This is my first trip report, so go easy on me
Aside from the $150 upgrade fee for booking the upgrade inside two weeks, this was one of the most enjoyable, not to mention easiest trips I've been on in a long time.
Tuesday March 21st 2006
AA 1381 departs 7:55 am AUS-DFW
After rising with the hope of another trip to Cancun at about 5 am, my parents and I left our house for Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at about 5:30, and arrived before 6. After parking the car in an off-airport covered lot, we caught the shuttle over to the airport. Check in and security were easy (first class lines sure do go faster than the regular ones ) and I managed to scarf down 5 breakfast tacos (!) from the Salt Lick, a local BBQ joint, we headed upstairs to the Admirals Club, where we were invited in, despite not having an Admirals Club membership (I swear that in the past if you are flying international in a premium class, you were allowed in as well, but maybe thats only transoceanic). The first of many nice gestures by AA on this trip. After waiting up there for about 30 minutes, we went down to gate 17, where ship 443 was waiting for us. Boarding commenced about 5 minutes later, and as always, I went up and had a chat with the pilots. Pushed back 3 seconds early (by my watch, but who's counting!) On an MD-82, seat 6F sure is a quiet one. Sun was shining right in my eye as we took off on 35L and flew the short 28 minutes up to DFW.
Tuesday March 21st 2006
AA 315 departs 9:46 am DFW-CUN
After taking the Skylink around from our arrival gate in terminal C to the new international terminal D, I'd have to say, as my first time in there, it was amazing. Very spacious! Our departure gate was D37, and what wound up being most of the people on our flight were already there. Sat down in the seat, watched CNN for 30 seconds, and boarding began for flight 315 to sunny Cancun. Once again, I had a great chat with the pilots, we were extremely light, and made it all the way up to FL390. Only 7 people in first class (out of 22) and it didn't appear to be any fuller in cattle class. The perks of being so light is we pushed back a full 10 minutes early. After a taxi to the south side and a cross over back to the east, we had little traffic in front of us (one Eagle EMB145) we departed runway 35L and made our right hand turn toward the Gulf of Mexico. Seat for this flight was 4A, which made for a nice steady whine of the Rolls Royce powered 757. Next perk was being given a second meal of a cheese omlette, first was pancakes. A very nice gesture by a very nice flight crew. After what seemed like forever, we finally began our decent into CUN, an early arrival (can't say exactly how early, I forgot to check my watch, but it was at least 15), and a short taxi into gate 15. I now ask for your complete and undivided attention as I reveal to you the most exciting part of this trip. So...for anybody who has been to Cancun before, you know the lines at Immigration can be real long, especially during the spring break season, frequently an hour or more. After already getting flustered that they towed the plane into door 2L, which meant that I wasn't necessarily going to be in the first few people off, I made like a rocket across the terminal, leaving my parents (who walk slower than I do) to themselves, I get to the top of the stairs, breathe a sigh of relief that the line wasn't to the stairs, nor could I see any sign of anybody in a line (noise, bags etc...). I walk down the stairs at a steady, yet eager pace and when I get to the bottom, I stop and nearly faint. For the first time in history, I was able to walk straight up to the immigration stand. My parents slide in a few seconds later, and we get our passports stamped, and we're through! Very exciting. After trying to figure out which baggage carousel we're on, I finally look at my watch and stop it at 2:32. AA 315 is slotted for 2:37, and we made it through Immigration in under 2:30. Wow! You see, its never been a problem to have to wait for your bags in Cancun, because by the time you get through Immigration, they've usually already been offloaded and taken off the carousel. So another good omen that this was to be a good vacation is our bags (all 5 of them) were in the first 20 off the cart, and we quickly pass through customs with a lucky push of my left forefinger, the stoplight said PASE in green letters, indicating we wouldn't have to have our bags searched. We were on our way, and made it to our condo a little more than an hour after we touched down. Great trip.
Wednesday March 29th 2006
AA 1688 departs 14:36 CUN-DFW
After a great vacation, we found ourselves back at the Cancun airport with relative ease. A pretty painless check in, line was about 10 minutes long, even in first class, a testament to how mobbed the rest of the American Airlines check in was. Passed through security with ease, and ate a good lunch at TGI Friday's. On to gate A6 (aka 19) where my 757 had just pulled up as AA 2063 from DFW. After offloading equally few from my DFW-CUN flight, we waited about 25 minutes, and began boarding for AA 1688 to DFW. Another good chat with the pilots, this time about the presence of US C-17s and C-130s, and the pending arrival of Air Force One into CUN, and a briefing of routing, weather, altitude etc... and I found myself in 6A again. Pushed back right on time, but waited on the ground for about 30 minutes for planes in front of us to take off, intermixed with arriving traffic on Cancun's only runway, 12. After finally getting airborne, we took off over the ocean, and turned back to the NW with a great view of Cancun's Zona Hoteleria. Absolutely beautiful! Ride was smooth, and relatively quick at FL360, as I had homework to do. (groans) Another light load today, only 10 in first, about 75% full overall Arrival was on time onto 17C, and a relatively easy taxi over the south bridge to D24. This time I was the first one off the plane, but same result, immigrations agents were waiting for us, and again, quickly through immigration. Bags finally caught up with us, and we cleared customs, and re checked our baggage, re-entered security, and took the Skylink around to gate C35, all with ease.
Wednesday March 29th 2006
AA 1083 departs 19:23 DFW-AUS
Boarding commenced shortly after I got back from buying more batteries for my digital camera (well its actually my mom's, but what does it matter?) and I had another chat with our pilots (first officer was a U-2 and SR-71 pilot in the US Air Force, very cool!). We pushed back a minute early, and taxied over to runway 18L, via the north bridge. Takeoff was again very quiet from seat 4F, and the flight was a short, smooth, uneventful one. Flight attendants were very very friendly, and really seemed to be interested in your well being. Short hop down to AUS, 35 minutes at FL220. Landed on 17R, and found ourselves at gate 14 6 minutes early. Longest part of the trip was waiting 20 minutes for the baggage claim to start. Picked up our bags, rode over to our car, and drove home.
Trip was extremely enjoyable. Flight attendants were very nice, but professional, and AA continues to be my airline of choice. I really do feel at home on them, and I feel a bit outta whack on other airlines. I feel at times like AA really does know Why I Fly. (sorry, I couldn't resist ) Planes were clean, and First Class was nothing over the top, but it was very nice. Nothing like a little extra legroom! I have yet to run into one of the notorious AA flight attendants that I hear about all the time on this forum that are rude, pushy, and easily irritated. Not a single one failed to give a sincere smile to me, which grew when I flashed one at them. Very great trip!
Hope this wasn't too long for ya! Enjoy!