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jwhite9185
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Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

#2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:50 pm


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Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper -copyright © Karl L. Swartz.


Videos related to this report

Maho Beach, Sint Maarten Movements | September 2014: http://youtu.be/tj81FnY61v0

American Airlines | 737-800 | SXM-MIA | First Class: http://youtu.be/UG5PmWyyN8Y
American Airlines | 757-200 | MIA-DFW | First Class: Coming soon
American Airlines | MD80 | DFW-LAS | First Class: Coming soon


Hi there,

Thanks for taking a look at the second part of my latest series, featuring a few flights around the USA and a hop down to St Maarten. The first part can be seen here:

#1: Speedbird 787 LHR-PHL, AA/US PHL-TPA-MIA-SXM (by jwhite9185 Nov 28 2014 in Trip Reports)

Booking was made through the AA website. The schedules meant I either had to choose an overnight stop in MIA or DFW. I chose MIA as that was my entry point to the USA, therefore any hold ups at immigration wouldn't be an issue.


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Once more, I could pre-select my meals:


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For those of you who read the first part, you'll remember that I arrived into SXM minus my bag. Luckily, it did eventually turn up, but it was a bit of a drawn out process - involving multiple phone calls to both the airport in SXM and the HQ in Miami. The general opinion was "we don't know where it is". Even the bag tracker on the AA website was of the same opinion.



Finally, after making a visit back to SXM I was eventually reunited with my bag.



I'll start off with a few pics of my time on the island:

The famous beach - I wish all Monday mornings were like that!:


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The small town of Maho Beach:


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Around the Sonesta resort:



And of course, a few shots of the arrivals into SXM:


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Something major was on approach…


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AF A343 heading back off once more:



DL as seen from the hotel bar:


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When it was time to leave, I made the twenty minute walk back to the airport from my hotel.


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Walking in the front door of the terminal


Once there, I was informed that all the computer systems were down, therefore everything would have to be processed manually.


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I was given an interesting looking boarding pass and made my way upstairs to departures.



I headed for the lounge, but was informed that it was privately owned, therefore American passengers weren't eligible. I still managed to access it though via my Airport Angel card. There were a few snacks plus a manned bar - although initially there wasn't anybody manning it. It wasn't anything much to write home about though. However the chairs were comfortable, there was free wifi and there were only about three of us in there.


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Around thirty minutes ahead of scheduled boarding, I made my way down to the gate, just as today's jet was pulling on to stand.


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There was a bit of a delay to boarding, but this allowed me to watch a couple more arrivals and take a look at what was around.

I’d missed this one land by a couple of seconds when I left my hotel.



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When boarding did begin I was the first on board.
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:52 pm


AA2223
SXM-MIA
September 2014
Boeing 737-800 / N883NN
Seat: 5A/ First Class
Scheduled: 14:14/17:22
Off Stand: 14:30
On Stand: 17:30


I was pleased to see that this one, despite the old livery, had the Boeing Sky Interior. This makes a huge improvement to the 737 I find.


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Boarding continued, until the last few passengers made their way on board at random five to ten minute intervals... In your own time. This didn't matter however, as the captain informed us that the earlier power outage meant that everything was being done manually, therefore it was taking a little longer than usual. In the mean time, boarding drinks were handed out.



Once we finally did pushback, it was a quick process.



We held at the end of the runway for a minute or two so everybody on Maho Beach could get a good grip on the fence, before we pulled into position.


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The Sonesta hotel seen from the plane


Once there, it was a very powerful takeoff before making a barrel roll to the right to avoid the mountain at the end of the runway. It was then out over the sea and more or less the last of the views.


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Some ten minutes after departure, the purser came around, welcomed me by name and confirmed my lunch order. A few moments later, hot towels were given out.



Followed by the drinks - and this time around, they'd remembered to load the warm nuts too.



During this time, no less than four pax from economy came up and used the forward washroom, despite the curtain being drawn. The purser looked quite irritated by this, but didn't say anything. Surely an announcement saying it's for first class only would have solved the problem?



The meal service continued


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Following this, I watched a video on my iPad, after which descent started.


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It was definitely an interesting descent - due to the storms around, it was a bit of a roller coaster ride. My seatmate decided to make good use of the the sick bag during this time too…


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We landed into a surprisingly dry MIA and made the long journey over to our stand at the opposite side of the airport.


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I made my way through to immigration, via the sky train. It appeared the storm we had flown through a few minutes ago was slowly rolling into town.


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After seeing that despite being in one of the shortest queues it was taking the longest, I thought that maybe the officer may be a little on the strict side. How wrong was I! He was an easy going Caribbean guy who was very well humoured. And more concerned about changing his chair than interrogating me. I was stamped into the country again (without having to give any fingerprints), and made my way through to baggage claim, hoping I would be a little more successful this time. I was, but I still had to wait a while - the agents in SXM hadn't placed the priority tag all that well - can you see it?! Trust me, its there…



After this, it was a reasonably long line to clear customs before heading on to a shuttle to my hotel for the night, the Hilton at MIA.


