DUB – ORD
| AA93 | B757-200 (International) | Y, upgraded to J
Scheduled: 10:35a – 13:05p / Actual: 10:58a – 12:45p
Two passengers in wheelchairs were boarded first and general boarding was called a few minutes later starting with Business Class. As usual, everyone files down the stairs and is met by security agents to ask the usual security questions. Some passengers are then selected for additional screening/bag search.
Pre-departure drinks of water, orange juice or champagne were offered. Noise cancelling headphones and menus were handed out prior to take-off. The seat back IFE was switched on and we were free to make selections.
The pilot came on just before we reached the runway – ‘Let’s go home. Flight attendants, please prepare for take-off’
Progress on Dublin’s T2
is coming along nicely.
Once we reached our initial cruising altitude the FAs started to move around the cabin and the curtain separating Y from J was pulled. Our meal preferences were taken, FEBO was followed so orders were taken from the back forward.
To Start: Warm mixed nuts
Or Marinated cheese antipasto.
Appetizer: Grilled scallops, hot-smoked salmon and grilled shrimp with a marinated roasted vegetable salad.
Salad: Fresh seasonal greens and an assortment of fresh vegetables offered with roasted red pepper dressing or Sapori d’Arte olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Chateaubriand with Mushroom Sauce – served with porcini mushroom sauce, grilled vegetables and potatoes au gratin.
Foie Gras Stuffed Chicken – breast of chicken stuffed with duck foie gras offered with black peppercorn sauce, buttered haricot verts and wild rice with pecans.
Pecorino Gnocchi – gnocchi stuffed with a rich pecorino cream filling.
I went for the Rack of Lamb with Merlot Sauce.
Dessert: Ice cream sundae with hot fudge, whipped cream and nuts.
Or a selection of gourmet cheeses offered with dried fruit and assorted crackers.
I watched a few episodes of NCIS and The Good Wife before dozing off for 2 hours or so.
About an hour before landing a ‘Light Meal’ was served. Offerings were:
Uno Farmer’s Market Pizza: A Chicago-style deep dish pizza topped with mixed vegetables and a three cheese blend, served with basil pesto and a fresh green salad.
Gourmet Salad: Fresh seasonal greens topped with grilled chicken and sliced beef, asparagus, tomatoes and Brie, offered with balsamic tomato vinaigrette.
As the gourmet salad was a new addition, I went for that. Not too filling and very tasty. Fresh fruit and cookies were offered too.
Our noise cancelling headsets were taken just before the pilot announced we were 80 miles from Chicago. It was a cold afternoon in Chicago (-2) and very cloudy.
We landed and were at the gate (M1 – usual gate for the DUB
flight, with the MAN
flight beside us) in less than a minute.
Layover at ORD
I was expecting complications at Immigration and customs due to my itinerary. I told the officer I was in transit to Dublin and surprisingly he didn’t ask where I was coming from. He took my fingerprints, picture and I was on my way. I handed my form to the customs office and I was waved through.
International flights arrive at Terminal 5 in ORD
where a train links all terminals. AA
flies out of T3
, so I took the train ‘non-stop’ from T5
. The trick is to get in at the back of the train at T5
to skip the queue for the moving stairs when arriving at the T3
I had my boarding pass for my ORD
flight so I went through security. I put everything into the trays and went through the metal detector. No problems. I made my way down the end of the K gates to the Flagship Lounge. I was welcomed in and given a coupon for the wireless internet. Drinks are complimentary in the lounge and snack items were available – cheese cubes, carrot & celery sticks, olives, dips etc.
I noticed my ORD
flight had been delayed until 3:25p so I waited until 3pm to head to K7
for boarding. When I arrived there was no aircraft at the gate. I asked the GA
when they expect to leave as I only had a 55 minute connection in LAX
. She said the aircraft was on its way and I would have plenty of time to connect in LAX
. At 3:25p the delay was pushed back to 3:55p. I went back to the FL
to see about getting onto a later direct flight to San Francisco. She offered the MD80 flight at 4:50p. I knew there was a 763 flight later on and asked about that. No problem. She was able to confirm me into First using the EVIP from DUB
I left my two bags in FL
and went outside for a cigarette and stretched my legs by walking over to the Hilton. It wasn’t too cold and the airport seemed very quiet compared to the other times I’ve flown through.
