Posts tagged American Airlines
The new year has started, American Airlines shows that I have 0 miles, 0 segments, so it’s time for me to get started on the 2014 mileage runs.
The first comes later this month, the longest in time and distance that I have ever done, a five day trip to Johannesburg, South Africa!
FlyerTalk has listed discount rates to Johannesburg since last October, I finally had the time and money to take advantage of those fares.
I managed to book the following itinerary for my friend and I:
- We’ll leave Austin on an American Airlines MD 80 at 6:10 p.m., arriving at DFW at 7:20 p.m.
- At 8:20 we’ll board an American Airlines 777-200 for the flight to London Heathrow, arriving at 11:20 the next morning. Then we’ll have one of the worst layovers you can have: almost six hours. That’s long enough to be inconvenient, but not long enough to leave the airport and go into town.
- At 6 p.m. we’ll board a British Airways 747-400. for the 11 hour flight to Johannesburg, arriving at 7 a.m. the next morning.
I’m Executive Platinum, so I am hopeful of an upgrade on the AA flights. However, the BA 11 hour flight, will be in coach. We’ll arrive at Johannesburg at 7 a.m. and will take their light rail (built for World Cup a few years ago) to the main business district of Johannesburg, called Sandton. We have hotel reservations at a property just a few blocks from Nelson Mandela Square. They probably will not let us check in that early, but hopefully they will be able to watch our luggage.
At noon, we’ll board our tour bus for our trip to the local Lion Park. I’m looking forward to this, something that I can check off my bucket list.
We’ll get back to the hotel that evening, look for a place for dinner, then call it a night.
The next day we’ll take the hop-on hop-off bus tour of Johannesburg.
After a full day in Johannesburg we’ll head home.
- At 8:15 p.m. we’ll board a British Airways A-380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft, for the 11 hour flight to London, arriving the next morning at 5:10 a.m.
- At 9:45 a.m. we board an American Airlines 777-300 ER for the flight to DFW. I’m looking forward to this, this is AA’s most modern aircraft.
- We’ll arrive at DFW at 2:05 p.m., clear customs, and, at 4:30, take an AA MD-80 to Austin, arriving at 5:30 p.m. We will have been gone for five days.
Is it worth it? The ticket cost $1,215.00. I’ll earn 21,742 Elite Qualifying Miles, and 42,848 redeemable miles, at a cost of 2.79 cents per mile. Is that great? No. But lately, any flight under 3 cents per mile from Austin is a good deal. The 21,742 EQMs will give me a good jump on my elite qualifying for the year, and the 42,000 redeemable miles is a huge number. So yes, it’s worth it.
Johannesburg the sequel
Exactly one month later my friend and I will be heading back to Johannesburg. Our itinerary is completely different.
We’ll leave Austin at 8 p.m. on a British Airways non-stop flight to London on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This is the first major international flight from Ausitn-Bergstrom International Airport, and will start just a few weeks before our trip. I’m extremely excited to be able to fly on the Dreamliner, which I first saw almost two years ago when it made its first trip to DFW Airport.
We’ll arrive at London at 10 a.m. and then have an 8-hour layover. I think that will be enough time to get into town, eat a meal, and then get back to Heathrow on time for our 6 p.m. departure on a Airbus A-380-800. We’ll arrive JNB at 7 a.m.
What will we do during this trip? I don’t know, I haven’t made plans yet, Hopefully we’ll get some good ideas during our first JNB trip.
We’ll spend one night in JNB, flying out at 9:45 p.m the next night. on a 747-400 to LHR, arriving 6:45 Tuesday morning. Another long layover — we’ll take the BA 787 back to Austin, leaving LHR at 12:35 p.m. arriving AUS at 6 p.m.
Is it worth it? The ticket costs $1,165.00. I’ll earn 21,072 EQMs and 42,144 RDMs at a cost of 2.76 cents per mile. As I said, anything less than 3 cents per mile has been very difficult to find lately from Austin, so I am happy with this rate.
