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AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Thu Jul 13, 2006 7:29 am

The purpose of this trip was to visit Seattle where my father-in-law was having a family reunion having grown up in the region. The reunion was arranged almost a year in advance giving ample opportunity to plan flights and when I booked mine I was originally going to be living in the UK and booked to fly to Boston and spend July 4th there before flying on to Seattle. However, as one might expect plans change over time and it transpired I was going to be in the US at this time. I cancelled my flexible British Airways reservation and booked a slightly less exotic hop up from Richmond to Boston on US Airways to catch my transcontinental ticket.

As my plans changed it appears the airlines plans changed too and on both the separate tickets fell victim to involuntary schedule changes which in part created my rather unusual itinerary involving eight flights, five airlines and seven airports!

I am going to split this trip up into outbound and return reports and am going to write an individual report on one particular leg, JFK-LAX on the AA Flagship Service in First Class.

Route: Richmond (Byrd Field) - Boston Logan Intl. Airport
Airline: US Airways Express Operated by Chautauqua Airlines
Flight number: US3220
Aircraft: Embraer EMB-145LR
Registration: N257JQ
Seat: 01A (Domestic Single Class)
Distance: 474 miles
Route: V16 PXT V93 GRACO J42 RBV J222 JFK ORW3
Duration: 1hr 4mins
Date: Tuesday 4th July

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Photo © Joseph J. Wagner
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Photo © Daniel Wojdylo

July 4th wasn't quite the usual day for me, as my flight was scheduled to leave at 7am it meant a rather early start and I arrived at Richmond just about an hour before departure for my first trip on the 'new' US Airways. The check-in area was very empty and unusually for me all the desks seemed to have self-service check-in machines in front of them. The one thing I don't like about these is unlike the BA ones I am familiar with they churn out rubbish ATM receipt like paper and indeed this particular flimsy one torn in half on something in my pocket! So I visited one of the manned desks where the chap printed me off a 'real' boarding pass.

Richmond airport is in the process of renovation and in parts it really shows! Some of it does boast clean and modern lines while others have air conditioning pipes and wires hanging off the wall! Nevertheless despite the aesthetic issues in places it couldn't be an easier airport to fly through. No line for security, although a Japanese family did try their best to confuse things for themselves, and the TSA are very welcoming too! I took a seat down at the end of concourse A where my flight was leaving from. A member of staff came round asking about a certain passenger they were waiting for on a Pittsburgh bound flight, an ERJ with only 17 passengers of which 7 were crew!

Our aircraft, N257JQ, at Gate 8 at Richmond

The airport was rather empty and it came to no surprise when our flight was called as 'All groups and all rows'. It transpired that there were only six passengers on our flight up to Boston today, all of whom were seated in the first few rows.

Being pre-assigned 1A as often seems to happen to me in most cases is good but not on an ERJ. No room to put your bag since there is no overhead and no seat in front of you. I put my bag in the overhead a few rows behind with the intention of moving during the flight.

As we waited to depart I headed aft to visit the bathroom and despite my best efforts with locking the door there was a strange noise and was rudely busted on by the pilot. He looked pretty embarrassed as I passed him on the way back to my seat!

The safety demo was played and it was time to rock and roll. We taxied to the longest of Richmond's runways, 16, and took off to the southeast. Banked round to the northeast and up into cloud, obscuring any view to the ground. Climbing up through 10,000ft I pulled out my Vaio Pocket and noise cancelling headphones creating my own IFE.

IFE onboard today

A quick drinks service was done with an additional bag or two of pretzels. Was amusing that alcoholic beverages were offered for sale as well as a $5 snack pack. No takers today though....

I flicked through the US Airways magazine and liked the Dividend Miles feature in the middle of the magazine. Think this is something each airline should do. Some do advertise their FFP but this was much more comprehensive  thumbsup 

The cabin onboard this ERJ-145LR

Patricia, our FA, did a second drinks round and then retired to the exit row towards the back of the aircraft and was glancing out of the window. She was probably as disorientated as I was and it wasn't until I got the map off Flightaware (see the info at the top for actual map) that I knew where we were. The one obvious landmark was passing over Long Island just east of JFK with Manhattan slightly visible.

The rest of the flight was uneventful and we headed out over Connecticut and southern Massachusetts and landed on runway 27. We waited momentarily as aircraft took off from runway 22R and made the quick pass over to dock up at Terminal B.

