Dear fellow readers.
This is my first report on here and I hope that I can keep up to the standards of the reports that are done on here.
This Trip was done for three reasons.
1) Some Work was needed to be done in New York.
2) I felt like a break away from the ‘rock’ and also while I was away, I thought I would enjoy the sights of New York and
3) As I wouldn’t be travelling enough this year to re-instate my AAdvantage Gold this year, I decided to go for the Platinum Challenge and then be one up for the next year and a bit. To do this I had to go the long way to New York and went via Los Angeles. This also gave me the chance to try out AAs Flagship route.
My routing then would be as follows:
All these flights were in Business (when applicable) or First.
My flight out of GCM was departing early in the afternoon, made my way to the airport around 11:45 and checked in. In GCM, AA has a proper counter and also has a dedicated section for Business passengers and AAdvantage tier members.
The Terminal in GCM is very small and outdated. It really needs a good clean up! Unfortunately I believe it’s going to get worse before it gets better as the new terminal is suppose to be going in the place where this terminal is!
However GCM does still have an outdoor view platform which gives you some good views of the apron.
View from the viewing apron, and looking back to the outside section of the airport at GCM.
I went through security and bought the local papers and a bottle of water from the bar down in GCM and sat down for a short time until boarding began. Here in GCM, you have to show ID at the gate also which I find a bit strange as we have gone through security (and also immigration for leaving the island).
A couple of the pictures of the departure area here in GCM.
KX showing off that its turning 40!
Boarding was announced 40 minutes before departure and soon I made my way out to the aircraft.
AA flt 1018
Seat: 5A, Business, Window
I sat down and was soon greeted by the two flight attendants and offered a glass of orange juice or water. I took a glass of water and settled down for the short flight to MIA.
Leg room on the 738s. Not great but good for a couple of hours. AA also flies the 738s on the MIA-LAX route and I wouldn’t want to pay top dollar for that long flight to get this!
View from my seat.
I was in luck today, Atlantic Airlines who operate from here to La Ceiba in Honduras. Today they were using the old HS748!
The HS748 going to the gate behind a US A320 that was bound for CLT.
We were soon all aboard and we pushed back at 1:28pm. We soon made our way out onto the runway and backtracked into position for departure today on RWY 08.
Video of our takeoff. This was the longest takeoff run I have ever had leaving here! We got up around 700 feet to go! Also check out the rain storm as we climb out. Very isolated! (it seems that airliners.net won’t allow me to embed the youtube videos anymore!
Our climb up to 38000 feet was a bit bumpy due to some weather that was around. Soon the flight attendants were up and started the service for today’s flight which was just a simple drinks service. In the business cabin, we were also offered a little packet of snack mix which was ok but still nothing great.
A view forward of the cabin on our 738.
With this being such a short flight I simply enjoyed my drink and then went back to looking out the window and simply enjoying my flight.
View out the window.
Pictures of our aircraft approaching the southern coast of Cuba and heading over Kayo Largo.
The flight really is a quick one and as soon as you clear Cuba, it’s pretty much near the beginning of the decent and into the Miami area. The normal flight is over the Florida Keys, and then depending on which way the wind is, you either head over the everglades or continue out over the Atlantic Ocean. Our flight went over the Everglades which means that our aircraft was going to be landing on one of 4 runways (rwy09, rwy08R/L or rwy30).
Over the everglades as we being our decent into MIA.
Our landing into MIA on rwy08L. We pass all the major cargo airline areas and also the major tech area in MIA on this runway. A lot of Spirit aircraft were but al stripped of their paint apart from on their tail.
We soon made our way across rwy08R and our gate was going to be D37 which happened to be a tow gate so we stopped out short and then waited for our tug to pull us in. I guess it is just like this at the moment due to the construction of the new terminal.
After we got pulled into the gate, the captain turned off the fasten seat belt sign and the usual mad rush of getting off began! Everyone trying their hardest to get that one step closer to the door and all their possessions with them in the same movement just makes utter chaos! I am always glad to have the window seat as I always just take my time and when I get a chance, I make my way off! You maybe get there a couple of seconds after you would rush it makes no big difference!
As our flight arrives around the same time as a lot of International flights (especially from Europe), there is always a long cue to wait in immigration here in MIA. It is always the same and I wish that US immigration would make two sections for visitors. 1 for people who actually know what they are doing, and the other 1 for people who don’t have a clue and need help! The amount of people that are sent back because they don’t know how to fill out the form or have done the wrong form is always a lot here in MIA!