By the time the miles have posted from both flights, I’ll have 42,814 EQMs, making it almost certain that I will earn Platinum Status this year, and making EXP a reasonable goal. I’ll have earned almost 85,000 redeemable miles: with what I have in my account that will almost cover our first Business Class ticket to Bali for November 2015.
These are long trips, but I have always wanted to go to Africa. The visit to the Lion Safari will let me check off one more box from my bucket list. I’ll also be able to fly on the 777-300 ER, the A-380, and the 787 Dreamliner. I have wanted to fly on all three of those so that is another positive. (If that doesn’t prove that I am an aviation geek, what does?”
So, in answer to the “is it worth it” question, I reply with an emphatic YES! Trip reports to follow.
Disclaimer: I own stock in American Airlines and Boeing.
The main reason I do all of my mileage runs is to earn enough miles to travel internationally in the great luxury of either First Class or Business Class, a trip I could otherwise not afford.
My goal has been to accumulate enough miles to purchase two Business Class tickets to Bali, Indonesia, returning to the place where we had such a wonderful vacation two years ago. Each ticket required 110,000 AAdvantage miles. When we made the trip two years ago we flew on AA from Austin to Los Angeles, Cathay Pacific from Los Angeles to Hong Kong, and then Cathay to Bali. (Trip Report)
As soon as my AAdvantage account hit 220,000 miles I called the American Airlines Executive Platinum desk and told them I wanted to reserve three business class seats to Bali in November of this year. (Three seats: my wife and I, and our good friend. He had the miles in his account to pay for his seat.) I wanted to reserve the seats, put them on hold for five days so that we could give it some thought, be sure it was the itinerary we wanted. and then make the purchase.
As I said, I called AA, explained what I wanted, the customer service rep (CSR) looked and told me there was no availability for the dates I wanted. Things can change, I was calling 10 months in advance, maybe something would open up soon.
I called back a few days later and was told there was no availability.
I called back a few days later and was again told there was no availability.
I called back a few days later and this time the CSR checked 37 consecutive days and found no availability.
I waited almost a week, called back, and was again told there was no availability. This time the CSR suggested I call back twice a week for the next four months, maybe something would open up. She put the blame on Cathay Pacific, saying they offered very few award seats.
Needless to say, I was not happy with this. Then I remembered an article I had read on the wonderful Million Mile Secrets blog. Darius and his wife run the blog (and travel around the world in First Class at no cost), I had met them at a Chicago frequent flyers seminar and seemed to remember that he had written an article about how to find Cathay availability when told there was none. I looked around his site for a little while and soon found what I was looking for.
His system involves using the British Airways website to find seats that American Airlines apparently did not know about. I suggest you read his article to get the full story. (Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro: Part 8 – Finding Cathay Pacific Award Availability Using the British Airways Website)
So, pen and paper in hand, I started my hunt. We wanted to get to Bali, spend 13 nights, and wanted to make the trip in November. Using Darius’ suggestions, I found an itinerary in less than 90 minutes.
I wrote down all the details, called the AA EXP desk, and asked if there was availability on the specific dates I needed. The answer, of course, was no.
So I asked the CSR, “Can you book us on this flight from Austin to DFW?” Yes she could.
“Great, can you get us on this flight from DFW to Hong Kong.” Yes, she could.
And this continued. Each time I gave her a flight number, she was able to find awards seats for us. In very little time, our itinerary was complete.
- Austin to DFW, First Class, MD-80 on American Airlines
- DFW to Hong Kong, Business Class, Boeing 777-300 ER on American Airlines. (DFW-HKG is a new AA route that will launch in June, and will be the longest flight the airline offers)
- Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, Business Class, Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300
- Kuala Lumpur to Bali, Business Class, Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 ER
And the return trip:
- Bali to Singapore, Business Class, Qatar Airways, Boeing 777-300 ER. (After visiting the Qatar Airways website and seeing the service they offer, I wish I was on a longer flight than three hours!)
- Singapore to Hong Kong, Business Class, Cathay Pacific, Boeing 777-200 ER
- Hong Kong to DFW, Business Class, American Airlines, Boeing 777-300 ER.