Approach to runway 27 at Boston

I walked through Terminal A over to the Hilton Boston Logan where I was staying that night in preparation for my 6am departure for JFK. Surprisingly since it was only 8.30am my room was ready and I was invited to have breakfast up in their Executive Lounge. For an airport joint it was pretty decent, only a few years old and the rooms either overlook Boston and the Terminal A apron (like mine) or over the runways.

The room with a view...Hilton Boston Logan

I had a quick breakfast and went into Boston which as a Brit on July 4th was an interesting experience. I joined a guided tour for some time but preferred just to walk about and take a few photos which I've put up on my Imagestation site for those interested.

My feet were getting very sore by about 5pm so took the T back to the hotel and hung out in the Executive Lounge with a few drinks and the internet. I planned on getting an early night thanks to my 4am start but the huge firework display out over the Charles River Basin put that to bed (so to speak) and like many I went up to the Executive Lounge and watched it from there with the soundtrack on TV, complete with 3 second delay!

Off to bed in preparation for the early start...

Route: Boston Logan Intl. Airport - New York - John F. Kennedy Int.
Airline: American Eagle
Flight number: AA4602
Aircraft: Embraer EMB-135LR
Registration: N720AE
Seat: 01A (Domestic Single Class)
Distance: 187 miles
Duration: 44mins
Date: Wednesday 5th July

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Photo © Rudy Chiarello
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Photo © Pierre Langlois

It was another early start for me, this time 4.15am. I jumped in the shower and put the electronics I had on charge overnight in my carry-on before taking the elevator down to the lobby and dropping off my minibar key. Despite the ungodly hour the lobby was buzzing including a number of Japanese, a few Scouts and a Netjets crew. I caught the first shuttle that came past and our first stop was for the Netjets folks well away from the terminals.

I jumped off at the American Airlines stop as opposed to American Eagle as I was on a First Class itinerary and was able to make use of a priority check-in, something probably not available at the American Eagle desks. The handful of First Class desks were manned but line of half a dozen barely moved in the five minutes I stood there so went to the rather empty self-service check-in kiosks and printed off my flimsy boarding passes.

Armed with shiny BA Executive Club card I went to the vacant priority security line and was directed to the AE gates but explained I wanted to use the Admirals Club and was given the OK. Put my boarding pass back in my pocket and went to retrieve them as I got to the Admirals Club and that tearing noise was made once again! Swapped out for another as the tear went across the bar code. I enquired about the shuttle to the American Eagle gates but was told it starts at 6am, when my flight was due to depart so I'd have to reclear security. I had about 5mins to enjoy my cup of coffee before heading over that way.

American Airlines Admirals Club at Boston

Security at the AE gates was brief apart from the fools that seem to lose their brains as soon as they step into an aircraft terminal and try and walk through the checkpoint with their backpacks on!  Yeah sure

The dreadful American Eagle gates at Boston

The AE gates are really quite dreadful, you even have to walk outside security to go to the bathroom and the only thing of 'entertainment' was the one food stand and lone television!  Sad

Another AE flight was leaving at this time, AA4592 to Reagan National and soon it was about time for us to board. Our aircraft was on stand and time for boarding had been and gone. An announcement was made that our aircraft had gone tech and another plane was being sought. Meanwhile I listened to CNN and watched as numerous non-rev passengers checked out availability with the various GAs.

Our flight boarded by remote stand, a mildly comical affair as the bus drove only about 100ft from where we boarded it to the stairs of N720AE. I was amongst the first onboard and as I was in 1A again so moved a few rows back to put my bag in the overhead locker. One rather impatient guy decided to shout 'Hurry up, I'm getting cold out here' as he stood on the stairs as I took more than a third of a second to go about my business.  Yeah sure

The view from 1A on the EMB-135 as the folks up front prepare for the short hop to JFK

The captain informed us we had a projected flight time of 43minutes and a cruising altitude of 22,000ft. The cabin was rather full on this mini ERJ and before long the safety demo took place and we taxied in the direction of runway 22R. We were in line behind an AA MD-80 which was probably the nosiest aircraft about at BOS, it was the only aircraft I could hear from my room the previous evening!

We took off and headed at a bearing of 140 degrees (as per the sign on the taxiway  Wink) for some time before turning round and judging by the Flightaware map (linked in the data at the beginning) we aimed for New Shoreham, RI. There was a quick drinks service and done from a trolley too! We had enough time for seconds before our descent began. It was a fairly awful day down on Long Island and decent views were hard to come by!

