Well our time in LA had come to an end and it was time to experience domestic air travel in the USA. I have heard a lot of negative comments about service and I had set low expectations and was ready for the worst and that is exactly what I pretty much got!
Wed 22 November
Los Angeles (LAX) to Las Vegas (LAS)
AA3105 (Operated by American Eagle)
We arrived at LAX and we had pulled up at a kerbside check in which we decided to take advantage of, you had to pay for it and tip the agent but is so much easier. We then walked into the terminal and the first thing you notice is how sterile it is and uninteresting LAX really is. We walked over to the escalator to go upstairs and through security and had a TSA agent demanding to see our passports and boarding passes and we complied so we could get our ride on the escalator. Once we got to the top we had another person check our boarding passes and passports, I was thinking to myself “we haven’t changed in the minute we were on the escalator” and anyway we followed everyone else into the security area where we had our boarding passes checked AGAIN? We went though and did what the signs said and took our shoes off everything out of our pockets and jumper off. Had no issues with security thank god and then we headed to the Admirals club shared with Qantas. Went up stairs and we had been given drink vouchers which we thought was weird (I wasn’t aware that you had to pay for drinks etc when in the lounge) I ask the question what is the point of being a club member which you still have to pay more $$$ for anything? Anyway got a drink and a mini mini muffin from the food area. After sitting and looking at the QF planes leave and arrive at the gate right out from where I was sitting it was time to head to the gate to get the bus over to the satellite terminal.
Caught Wunulla, first time I’ve seen her, hate to say it but she’s really ugly up close.
Another QF jet pulling in.
Got on the bus and headed over to the eagle terminal only 6 or 7 of us on the bus which was okay and got asked not to take any photos by the driver. Got to the terminal and headed right to the end to grab a seat and wait for the ‘fun’ to begin. Then when we got there the fun did begin. First it started with requiring volunteers to go on a later flight with a US$150 travel voucher which is no good to us then it was upped to $200 and then people started to go to the counter. Then the agent went to board and then she said in the middle “Sit right back down, the plane hasn’t arrived yet” we were a bit blown away by that and meanwhile we were watching luggage getting loaded onto an aircraft, well actually thrown and a few bags landed on the ground and then the next minute another cart comes and they load all that. 5 minutes later someone comes running over and must have told the ramp workers that they had loaded the wrong plane and then they chucked all the bags out of the plane onto the cart and then the ‘right’ plane landed and everyone deplaned that one.
The agent then said that she may have to deny passengers boarding due to weight restrictions and that the flight was severely overbooked. They boarded in groups and we were group 2 and got on the plane fine. Sat down and then a frumpy flight attendant appeared and wasn’t like the ones you see at home and talk about miserable. The door was closed and safety message played and they had started to start the engines when we were all flung forward in our seats, and then we were bought back to the gate and we were already over 40 minutes late. Now I knew we had seats spare but I thought it might have been because of the weight issue but then these passengers came back on because they didn’t need them to be offloaded anymore. And one of the ladies asked the flight attendant about the baggage and the f/a said “Do I look like I put them on the plane? I was ready to go and you finally decided to join us” I thought that was totally uncalled for and was extremely rude. We pushed back and headed to the runway and took off rather promptly. Once we were in the air the seat belt sign was NEVER extinguished yet everyone was up and about going to the Lav opening overheads and the f/a was serving drinks all while the seatbelt sign was on, for me I just got a coke and when I asked for the can she said “You wont have time to drink that much” to which I replied “I have plenty of time” and she slammed the can on my tray.
Vegas started to come into view and it’s an incredible sight seeing all the hotels and this big city crammed into a valley.
Startings of Vegas
We landed and got off and the first thing you see is obviously the pokies which is a funny sight, then made the walk to the tram to get to baggage claim and that’s a mission in its self. Got to baggage claim and we finally found the right belt but were the only ones as everyone else had headed to the one we had been told to go to, we were lucky as I saw some of our luggage. This is where American Airlines become really bad. Pulled one bad and the handle came off and had been put back inside with all the broken bits off it. And all our other suitcases had damage of some sort. Wasn’t happy at this point.