Also a tip for people who are coming into MIA and have to stand at this immigration section, always stand on the left side of the hall. There are lines that you won’t be able to see down on the left (due to the escalator and lifts for the train that goes to and from the satellite at E) and so you will get pulled down to these lines when the queue has dropped down. I was right at the back of the long line on the left (must of been 50 people in front of me) and was called down to a line with 7 people! Awesome!
It still took me around half an hour to get through immigration and down to baggage claim and customs. However as I had waited long enough upstairs, my bag was already off and I picked it up and made my way through customs (the customs officer seemed to wave me through before looking at my form!) and made my way to give my bag back to AA to take it onto LAX.
After leaving the bag at the TSA station, I made my way upstairs to departures and headed through to the Admirals club located after security at concourse E (as my next flight was leaving from gate E6).
AA have now introduced ‘Priority AAccess’ which allows High AAdvantage tier members and passengers travelling in First/Business to their own separate line for security (and also at boarding) which makes life a lot faster when going through security and I thank AA for putting these lines in! Sometimes security at MIA is terrible and can take up to an hour to get through! Luckily I was through in 10 mins and made my way up to the Admirals Club.
As I only had an hour really in the lounge before boarding was to begin I quickly checked my emails on one of the many business computers AA has out in the Club and then sat down and did some Aircraft Spotting.
The AA classic livery 738! N950AN. This bird looks beautiful.
A view of my bird (closest one) and some AA heavies in the back.
View onto concourse F with a JM A321, IB A346 and a VS B744.
A LX A332 arriving in from ZRH
There is just something about AAs B772s that look just great! Especially in this light
My aircrafts tail.
Touchdown! Martinair coming in from AMS. Also the MX ramp also visible in the bottom section of this photo.
LTU arriving on rwy30 with the Martinair taxiing alongside. LTU I guess is coming from MUC?
Aerolinas Argentinas I guess going off to EZE?
With this shot you can see that Boeing use the same nose here for the 767 and 777.
It soon came around to 6:15pm and I decided it was time to head down to the gate. I left the lounge and when I arrived at the gate boarding was already going on and so I used the priority AAccess line and was soon onboard and sitting comfortably in First class.
Cool shot of this old Pan Am Boeing clipper as I was on my way to the gate.
AA flt 397
Seat: 5J, First, Window
The 763s are now all equipped with the new business class and I have to say that this seat is very comfy! Also the colours I think are not too dramatic but it works really well I think with the cabin. Also AA have put in the new Boeing signature cabin out fittings and they do look good on the 767s.
The view from my window.
The flight today was 100% full so we had the usual intro talk about if you had more than one bag onboard to put one underneath your seat. This is a big problem with the new AA seats as if you want to go into the bed as it would crush your bag! Luckily my camera bag is smallish so when I went into the bed function, I was able to put it on the work table that comes from the seat in front of you.
Legroom at the moment is not great due to the big bag which has your pillow and duvet in it! After it’s gone tho there is a lot of space (providing you don’t use it for storing a bag).
Boarding was completed on time and we pushed back exactly on time and made our way to the active runway for departures which happened to be rwy08R for tonight.
Taking off over Miami and then making our turn to northwest.
We began our climb up to 36000 feet and soon the Flight attendants handed out tonight’s diner menu. This was a bit of a surprise as I was just expecting one of the flight attendants to come around with a slip of paper and ask us what we wanted! This flight’s service was feeling more like an International flight to Europe!
However, before the orders were taken, the flight attendants came around with the entertainment packages that are used on AAs flagship services. The packages have inside them an Archos media player and also a Bose quiet comfort 3 headphones inside them.
Very nice! I’m glad that AA had these on this flight as it would be a long enough without any decent entertainment system. The player has over 30 films and a lot of TV shows on them and it also has music and games.
A view of the cabin before dinner.
The flight attendants were obeying the FEBO (Front-Even, Back-Odd) and so sitting one row from the back, I was able to get my choice for dinner.
Appetiser of Mojito Shrimp with somen noodles. Also A seasonal salad with Caesar dressing. Also a sour-dough role.
The shrimp were very tasty and the salad was good also. The bread I always find to be great tho!