The drink....not vodka but water.

This descent into JFK was about as different in aviation terms as they come compared to my last, from British Airways Concorde in 2002 to American Eagle ERJ in 2006  Smile ( BA001 Concorde: LHR-JFK September 2002 (by Fbgdavidson Oct 14 2004 in Trip Reports) )

We landed on 31R and taxied to the American Eagle gates, the few minutes interuppted by the fact we came to a halt and let an entourage of police, fire and other emergency vehicles drive past us going in the opposite direction.

I was first off and made the walk down the concourse to the Admirals Club in preparation for my flight to Los Angeles which was on stand just across from the elevator to the Admirals Club.

Route: New York - John F. Kennedy Int. - Los Angeles Int.
Airline: American Airlines
Flight number: AA245
Aircraft: Boeing 767-233/ER
Registration: N319AA
Seat: 03J (First Class)
Distance: 2475 miles
Duration: 5hrs 33mins
Date: Wednesday 5th July

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Photo © Ralph Duenas - Airplanespotters
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Photo © Joe Statz

I hopped into the elevator with another family and as we entered the Admirals Club they made us aware we were on different flights. Then it clicked to them that we weren't all together! I was asked if I wanted to move to AA1 which was leaving at 9am, an hour earlier than my JFK-LAX counterpart and I informed them because of my already long layover at LAX I'd be happy to stick to my original itinerary. This caused a bit of banter between the two about the new Admirals Club at JFK and the Flagship Lounge at LAX...

My first impressions of the Admirals Club here were very positive, the decor was bright and it felt very airy. Certainly a nice place to while away an hour or two so I grabbed a bagel and coffee and found a PC to pass the time.

American Airlines Admirals Club at JFK's Terminal 9

After about 15mins I took a seat by the window which overlooked the much talked about JFK-NYC helicopter. As I watched the rotors began to spin almost as if it was giving an impromptu performance for me!


US Helicopter Sikorsky SK-61N departing for New York City

It was a good spot to see the AA international departures as well as some of the early morning BA craft leaving Terminal 7 for London.

At about 9.30am I went downstairs, perhaps a little early, for the boarding of the flight. After just a minute or so the first announcement was made for First Class passengers so I went and exchanged pleasantries with the GA before boarding. Much to my surprise, or not  Wink, there were two chaps already sitting down, one beside me in 3H and the other in the aisle seat at the front of the business class cabin.

As the boarding continued for some time I settled into my seat which was really rather huge and extremely comfortable. As the other passengers filed back to Business Class and Economy I was brought a glass of pre-flight champagne and menus were handed out. We were informed the flight was full although First Class still had five of the nine seats empty so Mr 3H moved forward to have a row to himself  bigthumbsup . This allowed me to spread my junk across two enormous seats  Smile

As boarding came to an end a guy from Business Class was brought forward amidst a sea of apologies from a couple of FAs and took the lone seat in the centre. He struck me as rather odd looking with a bandanna underneath his Trilby (neither of which were ever removed) and had a collection of toothpicks behind his ear which he chewed on, rotating between his collection throughout the flight  boggled 

The legroom in seat 3J, and I was stretching my feet out!  Smile

The 9 seat First Class cabin on the AA Flagship Service 767-200

More picture of this First Class cabin and seat can be found thanks to Planecrazy2, here  thumbsup 

The glorious weather at JFK this morning

Virginia, the flight attendant today in First Class came round with a copy of the manifest, welcomed me as 'Mr Davidson' and sat on the edge of seat 3H beside me and asked which of the various options from the menu I was after and whether I'd like to have a DVD player to use during the flight. The menu is as reads below:



Warm mixed nuts


Seasonal mixed greens
offered with a creamy Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
or Olive Oil Vinaigrette



Chicken with Wild Rice
to accompany your entree selection

A seared salmon fillet served cold on a bed of Linguini Noodles and enhanced by Jalapeño and Papaya Relish

Roasted chicken and Swiss Cheese offered on Ciabatta Bread accented by Chipotle Ranch spread, served with fresh seasonal Greens and a Dressing of your choice.


In an effort to accommodate your individual preferences, American Airlines is pleased to offer any o the entrees listed below for your Dine Upon Request selection, presented all at once at any time you wish during the flight.