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I arrived at the hotel, and was checked in by the manager who seemed very pleased to see that I was a HHonours member. This hotel was great value - a standard room was £72, where as a one bedroom suite with a balcony overlooking the airport came to £80. Eighty pounds well spent!


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I had toyed with the idea of heading into town for the evening, however as I'd visited Miami many times before, the rain had now turned up with a vengeance, and I had a decent room to spend the evening in, I decided against it. I’d also got some pretty bad sunburn in SXM which was making me feel pretty uncomfortable too. So instead, it was some massively overpriced room service with a couple of beers that I'd "borrowed" from the minibar in SXM.


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At 4:30 the following morning, my alarm was going off and I was heading back to the airport once more.


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I was checked in by a business friendly agent and I then took the walk to the lounge.


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Once more, it was massively underwhelming.


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This mornings ride being prepared beneath us


I made my way down to the gate just a few minutes before boarding was due to begin.
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sat Dec 13, 2014 2:53 pm


AA281
MIA-DFW
September 2014
Boeing 757-200 / N635NN
Seat: 4F / First Class
Scheduled: 07:15/09:25
Off Stand: 07:11
On Stand: 08:59


Almost immediately, my seatmate was pestering me to swap seats with his wife who was in the aisle seat in front. This is a seemingly common occurrence lately. In the days of being able to pre book your seats on line, and even check in online I take the stance that there's really no excuse to not get your desired seat - and even if all that fails, get to the airport early and claim one there.



We pushed back and made a very short taxi over to the runway.


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After waiting a minute or two for a company 777 to land, it was our turn or make the characteristic powerful 757 takeoff.


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Much like the previous flights, shortly after departure the breakfast orders were taken, as well as drink orders.

A bit of turbulence here, hence the slightly odd angle of the water.




These were dished out a while later.



I must admit it wasn't that great - quite stodgy and very sweet. Although I'm not a fan of American breakfasts in general really.



I spent the rest of the flight reading through the small print of my travel insurance - wondering if I could claim anything back from the clothes I had to buy when my bag was lost. Turned out to be quite an amusing read, especially the part about dying being a valid reason for cutting your trip short!



Descent started and the first officer announced that she would have us on stand twenty minutes ahead of schedule. The cabin crew also announced the connecting gate information as well as info on how to find the AAdmirals clubs at DFW.



During descent, mints were handed out. We were treated to some good views of Dallas on approach - before heading out into the middle of nowhere.


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We touched down more than a few minutes ahead of schedule, after chasing our shadow for the last few miles.


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Luckily though, we didn't have the same issues that was suffered at JFK last year - where it took us forty minutes to find a spare gate - due to the size of the AA operation here at DFW it was easy enough to find a new gate. It was then off into a very bland looking DFW.



I made my way on to the skytrain to the C gates, where my next flight was due to depart from and headed up to the lounge. This place was pretty big, therefore not too busy, but still offered virtually nothing in the way of free food or drink.


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I made use of the free wifi and made a phonecall home (that didn't cost a penny, thanks to Three’s feel at home plan - well worth it if you travel abroad a bit), before heading down to the gate a good hour or so before departure, for my second retro experience of the day.



Boarding began, and for the first time in the US, there was a mass stampede towards the door. Luckily though, the boarding order was strictly enforced and I was through pretty quickly.


AA1688
DFW-LAS
September 2014
MD83 / N597AA
Seat: 6F / First Class
Scheduled: 11:30/12:20
Off Stand: 11:31
On Stand: 12:11


Almost immediately I noticed a difference in the cabin of this one. The seats seemed much bigger, but the legroom was maybe a little tighter.


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Once more the cabin was in complete darkness. I'm starting to think its SOP for AA to close all the window blinds on the ground? One thing that does fascinate me though is how uninterested the rest of the cabin is in the outside world - on nearly all my flights, I've been the only person to open the window shades! The purser confirmed my meal choice, and offered everybody a drink of their choice. I declined, as pushback was near.



Once we did head backwards, the engines were started and we made our way over to the active very quietly.


The captain announced a flying time of two hours and twenty minutes and that there was just one aircraft ahead of us. We finally did take to the skies, and at this end of the plane it was very quiet. I'd imagine it was a different story down the back however.


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Once we had reached a decent altitude, the seatbelt sign was switched off and another drink run was done. I chose a Dr Pepper this time.



It was a great clear day outside, so the views of Texas were pretty good as we flew overhead.


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The slightly reduced space on this old lady was becoming more apparent. There was barely enough room to swing a SLR, so phone pics it had to be. And there was barely enough room in the centre console for two drinks, so I had to get a little creative.



A short while later, the lunch service began. It wasn't too bad - far better than this mornings effort anyway.


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After this, I reclined and read an ebook on my iPad, and continued to gaze outside as there was still no clouds or haze. With around thirty minutes to go, I could just about make out the engines spooling back. The captain announced our descent and mentioned that we would be passing the Grand Canyon in a few moments.


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Following our tour of the Grand Canyon, we were pretty close to landing.


