LGA

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Get Me to NOLA – Part Three: Get Me Out of NOLA

Also see: 

When last we left this saga, I’d made it to New Orleans. US Airways fulfilled their carriage contract and got me to my destination safely, which is all I ever want, really.

What this little “series” is mostly about is the way US Airways/the “new American” handled not just one situation (which I would’ve totally overlooked), but several, in a row, and how that reflects on their overall operations and company culture. That is really at the root of what I’m attempting to get at in what is hopefully a snarky, self-deprecating, maybe even funny, way.

This particular entry showcases my lack of forethought on this whole topic right in the title. I expected to write a one-off post, but when I started going over 1,100 hundred words I was like, holy crap, this is serial – and left the original title.

The Tumi T-Tech saw it all

Shoutout to the Tumi T-Tech that saw it all

Anyway, the return flight from MSY-CLT was fine (how’s that for anti-climactic?). We got to the airport extra early this time, as I wasn’t sure what US Airways had really done with my return flights – I’d be reticketed and reassigned and transferred so many times, I didn’t even know what my confirmation number was any more. Plus, I didn’t want to chance it (again).

I was still a little miffed about losing a layover at DFW – I really wanted the EQPs and to visit the Centurion Lounge again – but I had to miss out on all of that.

This segment was so by-the-book that it was nearly forgettable, which, in this case, is a good thing. Because I remember all of the other segments too well, unfortunately.

In fact, when I got to CLT and to the Admirals Club (see my review here), I kinda had the feeling that it was almost too easy, purely based on my previous experiences with US Airways.

And then the delays starting rolling in.

Air traffic

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Trip Report: American Airlines Main Cabin Extra / Business Class LGA-ORD / ORD-MEX

Blue Jasmine
No
Now You See Me
Rear Window
(^^^ List of movies I watched on LAN) 
My trip reports lately have been less about tech specs and specific details and more about overall brand and culture, which is what I have been interested in lately. Especially with American, and especially with this merger a definite go.
I had a Saturday morning flight that took off at 6am. Whoops – I am so not a morning person.
I went out to an early dinner, had a pear-tini, and forced myself to pass out around 10pm (after slap dashing the packing). I woke up at 3:30am, fresh as a daisy, completely out of it. I was so tired I forgot to pack my hotel information. At another point, I wondered if I remembered to pack my toiletries in a little baggie (I did). There was no way I was going to brave the lovely bowels of the MTA to LGA at 4am, so I paid $50 for a car. It stung, but whatever.
The Pre-Check line at LGA was closed. “It doesn’t open until 5am,” the security guy told me. Which meant I was at LGA before 5am. I was just amazed I got it together enough to even anywhere before 5am.
The Admirals Club in Terminal D opened after I cleared security, and I downed a cup of coffee and a super sugary strudel. A few minutes later, it was boarding time. Read More
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Trip Report: AA Main Cabin Extra LGA-DFW-ANC

I originally found this trip on The Flight Deal for $352 a person from NYC all the way to ANC. I’d just gotten the Citi AAdvantage Select American Express and it came with a $150 statement credit after buying my first American flight. I got two tickets, which came to $704, then was reduced to $554, or about 3 cents per mile – not only would I get to see Alaska for the first time, but that price was positively mileage run-worthy. Not to mention that I’d accrue nearly 20K AAdvantage miles in the process since I get a 100% mileage bonus for being Platinum, which I value at around $400. Schweeet!

I  held out hope that some twist of fate would land me an upgrade. But the day before, I checked out the first class cabin, and all the seats were already taken. Well.

Getting to La Guardia was easy enough via taxi, and once there, I breezed through security thanks to Pre-Check. GOD I love Pre-Check! There was no one in the line and it took literally 20 seconds. Right beyond security was the Admirals Club, and a few gates down was D6, our departure gate. We headed up to the Admirals Club using my American Express Platinum Card, had a few drinks and snacks, and I played a little Scrabble (my newest addiction). I didn’t take pictures. It was nearly empty and seating was easy to find. We got an entire huge room all to ourselves with a view of American planes on the tarmac. With that view, a rum & coke, and a game of Scrabble in front of me, I was in heaven.