Headed to our shuttle for a few days in Vegas, Hoover Dam and our flight to the Grand Canyon.
Boulder City to Grand Canyon Airport and the return
DHC twin otter
This was a flight I was kind of looking forward to. It was an adventure actually getting to the airport, we got picked up at the Luxor then had to go to the Aladdin to be weighed and our boarding pass which was a sticker was stuck to us. Then the adventure of getting to the Airport began, I thought we were leaving from North Las Vegas and I had never heard of Boulder City but that’s where we were going. There was a strong Japanese presence on the bus, driver included who turned out only spoke a few words in English. Finally got to the airport and checked in which was a marathon in its self.
Boarded the very cramped aircraft and had to laugh the only white people were the four of us and the pilots, no wonder the pilots said “finally someone to understand our announcements”. We then took off and headed to the Grand Canyon. The tour company runs 3 aircraft for the whole bus group.
The flight was very scenic and cool because I was able to look out the front, although my bum didn’t fit on the seat and my legs were in the aisle (if you call it that).
Doing their briefing, and before start checks
Taxing to the runway
Just airborne, the otter is pretty bloody quick and gets in the sky pronto
Leaving the airport behind
Hoover dam again
New road to go across the gorge, like Glen Canyon Dam
Throttle unit, on the roof
Turning for finals
Landing, pretty soft and smooth
Our plane, just before boarding our bus to the canyon
Once we landed we walked out to a cold 10 degrees which was bitter. When we got into the terminal the tour was disorganised and we finally were told where to go in English. We got aboard and the driver told us in English that because 85% of visitors are Japanese, we had a translator and the tour would be given in Japanese. So we got told little bits about the Grand Canyon but the Japanese got a full commentary in Japanese! Made for a very cultural tour. Understood about 10 words on the whole trip LOL
Sign says it all!
One of my favourite pictures from the whole trip
The Grand Canyon is simply mind blowing and there is no other way to put it, words cant describe it. It is definitely a must to go and visit and I recommend flying as it is a hell of a lot quicker than driving. Went around and was surprised at the established town feeling which was great and took lots of pictures and went to a few different spots around the rim of the Canyon.
We then headed back out to the township to have some lunch at the hotel. Had lunch and boarded the bus back to the airport and waited to be told what to do. Once again us English speaking folks were forgotten about and were finally told by someone that our plane was waiting for us. Boarded and had a chat with the pilot before getting on. Flew over the canyon and kept looked at the vast landscape of the desert, it is very similar to Western Australia. Everyone was sound asleep and was a funny sight; another thing I notice about the Japanese is they sleep everywhere, the terminal, the plane and the bus? Is it so they can go and gamble at night
Planes just arrived, and ready to take us back
Our rego up close!
Heading to the runway
Looking straight down the runway
End of the apron area
Bush land and climbing
Heres some pictures from my dads camera of Grand Canyon Airport:
We landed as it was getting dark and then headed back on the bus and it was completely pitch black at this time.
Landing at Boulder City
Got back to our hotel 13 hours after leaving and went out down the strip.
Vegas is a really neat place we also done a tour to the Hoover Dam which is also really good and also went to see Mama Mia at the Mandalay Bay Hotel which was a really good show even though ABBA’s music might not be cool it was good! Vegas is a must to see. I want to come back in a couple years time when I’m old enough to gamble. As we had the flu it didn’t make Vegas very enjoyable but we tried and it was definitely an eye opener. It really is what its like on TV lol. And I highly recommend the buffet at the Paris, its pretty costly but by crist does the food taste good and its MASSIVE!
Here are some pictures from our time in Vegas. ( I know this isn’t a travel forum but hey what the hell!)
View north from the Eiffel Tower
View south from the Eiffel Tower.
View from the Stratosphere
One of the rides 1000+ feet in the air teetering off the edge, and for the record I was too chicken to go on any. I value my heart
Outdoor canal at the Venetian. Was extremely expensive to go on one, and highly embarrassing, with the guy singing and everyone taking photos of people in the boats.