- DFW to Austin, First Class, American Airlines, Boeing MD-80.
And there it is, our trip to Bali on dates when AA said there was no availability. As you’ll see later on, this would not be the first time that we got incorrect information when calling AA.
First Class on the flights to and from Austin on AA really does not matter, we’ll only be in the air for 32 minutes.
Business Class on the AA 777-300 ER from DFW to HKG will be very nice: lie-flat seats, aisle access from each seat, only four seats across in each aisle. (more details). The flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur on Cathay’s Airbus A-330 will offer similar comfort.
The Malaysia Airlines 777-200 will not be as nice. Seating is a 2-3-2 configuration, which means we will not have lie flat seats: they will be nicer than coach, but not really luxury seating as the earlier flights are.
The Qatar Airlines 777-300 ER offers six across seating (2-2-2), but lie-flat seats and highly acclaimed customer service in the air.
The Cathay 777-200 from Singapore to Hong Kong offers similar service to the Malaysia Airlines flight. Nice, but not luxury.
We’ll then take the wonderful AA-777 300ER from HKG to DFW and then the MD-80 back to Austin.
We had what we wanted. Until a problem came up.
I had made a reservation for three of us. My friend called the AA Platinum desk and tried to use his miles to pay for his seat, and was told that wince the reservation was in my name, only I could pay with miles; the representative suggested he transfer the miles to me so that I could use them.
This was a BAD idea. It costs money to transfer miles, and takes several days for the transaction to process. (I don’t know why this is, the system is computer automated, it is not run by someone sitting in a basement with a pad and pencil, it should go through very quickly.) My friend pointed out that the several day wait did not work, the seats were only on hold for another four days and the miles would not transfer in time. The rep’s reply was “We’ll make a note of that.”
We’ll make a note of that? That’s another bad answer from AA customer service.
I called the EXP desk to see if they could do any better, and thankfully, they could. The CSR was able to put my friend on a separate locator so that he could use his miles, while keeping him on the same flights as I had reserved. A good answer from an AA CSR. Yaay! And yes, I sent a note to customer service at AA.com thanking her for her wonderful service.
So, my friend used his miles, I used mine, and we now have our confirmed reservations for our dream trip to Bali in November. It’s a unique itinerary: eight flights on four airlines — one North American, two Asian, and one Middle Eastern.
And we made it happen when AA incorrectly told us there was no availability, and the only way for my friend to get his seat was to transfer miles to me,
We’re looking forward to the trip. Many thanks to Darius at Million Mile Secrets for providing a way for me to find our route.
Disclaimer: I own stock in both American Airlines and Boeing.
This has been a busy year, leaving me with little time to do mileage runs, a problem particularly if we want to return to Bali next year.
I was looking through the mileage run section on FlyerTalk and saw several great deals to Anchorage, Alaska from Los Angeles and New York. I wondered if I could get one from Austin. I visited the ITA Matrix site and saw that I could fly from Austin to Anchorage and back in August over a weekend for just $351. That’s an outstanding price! So, I immediately went to AA.com to make my reservation. And that is where the problem occurred.
That was not what I expected to see. How could there be a $125 difference between ITA Matrix and AA.com. they are usually in total agreement. I went back and looked at the itinerary that ITA had put together — I couldn’t even recreate it on AA.com. What to do?
I decided to visit Kayak.com and found many itineraries for the weekend I wanted, priced at $356, five dollars more than ITA but still more than $100 less than AA.com.
Some of the schedules were easier than others. The shortest in duration had me leaving Austin at 2 p.m. on Saturday, arriving in Anchorage shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, then flying back to Austin at 2 a.m., arriving at AUS at 6 p.m. Sunday. I gave that some thought and decided I did not want to fly all the way to Alaska and not even be able to leave the airport. So, I selected a much longer trip, with extended layovers, but the chance to leave the airport and go into Anchorage for several hours.