Seared Salmon
Roasted Chicken and Swiss Cheese Sandwich
Soup du Jour


Breyers Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with a choice of Hot Fudge, Butterscotch or seasonal fruit toppings and fresh Whipped Cream



A selection of seasonal Fruit and fine cheese'

The accompanying wine list was as follows:


Domaine Chandon Napa Valley Brut


Buena Vista Carneros Reserve Chardonnay

Clos du Bois Sonoma County Pinot Grigio


Lambert Bridge Sonoma County Merlot

Geyser Peak Sonoma County Shiraz


Graham's Six Grapes Port NV


SKYY Vodka, Tanqueray Gin, Bacardi Rum, Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch, Maker's Mark Bourbon, Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, Dewar's White Label Scotch Whisky, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whisky

Heineken, Amstel Light and select U.S. Beers

Brandy and Liqueurs
Di Saronno Amaretto, Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, Courvoisier V.S.O.P. Fine Champagne Cognac

Other Beverages
Carbonated Beverages, American Airlines Premium Blend Regular and Decaffeinated Coffee, Tea, Fruit Juices, Milk'

We pushed back really rather late, considering this was a 10am departure we weren't on the move until closer to 10.30am and it was only about to get worse!

We taxied round the back of JFK and beside runway 31L and I noticed a BA747 moving rather quickly. At 10.30am it was a bit early for an inbound from LHR and then I saw the nose come off the ground and it took off! I thought this was odd as I had seen this aircraft pushback almost 2hrs before! As we turned parallel to runway 4L it became apparent why....the line of aircraft was like nothing I'd seen before. Tails as far as the eye could see! We got in the queue behind a JetBlue EMB170 and a North American 767, an airline I'd never heard of but I could see five of their aircraft at the same time so maybe I should have...

The 27 strong line in wait for takeoff at JFK

The captain announced for the benefit of those on the port side why the other half of the aircraft were all of a sudden itching to hit the lavatories and it was decided to allow people to go to the bathroom one at a time although the seatbelt sign was left on. I reclined my seat some distance and pulled the blanket over me as I watched planes in the distance depart. One by one we crawled nearer the threshold of 31L and by the time we took off at 11.30am I had been onboard for 2hrs!  Smile Just another five and a bit to go!

Video of the takeoff of AA245 JFK-LAX. Note the condensation patterns forming in the engine during the takeoff roll

We climbed out through the grim cloud layer and up to an altitude of 38,000ft. Above the weather it could not have been more different, a clear blue sky.

Warm nuts were brought round and a glass of Pinot Grigio made it's way to my seat. Virginia then came around with the DVD players which I began to set up. The package included Bose QC2 headphones (although I used my own) a Panasonic DVD player and all the relevant cords to hook it up to the inflight power system plus a DVD booklet with a couple of dozen options  thumbsup 

Inflight Theater, glass of Pinot Grigio and the staple of American carriers First Class cabins....the hot nuts

A second glass of Pinot Grigio was offered as was another top up of hot nuts which I accepted on both counts. I flicked through the DVD library which included the following options:

Aeon Flux, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride, Firewall, Kiss Kiss,Bang Bang, Million Dollar Baby, Syriana, The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, Blow, Donnie Brasco, Forrest Gump, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Gangs of New York, The Godfather III, The Great Train Robbery, Harry Potter 2, Independence Day, Legends of the Fall, Memento, Miss Congeniality, Best of Frasier, Jimi Hendrix: Woodstock, Rick Steve's Europe:Ireland, Movie Edition:Scene It? - The DVD Game , The Tavistock Official Film

The Inflight Theater with DVD library on the left hand side

After some flipping back and forth I eventually chose Donnie Brasco, a film I had been interested in seeing for some time but just not got round to it. The main screen option had been announced earlier as 'Take The Lead' so I was quite glad to have the DVD player option!

Hot towels were brought round at this stage in preparation for the beginning of the meal service.

Soup de Jour - Chicken with Wild Rice

The courses were served on a rolling basis, as soon as one was served the next was brought out. Next round was the salad cart and it pulled up next to my seat. I got to choose from peppers, mushrooms, zucchini and tomatoes.

