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

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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.
Whole row yassss

Whole row yassss

I had a whole row to myself. In these days of packed flights, I graciously spread all my crap around and swung my knees into the seat next to me to get a full-on fetal position going. It was so nice. The row behind me was empty, too, all Main Cabin Extra seats by the dubs, and I reclined my seat and the one next to the to the max. I even managed to get to the good sleep on the short flight over to Chicago.
The FAs were beyond nice. Nicer than I’d be working such an early flight. All I had was a glass of water, partly because I fired up the AA app on my phone and saw this:
Numbero uno? And cleared?

Numbero uno? And cleared?

YES. I wasn’t sure how it happened, because I didn’t have enough “stickers” in my account…
Side note right here. The “sticker” system is my biggest criticism of the AAdvantage program. While Exec Plats get unlimited complimentary upgrades, us lowly Platinums have to use this weird system of 500-mile upgrade vouchers, commonly referred to by AA staff as “stickers.”
Anyway, they did offer me the ORD-MEX upgrade if I wanted to buy 4 stickers for $35 each, or $140 total, when I checked in at LGA. Nah, I said. I’ll coach it. It’s not a long flight, and I knew I had LAN’s Premium Business to look forward to right after that.
So when I saw the upgrade went ahead and cleared anyway, I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
New AA planes at ORD

New AA planes at ORD

I arrived in Chicago much less harried and even a little rested. I went to the Admirals Club in Terminal 3 between the H and K concourses and politely said WTF? Is this upgrade for real?
They looked and thought it might be because the agent at LGA had kicked me into the Y fare bucket (YES MORE EQMssss!!!) and I was eligible for the upgrade in that fare bucket as a Plat, but no. I’d been upgraded due to an “involuntary upgrade.” I’d pre-selected Main Cabin Extra seat 9F, but the concierge agent said they’d taken my seat away and forced me to upgrade? “It’s your lucky day, Mr. Vaughn!” she exclaimed. “I’ll take it!” She re-printed the boarding pass and I was assigned to a window seat in Business Class, 4A.
Had to have a mimosa about it

Had to have a mimosa about it

The flight to MEX was oversold, I learned, and the agent explained that in cases like those, they go looking for Plats specifically to upgrade into business. She saw a notation next to my reservation saying just that. So even though I didn’t have any “stickers,” and even though I didn’t pay the $140, I still got the upgrade. Score!
The flight down to MEX was in the old biz class product. Breakfast was sufficient, and featured a banana. I slept for most of the way down, so don’t remember if lunch was served or not. I didn’t really mind because I was looking forward to a good dinner in LAN’s Premium Business class anyway.
Breakfast in AA business

Breakfast in AA business

Did I mention how much this bothers me?:
2013-11-23 11.02.03
Every little thing that happens with American, I like them more and more. Gosh I hope US Airways doesn’t ruin American’s culture. They’ve come so far. Too far, I think, do have it all undone in one fell swoop.
Old logos and all...

Old logos and all…

On to LAN, and rest of my crazy-ass itinerary: MEX-LIM-EZE-SCL, and one night at the Holiday in at SCL.
Views upon descending into MEX

Views upon descending into MEX

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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