Main course of Cheese Ravioli with a mushroom tomato cream sauce, sautéed shallots and sliced mushrooms. This was very tasty and hot which helped a lot. I have to say tho that I really didn’t see any mushrooms in it, which actually I was better for me! (Not a fan of the fungus!)
And the pice de resistance! Ice cream sundae served with hot fudge sauce. Choices of sauce were hot fudge or butterscotch and toppings could have been fruit, pecans or whipped cream. Also with a cup of tea and a baileys.
After this I was pretty much stuffed! I was watching Indy 4 on my video and pretty much after dinner it was nearing the end and we were now coming over Texas. Also at this time out of my window, there was this very impressive thunderstorm. I tried to get some photos but it was impossible. I took this video tho of it and it still doesn’t show off the real coolness of it! However it’s still pretty cool video!
Lightning video. There literally were multiple strikes every second!
Pretty much after this I tried to watch ‘what happens in Vegas’ but unfortunately I fell asleep pretty much 10 minutes into it! Those seats really are comfortable and unfortunately I slept all the way to Los Angeles.
I woke up hearing my seat mate talking to the flight attendant and then heard the words ‘good luck waking him up!’
I was a bit like ‘wooooooah..... me???’ and slowly turned my head and looked at them who suddenly stopped talking and looked at me! Hehe..... gotcha! The flight attendant then said that they were 20 mins from landing and needed my entertainment video package back. After that, it seemed that my seat mate decided to have a chat with me to pass the time till we landed.
Only one problem..... my seat mate was what I can describe as a ‘Paris Hilton’ girl who must have been 20-23, rich father giving her everything. She seemed to be very simple girl and I have to say..... I hate it! I said where I was from and she still kept thinking I was Australian on my way home no matter how many times I said to her that I was from Cayman. Very ANNOYING!
Thankfully I didn’t have to wait too long and soon we were on the ground and at the gate. Unfortunately I forgot to take the video of the landing! Dam ‘Paris Hilton’ girl- talking to me and distracting me from my aviation!
We touched down on a runway that was very close to the AA terminal as we were at the gate in around 2 mins from landing. We came to a halt and again, there was a mad rush to get off the aircraft! I waited for the crowd to slowly move and then grabbed my bag from the overhead bin and made my way into the terminal.
AA at LAX have their own terminal and it’s not a bad terminal! I’m guessing it’s been through a touch up in the past 10 years or probably in the last 5. We parked beside a QF jet and at the time I didn’t really notice what it was until I got out and then saw that it was a 747-300! Unfortunately by the time I had noticed, there weren’t many decent spots to get this bird in a good view and my camera wasn’t able to focus too greatly in the poor light. Perhaps tomorrow may work out a bit better........
I went downstairs and made my way over to the baggage claim and soon enough, my bag was off and I made my way outside to get the bus to my hotel for the night.
Being an AAdvantage gold member, you get some perks. One of them is that you are automatically made into a Hilton Gold VIP. This allows you some great deals at all the Hilton chain hotels such as free internet, complimentary breakfast and, the one I have at the moment, free room upgrade (if available). Also another great thing about Hilton is that you can check in online up to 42 hours in advance and choose your room. As this Hilton had executive floors, I was upgraded to the executive floors and allowed to bypass the reception and check-in, in the towers reception lounge. This was cool but a bit annoying in that the lounge was on the 16th floor, and my room was on the 15th! Oh well! I still missed having to stand in the queue downstairs to check in.
As it was around 10pm that night, and I needed to be up pretty early the next day, I just went to bed and slowly went to sleep to the sound of the late departures (sound proofing maybe needed more in these rooms for people who don’t like the noise of the aircraft!).....
I awoke up pretty early (too early for my own likings!) around 6:45am (dam jet lag!) but not to worry as I decided to open my curtains and see what LAX had to offer for the early mornings.
A quick shot of the room. Sorry for the mess!
Sunrise along the windows at the Hilton.
Some early morning arrivals and departures here at LAX
QF early arrival from the Land Down Under!
Dammit! Missed the big man! Lol!
After an hour I got up and showered and changed and went downstairs around 8:15am and made my way downstairs for checkout (as I felt no need to go back up stairs to go downstairs this time!) and soon was on the bus back to the airport.
Unfortunately the route we took wasn’t the one I planned! I was hoping that we would go past the ‘LAX’ sign. We took a route that brought us up to the side of the farthest north-east terminal (where southwest operate from) and then made our way around the terminals and finally I was back at Terminal 4.