The Salad Cart comes to town....mushrooms, peppers and balsamic vinaigrette

Once the salad was gone it was time for the Roasted Chicken and Swiss sandwich, in my mind a slightly odd choice for a Flagship Service First Class with a pretty hefty premium over the 2 class services but frankly I had little option  Wink It wasn't that it tasted bad, it's just this isn't the right cabin on the aircraft for this kind of entree. I do understand that until just a few months ago that the Flagship Service warranted something more along the lines of my thinking but alas fell victim to the never ending string of cost cutting measures.

Roasted chicken and Swiss Cheese offered on Ciabatta Bread accented by Chipotle Ranch spread

The view from 3J

The captain had informed us before takeoff at JFK that our route was to take us towards Pittsburgh, PA and in pretty much a straight line from there down to Four Points National Monument over the Grand Canyon and south of Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Being used to predominantly flying transatlantic I had my eye out the window at various points once the skies cleared up, almost continuously trying to work out whereabouts we were.

I thought this was Cleveland, OH at the time but now I'm not so sure. Cookie to anyone who knows  Wink

Despite the interesting view which took us over Milwaukee at one point (well I think!) the FAs made a number of announcements for those passengers to shut their blinds if they weren't looking out of the window so those watching the movie can enjoy it sans glare. Having four to myself when reclined I felt a little selfish not closing one so closed the most forward and peeked out the window every now and then to make sure the other three didn't fall victim to such pedantry.

I took a few minutes to give my stomach a break and then the dessert trolley was wheeled in my direction for the finale, the made to order sundae.

Breyers Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with Hot Fudge and fresh Whipped Cream

Virginia was doing an excellent job at keeping everyone stocked up on both drinks and food and with a smile too. After the remains of my dessert were removed she came round with a top up for my Pinot Grigio and a bottle of water. She struck up conversation asking where I was from and going, she seemed surprised to see a Brit living on Richmond, VA and heading to Seattle was on a JFK-LAX flight  biggrin . We chatted for a few minutes and told her I was recently married and she offered congratulations and mentioned that she was approaching her 35th anniversary. She certainly felt more genuine and honest than chats with other FAs I have come across.  thumbsup 

Some time later Donnie Brasco came to an end, a pretty good movie, and for once onboard an aircraft I hadn't fallen asleep and missed the conclusion! By this stage we were crossing the flyover states. Perfectly straight roads running parallel to each other and irrigation circles were punctuated by the odd piece of slightly hilly terrain. While some find it very boring I find it amazing how uniform it appears and for several hundred miles!

I fetched out my mp3 player and listened to an old favorite album from Yello, I blame my Dad for my taste in music  Wink I felt quite at home with my seat reclined to a perfectly relaxing angle, the blanket pulled over me, listening to music with the odd peek out the window as the scenery began to change as we approached the Rockies.

And yes...the bear enjoyed the seat too  Wink

'Take The Lead' ended on the main screen and it was seen appropriate to play some positively ancient episodes of 'Taxi' starring Judd Hirsch as well as some of the pretty dreadful looking 'How I Met Your Mother'. Even without sound the latter seemed dire so I kept my eyes trained out of the window.

Looks like the Grand Canyon to me...

I kept my eyes open for various landmarks and just as I was wondering if we'd see Las Vegas lo and behold right on cue Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam and the aforementioned city appear just a few miles behind. This seemed to be the indicator to the crew that it was time for the last offered drinks round and I kept the tradition of the last few hours of accepting water at every opportunity.

As we came over San Bernardino and into the Los Angeles basin I began to clear all my accouterments away and my DVD player was packed up and handed back. I did experience some problems with stowing my footrest although Virginia came over and with a smile insisted it was 'operator malfunction'. Indeed within just a few seconds it was out of the way and it made me feel better when Mr 3B experienced the same thing  Smile

Flying over Ontario, CA on approach to LAX

We landed at LAX on 25L a shade over five and half hours since leaving JFK with a UA Express Regional Jet beside us approaching one of the 24s. The weather was infinitely better than NYC and the SoCal sun beating down was very welcome.  Smile

The 767 was pulled up at Gate 42B a short hop from the Admirals Club and Flagship Lounge where I'd spend the next couple of hours before moving to Terminal 3 to catch my Alaska Airlines flight to Seattle. At the entrance to the empty Flagship Lounge I spoke with the guy about the various airlines and customer service, a good old rant for about five minutes or so  biggrin 

I helped myself to a few nibbles and grabbed an ice cold Corona with matching frozen glass  bigthumbsup  A few announcements were made regarding extremely delayed flights going to and coming from DFW. I called my wife who was at this time at Richmond back in Virginia awaiting her flight to DFW and asked her to enquire about being moved to flights via Chicago or St Louis. Her flight out of Richmond had been put back 90mins and I was concerned she'd be marooned at DFW...