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We made a reasonably hard touchdown and then made a long taxi over to the terminal. Upon arrival, there was no doubting I was in Vegas!



It was then on to a shuttle. It was a bit of an odd setup, where some airlines have to collect their bags in T1 and others in the new T3. In my case, it was T1.

Baggage claim area that was more like a casino


It was then on to the shuttle to my hotel. I had a bit of an issue when trying to choose a hotel here. Much like in Bangkok, due to the fact theres so many rooms here, they're all very reasonably priced. Some Cheaper rooms can be found for as little at £9 a night… but rather than that, I splashed out the £30 a night for an upgraded room at The Tropicana though. The last time I’d stayed here was back in 1998. Despite this, it still looked reasonably familiar, despite getting a lick of paint.


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Out of the frying pan…

And with that, I’d reached the final destination on this ticket.

AA performed well enough once more. The crew on the SXM-MIA sector seemed a little inexperienced but other than that, I had no major complaints. The only other niggle was the fact the same meal options were offered on all flights - if you're a real regular flyer, I’d imagine it would get a little boring eating the same over and over.


Previous trip reports

#1: Speedbird 787 LHR-PHL, AA/US PHL-TPA-MIA-SXM (by jwhite9185 Nov 28 2014 in Trip Reports)
Belgium Jun.14: LCY-ANR-BRU-LHR WX F50, SN RJ100 (by jwhite9185 Nov 13 2014 in Trip Reports)
Hello Daytrip. British Airways A319, LHR-DUB-LHR (by jwhite9185 Oct 30 2014 in Trip Reports)
Amsterdam A.net Meet With SI, BA And WX. May 2014 (by jwhite9185 Oct 14 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 9: The Finale. TK A320/BA 767 TXL-IST-LHR (by jwhite9185 Sep 27 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 8: TXL Via BCN. QR J/AB Y SIN-DOH-BCN-TXL (by jwhite9185 Sep 14 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 7: A Failed Attempt At CX First, HKG-SIN (by jwhite9185 Aug 29 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 6: Back To Asia: VS A346 Upper Class SYD-HKG (by jwhite9185 Aug 1 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 5: A Qantas Widebody To SYD. 763 BNE-SYD (by jwhite9185 Jul 22 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 4: Oz Domestic, VA MEL-SYD-BNE 738/E190 (by jwhite9185 Jul 7 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 3: Heading Down Under With MH 737/A333 (by jwhite9185 Jun 26 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 2: Qatar Business BCN-DOH-SIN A333/77W (by jwhite9185 Jun 10 2014 in Trip Reports)
Oz 2014 1: Positioning LGW-BCN With EasyJet (by jwhite9185 May 26 2014 in Trip Reports)
Salzburg With BA In Club On The 737-400.March 2014 (by jwhite9185 May 11 2014 in Trip Reports)
The Red Nosed Way To Faro. LGW-OSL-FAO-LGW DY/BA (by jwhite9185 Apr 28 2014 in Trip Reports)
New Year, New AA: LHR-ORD-BOS-JFK-LHR 772/738/77W (by jwhite9185 Apr 1 2014 in Trip Reports)
To Fly, To Serve: BA LGW-VCE-LCY 737/E170 Dec.13 (by jwhite9185 Mar 22 2014 in Trip Reports)
Alicante With BA In J: LHR-ALC-LGW A319/734 Nov.13 (by jwhite9185 Mar 16 2014 in Trip Reports)
The EZY Way To Catch A LAN 787 LGW-MAD-FRA-ARN-LHR (by jwhite9185 Feb 21 2014 in Trip Reports)
Trains, Planes And… Boats? ZRH A.net Meet (by jwhite9185 Feb 5 2014 in Trip Reports)