We (my good friend is joining me on the trip, his first mileage run!) will leave Austin at 6:35 a.m. on Saturday, arriving DFW at 7:35. Then we have the first problem of the trip, a very long layover — we won’t depart DFW until 12:20, a 4 hour 45 minute layover. Thankfully, things improve after that! We’ll arrive Seattle at 2:20, then take leave for Anchorage at 3:55 on Alaska Airlines, arriving ANC at 6:35 p.m.
We’ll have plenty of time to go downtown, see some sights, and hopefully get some good food; I’m looking forward to some good salmon!
We’ll leave ANC a 2 a.m. Sunday arriving SEA 6:15 a.m. At 7:30 we’ll be on our way to DFW, arriving at 1:15 Sunday afternoon. And then another long layover, we won’t leave for AUS until 5:20 p.m., getting in at 6:15.
I’ll earn 7,216 EQMs and 14,432 RDMs. With a price of $356, that puts my cost per mile at 2.46 cents, one of the best deals I’ve gotten in quite a while.
Kayak had a link to visit AA.com to purchase the ticket and sure enough I got that itinerary at that price. That raised the question of why did Kayak let me buy a ticket from AA for $356, but the best AA could give me was $476?
I wrote to AA and asked why there was such a great discrepancy. They replied that the website will not build an itinerary that features layovers of more than four hours, and I have two of those. They said I could have gotten that deal if I had requested a multi-city itinerary: AUS-DFW-SEA-ANC-SEA-DFW-AUS, but that was the only way.
I did some research on FlyerTalk.com and found that a layover of more than four hours is considered to be a stop, rather than a layover, which makes a difference to the airline, although not much to me. Too much legalese for me.
We’re going to try to improve the schedule. We plan to see if we can go standby and get an earlier DFW-SEA flight. If we can do that. we’ll see if Alaska Airlines will let us do that same for the ANC flight, we’d arrive ANC almost two hours earlier. If we get the first change but not the second, it will at least break-up the long layover.
On the way home, there are several DFW-AUS flights that leave before our scheduled flight — we’ll try to go standby on one of those and get home earlier.
It will be a long weekend, but we’re looking forward to it!
Earlier this week the members of the Allied Pilots Association (APA) overwhelmingly rejected American Airlines last best contract offer, throwing their situation and the reorganization of AMR Corpopration into uncharted areas where no one quite knows what to expect next.
American’s initial offer to the APA several months ago called for layoffs, reduction of benefits, cutbacks in pay for the pilots. AA later made their last best offer which said there would be no layoffs, a 13% pay increase over the next 5 years, and the union would get an equity stake in the newly reorganized AMR Corporation. APA leadership immediately rejected it. However, the next day they asked the bankruptcy court for time to review it and, a few days later, narrowly approved it. When the time came for members to vote 61% of those voting said no to the offer. The main reasons given for the rejection were that it was too long a contract (6 years), pilots brought in to fly the new narrow-body aircraft (A-319) would be paid less than other pilots, and finally, years of bad will between the union and the corporation also played a major role. As a result of the vote, Union President David Bates said in a letter to the pilots on Thursday that he agreed to step down late on Wednesday at the request of the board of the Allied Pilots Association.
So what happens now? As we used to say, that is the $64,000 question.
Without a contract with the pilots union, it becomes more difficult for AMR to tell the bankruptcy judge that they have a solid plan in place for reorganization. How will the judge react to that? We’ll know when he makes his ruling on August 15. He could grant the airline additional time to reach an agreement with the union, or he could say they have had enough time and it did not work. At this point he could ask for others (such as other airlines or creditors) to present their proposals on how to reorganize the company.
He also has the power to negate the current pilots contract and put American’s original proposal into place. No bankruptcy judge has ever negated a pilots contract, but it is an option for him.
The flight attendants union is voting on AA’s final offer to them, we should know the results in approximately 10 days. All of the other major unions, except the pilots, have voted to accept AA’s proposals. Three unions (Allied Pilots Association, the Transport Workers Union and Association of Professional Flight Attendants) have also voted to accept a proposal from US Airways for a merger between the two airlines.
