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Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:45 pm

The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:02 pm

The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge

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:
GCM-MIA-LAX (Overnight)
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The Terminal in GCM is very small and outdated.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
Acft: B737-800W
Reg: N955AN
Dep: 1:30pm
Arr: 4:00pm
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.
My beverage
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
Acft: B767-300ER
Reg: N363AA
Dep: 06:55pm
Arr: 09:30pm
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.
Downtown Miami
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.
Hilton LAX
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
Acft: B767-200ER
Reg: N???AA
Dep: 11:00am
Arr: 7:32pm
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
Seat controls
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.
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.

My dream, is to fly, over the rainbow, so high!
Topic Author
Posts: 174
Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2008 1:45 pm

RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:06 pm

continued below.......
Pictures above showing off the Brooklyn Bridge.

A shot of the town hall where the mayor works. Very nice building.

A shot of the mammoth!
View from the ESB looking North.

The Chrysler building. Another very cool art-deco building from the 30s.
A view of LGA!

A look up at the tower and the 102nd observatory (that was closed due to renovations- 86th observatory shop was also under renovation but the viewing platform was still open as you can see!)
Looking out towards the South East.

The Flat Iron building that intersects on Broadway and 5th Avenue.
Looking south towards downtown.
A view down to the ground!
EWR in the distance.
JFK also in the back here.
Looking to the West now.
Looking down at Macys.
A look at the train depot out of Penn Station. Also in the background is the VIP heliport where my Helicopter tour was going to be leaving tomorrow.
Now looking back North and towards Times Square.
This building is my hotel and my room is the on the top floor (pics of the room later on).
That night I went to times square and it’s so bright that it’s brighter in the night time than the day!


Times Square at night!

Oops!! Maybe Planters needs to get a MAC!
Some more shots in New York.
Central Park Zoo! However I thought it would have been bigger (Dam that film Madagascar!)
The Plaza Hotel

A look at the CBS building in NY and where the morning show is filmed.
The Apple store on 5th Avenue. It’s underground and very cool!

Looking down 5th Avenue.
Liberty City Helicopters
The next day I planned a helicopter tour with Liberty City Helicopters. I went for the Big Apple tour which was 11-15mins long. I booked it online and had to phone up to properly arrange a time with the company for the trip. I awoke the day of the tour and was a bit annoyed to find some low clouds around new York (just covering the top of the ESB). The Weather Channel did report that there would be some AM showers and they had gone through really early and I was hoping that by the time my trip was suppose to be, the clouds would of cleared.
By 10:30am I took a taxi down to the heliport and thankfully it looked like it was clearing up. However the taxi driver was very crazy and decided to have an argument with the car next to him at a traffic light with me in it! Wasn’t very funny and I was pretty shocked at this! However it wasn’t a long trip and soon I was free of the grasps of the deadly taxi man!
I booked in and was given a key to put my possessions in (as they don’t allow any bags onboard and only cameras-no phones allowed). Soon my ticket was called and I had to go through security and get a life jacket belt and a briefing on safety on the heli.
My Heli
The trip was fantastic and the pilot gives you a guided tour of the city and tells you a lot of stuff. You are also able to hear all the chatter on the airwaves!
Liberty City Tour: The Big Apple Tour
Acft: Eurocopter AS350 Astar
Reg: N130RU
Dep: 11:20am
Arr: 11:32am
Seat: Behind pilot.

Our takeoff for our tour.
A view of New Jersey City

The Statue Of Liberty. The Heli-pilots use her for reference points for ATC and they call her ‘the lady’. It was very interesting to hear ‘Romeo Uniform now looking at the Lady and making a left turn towards downtown’.
A picture of downtown.

The Action shot of the cockpit!
The Bridges towards Brooklyn.
Shots of Ground Zero. Our pilot said that if the Twin Towers were still here that we would only be 3/4s of the way up! (and every other building looked so small!)
The pilot told us that this is the docks where all the rich boys (and girls) park their yachts! Not bad I have to say!
A shot of Madison Square Garden’s.
A look of midtown and the ESB and MSG.
The USS Intrepid with all her cool aircraft on the deck! Unfortunately she is currently closed which meant I couldn’t visit her 