Unfortunately our whirlwind time in Vegas had to come to an end and it was time to head to Honolulu. Wasn’t looking forward to flying AA after last time but was prepared to give them 2 more chances.
After an action packed 5 days in Vegas we were all full of the flu and ready to head to warm Hawaii!!
Las Vegas to Los Angeles
AA 3104 (Operated By American Eagle)
Arrived at the airport and we decided to use the kerb side check in again as it is really convenient. We went into the terminal and found our way upstairs to security. What a night mare but a relatively organised one. TSA Yelling and screaming to get into line and they had 2 lines going which prob had a couple of hundred people in each line. The TSA agents were yelling what you’re allowed and not allowed beyond security yet some people still cannot learn. The guy behind me had a bottle of water and pocket knife??? WTF goes through peoples mind, and did he learn who was boss!! TSA.
Anyway got through that ordeal again. Went to the tram to head over to the D concourse. The tram is really cool IMO. Albeit tight but good fun and you get some great apron views but too hard to take photos when you’re trying to not fall over . Got off the tram and trekked to the escalators. Went upstairs and had Ruby Burger for the last time, not as good as the dine in version but still pretty tasty. (Definitely not as good as FAT Burger or IN N OUT Burger) Went into the shop and bought last minute things like some magazines and chocolate bars for LAX because we knew there’s nothing in the AA terminal. Went down to the gate and our plane wasn’t there yet which was a bit of a bugger, but finally arrived and unloaded. Then came the dreaded “Attention passengers on AA3104 this flight is oversold and we need 6 volunteers to give up their seats for a $150 travel voucher”, then it became $200 and then 5 minutes later $250 plus some food vouchers. Went for a walk around the terminal, its pretty impressive how many pokies they can shove in an airport!! A lot of people on them as well. Now I know why people miss their flights out of Vegas for!!!
Our a/c just arriving from LAX
View from the window
On with the flight, We were finally called for boarding and got straight on and found my seat I was in 6A this time. The seats are pretty comfortable for a RJ and I found them a lot more comfortable than the AA 757 seats which you will hear more about down below. Played the safety message and the fight attendant wasn’t so bad this time, she even smiled . I thought to myself is it even possible for an AA employee to smile after the service we had gotten so far. And funnily enough we had the same Captain and F/o as we had coming to LAS. Pushed back on time and taxied to the runway. We then suddenly slammed on the brakes and sat there for 5 mins. Then finally the F/O came on and explained that LAX ATC is being a bully and wont let them airborne incase we are early and that we had to sit on the ground for the next 25 minutes.
View of the apron
She said that they were begging them but to no avail, so we sat there for 20 odd mins before taxing to the runway where we were number 7 for takeoff. Off we went and took off to the west and climbed quickly. Once again the seatbelt sign was NEVER switched off yet people were up and about. The F/A came through and offered drinks and I just got a sprite and she was actually pretty friendly compared to the other F/A (Sour Cow) we had.
Cloud cover was all the way through to the L.A area
The hazy LA area
The flight was pretty uneventful and it was a really quick flight, next thing you know your flying into LA and slowly the mass never ending sprawl of houses and roads appears. Absolutely incredible to see LA from the air its HUGE!
If you look in the side of the photo you can see an NZ 777!
NZ 777 clearly visible while we are both lining up for approach
NZ 77 again
As we were on approach I spotted what looked like a 777 turning for approach as well now this is where I was starting to wet my pants with excitement it wasn’t just any 777 is was an NZ 777 First time I had seen one and we were side by side the whole approach, A. Netter heaven lol.
The QF girls basking in the LA sun
Once we landed we made our way to the remote terminal and saw the 777 pass us again. Looks pretty good in NZ livery I must say.
Once we had parked we deplaned and headed for our bus, this is really cool driving next to 747’s 737’s and A340’s always under estimated how big the A340 really is from the ground! We went upstairs and was met with the cleaning chemical smell chaotic T4, Welcome to LAX!!