A shot of the Thomas Bradley International Terminal
The ‘LAX thingy’ was a bit under the weather and had a lot of scaffolding over it!
Soon it was over to the Business/First check-in area where there was a bit of a queue but I had plenty of time so it didn’t bother me having to stand around for 15 mins.
A view of the check-in hall for AA First/Business.
After a short wait I went upstairs on the escalator and again used the Priority AAccess security line and was soon through security and made my way to the Admirals Club here at LAX.
A quick view of the terminal leading to the Departure gates at the end.
I actually never realised how big AA was at LAX! They had a lot of flights going everywhere and all across North America!
Nice architecture of the Lounge here at LAX. Probably one of the nicest lounges with some very cool views!
This has to be the coolest gate to look at for any lounge! This QF 744 was getting ready for a push back and to parking for her wait until she went back to Australia tonight!
Best Office in the world!
Bye Bye my beauty!
Interesting shot of all the different gate positions depending on what aircraft is at the gate.
Surfs Up Dude! One cool machine! I guess he just has to make sure that the ground staff keep hydrated and working with their electrolytes at full capacity!
AA flt 280 off to MIA.
I believe that this is my Bird coming in from JFK and will make a turn around to head back as flt 40!
Some departures out of LAX. A UA B763 and a CO B753
This AA MD80 was bound for DFW.
AA B772 inbound from NRT. I was hoping that it would go into the gate where the QF B744 was at but it continues down to the end.
A KE B744 arriving from ICN I guess.
This LAN bird getting ready for its trip back down to South America.
This QF bird was off to JFK. If I had known this earlier I may have gone on her instead! Dammit again!
After sitting in the lounge some more and having some breakfast (the orange-mango juice they have in the club is really good!) it was soon 10:20am and decided to make my way down to get ready for boarding (which was to begin at 10:30am).
My aircraft getting ready for her flight back to JFK.
AA flt 40
Seat: 8A, Window, Business
I boarded the aircraft (after allowing First to board before us) and had a bit of a small excitement as when I saw the seats they had the same colour of the New business class making me think that this aircraft had been updated with the new seats! However I was wrong! It was the old seats but with new colour scheme and they looked very nice now!
The new refurbished seats. Looking very nice!
Looking across the aircraft.
The old school overhead bins
My legroom. Very comfortable for the trans-continental flights
This flight was also 100% full and so it did take around 25 minutes to board all 167 passengers (it's not a lot for a 767!) and then the flight attendants came around and offered the usual glass of water, orange juice or champagne.
One of the smallest video monitors ever! Why bother I wonder really!
Boarding was done and the door was shut at 10:55am and we soon pushed back at 11:00am.
Push back alongside a company MD80.
I tried to get in this shot the old Saudi Arabian MD-11 and not too sure if it came out or not.
Passing by one of DLs newest B738.
A DL B764
The one year old Virgin of VA!
More VA birds here at LAX.
This colour scheme on this SkyWest CRJ-200 look very retro!
The Hilton Hotel LAX. I was 3 floors down and near the Cross and on the right side of the building.
Soon it was time for out departure and we lined up on the runway and had to wait until a UA B752 landed and then we revved up and made our way to JFK!
Take off at LAX
Climbing out over the pacific and about to make a left turn and head back towards the East.
I think these are the Catalina islands?
A view of LAX as we climb out and back around.
The sprawl of LA.
You can make out Hollywood down here. Well at least I think this is where Hollywood is. The sign is on that hill!
I think this mountain range is called the Sierra Nevada range?
We climbed up to 36000 feet and would stay there for most of the journey over to JFK (we climbed up to 38000 southeast of Chicago for the last hour and a bit of the journey).
Cruising over the US plains.
I was hoping that today would be a clear day as I wanted to see if I could make out the Grand Canyon as we would go over it and thankfully the clouds were nowhere to be seen and I was able to get some shots (I think! It was hard to see where the big stuff is when you’re this high up!)
Shots of (I hope) the Grand Canyon area. Very cool scenery.
Soon it was time for the lunch service to begin and I already had a look at the menu and knew what I was going to have!
Having some warm nuts with my Amstel Light and the personal Video player that AA give out on these flights.