Asia 4: Heading Home On An A380 KUL-LHR (by jwhite9185 Jan 20 2014 in Trip Reports)
Asia 3: JAL 767 To Kuala Lumpur NRT-KUL (by jwhite9185 Jan 10 2014 in Trip Reports)
Asia 2:Catching A Cathay Pacific 747 To Tokyo In F (by jwhite9185 Dec 22 2013 in Trip Reports)
Asia 1: A Journey Of Epic Proportions LHR-KUL-HKG (by jwhite9185 Dec 8 2013 in Trip Reports)
Comparing The Competition Again: VS/BA LHR-ABZ-LHR (by jwhite9185 Nov 24 2013 in Trip Reports)
Across The UK With Flybe SOU-EDI-MAN-SOU E195/Q400 (by jwhite9185 Nov 5 2013 in Trip Reports)
An Impulse Buy To Catch BA's 787 In C LHR-ARN-LHR (by jwhite9185 Oct 18 2013 in Trip Reports)
BA,The DB, AB And A Bit Of DAT LHR-STR-NUE-DUS-STR (by jwhite9185 Oct 6 2013 in Trip Reports)
Jettime To Scandinavia: LHR-CPH-BHX 733/SAS CR9 (by jwhite9185 Sep 28 2013 in Trip Reports)
Arabia & Thailand 2013 5: Catching A Whale To LHR (by jwhite9185 Sep 3 2013 in Trip Reports)
Arabia & Thailand 2013 4:Back To DXB With Oman Air (by jwhite9185 Aug 20 2013 in Trip Reports)
Arabia & Thailand 2013 3: BKK-DXB-MCT With EK/WY (by jwhite9185 Aug 6 2013 in Trip Reports)
Arabia & Thailand 2013 2: Two TG Classic's To HKT (by jwhite9185 Jul 20 2013 in Trip Reports)
Arabia & Thailand 2013 1: LHR-DXB-BKK EK A380/77W (by jwhite9185 Jul 9 2013 in Trip Reports)
USA 2013 Pt 5: AA & BA's New WTP MCO-MIA-ATL-LHR (by jwhite9185 Jun 25 2013 in Trip Reports)
USA 2013 Pt 4: Heading South On A Mad Dog ORD-MCO (by jwhite9185 Jun 13 2013 in Trip Reports)
USA 2013 Pt 3: Almost A Disaster With AA DCA-ORD (by jwhite9185 May 29 2013 in Trip Reports)
USA 2013 Pt 2: BA A320/744 WTP CDG-LHR-IAD (by jwhite9185 May 14 2013 in Trip Reports)
USA 2013 Pt 1: The Beginning BA LHR-ORY (by jwhite9185 Apr 20 2013 in Trip Reports)
Comparing The Competition: BA/VS Inaugural MAN-LHR (by jwhite9185 Mar 31 2013 in Trip Reports)
Taking TAP To Portugal: LGW-OPO-LIS-LHR Feb. 2013 (by jwhite9185 Mar 10 2013 in Trip Reports)
Poland On The Dream)liner - LOT LHR-WAW-LHR In C/Y (by jwhite9185 Jan 1 2013 in Trip Reports)
A Speedbird & Titan 767 – LHR-LCA-LHR In C…ish (by jwhite9185 Feb 1 2013 in Trip Reports)
British Airways LGW-AGP-LCY 737/E190 Nov. 2012 (by jwhite9185 Dec 1 2012 in Trip Reports)
Part 2: 5 Flights 3 Airlines MXP-ZRH-DUS-LHR LX/LH (by jwhite9185 Nov 14 2012 in Trip Reports)
Part 1: 5 Flights 3 Airlines LHR-BRU-MXP In Theory (by jwhite9185 Oct 29 2012 in Trip Reports)
Cancellations, Widebodies And Iberia LHR-MAD-LHR (by jwhite9185 Oct 17 2012 in Trip Reports)
Virgin Atlantic's New A330 LHR-JFK-LHR (by jwhite9185 Sep 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Night In Amsterdam - KLM F70/738 LHR-AMS-LHR (by jwhite9185 Aug 28 2012 in Trip Reports)
Trying Out Flybe - LGW-BHD-GLA-BHD-LGW (by jwhite9185 Jul 11 2012 in Trip Reports)
A Day Trip To MAN (by jwhite9185 Jun 21 2012 in Trip Reports)
Nice, Monaco And The Great British Lounge With BMI (by jwhite9185 May 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
EI237/182 LGW-DUB-LHR And 2 Lounges (by jwhite9185 Apr 18 2012 in Trip Reports)
LGW-FRA-BRU-LHR With LH And SN (by jwhite9185 Mar 27 2012 in Trip Reports)
BA906/8735 LHR-FRA-LCY (by jwhite9185 Mar 13 2012 in Trip Reports)
VS015/016 LGW-MCO-LGW June 2010 (by jwhite9185 Jan 20 2012 in Trip Reports)
VS006 MIA-LHR A340-642 June 2008 (by jwhite9185 Feb 10 2012 in Trip Reports)
Virgin Atlantic 747 To BGI - October 2007 (by jwhite9185 Aug 3 2012 in Trip Reports)
 
