AA 963 DFW-GRU(!) - The Inaugural 77W 31JAN
The gate area started to get busy around 5 or 6 pm and the sun was starting too set. In the distance I could hear the final boarding announcements for the earlier departure to Sao Paulo. At this point I knew I wasn't getting business class on the 77W since all of the positive-space employees asked for upgrades, but I was content knowing I was getting a seat in coach.
Refreshments just for pax on the inaugural flight were provided at the gate entrance near the counter.
I went and checked with the agent about availible window seats, and sure enough, one in the back 2-4-2 section of the aircraft, the back row 43A. Fine with me! I'd get to appreciate the aircraft's size from back there for sure!
Tom got up and said a few words about the new airplane alongside some other dignitiaries.
And soon enough it was time to board!
From the jetbridge, you can see the other 77W I toured earlier, still in the gray scheme.
Its down the jetbridge to 7LB for my second-ever flight on the 777 and first flight on AA
's first 777-300ER. I am very excited to board this airplane, and for my first trip internationally of 2013. Its a very long walk to the back of the aircraft.
There is a goody bag on every seat! I set it aside and start taking photos while the rest of the aircraft continues to board.
The contents of the goody bag were:
A nice, warm Paramount-branded shirt.
Nice looking yet low-quality red in-ear headphones.
This nice thing, whatever I'm suppoesed to do with it.
This folds out into an eight-section panorama of the 77W in-flight and explains the meaning behind the "New American."
A bag, within the goody bag.
And a 77W cookie.
Inside there was also a certificate for 5,000 non-elite qualifying AAdvantage miles. I had my backpack with me underneath the seat, so I had some problems finding a good place to put that goody bag. In row 43 where I was, the fuselage tapers back gently and there is a nice large gap between the window and the seat where it fit neatly along with my laptop when I wasn't using it, which is a bonus for those seats in the back for sure.
Other passengers were having problems finding a place for those goody bags, some of the early arrivals put them in the overhead bins much to the flight attendant's dismay, because as with every full flight, there was soon very limited space up there.
I felt the seat itself was a fine standard width and, and at least while the passenger's seat in front of me stayed in the upright position, the legroom wasn't bad either. The seats in row 43 recline some, but not fully, and as soon as the folks in row 42 arrived, the seats went straight back, somewhat inhibiting my work space (not necessarily legroom as the seats are cradleing) but the seatback came back to where my laptop screen would have been had I had it out.
My seatmate is a 17 year old Brazilian foreign exchange student coming back from a foreign exchange to Vancouver (transiting DFW
? okay..). She is small and is pleasant to talk to and gives me a crash course in Portuguese as we ready for departure.
The ususal departure announcements are made, and it's neat to hear that the AA
Chief Pilot is at the controls this evening. Push back soon commences, we're on our way and I'm really going to Brazil!
Easy to notice the curvature of the fueslage from back here!
This wingwalker wingwalks resolutely and with attention.
This is big guys. I love airplanes and I love American Airlines, but I don't get emotional
around these sorts of things. I'm writing this report almost a month later, but as this big piece of metal turned out of the gate facing South, it gave me in the A seat a fantastic view of the most moving thing I've seen at the airline so far, and I honestly did shed a tear at the sight: Hundreds
, and I mean hundreds, of my fellow employees staring back at me from my seat - on the ramp, things stopped completely to watch us leave - in the terminal, people lined the windows along the entire D-terminal. Even up in the Admiral's club, everybody was standing, almost at attention, as we pushed back. It was moving, and it made me remeber this was more than an inaugural flight of AA
's newest, biggest, and baddest jet. This was the beginning, the start, the rebirth of the New American - something me, the little Eagle employee in the back got to play a small part in today.
This video from the ramp kind of captures that emotion: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GbRB3vb2b7M
Then, we got a water cannon salute. I think the whole plane was moved by the sight.
It was very touching and these pictures and words do not adequately convey that emotion onboard.
A sub-par photo of QF
getting ready to go to BNE
I have a video of the takeoff, but being dark and all it isn't all that impressive except for the amazing siren's song of the massive GE
-90s, my first time on a plane with this power, I fell in love as soon as they revved up for takeoff. What an amazing sound, and a powerful takeoff for us that evening.
The main cabin clapped as we leaped into the Texas winter night, ascending North like an arrow to Kansas or Tulsa or the Cornerstone at ORD
, but turning soon East-Southeast towards Florida and Miami.
I settled back into the comfortable seat, and managed to get my laptop out and squeezed between me and the person in front of me's reclined seat.