Went straight to the AAdmirals club and sat down and got a drink, once again the lounge was pretty chockka and got to see a few QF birds up close which made my day even better, 2nd highlight after the NZ 777.
About an hour and a half before our HNL flight was meant to leave we headed down and went to get some drinks and things for the flight and at this time of night the terminal is just craziness. Anyway found our gate made base and settled in. The departure time came and went and AA finally told us that the A/c was late, I can live with that. Finally arrived just as the sun set and they promised a quick turnaround but that came and went as well and the departure time became later and later. The flight crew had their shoes polished, and I just had to time it and it took 25 minutes and then they stood at the desk for a while as well then they were allowed on the plane and then boarding commenced just before 2000.
Dep: 1800 Arr: 2155 (Yeah Right!!)
Actual: Dep: 2000 Arr: 0010
757-200 With Winglet
No Pictures for this section! Due to being in an exit row and being a night flight sorry!
This flight we had been assigned exit seats, now I had thought that they would be like the 737 exit seats with a window etc but boy was I wrong, they were horrible and I cant see any advantage of being in an exit row except for getting off first. The seats were extremely uncomfortable and had no window. But I got over that, I think. Something that did concern me though was the absolute last passenger on board came running on and he went straight into the toilet with a bulky backpack and spent a good 5 mins in there. Bit un nerving these days. We closed up pushed back and the might 757 roared to life. Once we taxied out it was a really quick departure and the Captain apologised on behalf of AA for the late aircraft. Which was good. The flight crew at first seemed to be relatively good and the CSM was really good and welcomed everyone in Hawaiian and thanked every announcement with Mahalo which I thought was a nice touch! Once we were well out over the Pacific ocean they began a service and sold headphones to watch “You Me and Dupree” and my “Super Ex Girlfriend” both of which where really good. The usual AA BOB was available and I just had a turkey sandwich which was pretty good but the roll was a dry as a 99 year old (Not that I would know though lol) My sister got a junk food pack which had a few good things in it. Also the F/A’s came through with a pack containing lip balm, tooth paste and a tooth brush. I never expected that on AA so was also good. Unfortunately once the service was over we only saw the f/a’s once again before landing when they offered water, but the CSM walked through several times checking on everyone which I thought was pretty good. I watched the movies which were really good and funny and got quite a few laughs from the other pax. But the flight seemed to drag out, probably because I was uncomfortable but I have learnt my lesson never to have 757 exit seats! And the other thing about AA is there’s no support for your head, the seat only comes up to about your shoulders which would be a pain in the ass if you were travelling to Europe on the 757. Anyway we were ready to descend into Honolulu which I was relatively happy with. We landed and deplaned first so was even better. Walked out to masses and masses of people catching the redeye’s to the mainland and all the AA flights were late. Loved the humidity, felt like being at home a welcome change from the cool weather in Vegas. We went down to Baggage claim, loved how the airport was all open air, had heard it was but didn’t realise how open it really was and in America? With all today’s security restrictions. We then got to the belt and waited for a further 35 minutes for the bags to come out. My parents treated us to a limo ride from the airport but we were so tired and not in the mood to enjoy it which was a bit of a shame, but had another chance on the way back to the airport in 7 days time. We arrived at our hotel just after 1am. After a few dramas in sorting out a room and 4 rooms later we collapsed on our beds for the night.
On my next part of the report ill add some pictures of Hawaii and fill you in on what we did.
Came away from my American domestic flights really disappointed and they managed to destroy our bags again on this segment. I didn’t have any high hopes service wise on AA but expected some sort of service but didn’t happen. I wouldn’t fly AA again in a hurry that’s for sure. Would try other airlines, rather pay more.
Anyway that’s all for this report, will post my journey home soon HNL-SYD-PER-KTA in the next couple of weeks.
If you’ve read this far comments, suggestions and feedback are all welcomed.
Thanks to Mohavewolfpup for hosting again , much appreciated.
If you would like to read part 1 please visit this link: Part 1
[b] One more part to go, which will be the journey home HNL-SYD-PER-KTA in the next couple of weeks. [b]