PlaneHunter
Posts: 6538
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:17 am

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:03 pm

Hi James,

very nice second part of your series with great pictures from Maho Beach. I really enjoyed the few hours there in May, will post numerous pics in the second part of my new series.

AA's First Class product looks okay, but that's it - similar to what you get on UA and others. Catering cannot impress me once again - and AA should really change the seat colors, that design looks so outdated. Lounges in the US cannot attract me at all - if I cannot enjoy any views, going there is wasted time.

I'm surprised by the Hilton at MIA - looks excellent for spotting!


PH
Nothing's worse than flying the same reg twice!
 
767747
Posts: 2225
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:08 am

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:09 pm

Great report, James.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
For those of you who read the first part, you'll remember that I arrived into SXM minus my bag. Luckily, it did eventually turn up, but it was a bit of a drawn out process - involving multiple phone calls to both the airport in SXM and the HQ in Miami. The general opinion was "we don't know where it is". Even the bag tracker on the AA website was of the same opinion.

How annoying, and definitely not a fun way to begin your trip.

AA F looks good on those segments you flown, and nice to see an upgraded meal service.

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)
I love to fly!
 
emek96
Posts: 224
Joined: Wed Apr 03, 2013 3:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:33 pm

Hi James!

Nice report about your SXM experience. I think is a must for every spotter to visit this place once, I didn't yet, but it must be great there.
Flights on AA look OK, but not outstanding at all, as PH mentioned above, the food is not that good, and the ''lounges'' are nothing to write home about.
How did you fly back to the UK actually, also BA?

greetings
Elias
Lufthansa is the best airline in the world!
 
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817Dreamliiner
Posts: 3580
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RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:35 pm

Hi James

Nice report once again. I did read the first part very briefly but didn't comment as I have tons of uni work to do (even as I write this I should be doing work). Very interesting route, and the price in F looks very good as well. I'll be trying them out in about a weeks time on LHR-JFK-ANU so that I can finally cross the 77W off my list and hopefully a sky interior 737 as well.
Life is encrypted, you are modified, Like a virus in a lullaby, Artificial till the day you die, silly programme, You're corrupted
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
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RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sat Dec 13, 2014 3:46 pm

PH,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
very nice second part of your series with great pictures from Maho Beach.

Thanks,

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
AA's First Class product looks okay, but that's it - similar to what you get on UA and others.

Yeah, I get the impression that most of the US legacy carriers have ok products in F. I think the likes of VX are trying to improves somewhat though.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
AA should really change the seat colors, that design looks so outdated.

Agreed. The colour scheme on the 77W looks pretty good - don't know if they're planning on incorporating it fleet wide though.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
Lounges in the US cannot attract me at all

Same - although the OneWorld one in LAX wasn't too bad. Still no views though.

Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 3):
I'm surprised by the Hilton at MIA - looks excellent for spotting!

Great hotel in general I found... apart from not offering free WiFi.

767747,

Quoting 767747 (Reply 4):
Great report, James.

Thanks,

Quoting 767747 (Reply 4):
How annoying, and definitely not a fun way to begin your trip.

No it was a little stressful, especially when the only answers I seemed to be getting were "I don't know where your bag is".

Quoting 767747 (Reply 4):
AA F looks good on those segments you flown, and nice to see an upgraded meal service.

It was ok - but not brilliant.

Elias,

Quoting emek96 (Reply 5):
Nice report about your SXM experience.

Thanks,

Quoting emek96 (Reply 5):
I think is a must for every spotter to visit this place once

I'd say so...

Quoting emek96 (Reply 5):
I didn't yet, but it must be great there.

I was a little underwhelmed. Mainly because I thought it would be busier - having said that, I was there in the off season.

Quoting emek96 (Reply 5):
the ''lounges'' are nothing to write home about.

No, and even more amazing was that AA didn't offer lounge access even on the international sector, despite SXM having a lounge.

Quoting emek96 (Reply 5):
How did you fly back to the UK actually, also BA?

Yes, on the A380 out of LAX, which will follow in part 3.

Yvan,

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 6):
Nice report once again.

Thanks,

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 6):
Very interesting route, and the price in F looks very good as well.

Very good prices, considering you'd pay that for a simple return in Europe.

Quoting 817Dreamliiner (Reply 6):
I can finally cross the 77W off my list and hopefully a sky interior 737 as well.


The AA 77W is great, want to get another sector on one myself actually... the 737 is a little more average.
 
DeltaXNA
Posts: 458
Joined: Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:52 am

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sun Dec 14, 2014 8:36 am

I noticed that your MD80 had a black nose. I thought AA painted over those black noses, as I haven't seen one in forever. Which MD80's other than that one have black noses?
 
ba319-131
Posts: 8321
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RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sun Dec 14, 2014 1:47 pm

Nice read and pictures James, glad you took the time to put this together.

I didn't make any notes on my recent domestic flights, AA,US and VX, but found them to be all ok, though the best of them as an evening MIA-LAX flight in F, great service from the crew and a good steak too!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I was given an interesting looking boarding pass and made my way upstairs to departures.

- I had one of those from IB a few years ago, guy wrote it out in the lounge - cause was due to Vueling not being able to print out the MAD-LHR sector and a huge delay getting into MAD.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
During this time, no less than four pax from economy came up and used the forward washroom, despite the curtain being drawn. The purser looked quite irritated by this, but didn't say anything. Surely an announcement saying it's for first class only would have solved the problem?

- I tend to find even when an announcement is made people ignore it, ignorant grunts really.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
It was definitely an interesting descent - due to the storms around, it was a bit of a roller coaster ride. My seatmate decided to make good use of the the sick bag during this time too…

- Yikes! - Thankfully not had this problem before.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I arrived at the hotel, and was checked in by the manager who seemed very pleased to see that I was a HHonours member. This hotel was great value - a standard room was £72, where as a one bedroom suite with a balcony overlooking the airport came to £80. Eighty pounds well spent!

- Great for spotting but FR24 will be needed, I assume they have WIFI?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I made my way on to the skytrain to the C gates, where my next flight was due to depart from and headed up to the lounge. This place was pretty big, therefore not too busy, but still offered virtually nothing in the way of free food or drink.