Another shot of out captain’s office as we head past Central Park on the right.
We made the turn back towards the heliport and made a good landing (I think for a heli!)
Our landing.
This trip was really cool and well worth it! I was unfortunate to have a hazy day so the view wasn’t as good as I was expecting but with Liberty Helicopters, you can phone up and change your day (if possible) as you ticket is valid for a certain number of days (they ask how long you are going to be in NY and so that’s how long your ticket is valid for). I should have tried to go the day I went up the ESB as that day was very clear but I still thought that the tour was good on the day I went.
For the rest of the day I just went around and did some shopping (which I had a lot of people down in Cayman wanting some stuff) so I didn’t really do anything else that was worth for photo opportunities and so the camera was left in the room until tomorrow afternoon where I would need it at JFK!
The next day, as my flight wasn’t till 3:20pm, I just took a long relaxed morning in the room and making sure that I had packed everything and that my ride to take me to the airport was booked.
The Hilton Times Square is Fantastic! The rooms are huge and they all seem to have a view of some sort over New York! The King size room I had was on the very top floor (due to my VIP card) and I was told tho that all the rooms are roughly this size (apart from the suites) and the bed was just awesome. I had no problems sleeping in it. The staff are very friendly and a lot of the bell staff know good places to eat and stuff that you would be interested in. Also the staff really have been drilled to make sure that you are happy. My last night at 4am, the room beside me had been rented out and for some reason there was this gentleman outside banging (and I mean BANGING!) the door for next door and trying to get in. I called the front desk and security was up there as soon as possible and the gentleman was removed (he was staying in the room but it was under his friends name and he had lost his key). The staff the next day at check-out wanted to apologise about the incident and told me the story and I said it was alright and I thanked them for responding very quickly to the incident.
My room. It was very big and very nice.
View from my room looking south towards Downtown.

This building was the new offices for the New York Times Newspaper.
This shot is where the Twin Towers would be been standing if they were still around here today. They would go up pretty high!
The shot of the view at night time! I would just stand at my window and look out for a while at anytime of the day. So cool to watch what is happening down below!
I checked-out at midday and my town car was booked for 12:10pm (I decided after the taxi experience the day before that I wouldn’t want to ride the death cab again!) and the driver was there early with my name and we were soon making our way (slowly) out to JFK.
The ride out was uneventful and took around an hour to get out to JFK and terminal 8 for AA. The New Terminal for AA is very nice inside, however it’s a shame that they had to knock down the old AA building. Even tho it wasn’t looking good on the inside, it was still a cool classic building. But I guess it’s not as cool as the old TWA terminal at JFK.
A shot of the inside of the building. Reminds me of T5 (or T5 reminds me of the AA terminal as it was here first!)
The Screened off area for First and Business class passengers.
Check in was a breeze and I was soon able to make my way up to the Admirals Club. JFK actually has two Admirals Clubs, One in the main terminal above gate 8 and another one over in the satellite. I chose to go to the one just above gate 8 to allow myself some views of the ramp.
I have to say that this is probably the coolest logo out there in the aviation industry. Way better than any of the logos that any other US airline has.
I was soon in the club and I hadn’t checked my emails yet today so I used one of the computers that the lounge has which actually have a good view of the ramp from the seats!
http://i216.photobucket.com/albums/cc18/albird87/PA100019.jpgAn MX aircraft probably coming in from BOS.
My aircraft being towed in from the Maintenance area behind her to the gate. I was wondering where this flight came from but it seems she comes just from across the road (or taxiway!)
Air China just landed and on her way to one of the Terminals (I presume 4). I guess it’s also a direct flight from PEK.
Mexicana A319 was there when I arrived. I heard a boarding announcement that the flight was off to MTY with continued service onto MEX.
It was prime time for AAs flights from Europe to arrive and AAs terminal soon began to fill with 763s!

AA 763 showing off that front wheel making that huge right turn to get into the gate.
Trying to show in this picture the automatic gate entry system to tell the pilot how far he has to go until it says ‘stop’ to show him that he has come into the gate area. I believe that this AA 763 came in from BCN.
Another AA 763 which arrived from CDG.
And Another 763! Also two more in the back! I think this bird was coming from ZRH.
The LH A346 I guess coming in from FRA. Unless they also operate an A346 from MUC?
These folks walking across the taxiway I’m sure were Cabin Crew! They had the red cardigans on and looks like the blazers that AA have for their Cabin Crew!
I sat around in the lounge until 45 mins until my flight was suppose to go and made my way across to the Satellite terminal and over to gate 46 where my A300 was awaiting me. I tried to get a photo of 9Ws A332 which also was in from BRU but unfortunately they have her in a gate right at the end and no windows!
It seemed at this time of day, there are not too many departures for AA and all seem to be arrivals in from Europe so the gate area was quiet until I reached my gate where the flight today looked like it was full (there was 20 people on standby so this was definitely an overbooked flight!)