When boarding rolled around, we went to the gate and I boarded with the other Platinums. It was one of the new planes in the livery, a 737-800 with the controversial new paint job. The first class cabin had 16 seats, but they really were all taken. I guess LGA-DFW (both American hubs) is a popular route. I had seat 8A, at the front – a Main Cabin ExtrAA seat. They advertise it as having more legroom and being more comfortable somehow, but I really didn’t see what the big deal was. I liked being closer to the door… I thought it came with a free premium beverage or something. Nope. They charged me for my white wine and I got one of their “hand made” sandwiches, which was actually pretty good, if a bit messy. They need to work on their packaging/presentation for that. And throw in a free drink to assuage the shame after walking through first class.

Anyway, we sat down and waited to take off. And waited. And then the A/C had to be fixed. Uh oh. TripIt Pro (which I got for free with my Barclay Arrivalcard) sent me an alert that we wouldn’t arrive to Dallas until 3:35. My flight to ANC was at 3:25. Fuck. I immediately researched alternate routes from DFW-LAX-ANC and DFW-PDX-ANC. There was hope, but I’d be getting in several hours late. So…

I tweeted to @AmericanAir.

 

Tweets from @AmericanAir

Tweets from @AmericanAir

 

I told them in advance that I was worried about missing my connection. Before I left LGA, while still on the plane, they wrote me back and said they’d monitor my flight and have me rebooked on the next flights heading to ANC by the time I landed. At that point I was already blown away. Anxious to leave, but soothed knowing I had options. And that’s what really felt the best. Knowing that it would be taken care of.

 

Goosenecks over Texas

Goosenecks over Texas

 

But then, the maintenance guys were able to quickly fix the problem and we pushed off. Even still, the connection would be tight at just 23 minutes. I feared I’d have to run all the way through Terminal C from gate 36 to 2.

 

Landing at DFW

Landing at DFW

 

The flight was nice enough. Pretty quick, smooth. Thoughts about “Main Cabin Extra” are above. We got to the gate and I leapt out like a gazelle ready to run. Someone called my name as soon as I walked off the jetway. It was a lady from American, standing in front of a cart. WHAT?! She hugged me, and told me to hop in and DROVE US TO THE GATE. I was blown away by this level of service. She said she recognized me from my Twitter picture and had been contacted about the tight connection. If we missed it, she had backup flights ready to go. Amazing, amazing, amazing.

We pulled up to C2 just as boarding began. Even with no upgrades, I was stunned at the level of service and professionalism American showed me today. Me, a lowly Platinum!

So now I’m on flight 279 to ANC on an old Boeing 757. Man, you can really tell this plane has seen better days. It’s got the old first class cabin, but I’ve got a great seat with tons of legroom – seat 10F – again, in Main Cabin Extra. And we’re flying over the Rockies right now. It’s gorgeous. And my birthday is in just a few days. Maybe I can convince American to upgrade me on the flight home. 🙂 I must say, I do like the new planes a lot better than the older ones.

 

Ample legroom in Main Cabin ExtrAA

Ample legroom in Main Cabin ExtrAA

 

But wow. I am just so very impressed with American right now. Would Delta have done this? That’s what I keep asking myself. But it doesn’t matter now. I’m resolved to keep flying American. I want to be a Million Miler and everything. And EXP next year. This trip to ANC puts me about 10K closer. Now if I could only repeat it nine more times.

Big kudos and thanks to American. They transformed a potentially stressful trip into a great customer service experience. As I heard EXPs being thanked, I wanted to be one of them. Soon enough. Wish I’d gotten in on that promo they had up for a few hours. With my upcoming trip to Santiago and Mexico City, I would’ve been a shoe-in. But that was a fluke. Small moves, small moves.

 

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