By rejecting AMR’s last best offer, the APA has taken a tremendous gamble.
They are gambling that the bankruptcy judge does not negate their contract and force them to accept a more onerous offer from AA.
They are gambling that American Airlines will not survive as a stand-alone airline.
They are gambling that AA will be forced to merge with another as yet un-named airline. While US Air has been most vocal in expressing its desire to merge with AA, it has not, as of this date, signed the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that AA sent to it and all other airlines last week. I received a letter from a member of the APA stating that they had been told that AA planned to merge with Jet Blue.
They are gambling that this new -un-named airline will give them a better deal than they would get from AA. Can they get a better deal from a combined US Air / American Airlines? It’s worth pointing out that the flight attendants and US Airways pilots have not had new contracts since the 2005 merger of US Airways and America West. The dispute centers on integrating the seniority lists. So, US Airways has had seven years to combine the pilots from US Air and American West into one union group, and has still not succeeded. IF I were a member of the APA, I don’t believe that would fill me with confidence or make me anxious to join the fray.
Some may say that I am not an APA member and do not have access to all the information that they had prior to the vote. That would be a correct statement. But I’d reply that union management did have access to that information and did vote to accept AA’s offer.
We’re now going into a grey area where no one can yet say for sure what will happen. The APA took a huge gamble by rejecting the contract. Were they incredibly bold or absurdly stupid? Time will tell if they made the right move or not.
Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR Corporation, American Airlines’ parent company. Total value of my holdings is less than $80.
Why do airline ticket prices change so much?
It’s not unusual to find one fare on Monday, a different fare on Tuesday, and a higher, or maybe lower fare, on Wednesday. I thought prices changed on a daily basis — I never realized they changed on an hourly basis!
The American Airlines’ Revenue Management team is constantly reviewing and updating fares. This video from AA explains their daunting task and how they make it all work.
Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines. The total value of my holdings is less than $70.00.
After all my trips to San Francisco (SFO), it was time to travel to another location. I made a reservation to go to Portland, this would be my first trip after the conclusion of the American Airlines SFO double Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) promotion on March 31. However, soon after I made the reservation AA extended the SFO promotion to the end of June. Had I known at the time that they would do this I would have made another SFO run.
I had originally looked at a trip to Seattle, but the cost was almost $300; not a good deal. I found the trip to Portland (PDX) for only $240, what made it odd was the fact that I had to go though Seattle to get there. So I added a Seattle-Portland round trip and it lowered my cost by more than $50. Weird. No double EQMs on this flight, but I would still earn more than 5,000 EQMs, more then 10,000 redeemable miles, and only pay, after my Platinum Bonus, 2.27 cents per mile, not a bad price at all! My itinerary would have six flights: AUS-DFW-SEA-PDX-SEA-DFW-AUS. I’d leave Saturday morning, return Sunday morning.
I arrived at Austin-Begstrom International Airport early Saturday morning. I used the kiosk to check in and get my boarding passes. After all the boarding pass problems I had had with the AA iPhone app in the past, I decided to not use it again; paper is more reliable.
My day started early. AA’s first AUS-DFW flight had, for a very long time, been at 6 a.m. But now they have added a 5:45 a.m. flight and that was my first flight of the day. It was a smooth flight to DFW, I arrived at 6:40 and departed for SEA at 8 a.m.
This was also a smooth flight, a 737 to SEA that arrived on time at 10:10 a.m. This was not unusual for this trip, all of my flights departed and arrived on schedule.
Once I got to Seattle I had my first long layover of the day, two hours and fifty minutes, my PDX flight would not leave until 1 p.m. With that much time to spare, I went to the food court to do some plane-watching. The view of the runways at SEA is spectacular, I have not been to an airport that offers better views of arriving/departing aircraft.
After quite a while of plane-watching, it was time to go to the club. American Airlines no longer has an Admirals Club in Seattle, it closed many years ago. But they have made an agreement with Alaska Airlines that allows Admirals Club members, flying on AA, to use the Alaska Airlines Boardroom club.