AA flt 2141
Acft: A300-600R
Reg: N???AA
Dep: 3:20pm
Arr: 6:45pm
Seat: 2A, Window, First
I was looking forward to this flight as I haven’t been on one of AAs A306s in a long time and now that AA have begun the retirement stage of a lot of them, I thought I would grab one before they were all gone! The A306 is definitely the work horse for AA with its massive Cargo and passenger carrying capability; it is used on AAs routes to the big spots in the Caribbean and Central/South America. However these birds are getting a bit long in the tooth and I have heard rumours of these aircraft having long delays due to technical problems which kind of worried me as I had only an hour to connect in MIA! However I had been looking at this flight on AA.com for the last couple of days and it seemed to be operating on time so I was hoping that today wouldn’t be a letdown!
My A306 getting ready for her flight down to MIA (which continued onto SJO).
Boarding soon was called out for First class passengers so I made my way down the jetway to my seat. Today’s boarding was taking place from Door 1L which isn’t too normal for AA and normally door 2L is used.
Legroom with the bulkhead. Nothing too bad but nothing too great either!
The seats on These aircraft I have to say are not great. I was hoping that they would of upgraded the seats to be like the ones on the MD80s and B738s but they seem to just be very similar to the old seats (like the ones on the 757) but with the new colours.

The seat beside me. Is there a problem with the seating capability of the A306 that means it can’t have the current domestic First seat that is used on the MDs and 738s?

The view from my seat. The windows up in First are also not at a great angle to get shots of the aircrafts wing. Also seemed to have some parts that stick into the window meaning that it looks smaller that it really is.
One shot I missed to forget was I wanted to show off the overhead bins in the middle. They are HUGE! I mean the bins on the 777 are big and wide but the A306 are big and wide and tall! There was space I'm pretty sure for another type of my roller bag to be placed onto of mine and it would be able to fit!
Boarding was soon over and the captain came on to announce the flying time and that we were ready for pushback and on our way to MIA.
AF B77W coming in past us and heading towards T1.
We had a long taxi down to runway 31L. I have to say that I have never been on an aircraft that has taxied so slowly! This A306 seemed to be moving at a snail pace! Also it seemed that we must have been right beside the front undercarriage as we were bouncing everywhere! The shocks didn’t seem to be working to well!
A view of the AA Terminal with a 772 from LHR and some 763s from Europe.
Some shots of Terminal 1 with a lot of Europeans around it!
Looking over to one of DLs terminals here at JFK.
I knew that we taxied a long time! Must be that we taxied all the way to IADSmile
Looking at one of DLs 77L.
A view of T4. Also in the back EKs A388!
A better shot of EKs A388! I have seen now 2 of the 3 operators of the A388!
Shot of DLs overflow area with a lot of parked aircraft!
Another shot of DLs 77L
A shot of T4.
A Finnar MD-11 on approach. Looks like it’s a Santa Clause one!
After a 35 mins taxi we were finally at the end of 31L and soon began our takeoff roll to MIA. We did the breezy climb departure I believe. It was weird having to taxi 35 mins when it wasn’t that busy!
Video of our takeoff. Windows up front are not at a great angle for videoing the wing.
We made the Breezy point climb and then began heading more northeast for a while and went at least 10 miles out over the Atlantic before making our turn south. I guess that JFK Dep wanted us out of the way for other aircraft coming in and out of the New York Area.