Going back through security, I had everything into the bins and went through the xray machine. The alarm went off but I had nothing in my pockets. I put my glasses in a bin and tired again but the alarm still went off. I was wearing combats so the TSA
official got me to check my pockets again and walk back through but it still beeped. She ushered me into the glass cube where I waited for someone to come and swab my hands, scanned me with a hand-held metal detector and patted me down, ‘Sir I will pat down your sensitive areas with the back of my hand’. He found nothing but kept saying ‘I don’t like the look of these pants’ and paid particular attention to the buttons on the pockets. He was eventually satisfied I wasn’t carrying anything and sent me on my way.
When I got back to the FL
they had some hot food on offer – beef and chicken kebabs, mini pizzas, meatballs and sausage slices, prawns and a selection of dips.
It was now around 5.30p and I was starting to get tired. I prefer MRs with layovers less than 2 hours – less time waiting around and generally more miles!
6:20p came around and I thanked the AAngels for their help, left the lounge and heard they were already announcing final boarding for AA1561.
ORD – SFO
| AA1561 | B767-300 | Y, upgraded to F
Scheduled: 6:50p – 9:35p / Actual: 6:45p – 9:11p
They must have started boarding this flight early as I was one of the last to board at 18:30p.
The crew were great on this flight. As soon as I reached my seat FA
‘Linda’ came down and asked did I was a juice or water. I took water from her and she took my coat.
As we levelled off at 40,000 the service started. Drink orders were taken and ramekins of mixed nuts were given out. This was a dinner flight so the Purser and Linda served the dinners from trolleys. FEBO was followed after the Purser stopped by my seat (4D). ‘What can I get for you Mr. McGrath’ (both the Purser and Linda addressed each passenger as Mr. X or Mrs. Y each time they spoke with them) Choices were steak or pasta. Before he got the tray out Linda appeared to have grabbed his attention and he said ‘Woops, guess I’m supposed to start from the back!’. He went back, but since he had already taken my order he dropped my dinner tray up to me with a glass of white wine.
The steak was delicious; cooked medium and very tasty.
Dessert was vanilla ice-cream and a chocolate brownie. I just asked for the ice-cream with a shot of amaretto. A cup of tea followed along with some mild turbulence.
About an hour before arrival Linda came down to me wondering was I really connecting to Boston. The FO had thought it was a mistake but Linda and the Purser checked the manifest and saw it was indeed correct. There was a free seat beside me and she sat down for a quick chat (she was from Glasgow, just a stone’s throw from Ireland). She and the Purser regularly flew into Ireland before it was downgraded to the 75L.
She went back to the galley and a few minutes later the Purser came down with a bag in his hand and said 'Mr McGrath, would you like a bottle of wine?'. Linda then came down with an amenity kit and 1L bottle of water for my redeye. I felt other passengers staring at me trying to figure out if I was a celebrity or what!
I had about 1.5hrs at SFO
to kill. I checked in at the AC
and the AAngel noted how cheap I got my ticket and also that they’ve seen a lot of people doing ‘non-stop flying’ lately. I left my bags and went out for a smoke. Coming back in, I met Linda and the Purser leaving the terminal. They wished me a good night’s sleep!
Security was OK
at this time of night – I was through in about 5 mins.
In the AC
I met up with ‘short haired francis’ and ‘weinskkb’. We chatted about the usual FT
stuff! ‘weinskkb’ was on the redeye to Boston with me and left to board about 30 minutes before departure. I stayed chatting with Francis for a few more minutes and left when they called final boarding.
SFO – BOS
| AA150 | B757-200 | Y, upgraded to F
Scheduled: 10:45p – 7:10a+1 / Actual: 10:35p – 7:10a+1
To be honest I don’t remember much about this flight as tiredness was starting to kick in. I like the new blankets they have in First on the 757. Not sure how long AA
have been using them for but they’re a lot nicer and bigger than the Y ones.