- Unlike Asia and Europe, you can go hungry in the US, who would have thought!?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
A short while later, the lunch service began. It wasn't too bad - far better than this mornings effort anyway.

- This is where you just ignore the looks.

Cheers

Mark
111 732 733 734 735 736 73G 738 739,7M8 BBJ 741 742 743 744 752 753 762 763 764 772 77L 773 77W L15 D10 D30 D40 AB3 AB6 312 313 318 319 320 20N 321 21N 332 333 342 343 345 346 359 351 388 CS1 CS3 I86 154 SSJ CRJ CR7 CR9 CRK 145 170 175 220
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:16 pm

DeltaXNA,

Quoting DeltaXNA (Reply 8):
I noticed that your MD80 had a black nose. I thought AA painted over those black noses, as I haven't seen one in forever.

Yeah, guess they have become a thing of the past haven't they?

Quoting DeltaXNA (Reply 8):
Which MD80's other than that one have black noses?

No idea I'm afraid.

Mark,

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
Nice read and pictures James

Thanks,

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- I had one of those from IB a few years ago, guy wrote it out in the lounge - cause was due to Vueling not being able to print out the MAD-LHR sector and a huge delay getting into MAD.

I guess all airlines have them, just incase.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- I tend to find even when an announcement is made people ignore it, ignorant grunts really.

True... The only time I've seen it stopped was on a BA flight LGW-AGP a couple of years ago, when the purser was turning Y pax away and directing them towards the rear.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- Yikes! - Thankfully not had this problem before.

It was a first for me too...

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- Great for spotting but FR24 will be needed, I assume they have WIFI?

They do, but in typical Hilton fashion it didn't come cheap. I didn't bother with it, as I could use the 3G on my phone anyway.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- Unlike Asia and Europe, you can go hungry in the US, who would have thought!?

I think in the US they're designed more for business - so somewhere to conduct a meeting rather than pig out.

Quoting ba319-131 (Reply 9):
- This is where you just ignore the looks.

Typical plane slop
 
MaverickM11
Posts: 18630
Joined: Thu Apr 06, 2000 1:59 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:29 am

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
A short while later, the lunch service began. It wasn't too bad - far better than this mornings effort anyway.

What exactly is it? It looks like it could stand upright and it wouldn't lose its shape at all.
I don't take responsibility at all
 
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sultanils
Posts: 1931
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 5:37 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:18 am

Hey J,

Kudos for the nice and picturesque read. Good to have 3 different types logged but why AA calls that First Class is beyond me. It doesn’t even come close to a premium economy imho?! Hopefully you collected a good stash of km’s though?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Maps generated by theGreat Circle Mapper

A nice straight line. In general, we a.netters tend to avoid them but in this case, no problem  

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
therefore any hold ups at immigration wouldn't be an issue.

Pardon me my ignorance but why would that be?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I made the twenty minute walk back to the airport from my hotel.

Always a nice thing to be able to walk from your hotel to the terminal, saves the money and the hassle of finding transportation.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I’d missed this one land by a couple of seconds when I left my hotel.

Bugger, isn’t that the biggest one that comes there?

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Surely an announcement saying it's for first class only would have solved the problem?

Or just send them back straight away? Be a little assertive  

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
In the days of being able to pre book your seats on line, and even check in online I take the stance that there's really no excuse to not get your desired seat - and even if all that fails, get to the airport early and claim one there.

Exactly my opinion. There’s opportunities enough to procure yourself a seat of choice so you don’t have to come crying afterwards.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
We were treated to some good views of Dallas on approach - before heading out into the middle of nowhere.

Nice!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I chose a Dr Pepper this time.

Oh my, that’s a ton of sweetness and ice in one! I really dislike the fact that they tend to put ice in every drink, yuck.

Sultanils
In thrust we trust.
 
MAH4546
Posts: 26558
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 1:44 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Mon Dec 15, 2014 6:37 pm

Those meals look (and taste) disgusting. It's the new US Airways catering that was implemented in September. Before that, the meals would have been far more substantial and of superior quality. So sad to see what Parker and the gang have done to AA. Very much enjoyed the trip report and pictures, nonetheless.
a.
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Mon Dec 15, 2014 7:29 pm

MaverickM11

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 11):
What exactly is it?

Spinach Tortellini - If I've remembered correctly.

Quoting MaverickM11 (Reply 11):
It looks like it could stand upright and it wouldn't lose its shape at all.

Ha, yeah it does somewhat resemble the container it came from. But no worse than what I've experienced on BA.

Nils,

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Kudos for the nice and picturesque read.

Thanks,

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Good to have 3 different types logged

Yeah, beats a boring 738, 738, 738 combo....

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
why AA calls that First Class is beyond me.

Just the done thing in the US it seems.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Hopefully you collected a good stash of km’s though?

Yeah, they've been put to good use.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
A nice straight line. In general, we a.netters tend to avoid them but in this case, no problem

I didn't even notice until I made the map up later.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Pardon me my ignorance but why would that be?