Turning out towards the Atlantic with JFK in the back.
A view of JFK and looking down rwy04R and L
In this photo is an IB A346 on approach to rwy31R.
We finally made our turn south and made our climb up to 36000 feet. The flight attendants began our service for today which included a snack for today’s flight. The snack on today’s flight was between a salmon salad or a Philly cheese steak calzone. As I am not a fan of fish on board I decided to have the Philly cheese steak thing. Our drinks order was taken when the crew came around for the meal order and soon the meal service began with the hot towel service and warm nuts.
The Philly Cheese steak calzone thing. I have to say tho that this was the poorest meal onboard an AA aircraft I have had in a while. Not saying that it wasn’t tasty (it was) but I just felt that it was a bit odd thing to have (why not make it just a cheese steak sandwich!). It wasn’t the best quality meat also and reminded me of Subway’s Steak sandwich! However like I have said it was tasty but I just felt that it could of been something a little more interesting. However one thing that the meal finished on was a high note... AA’s great cookies! As always these were very tasty!
I settled into the seat and relaxed for the short journey down to MIA.
The next thing I remember was falling asleep and then waking up with the aircraft in full decent and that the crew were cleaning the cabin and making the necessary preparations for landing.
We came in over the Ocean and then made our turn to the west to head around to pick up the arrival pattern for the 08 Runways.
“American 2141 abeam the field making left downwind”. We seemed to actually be set up for rwy08L and on final, sidestep onto 08R. I guess that the pilot asked if it was possible to have 08R and was told to make the approach for 08L and then when on the TWR frequency, see if it was possible.
Our landing into MIA. Notice the close passing to the Fed EX DC-10 as we land!

We made our taxi to our gate which happened to be D40. Our original gate was suppose to be C7 and with my connecting flight was suppose to be out of E4, I was going to have a quick walk to get over there! However the flight attendant began reading out connecting gate and I found out that my connecting flight had changed now to D34 so it wasn’t going to be along walk to get to my next flight. I had only an hour until my next flight so this was a blessing for me!
Our aircraft pulled up into the gate around 6:40pm and we left via Door 2L and I made my way to gate D34.
I made it to D34 and soon found out that I was going the wrong way! I came out of the gate and turned left (following the crowd) and expect there to be a gate D34 down here but there was a D37 and then it said off to Baggage reclaim! I then realised that it wasn’t in the new terminal yet but couldn’t see where there was a way to get across. I then turned back towards the admirals club which I remembered has now two entries. The new one on the new terminal side and the old little hallway down to the old gates. I found the admirals club and made my sneaky way through it to the other side and this time found gate D34. However when I arrived around 7:10, I found no aircraft at the gate! Also it seemed that there were no gate agents to be seen which kinda had me worried! I went up to the gate and soon read on the screens that there was a gate change! I was kinda of thinking now that I had gone back to concourse E! However it had just moved down to gate D36 which was a relief as it was just a short walk past the MX bus gates downstairs and then at gate D36. I arrived to find an aircraft at the gate, and now people coming off the aircraft so it seemed that our flight tonight was going to be a little bit delayed. This actually worked out in my favour as I thought my bag wasn’t going to make this flight but as it looked like with a delay possible, it was looking better for my bag!
The flight was soon being cleaned and it looked like we may be able to get out on time or near on time departure. I read the gate information and it seemed that they had moved the flight now back to 8:15pm (a delay of 25 mins)
AA flt 1011
Acft: B737-800
Reg: N???AN
Dep: 7:50pm (delayed to 8:15pm)
Arr: 8:15pm (arrival 8:25pm)
Seat: 6A, window, business
Boarding commenced around 7:30pm and soon the aircraft was loaded up. Tonight’s flight was only about 70% full so we were ready for departure at 07:55 and pushed back around 8:00pm meaning we were not going to be as late as they were planning for our flight.
We made our way out of the road rage area in the concourses and made our way out to rwy08R for our departure tonight
Departing MIA at night time looks so cool with all the lights!
As the flight was in the dark and very short I decided to just sit back and relax so there weren’t any photos.
Our flight was only an hour long so we did make up some time in the air and before too long we had crossed Cuba and were making our way back down to the tiny island of GCM.
Landing at GCM. This was a hard landing! The beginning of the video is dark as we just get over some land!
We were soon at the gate and off and through immigration and thankfully my bag were off very soon and I made my way back to my car and soon off home.
That concludes my trip and with 10,000 points later, I was awarded with my AAdvantage Platinum (the card is still in the mail but my account on AA.com confirms it!). AA has been wonderful on flights being on time (apart from the last flight) and all the crew were all fantastic! AAs service in the air is improving and I have to say that their services on both my trans-cons were excellent and the seats were extremely comfy. I was also glad to be able to get onto one of AAs A300s before they are gone and will be sad when these wide bodies are gone as they will be a big loss for revenue for AA. Also AAs 762s are getting long in the tooth also and I am glad to be able to get on one of them and think that they perform a great niche in the trans-cons flagship service and that they will also be missed when they are replaced more likely with some 763s later on (I guess beginning around 2015 with the now introduction of the 787s- amazing news!)
I hope you enjoyed this report and please feel free to ask any questions.
My dream, is to fly, over the rainbow, so high!
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Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:58 pm

RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:16 pm


Great TR, I really liked this!