American Airlines & Qantas International First Class Lounge at LAX

The view from the Flagship Lounge: American Airlines aircraft of all shapes and sizes...

I supped on my Corona or two and relaxed for the ninety minutes before vacating to Terminal 3.

Route: Los Angeles Int. - Seattle / Tacoma Int. Airport
Airline: Alaska Airlines
Flight Number: AS485
Aircraft: Boeing 737-790
Registration: N624AS
Seat: 01A (First Class)
Distance: 954 miles
Duration: 2hrs 3mins
Date: Wednesday 5th July

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Photo © Ryan C. Umphrey
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Photo © Michael Arcellana

After spending time in the Flagship Lounge and with a 4.20pm departure for Seattle I decided to head over to Terminal 3 at 3.30pm. I backtracked my way through Terminal 4 and unceremoniously across the parking lots to Terminal 3. It seems Alaska has gone the way of US Airways and stationed self service check-in kiosks at the front of every possible station. This left the First Class desk and MVP Gold unmanned and with the nearest person some 30ft away! I tried my luck at SSCI-ing but with a itinerary booked through AA it wasn't going to budge. It did print me a boarding pass but said to go to Customer Service desk...handy. Fortunately there were people on hand and there was no wait.

I asked about access to the Boardroom and was told as I was booked in paid First Class I could get in  Smile Security was a non-issue and within a couple of minutes I was up in the Boardroom enjoying a glass of water watching the movements on the apron outside.

Horizon Air De Havilland Canada DHC-8-401Q Dash 8 - bad motiv, long name!

Alaska Airlines Boardroom at LAX. Good views over the 24 runways.

At 3.50pm I went downstairs to board, just as I approached the gate general boarding was announced, usually a bad sign but Alaska operates a rather good system. One GA but two lines, one reserved for MVP Golds and First Class so I went right to the front  Smile

Got onboard and found the remains of the pre-flight drinks at all the occupied First Class seats. The overhead space had also gone which was a bit of a pain and so retrieved a few things for the flight and stowed it right at the back of the closet in front of row 1.

As those in the main cabin boarded we were given a bottle of water and a chance to people watch. There was a family in the remainder of the seats in row 1 who had an infant across the aisle. This child tore up and began to eat the inflight magazine as a pre-flight snack whilst the crew and family swooned over her which I thought was mildly amusing!

As the remainder of the passengers boarded the flight attendant started the announcements that this flight was heading for Seattle. One person got off  biggrin  and then the FA got the flight number wrong which gave carte blanche for some of the regulars to shout the right one in her direction  bigthumbsup 

We taxied round to 24R and were off the ground at 4.30pm and soon turned to head due north and right under a Polar Air Cargo 747, yes it was close enough to read the titles!

We were informed that the choice of meal today was either Mexican salad or a Barbeque chicken sandwich. Despite having a sandwich of probably similar variety just a few hours earlier I opted for this and an Alaskan Summer Ale to accompany it.

The view from 1A

As we cruised up to 40,000ft I watched the Pacific coastline disappear into the distance as we headed almost due north, although we were treated to a great view of the uneven terrain created by the San Andreas Fault and a few minutes later the less exciting city of Fresno  Wink

Barbeque Chicken Sandwich, after dinner mints and Alaskan Summer Ale

This sandwich was once again pretty decent but this time it didn't feel out of place. A late afternoon flight needs great beer and a good snack and this met the criteria rather well  bigthumbsup 

As per tradition I peeked out the window every few minutes to try and ascertain our location, despite there not being a cloud in the sky this yielded mostly negative results. I did spot three Southwest 737s treading the Pacific Coast runs and sporting large contrails as they passed in the opposite direction just a few minutes apart.

I was offered another Alaskan Summer Ale which would be rude to turn down and like all responsible drinkers also asked for another glass of water.

My home for a couple of hours, seat 1A

A third glass of water was brought round as I finally gave up trying to work out where we were flying but did remember that Mount Rainier and Mount St Helens were around somewhere. Once we began our descent into the clouds I gave up hope especially since my natural compass was extremely disorientated by the descent through the clouds!