Getting into the US can be really hit and miss. Sometimes it can take a few minutes, sometimes (in this case) it can take fifteen and other times (as experienced in JFK a few years back) it can take hours.

Case in point being my previous trips to MCO. I used to take the same flight every year, that arrived at more or less the same time every year. One year it took less than 30 minutes from disembarking to out the front door, the following year well over an hour.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Always a nice thing to be able to walk from your hotel to the terminal

In theory. With two bags, in Caribbean heat with some bad sunburn, I've had better walks.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
saves the money and the hassle of finding transportation.

I took a cab from the airport to the hotel when I arrived - $10 for a 2 minute journey!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Bugger, isn’t that the biggest one that comes there?

Well I've not seen any A380's at SXM...

Shame the hotel didn't offer any WiFi or I could have looked up what was coming in and planned accordingly.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Or just send them back straight away? Be a little assertive

She seemed a little more junior than the others I'd experienced.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Exactly my opinion.

Good to know its not just me being mean then.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Nice!

Yeah, great to be able to fly over the city on approach - something I'm treated to when flying into LHR most of the time.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 12):
Oh my, that’s a ton of sweetness and ice in one!

Great isn't it!

Mah4546,

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 13):
Those meals look (and taste) disgusting

The breakfast wasn't that great. The others weren't too bad.

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 13):
It's the new US Airways catering that was implemented in September.

Yeah I overheard on my flight out to SXM on the 31st August that it was all change the following day.

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 13):
Before that, the meals would have been far more substantial and of superior quality.

Cant say I noticed too much difference other than no ice cream.

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 13):
So sad to see what Parker and the gang have done to AA. Very much enjoyed the trip report and pictures, nonetheless.

I'm led to believe the catering has now reverted back to pre-September after getting some very bad reviews.
 
MAH4546
Posts: 26558
Joined: Wed Jan 24, 2001 1:44 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Mon Dec 15, 2014 9:46 pm

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 14):
Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 13):
So sad to see what Parker and the gang have done to AA. Very much enjoyed the trip report and pictures, nonetheless.

I'm led to believe the catering has now reverted back to pre-September after getting some very bad reviews.

They have been adding back some things taken away, such as table linens, ice cream on shorter flights, etc., but the quality of the food remains incredibly poor. AA claims that new catering "is coming," but we haven't seen it.
a.
 
User avatar
fxramper
Posts: 5839
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:03 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:54 pm

Great report. Have seen those pics on all the other SXM reports on this site, but your photos were excellent. Is there a third installment on this report? Your patience to put these detailed reports together puts you in a class above most on this forum.   

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 15):
They have been adding back some things taken away, such as table linens, ice cream on shorter flights, etc., but the quality of the food remains incredibly poor. AA claims that new catering "is coming," but we haven't seen it.

I had a great meal in F on EWR-MIA. Service was still lacking, but food tasted great.
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Wed Dec 17, 2014 7:32 pm

Mah4546,

Quoting Mah4546 (Reply 15):
They have been adding back some things taken away, such as table linens, ice cream on shorter flights, etc., but the quality of the food remains incredibly poor. AA claims that new catering "is coming," but we haven't seen it.

Good to know.

fxramper,

Quoting fxramper (Reply 16):
Great report.
Quoting fxramper (Reply 16):
Your patience to put these detailed reports together puts you in a class above most on this forum.

Thanks,

Quoting fxramper (Reply 16):
Is there a third installment on this report?

Yes, continuing my journey from LAS-LAX, again on AA and then LAX-LHR on British Airways' A380.
 
roberts87
Posts: 1095
Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:59 am

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:23 am

Great report James! Love your pictures from SXM.

Good looking meal on the SXM-MIA flight, the other meals seem okay. Great view from your hotel balcony too the way.

Thanks for sharing, I look forward to reading more!
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Fri Dec 19, 2014 6:30 pm

Robert,

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 18):
Great report James! Love your pictures from SXM.

Thanks,

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 18):
Good looking meal on the SXM-MIA flight, the other meals seem okay.

It wasn't too bad. I'd say the best was on the DFW-LAS sector though (although it doesn't look it).

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 18):
Great view from your hotel balcony too

Yeah, shame it got dark pretty quickly though.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 18):
Thanks for sharing,

No problem.
 
User avatar
OA260
Posts: 25359
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 8:50 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Mon Dec 22, 2014 4:10 pm

Hey James  

Nice 2nd part and welcome to the SXM Spotters club   A must for any Anetter to visit.

You got to see a good few landings but shame you just missed the KLM 744. I saw a Corsair land and its amazing to see. Im sure you will visit again sometime.

AA pretty much what is says on the tin.

Look forward to reading the next parts.

Regards

Philip  
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Mon Dec 22, 2014 7:30 pm

Philip,

Quoting OA260 (Reply 20):
Nice 2nd part

Thanks,

Quoting OA260 (Reply 20):
welcome to the SXM Spotters club

Do I get my membership kit anytime soon?!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 20):
You got to see a good few landings

Shame it was the quiet season though.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 20):
shame you just missed the KLM 744

That was a little annoying.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 20):
I saw a Corsair land and its amazing to see.