The food on MIA-LAX looked good, compared to UA on IAD-SEA (transcon also in a 757)! Catering cuts on UA have been terrible, no ice cream anymore on normal transcons. AA's food looked decent on MIA-LAX but LAX-JFK seemed like a joke. A sandwich! Geez..

But anyway I really liked this TR and the wifi on AA seems cool!
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 5:50 pm

From Grand Cayman to Miami they serve nothing in C? I flew this route on Cayman Airways 30 years ago and in Y we got a nice rum punch. I love the one legged pirate they use as a symbol. The airport looks the same as in 1979.
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:25 pm

Nice report, some great pictures. Particularly of NYC and the LAX-JFK transcon. The pictures of the aircraft landing in LAX at dusk were superb!

Quoting Albird87 (Reply 1):
You can make out Hollywood down here. Well at least I think this is where Hollywood is. The sign is on that hill!

That's the northern part of Hollywood at the bottom of the shot. The road on left side going through the hills is 101. You've pretty much got Toluca Lake and Burbank in that shot. You can see BUR in the background. You can see the Hollywood sign just below the golf course. Hope that isn't too patronising!

Quoting Albird87 (Reply 1):
Dessert which was chocolate ice cream with blackberry sauce and topped with white chocolate and raspberry

Ah, my favourite!  biggrin  These are even better than the made to order sundaes in my opinion. I just love the way the rasperry sauce is frozen to the glass. yum! I missed out on these on my F class LAX-JFK flight in June *tear*

Quoting Divemaster08 (Reply 1):
The Plaza Hotel

Which closed and is now being made into condos...

Quoting UAL757 (Reply 2):
Catering cuts on UA have been terrible, no ice cream anymore on normal transcons.

No joke. I flew IAD-SFO in F on United last month and from a catering perspective it was a disgrace! The breakfast was so bland and we got nothing but drinks for the rest of the flight. No cookies before landing (I always get two or three on AA!), no pre-flight snack. Nada.  thumbsdown  A pity because I thought the F class trip I took to the west coast on June on UA wasn't bad from a catering perspective.
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 7:50 pm

Quoting Divemaster08 (Thread starter):
Pictures of our aircraft approaching the southern coast of Cuba and heading over Kayo Largo.

Amazing shot there!!

WOW!Outstanding TR.The view from the NY Hilton looks great!!!Alot of travel but at the same time,alot of fun!!!
It is what we think we know already that prevents us from learning.......
Topic Author
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:20 pm

Quoting UAL757 (Reply 2):
AA's food looked decent on MIA-LAX but LAX-JFK seemed like a joke. A sandwich! Geez..

Yes i agree but my first thought was that the MIA-LAX was a dinner service which maybe the main reason why i think that the LAX-JFK servicce wasnt as good due to it being just a lunch service. However that sandwich was freaking tasty!

Quoting Semsem (Reply 3):
I flew this route on Cayman Airways 30 years ago and in Y we got a nice rum punch.

Well that is one thing nice about KX is the rum punches. AA however just do a beverage service like KX and if sure if you wanted to, they could mix some bacardi in a fruit punch (in Y you would have to pay!- and i think in KX other alcohol in Y you also have to pay for).

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 4):

That's the northern part of Hollywood at the bottom of the shot. The road on left side going through the hills is 101. You've pretty much got Toluca Lake and Burbank in that shot. You can see BUR in the background. You can see the Hollywood sign just below the golf course. Hope that isn't too patronising!

Thanks for the info. I just saw the hollywood sign and thought that is where it was!

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 4):
Ah, my favourite! biggrin These are even better than the made to order sundaes in my opinion. I just love the way the rasperry sauce is frozen to the glass. yum! I missed out on these on my F class LAX-JFK flight in June *tear*

I disagree. I am a simple fan of the vanilla with hot fudge sundae! I still tho like the other ones also!

