe and had a latte, before being admitted to the club. The three staff were very nice, and I found the well hidden Internet terminal and did a trip report for my BA
Club World and checked my e-mail.
When someone else wanted to use the computer, I went off to the television area and watched some CNN before deciding I wanted a drink. I went to reception and asked for a drinks voucher and got one, and had a Bombay Sapphire and Tonic. Love that gin!
Soon it was time to go and I was first on board, handed the F/A my coat and settled in to 3A. On the 767, there is about a mile and a half of leg room, which came in handy when I had to use the bathroom as I didn't have to step over my seat mate or ask him to get up.
There were a lot of announcements during boarding, especially about carry-on items. Eventually the F/A came on and admonished the passengers saying that there were 50 open seats in Economy and they'd run out of overhead space and were having to get a few people to check their luggage. She advised people to think more in future about what they bring on board in deference to their fellow passengers. First Class was full incidentally.
The safety video came on and had to be restarted three times, and the spanish version straight after. It finished just as take-off thrust was applied and into the air we went. Immediately after take off, we were told we were seeing the film Goodnight and Good Luck, which is up for several Oscars this year, and I was pleased about that. Unfortunately, after the preview played, it was obvious the tape was degraded, so they announced this and said we'd be seeing Walk The Line instead. Another Oscar film, so I was fine. An announcement said headphones were two dollars, and I asked for some. The F/A said they should have been on my seat already and got me a set. They're the little ones that go in your ear like with a walkman.
Service began and there were no hot nuts, though we did get hot towels. For breakfast we had an omelette of some kind which tasted metallic, a salad, and I chose a biscuit over a croissant. The biscuit was a hot pastry kind of thing and was rather nice. I had water and coffee, and really wanted to keep the American Airlines mug that it was served in. That was cool! I also had champagne and this time they didn't run out. I asked for an extra biscuit as it was delicious (I put jam on them, mmm!) and I got the last one that was leftover.
The movie began and I quite enjoyed it. I'd recommend seeing it as it's a good story and a true one as well. After the film, there was an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond to watch and by then we were well into the descent. Coats were handed back, and we arrived a little early.
After all the horror stories I've heard about American Airlines, I was pleasantly surprised by the service and food I received. I thought it was all very good and I was well satisfied by my first two flights. I did think that American could save some money by eliminating the ticket folder that you get with your boarding pass as there's really no need. Also, everything has an AA
logo - the ticket wallets, the napkins that go under your glasses and so on. Perhaps it would be cheaper for them not to go overboard. Other airlines don't have their logo on the napkins for example, nor do they give out ticket folders with the boarding passes. Just a thought!
Anyway, I hope you've enjoyed the report!