The AF A340 was pretty good, as well as the 757's

Quoting OA260 (Reply 20):
Im sure you will visit again sometime.

I do hope so!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 20):
AA pretty much what is says on the tin.

Yeah the best part was the 757 and MD80.
 
adamspotter
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:06 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:45 pm

Hi James,
Great second part to your series here, really enjoyed it! You took some great pictures at Maho Beach, can't wait to get there  
AA doesn't entirely impress here, that food doesn't look all too good TBH. Good to hear it didn't taste all too bad though  
Always nice to catch a Maddog!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
I chose MIA as that was my entry point to the USA, therefore any hold ups at immigration wouldn't be an issue.

Good idea, MIA have been quite "famous" for their long lines!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Finally, after making a visit back to SXM I was eventually reunited with my bag.

Shame to hear it took such a hassle to retrieve your bag..

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
When it was time to leave, I made the twenty minute walk back to the airport from my hotel.

Was the walk doable? Doesn't look like there is much of a sidewalk there

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
This hotel was great value - a standard room was £72, where as a one bedroom suite with a balcony overlooking the airport came to £80. Eighty pounds well spent!

That is great value, especially for a Hilton! You had some nice views from your balcony

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
Turned out to be quite an amusing read, especially the part about dying being a valid reason for cutting your trip short!

:D And were you able to claim anything?

Thanks for sharing!

cheers,

Brendan
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Sun Jan 04, 2015 4:58 pm

Brendan,

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
Great second part to your series here

Thanks,

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
ou took some great pictures at Maho Beach, can't wait to get there

Hopefully it'll be a little busier when you go!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
AA doesn't entirely impress here

Cant say they overly impressed me on any of the flights.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
Always nice to catch a Maddog!

Glad I was able to catch at least one. Would have been very boring if it was all 738's.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
Good idea, MIA have been quite "famous" for their long lines!

I've found entering the US anywhere can be really hit and miss, so I always tend to assume it'll be packed and plan accordingly.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
Shame to hear it took such a hassle to retrieve your bag..

At least I did get it back the following day.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
Was the walk doable? Doesn't look like there is much of a sidewalk there

Yeah it is. There wasn't a sidewalk as such but it wasn't too far. It's far easier without any bags though.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
That is great value

Probably the best value room I've had anywhere!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 22):
:D And were you able to claim anything?

No, they would only pay out if I'd spent over £75 on replacements. I think I only spent around $30?
 
MIAspotter
Posts: 2939
Joined: Fri Nov 16, 2001 1:57 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Tue Jan 13, 2015 8:51 am

James!

Finally got around to replying lol.

Pretty cool pictures of SXM... I really want to go... but soooo much money!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
The famous beach - I wish all Monday mornings were like that!:

LOL, dreaming it´s free...

Quoting jwhite9185 (Thread starter):
When it was time to leave, I made the twenty minute walk back to the airport from my hotel.

Hehehe, how cool is that... how many times can you say ¨I just leisurely walked to the airport¨

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
I was pleased to see that this one, despite the old livery, had the Boeing Sky Interior. This makes a huge improvement to the 737 I find.

I´ve yet to fly on a BSI 737, perhaps that will change my perception on the 737 (at the moment is my least preferred plane)

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
We held at the end of the runway for a minute or two so everybody on Maho Beach could get a good grip on the fence

LOL! it has to be done...

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 1):
and I had a decent room to spend the evening in

With a view like that... definitely!

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 2):
I'm starting to think its SOP for AA to close all the window blinds on the ground

And on DL and on PMCO... I noticed that last time I flew to the States.

Quoting jwhite9185 (Reply 2):
we would be passing the Grand Canyon in a few moments

Awesome! I made the long drive from Vegas to the canyon in 2006, well worth it, it´s really impressive!

Can´t say I am impressed with AA, they provided transportation with some fancy bits thrown in, nothing more for what I gathered.

On to the next report!

MIAspotter.
Nos vamos de Vueling?
 
jwhite9185
Topic Author
Posts: 1584
Joined: Wed May 16, 2007 10:34 pm

RE: #2: Retro AA First Class: SXM-MIA-DFW-LAS Sep 14

Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:41 pm

Christian,

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 24):
Pretty cool pictures of SXM...

Thanks,

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 24):
I really want to go... but soooo much money!

I've heard of the odd cheap deal around,

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 24):
how many times can you say ¨I just leisurely walked to the airport¨

Nice is the only other one I can think of.

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 24):
I´ve yet to fly on a BSI 737, perhaps that will change my perception on the 737

Cant say its made my impression of them any different - still a dull plane to fly on.

The classics on the other hand...

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 24):
I made the long drive from Vegas to the canyon in 2006, well worth it, it´s really impressive!

I did the Grand Canyon many, many years ago - bit too young to really appreciate it at that point though.

Quoting MIAspotter (Reply 24):
Can´t say I am impressed with AA, they provided transportation with some fancy bits thrown in, nothing more for what I gathered.

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