I went to the club, showed them my Admirals Club card, then had to show an AA boarding pass for that day. Once that was done they wrote my information on a sheet and welcomed me.
It’s a two-story club at SEA, but I stayed on the ground floor. It offers many of the same amenities as the Admirals Club: comfortable chairs and sofas, many places to plug in your electrical device to charge. work areas where your laptop can connect to the internet, and also offers food and beverages.
It was in that last category that the Boardroom pulled ahead of the Admirals Club. The Boardroom offers a larger selection of non-alcoholic beverages (I didn’t sample the alcohol, so I can’t compare the two clubs in this area.) The Admirals Club offers two types of coffee; regular and decaf. (Or, as we call it at home, leaded and unleaded.) The Boardroom matched that but had a machine that also made lattes and cappuccinos—I sampled them both more than once. I’d love to see the AC get a machine like that! (Can you put it on your post-reorganization shopping list?)
The Boardroom also offered a larger choice of complimentary food in the morning: bagels, English Muffins, and full-size rather than mini muffins.
I enjoyed my time at the Boardroom, but it was time for my flight to Portland. I’d be on an Alaska Airlines D-400, a turboprop that they are using for all of their short-haul flights.
I’d flow this route several times in the past and did not mind the fact that it was not a jet. We’d be in the air less than 35 minutes. The plane was not crowded, I had a row to myself and was able to get a window seat. It was not until we took off that I realized how very lucky I was.
I’ve been to the Pacific Northwest when it has been cloudy, raining, and windy, matching the stereotypical opinion people have of the cold and wet Northwest. This day however could not have been a more beautiful day, affording me spectacular views on the flight.
Mount St. Helen’s is quiet now, the top crater appeared to be full of snow. It’s almost impossible to describe the devastation that occurred when it blew: these photos from Boston.com will give you a good idea of what happened that day.
One of the other passengers on my flight said geologists are now keeping a close eye on Mount Rainier, thinking it will be the next mountain to blow. When will that happen? No one knows, it could be soon, it could be hundreds of years from now, but they are watching.
We landed at Portland on time and I went to the light rail station to take the train downtown. The train stops right next to the terminal, it’s not necessary to to take a long walk to it as it is in some airports. Round trip was $5, a lot better than the $16.20 I paid in San Francisco a few weeks ago.
My Portland layover was almost five hours, so I hoped to be able to eat dinner downtown. However, it took longer than I expected to get downtown: that should not have come as a surprise to me, Pioneer Square was 17 stops away.
Portland light rail is not a subway, the trains do not run below ground in a tunnel, they are always at the surface. As a result the cars are almost always in the Sun and will get warmer than they would have otherwise. I did not think of this until a lady got on with her dog and it decided to stretch out and lay on that warm floor.
When I got to the Pioneer Square station I got off and walked around for a while. It was a simply gorgeous day, not a cloud in the sky and temperatures in the low 80s (28 degrees C).
I went into the Pioneer Square tourist office and asked what time I needed to be on light rail to get back to the airport in time for my flight. They looked it up on the computer, and the answer was 4:35 p.m. Glad to know it, but that meant I had less than 2 hours until I had to be on the train back to the airport, less time than I had expected. So, I decided to walk around and look for a place to eat.
As I said, it was a beautiful day, and I enjoyed walking around the area. I found several restaurants but realized I wasn’t very hungry, I had snacked too much at the Boardroom in Seattle. So I looked to see if there were any tourist type places to visit nearby, but did not see any.
Then I came around a corner and saw the Simon and Helen Director Park. People were sitting and enjoying the beautiful weather.
I saw a Starbucks across the street, got one of their frozen drinks, found a place to sit in the park, pulled out my Kindle and had a wonderful hour, just sitting, reading, and enjoying the glorious day. My only regret was that I did not have more time to spend in Portland!
Too soon, it was time for me to head back to the airport. I found the light rail stop next to Pioneer Square and had a 10-minute wait for the next train.