This was a snack flight – Tuna salad, fruit and cheese plate or soup were offered. I took the fruit and cheese plate and fell straight asleep after it. I woke just as we began to make our decent into Boston. It was a dull morning but I hoped the rain would stay away so I could go out and see a bit of the city.
I headed straight for the AC
, ‘weinskkb’ was with me. We both checked in, he had a shower while I started searching for things to do for the day. When I had the layover in Boston last year I went straight from the airport to downtown at 8am and found that nothing opened until at least 11am. I found what I wanted to do, grabbed a shower and headed to the subway stop. The #55 bus from outside the AA
terminal will take you to the airport subway stop. For some reason, the Blue line wasn’t running from Government to Airport on Sunday but free bus transfers were in operation. It took about 30 minutes on the bus to Government. I arrived around 10:30a.
From Government I took the Green line to Science and spent an hour in the Museum of Science. I could have spent longer but wanted to get to Abercrombie, American Eagle and a few other stores around Faneuil Hall before going back to Logan.
I had a quick stroll around Boston Commons and went back to Government to get the shuttle bus back to Logan.
I got back to Logan at about 1:15p and checked my shopping back to Dublin. I asked the AAgent to check on my upgrade for ORD
but it still hadn’t come through. She said I was #3 on the list but Business was still fully booked. She took my bag and I went through security. This is where the fun began.
As usual I put all my belongings into the bins provided (mobile phone, wallet, passport, boarding pass, glasses, jacket/outer garments, shoes etc). Then was randomly selected for a pat down after going through the metal detectors – the alarm didn’t go off. The TSA
agent swabbed my hands and gave me a pat down/searched me similar to what happened in Chicago the previous day. When he was satisfied I posed no risk, he let me on my way. I got to my bin on the belt and immediately noticed the glasses there were not mine. I told the TSA
agents and they looked at me as if to say ‘What am I supposed to do?’ One of them asked a lady that was moving away did she pick up the wrong pair of glasses but she didn’t. The agents just stood around looking around the belt for glasses and found nothing. I asked for a supervisor and someone who wasn’t ‘technically a supervisor’ came over to me. He said that unless one of his guys told me to take off my glasses there is nothing they could do. He gave me a number for lost and found (answered by a live person surprise surprise) to call in a few days and see if anything turned up. He did tell me to check back before my flight left to see if the person realised they had the wrong glasses. I’m not sure how someone else’s glasses ended up in my bin in the first place.
Since it was the First class security line I figured whoever it was might be in the AC
so I went and explained the situation to the AAngel and he made an announcement to the Club. The AAngel sent me to the nearest gate to ask a GA
to announce it to the terminal. She kindly did and I went back to the AC
to wait. The AAngel (concierge key, didn’t get his name) had 2 drink chits waiting for me when I got back. I was raging at this stage because without my glasses I can’t read/see anything clearly that’s more than a few feet away from me. The AAngel made another announcement to the Club. I checked with him before I left and he rang the gate the announcement was made from but nobody had handed glasses in. I backtracked to TSA
and nobody has come back either.
They had just called F boarding for my BOS
flight so I made my way down to the gate and boarded.
BOS – ORD
| AA2347 | MD80 | Y, upgraded to F
Scheduled: 2:30p – 4:30p / Actual: 2:28p – 4:03p
Alex was our Purser for this flight. No pre-departure drinks were served, but he did come around the cabin taking drink orders before we took off to be served once we reached our cruising altitude.
The drinks were served with hot mixed nuts. This was a snack flight, I forgot the second option.
Salad with creamy cilantro dressing
Baked pita chips with peppercorn parmesan dip
Steak quesadilla served with rice and salsa sauce
I fired up my iPod, reclined my seat and relaxed the whole way to Chicago.
ORD Layover... again
We arrived in Chicago almost 30 minutes early. I went to the FL
and did some web browsing and started this report. They were serving ‘Continental Breakfast’ (mistake I’m sure) that consisted of the same optioned from the evening before (beef and chicken kebabs, mini pizzas, meatballs and sausage slices, prawns and a selection of dips).