The internet didn't work for me now, or any other time I tried it on my Kindle, which was too bad since 1) It is free for the first two months, and 2) Its a big selling point of AA
internatinal service with this airframe.
Before dinner, the mood lighting was set to this attractive shade of red, and the flight attendants came and distributed complimentary celebratory champagne about 40-50 minutes after departure.
I had to partake in this brilliant celebration!
Over Miami, Florida - about to start the dinner service.
has a beef offering, or a tortilini pasta dish. I had an absoultely amazing meal with the tortilini on my FRA
flight on the 763, so I decided to try that again. It wasn't quite as good, but very tasty nonetheless and I don't regret the choice at all!
Shortly after the meal was cleared away, I started "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," which was pretty good but nothing really to write home about except for Emma Watson is doing something other than Harry Potter for once (and did pretty good). A while later, I got up to use the lav - I walked up to the mid-cabin lav just to move around a bit in the spacious Y cabin, and then ventured back to the back galley to chat with the flight attendants as every friendly nonrevver should. They seemed like they would have loved some company except that at that time they were in a meeting with what seemed to be an AA
inflight coordinator discussing the service, and probably the inoperative wifi, and turned me back to my seat. Aw shucks! I really wanted to ask to see the rear crown crew rest
Oh well, I went back to my seat where my seatmate had a nice converation for some time before we both started another movie. I was somewhere over the carribean when I finally fell asleep, and I didn't wake up until about an hour prior to landing with a brilliant view of South America out my window!
Breakfast was sparse with a soft, warm bread and yogurt. Not bad, but not close at all to the breakfast they were getting up front.
The cabin shortly after breakfast was served.
Soon, we began the brilliantly beautiful descent into Sao Paulo, Brazil. One of the world's largest cities and one of AA
's strongest preforming international outstations.
It was a masterful, beautiful, and smooth landing. Everybody clapped on arrival!
Landing video: http://youtu.be/VVZdHGDPiig
Taxi-in/Water cannon salute video: http://youtu.be/Yp_hgWYVWwo
A look behind me as I am the last to leave the rear economy cabin.
and the forward economy cabin:
A few AA
'ers are checking out the new toy:
I step off the airplane into a beautiful, warm, sunny, South American midsummer day. Three AA
777s are basking in the sun near to 7LB, which is enjoying her first trip abroad I think. Oneworld partner LAN is here with an A320, which I rode an example of from SCL
last May and had a great time on!
Its the customs/transit hall alongside the terminal that takes all of us into the country. The whole place is a zoo, full of people, but customs is super easy since I have no checked bags and the customs agent is friendly.
Bye 7LB! It was sure a lot of fun!
This place, with its use of heavy dark materiels and mult-storey atrium, reminds me of MCI
I love the advertising for the DFW
I wander around for a bit. I'm hungry, and I consider McDonald's, but reconsider - I'm in Brazil, goddamnit, not Kansas! Everything else is expensive, so I decide I'll wait until I get to the city center. The tourist information woman gives me a map and directs me to the bus office and ATMs, where I colllect $R 400, about $200 US. This easily gets me through 3.5 days of Brazil including hostels, food, drinks(!), and a souvenier or two. Not bad at all!
I know there is a convienient semi-public bus that goes to centro, so I find the "Airport Bus Service" ticket office. The agent directs me to the Tiete bus, which departs from Terminal 2. I'm happy to walk over there!
The bus is cheap and comfortabale, and I meet up with someone in line who has an AA963 GRU
bag tag. I asked him how his flight was and he replied he was very excited he had stumbled onto the inaugural - he always flies AA
but he appreciated the new offerings very much but just wished the wifi would have worked.
Couldn't have said it better myself! I say goodbye to him, buy my ticket, and head to the bus stop where the bus is boarding to Centro!
Here are some highlights from my trip to Sao Paulo, I was here for three nights and then flew up to Rio on Azul Brazilian Airlines - Spent two nights there in Rio, and then flew home via MIA
- that will be covered in part two, coming soon!!
Hostel accomodation at the HI
-Sao Paulo. Not bad, met some cool people there for sure.
The Banespa tour has some great views, and the tour is free!
Crazy nightlife and street life.
A beautiful city!
To be continued...
My older trip reports
To Canada On American Eagle, YYZ And YKF Via ORD (by mhkansan Dec 18 2012 in Trip Reports)
HYS-DEN On ZK's 1900D! (by mhkansan May 1 2012 in Trip Reports)
1st TR! US Transatlantic A332s And Domestic '67. (by mhkansan Jul 18 2011 in Trip Reports)
[Edited 2013-02-25 23:05:06]