After coming through the thick cloud we were greeted with a great view of Lake Washington off to our left and then Boeing Field just below.

The Airpark at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. Prototype 737 and 747 plus the original Air Force One, an AA727 and British Airways Concorde, G-BOAG on show

We pulled into the gate just overlooking International Boulevard and passed through to arrivals where my wife's parents were awaiting me.

Well a lot to sum up here!

RIC-BOS: Maybe my low expectations seem to be that anything beyond arriving at your destination is a bonus on an ERJ. The beverage service was fine  Smile Richmond remains a great and easy airport to depart from.

BOS-JFK: Again, not much to put here. From a selfish point of view it would be nice if the American Eagle gates were permanently connected to the main terminal so those eligible folks flying on AE can use the Admirals Club, also other passengers would benefit from use of concessions stands and facilities.

JFK-LAX: My only gripe with this flight was the entree during the meal service. Sandwiches shouldn't be in First Class on a 3 class transcontinental flight! Other than that the service and seat were superb. Great lounges too. I've written a bit more about my thoughts on this flight in the separate report.

LAX-SEA: Flying out of LAX on AS was very easy and convenient by virtue of flying out of Terminal 3. The Boardroom was great and the flight itself did it's job rather well. IMO all flights in First Class regardless of time of day or length should get a meal and in this case, a late afternoon hop up the coast the sandwich coupled with friendly efficient service was right on the money  Smile
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Thu Jul 13, 2006 10:28 am

It seemed like the sandwich was a whole lot more appropriate on Alaska. That was a very convoluted way to get to SEA by flying 3 different airlines, but it must have been a fun trip.
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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:28 am

Excellent report! Good pictures. Sounds like the flight on Alaska Airlines was good. The pretzels you recieved on your flight to JFK are the ones that NWA used to serve on domestic flights, before they began to charge for snacks. Looking forward to more reports!
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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Fri Jul 14, 2006 7:21 am

Great Stuff Buddy, Another great read and awesome pics to go with it!

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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Fri Jul 14, 2006 11:38 am

Another great report, thanks! And I have to agree with you on the sandwich issue - although it looked pretty tasty, that's more of a Business Class meal than First.

The new Admirals Club at JFK looks so much better than the old one, I'm impressed.

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
Security at the AE gates was brief apart from the fools that seem to lose their brains as soon as they step into an aircraft terminal and try and walk through the checkpoint with their backpacks on!

I have to admit that I did this once...6 AM, no caffeine in the bloodstream. The TSA staffer at LGA took it in stride, though, didn't get worked up at all.

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Thread starter):
and a few minutes later the less exciting city of Fresno

Hey, now, don't make me come over there and pelt you with raisins...  Silly
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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Fri Jul 21, 2006 10:06 pm

Thanks for all the kind comments  Smile

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 1):
That was a very convoluted way to get to SEA by flying 3 different airlines, but it must have been a fun trip.

Indeed the sandwich was a good snack on the AS flight, and yes it was rather convoluted. This was in part thanks to airline schedule changes and part because I wanted to fly JFK-LAX on the 762 in First as opposed to BOS-SFO on the inferior 757, and on reflection it was a wise choice. Getting up an hour earlier to hop to JFK on an ERJ isn't much of a hardship!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 2):
Sounds like the flight on Alaska Airlines was good. The pretzels you recieved on your flight to JFK are the ones that NWA used to serve on domestic flights, before they began to charge for snacks.

The AS flight was very good, just the ticket  thumbsup  However the return was pretty poor  Sad Read my other report to see why!

Nice factoid on the NWA pretzels  biggrin 

Quoting ExFATboy (Reply 4):
Hey, now, don't make me come over there and pelt you with raisins...

"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Fri Jul 21, 2006 11:28 pm

Dude way too spoilt. No offence!

Nice report though.

Veni, vidi, vici.
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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:05 am

Excellent report! I enjoyed reading/viewing it all!
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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:39 am

Great trip report! Love the pictures Big grin
If ain't Boeing - it ain't going :)
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RE: AA/AS First Class & US Express: RIC-SEA (pics+vid)

Sat Jul 22, 2006 5:10 am

Quoting Paul (Reply 6):
Dude way too spoilt. No offence!

Yeah, the FAs on these flights were pretty on the ball  thumbsup  Made me feel all fuzzy and special, especially on JFK-LAX  Smile
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey

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