Main course. Open faced (it said in the menu but sure don’t look like it!) with Sliced roast beef, balsamic onions and Havarti cheese. Served with a seasonal green salad with a sour cream dressing and a sour dough role. This sandwich was really really tasty! Very filling also!
Dessert which was chocolate ice cream with blackberry sauce and topped with white chocolate and raspberry squares. This was a bit hard but as I was in no rush to finish it, I let it warm up a bit to make it softer. Also watching Iron Man in the background
This meal service I was a tad disappointed with as my service on my flight to LAX from MIA on the 763 was a bit better and more spaced out with the salad and appetiser on separate trays and then the main course but this meal was all put down together (apart from dessert which was separate.) It could just be due to the fact that it was a lunch service and these are more of a simpler style of serving. However the food and staff were extremely good and I had no problems with them at all (the staff that is).
Also another thing I like about these flight attendants was that they kept coming through the cabin on a regular basis making sure that we were looked after and if we needed anything. This to me was a big plus as I have been on AA on transatlantic and normally after the meal service, the crew disappear until the next service with no one coming out at all to make sure that you don’t need anything! A big plus to this crew! (AAs service I think is getting better)
By this time I had finished with the film and thought that this would be a god time to check out where I was and also the Wi-Fi onboard the aircraft.
AAs 767-200ERs fleet have all been equipped with Aircells Wireless internet access called ‘GO-GO’. It costs 12.95 for the whole flight and before boarding today’s flight, GO-GO staff were around handing out 25% off cards to I decided to try it out.
What else to do but check the airliners.net on an airliner!
As there was no flight map on the aircraft, I thought it would be cool to see where I was and check our arrival time and gate we were expected to be on. (my flightaware snap shot was too blurry to show where we were).
GO-GO is very cool and I know that some people think that it’s bad as people will look up naughty stuff but I hope that people have the decency not to do this (has there been any reports of this yet??). I was able to check my emails and chat on MSN messenger for as long as my battery lasted (around 2 hours).
Around an hour before landing, it started to get darker as we made our way east and soon the cabin began to smell of cookies!
AAs cookies are extremely good! And they were served with a nice glass of milk.
One of AAs best food choices onboard! Also now watching the Office on the Video player.
Darkness begins to set in with the Beacon going on below us.
Around 40 mins left the crew came around with one final treat of a Ghirardelli Chocolate and a nice glass of sparkling water with citrus garnish.
We began our decent into the New York area and as soon as the captain gave the cabin to prepare for landing, there was a bit of movement for the people who wanted to make a mad dash for the toilets (I was already up and waiting for the toilet as there was a queue already forming!)
A quick shot of the cabin while I was waiting for the toilet.
Our decent took us to the north of New York and out over the Atlantic and then South to align with the traffic to arrive on rwy04R.
Landing Video into JFK. Excuse the bad quality but the camera doesn’t seem to be able to pick up all the light that was there!
We had to wait for one aircraft to depart 04L and then we made our way around JFK to our gate at terminal 8. The taxi route actually kept us far away from the central terminal ring and was more along the Cargo ramp side taxiways so that we wouldn’t get in the way of other aircraft entering and leaving their gates from the other terminals.
We arrived at the gate just before our scheduled arrival time and soon I was off the aircraft and made my way along to baggage claim.
AAs new terminal I think could have been made a lot cooler. They have this satellite terminal which is connected but an underground walkway under a taxiway. What AA should of done is taken a page from LGW and made an over walkway with windows as this would be probably the best place to spot aircraft!
I had to wait around 15 mins for my bag and was soon off outside to try and find a taxi into New York.
NY is one of my favourite cities as it is so big! I was staying right in the centre of town which makes it extremely easy to get around! My hotel was the Hilton Times Square and it is located right of Times Square on 42nd Street. This is the place to stay in New York as you are right in the middle of everything!
After my meeting the following day I was free to explore and did some of the usual stuff but as I have been now at least 3-4 times, I decided that I would do something that I hadn’t done one day and this was a helicopter tour of the City.
On the first day after the meeting and lunch I just did some pretty basic stuff which the normal tourists would do such as walking the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building. The ESB (Empire State Building) is to me one of the coolest buildings ever. The Art-Deco look on the inside is just so cool and it makes you think that the building was built during the Depression in the 30s and it is still HUGE! I would love to of been around when it was completed and see how small the other buildings were back then which would make the ESB look so much bigger (and today she still towers over all the buildings around now!)
Grand Central Station.