When boarding was called in the lounge, I made my way to the gate (K19, just beside the entrance to the FL
) and went to the counter to see if there was any chance of my upgrade coming through. She said there was a chance but there are two people ahead of me on the waitlist, 2 passengers could possibly misconnect and she is unsure about another flyer. She told me to go ahead and board and she would find me if my upgrade cleared.
| AA92 | B757-200 (International) | Y
Scheduled: 7:30p – 8:40a+1 / Actual: 7:30p – 9:10a +1
I settled into 10F. Nobody was in the middle seat so I and 10D had space to spread our stuff out. There was a couple sitting in 9B and 9C
and throughout the entire boarding process they had to stand infront of 9E
and F so people could get in the door. I saw the GA
walking down the jet bridge and sort of hoped she was going to upgrade me. No such luck, another passenger was paged and moved to the Business cabin. Being in Y for the first time in 7 TATL segments wasn’t as bad as I imagined! The seats of the 75L are nice and with no seat in front of you the cabin seems a lot roomier.
Elizabeth was the Purser on this flight. She was also the Purser on my ORD
in December after a week in New York. I remember her because she always referenced DUB
as ‘Dublin, Ireland International Airport’.
We pushed back on time and 31 minutes later the wheels came up. Once we levelled out the beverage service started in Y. I asked the FA
for a Jack & Coke and handed her my EXP card which she placed on the cart. I looked back up at her in a few seconds and she was looking at the back of the card after swiping it in the credit card machine. I explained it was my EXP card and that it’s good for a comp drink. She asked the other FA
who said that was the policy. A small bag of pretzels were handed out too.
Dinner choices were the usual, beef or chicken. I asked for the chicken. It was a few bits of chicken, penne pasta and tomato sauce. It was OK
, the sauce was nice but there were only 3 or 4 small slices of chicken. The salad consisted of a leaf of iceberg lettuce and some carrot shavings with some dressing. There was also crackers and cheese, a small bottle of water and a cookie for dessert.
Once I’d taken a few spoons of the chicken I sat back, relaxed and slept the whole way to Ireland. I woke up and we were flying over the Dublin Mountains. A ‘breakfast box’ had been left for me containing a banana, croissant and yoghurt. An announcement was being made that 2 noise cancelling headsets from the J cabin were still missing and the Purser asked all J passengers to check around their seat for them.
We flew over Bray and out over the Irish Sea before turning 180 degrees to line up for runway 16/34 at DUB
, flying in over Portmarnock on descent.
For some reason, we parked at Pier B (AA normally depart and arrive from D). Maybe because of the delay, the normal gate wasn’t available. We didn’t have to brave the cold as jet bridges are used for all flights arriving/departing from B. We deplaned via 2L and made the 5 minute walk to Immigration. I took my passport out of my pocket and realised I forgot to hand my I94 form to the AAgent at the gate in Chicago. I asked the immigration officer about it and he said talk to AA
– very helpful.
Within 3 minutes of reaching the baggage belt, bags started to be spit out. All EXPs now get checked bags tagged as ‘Priority’ so they come out first. Out mine came, I cleared Customs and made my way to the coach park to get the shuttle back to The Premier Inn. I made a call to AA
while waiting and they gave me an address in Kentucky to send my I94 form back to.
We arrived at the hotel at 10 o’clock and I went to the desk to pay the rest of my parking fee.
I rang TSA
Lost & Found when I arrived back in Ireland on Monday but they only had the pair that I handed in. I’ve since sent an email to TSA
via their website trying to claim the cost of the glasses from them. They’ve sent me a claim form so I’ll send that off and see what happens.
I requested original routing credit from AA
due to the ORD
turning into ORD
. The CSR left my ORD
miles and manually posted an additional SFO
flight, complete with the 500 mile minimum.
“We are sorry that the Chicago - Los Angeles flight was delayed. We understand that AAdvantage mileage is one reason members specifically select American Airlines for their travel. Therefore, I am pleased to make an exception and credit the mileage you requested. Rather than delete the flight segment that has already been credited, and repost everything, I added a San Francisco - Los Angeles segment. That will give you a very small (101 miles) advantage over the ticketed routing.”
It was a very enjoyable MR
, apart from losing my glasses.