I boarded the train, looked at my watch and thought that I would make it on time,I just hoped the security lines would not be too long at the airport. I was flying with an Alaska Airlines boarding pass which did not give me Priority AAcess the way an American boarding pass did.
The ride back to the airport went smoothly, at least the first half of it did. We had a problem after that. The train pulled into a station and as passengers were getting on and off we heard a man scream on the platform then saw several people go running towards the front of our train. What happened?
We sat for several minutes, then the engineer came on the PA system to announce that a man had been injured on the platform after falling down the stairs, and the engineer would need to stay with him until the ambulance arrived. So, until that ambulance came, we were stuck. I wasn’t happy with the delay, but was glad I had gotten the train at 4:15 instead of 4:35, perhaps that would give me enough time to make up for the delay.
We sat at the station waiting for the ambulance. And then we sat some more. And then some more. We sat for at least 15 minutes, and by this time I was getting concerned. The TSA security lines were extremely long when I landed a few hours earlier; if they were as long this evening i might miss my flight to Seattle.
The ambulance finally arrived and we continued on our way back to the airport. I started to remove all the items from my pockets and put them in my carry-on, I did not want any delay when I had to clear security. My Alaska Airlines boarding pass did not have anything on it to indicate priority access, but it did say I had Platinum status with American: would that be enough for me them to allow me to go to the front of the line?
We got to the airport, I had little more than an hour until my flight departed, but long lines could cause issues. How soon would Alaska Airlines start the boarding process?
I sprinted through the terminal and up the escalator, hoping to make up for lost time. And then I came around the corner and saw the security check in line. There were three people on line. The line was so short that they were allowing everyone to use the priority access line rather than go through the maze of the normal check in line.
I cleared security and went to the boarding gate. I was so early that the plane had not even arrived yet. So much for missing my flight.
My plane arrived shortly after that and I had a smooth flight back to Seattle. This layover would be more than 4 hours.
I went back to the Alaska Airlines Boardroom club and relaxed. I read, snacked, caught up on my email, and enjoyed not being in the noise and crowds of the main terminal.
My flight to DFW was scheduled to depart at 11:40 p.m., or 1:40 in the morning according to my body clock. My upgrade to first had come through and I hoped to sleep well on the flight back to Dallas, and made sure to take my sleeping pills 30 minutes before we departed. They must have worked—I remember the plane taking off and nothing else until we landed at DFW!
I was hungry and there aren’t many options at DFW at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning other than Mc Donalds. I looked, but none of the other establishments had yet opened. So, I went for an Egg McMuffin with a hot cup of coffee. At that hour of the morning it really isn’t bad. From there I went to the Admirals Club that had just opened.
I checked in and asked if a shower was available. One was, and they gave me the key. I had been traveling for almost 26 hours and was tired, but a nice warm shower really made the difference and made me feel so much better. I was also lucky to have the shower at the Admirals Club in Terminal A, home to the famous car-wash showers, where water not only comes down on you from above but also from the sides. Fancy!
My 8 a.m. flight to Austin was less than half full, we landed in Austin at 9 and I was home by 9:30.
It had been a long weekend with my first red-eye of the year, but a fun one. I enjoyed my short time in Portland, saw some incredible scenery, had no problems with any of my flights, and got home safely. I earned more than 5,000 EQMs and 10,000 RDMs. My miles posted and show that I now have 93,150 EQMs on the year. This weekend I will do a quick trip to SFO and back. If my math is correct, that trip should give me Executive Platinum status with a YTD total of 1000,006 EQMs. I’ll keep the status until February of 2014, and should get a lot of First Class travel during that time. My wife and I are going to Chicago in a few weeks, with reservations in coach. I’ve been told I need to call the Executive Platinum desk about that and they will bump us to first. I am excited by this, and look forward to the extra benefits I will earn from my new Executive Platinum status!
Disclaimer: I own stock in AMR Corporation, the parent company of American Airlines. The total value of my holdings, as of 5/4/12, is less than $85.00