Archive for March, 2013

workdesk

American Airlines Goes “NEW” at DFW’s Terminal A

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport was a state of the art facility when it opened in 1974. In many ways it remains such with flight control systems, the layout and design of the runways, etc. But after billions of passengers had passed through the terminals, they were starting to show their age. Only Terminal D, which opened in 2005, had a modern feel to it. That all started to change today as American Airlines and DFW opened a newly refurbished section of Terminal A, part of a $2.3 billion 7-year project to renovate the four terminals (A, B, C, and E) that opened in 1974.

Their press release describes it best:

FORT WORTH, Texas – The fresh, new look of American Airlines is taking off at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Today, American and DFW Airport announced the completion of Terminal A – Phase 1 under the Terminal Renewal Improvement Program (TRIP). The Phase I opening includes gates A8 through A16, including the check-in and entrance area, as well as the parking structure adjacent to these gates, and is designed to increase customer convenience and satisfaction by offering a more intuitive airport experience.

“Today we take another important step forward in our journey to build a more modern travel experience to better suit the needs of our customers,” said Kevin Cox, American’s Vice President – Real Estate. “DFW Terminal A – Phase 1 sets the stage for future next generation airport improvements, and will be a tremendous model for us to further refine how we integrate our new look and feel into our airports in the future.”Numerous architectural, systems and engineering renovations have been made to create a more eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing airport experience, while also being more customer-friendly. Some of the terminal enhancements include incorporating the bright, clean feel of American’s fresh new look announced in January.

Additional features for American Airlines customers include:

open-layout

  • An open layout to allow for continuous customer flowworkdesk
  • Power outlets and work tables at all gateskiosk
  • Next-generation kiosks with self-tag capabilities for checked baggagepodium
  • Single-agent podiums to provide a more personalized experiencepriotiry
  • A separate area for Priority check-in

Customers traveling through DFW Terminal A will also enjoy an expanded security area with new technology that will soon display wait times in real-time, as well as increased concession offerings with a variety of healthy dining options.

In 2011, DFW Airport Iaunched the first major construction phase of its $2.3 billion TRIP, a seven-year renovation of the airport’s four original terminals that opened in 1974. Renovations will take a phased approach for terminals A, B, C and E. American Unveils Its Next Generation Airport at DFW Terminal A March 26, 2013

“Today is a special day for DFW Airport and American Airlines, as we welcome passengers to our greatly improved Terminal A,” said Jeff Fegan, CEO of DFW Airport. “With new concessions, reimagined passenger flows, updated finishes and a completely revamped section of Terminal A, DFW Airport is solidifying its place as one of the world’s top airports for customer service, and we stand ready to meet the needs of our passengers for the next 40 years.”

As TRIP moves forward, the American Airlines next generation airport concept will expand through DFW Terminals A, B and C. Additional upcoming next generation airports include LaGuardia Airport (LGA) later this year, with plans for further expansion to additional cities. For more information on American’s next generation airport, and to learn more about the progress of the new, modern American, visit aa.com/newamerican.

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DFW is a world-class airport. Terminal D is a world-class terminal. The other terminals, built in 1974, may have looked fresh and modern during the Nixon administration, but they had been showing their age for quite a while. It will take several years until the airport is totally modernized — I’m glad to see that DFW management and American Airlines have started the process.

Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines.Total value is less than $600.

 

I always enjoy the view of the mountains as I fly to the West Coast.

Austin to Portland – My First Mileage Run of the Year

Late February — it was about time for me to have my first mileage run of the year. Last year I had completed almost a dozen trips in January alone, the triple EQM award to San Fransisco was a great incentive. This year there weren’t any comparable deals, so I kept looking. I eventually found a trip I had taken many times before, Austin to DFW to Seattle to Portland to DFW to Austin for $240. Not great, but not bad either. I’d leave Austin early in the morning (6:10 a.m.) and be back by 10:30 p.m. It would be a long day, made even longer by the the fact that this was a mid-week flight and I would have to be up early the next morning to go to work.

The day started well, I got to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and got word that I had been upgraded to First Class for the AUS-DFW segment. Normally I would not be overly excited about an upgrade on a flight that lasts less than an hour, but I had a short layover at DFW and sitting in the front of the plane would get me off and on my way to the next flight more quickly.

I had an uneventful flight to DFW, got to my departure gate and was glad to see that I was number one on the upgrade list to First Class. An upgrade for a 4.5 hour flight, that’s nice!

My upgrade came through and I boarded the Boeing 737 for the flight to Seattle. I was looking forward to one thing: watching a movie. I got a Kindle Fire HD tablet for Christmas and had loaded some movies on there for the trip. The first was a classic movie, an all-time great, that I had never seen from start to finish: The Godfather. I set the Fire on my food-tray, plugged in the headphones, and started to watch it. The only problem was that I did not realize The Godfather was a three-hour movie. By the end of the second hour, I was hoping someone, anyone, would make Don Corleone an offer he could not refuse if it would end the film. :-)

While I joke about it, all it all I was pretty happy with the experience. The Fire was easier to carry around than a laptop, gave me an HD picture, and still had 70% power left when the movie was over. So, it was a good experience.

I did have to pause in the middle of the movie for a delicious breakfast.

Breakfast was a cheese quesadilla, potatoes, fruit, biscut, and coffee. It hit the spot.

Breakfast was a cheese quesadilla, potatoes, fruit, biscuit, and coffee. It hit the spot.

I always enjoy the view of the mountains as I fly to the West Coast.

I always enjoy the view of the mountains as I fly to the West Coast.

 clouds

The Sun highlighted unique patters on the clouds.

It was soon time to land at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEATAC). It had been a smooth flight and we arrived a few minutes ahead of schedule. I had a 90 minute wait before I took my Alaska Airlines flight to Portland. I spent that time in the Alaska Airlines Board Room, eating some snacks and catching up on my email.

It was such a dark and grey day in Seattle that this photo almost looks like it is in Black and White, but no, it's a color photo on a day lacking in color.

It was such a dark and grey day in Seattle that this photo almost looks like it is in Black and White, but no, it’s simply a color photo on a day lacking in color.

I soon made my way to the Alaska Airlines departure area for my short one hour flight to Portland aboard a Dash 400.

dash400

I’m always impressed by how well Alaska Airlines manages these flights. Although the flight is only one hour long, the flight attendants serve snacks, beverages, and complimentary wine or beer.

We landed on time in Portland. leaving me with another one hour layover. Shortly after we arrived though I received a call from AA flight status letting me know that the Portland-DFW flight would depart 30 minutes late.  I had a one hour layover in DFW for my Austin flight, would this delay cause me to miss my connection?

I called AA’s Executive Platinum desk and explained my concerns. The representative listened as I explained my story, then laughed and said “You don’t have anything to worry about sir, your flight to Austin is also going to be late.”.

I received the upgrade to First Class for the Portland-DFW flight which left 35 minutes late. We had a smooth flight to DFW where I connected to my Austin flight which also departed 35 minutes late. I should have been on the ground in Austin by 11 p.m., but it was almost 11:30 when we finally landed and well past midnight by the time I got home. This might have been okay for a Saturday flight, but on a Tuesday when I had to get up for work the next morning, it was not much fun.

But I did earn 4,775 EQMs and a total of 9,548 miles, so it all had a purpose. I never left the airport — my next mileage run however will give me almost a full day in Seattle, so I look forward to that. In the meantime, I continue to look for good deals, which appear to be few and far between. But I’ll keep looking! :-)