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 4):
Which closed and is now being made into condos.

WHAT! wow this is big news! Thats a shame really. I remember staying there once when i was young and we went there (right after home alone 2 had come out- i wanted to stay there!)
My dream, is to fly, over the rainbow, so high!
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 8:58 pm

Quoting Divemaster08 (Reply 6):
maybe the main reason why i think that the LAX-JFK servicce wasnt as good due to it being just a lunch service.

That lunch service was absolutely unacceptable. For FIRST class, transcontinental, that's a joke. And I'm not looking through rose-colored glasses, either; Continental serves food nicer than that from Houston to Seattle in domestic first.
Come on AA, quit kidding around. That's one of your FLAGSHIP routes, is it not?
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 10:52 pm

Quoting Fbgdavidson (Reply 4):

No that's the same crappy breakfast since june....  Smile Cookies were cut though (I think).

Catering cuts were only to lunch and dinner flights but Business1 (ORD- DCA,LGA,PHL) routes suffered cuts in all three meal categories (including breakfast).
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 10:56 pm

Nice report and pictures, enjoyed your trip, thanks.

Whilst nothing impressive, AA do a pretty good job.

Nice to see you got on their A306 & 762'S, these birds won't be around for much longer.


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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sat Oct 18, 2008 11:05 pm

Quoting Divemaster08 (Thread starter):
A view of LGA!

My house is located just towards the middle of the Chrysler building needle.

Quoting Divemaster08 (Thread starter):
Air China just landed and on her way to one of the Terminals (I presume 4). I guess it’s also a direct flight from PEK.

Terminal 1 actually and yes direct from PEK

anyways great report! and thanks for soooo many pics!
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sun Oct 19, 2008 8:09 am

Congratulations on making Platinum, you'll get some nice new perks with that (double miles, 72 hour prior electronic upgrade, and access to business class ticket counters and lounges on AA and Oneworld carriers.
I loved the pics at LAX as it is one of my favorite airports for plane spotting (that and NRT).
The USS Intrepid Museum also had a BA Concorde on display which you could walk around and go in. I think it is closed for renovations.
And the Empire State Building has long been one of my favorite attractions in New York.
The only problem I had reading your TR is that it slowed up my computer big time.
Otherwise thanks for an excellent TR
Have you kissed a 777 today?
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:26 am

Quoting Divemaster08 (Thread starter):
This QF bird was off to JFK. If I had known this earlier I may have gone on her instead! Dammit again!

Unfortunately, QF do not have traffic rights to operate intra-US routes, so one can only fly QF LAX-JFK if one arrived earlier on one of the international QF routes.
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sun Oct 19, 2008 2:43 pm

Quoting Triple7man (Reply 11):
The USS Intrepid Museum also had a BA Concorde on display which you could walk around and go in. I think it is closed for renovations.

Yes and there is a submarine at the display but both have been moved while the new peir is built. The USS Intrepis has actually just been moved back here according to our pilot.

Quoting Triple7man (Reply 11):
The only problem I had reading your TR is that it slowed up my computer big time.

Whoops sorry! dam photos! the D80 pack a punch!

Quoting AJO (Reply 12):
Unfortunately, QF do not have traffic rights to operate intra-US routes, so one can only fly QF LAX-JFK if one arrived earlier on one of the international QF routes.

Interesting.... as when i checked in in LAX, they asked me if i was flying QF or AA! Maybe one day, with proper openskies
My dream, is to fly, over the rainbow, so high!
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:47 pm

Fantastic report - Really enjoyed reading about your trip.

The white zone is for immediate loading and unloading of passengers only
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:12 pm

an excellent trip report. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and looking at every picture...
Thanks a bunch for writing this report and sharing it with us.
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:42 pm

Great TR! Thanks for posting! I look forward to reading more of your reports!

Can I have a mojito on this flight?
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RE: The PlAAtinum ChallAAnge- F/Jclass (pics/vids)

Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:33 pm

Thanks for all the replies and it seems that all my photos are causing some slow processes for some computers!

Quoting AA737-823 (Reply 7):
That lunch service was absolutely unacceptable. For FIRST class, transcontinental, that's a joke.

Well remember that this Lunch in First Class, this is Business. AA have 3 classes on the LAX/SFO-JFK routes that the 762s run.
My dream, is to fly, over the rainbow, so high!

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