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Thread: AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

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    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

    Funny thing about having kids....it takes a bit longer to do stuff like trip reports. I actually wrote this on Oct 26 and saved it on email. Tom's TR reminded me to post.

    So this was our son's 5th roundtripper and he'll be 2 next month. His first transcon and he did pretty well.

    09/23/08
    AA21 JFK-LAX
    J class
    Seats 8A,B,D


    First off, we got to check-in our sole bag at AA. It weighed in at 60 lbs, so they gave us an option of a $50 charge or redistribute the weight. They let us go at 52.5 lbs.

    Then we go to security, only to have the TSA take our lethal concoction of hair product (that my wife just took out of the recently overweight bag. You can't win). What's both interesting and disturbing is that I was able to bargain with the TSA member and keep some of the hair product. Its interesting that security is negotiable.

    Just past security and went upstairs to the landside AAdmirals Club. Whenever I walk into the new AA terminal, I think of what fun "JonesBeach" must have had in involvement of such a task. Once inside, we made our way into the FlAAgship Lounge.

    Its located within the Landside AAdmirals Club.



    The floor to ceiling windows overlooked AA birds, Malev and a FinnAir MD-11. Announcements for various international destinations such as Helsinki could be heard. Lots of large armchairs, internet access and a business center.


    A nice view in the AAlley



    We settled down and let our toddler explore but not disturb the other travelers. A 46" plasma was displaying the recent news about the AIG failures as well as Jim Cramer's reactions.

    I walked up to the long buffet bar.
    Mashed potatos, a meatloaf with mushroom sauce, grilled vegetables. Apples, bananas, grapes. Boston Lager, Heinekein, London Beefeater Gin; those I partook in. Also, I had a half dozen hard boiled eggs. However, there was an extensive list of other spirits. Two soups, one was a white clam chowder and the other a vegetable barley soup. Both of these were heartly, the chowder a bit bland, the barley just right.

    Among the desserts offered were chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake, cheeses and brownies. There was also a self serve cappucino machine. Nothing gourmet here folks, all merely palatable food. After all, this is the FlAAgship lounge, who's services are catered by the lowest bidder. I was not the Concorde room.

    A decent amount of food and choice.



    While all the amenities of the FlAAgship lounge are included in the cost of appropriate ticket, I found that comparatively, the AAdmirals Club was a bit more suitable for our needs. It has a small children's area and was just as quiet and nice. Also, I love the nostalgic aviation photos one can find hanging inside the airside AAdmirals Club.

    Our ship number N322AA
    AA's domestic flights are not announced in the FlAAgship Lounge, so we went down to the gate around 1850. People were already lining up to board. They called First and Business class pax and I got on line.

    I carried my camera backpack, roll-on with car seat and also a folded stroller. Basically was carrying about as much gear as a soldier headed to Iraq. All for the baby. It's amazing.

    An ignoramus behind me asks me if I was in J or F, as if to suggest I didn't belong. (As Nick would think, what an elitist!) Or perhaps he was just in a huge hurry to get onboard the large aluminum bus first, just so that he could sit for the next 6 hours. (In retrospect, I wanted to say, "Didn't you hear the announcement?" But I declined.) I turned around, looked at him and said "Yes. Are you?" Silence. Embarassed a bit?

    Got onboard and strapped in my son's car seat into seat 8A, threw his folding flat stroller under the seat and jumped in my seat 8D. Moments later my wife and son boarded. Of course, as the plane was boarded, lots of pax looked over at the junior flyer.

    -Champagne, Orange Juice or water, sir?
    -Milk is just fine, but what do have on tap?

    blurry baby wears blue in business


    We pulled back from the gate 10 mins behind schedule. Whenever an announcement was made, our son beamed his eyes wide and pursed his lips together, wondering where the sounds were emanating from. (those of you on facebook can catch the few videos of him in flight)

    We taxied around in the dark under the brilliant moonlit sky. It was UN week and a lovely Tu-154 sat near the GAT. I was under the impression we were taxiing to the 4's (tough view to the outside from an aisle seat) but the pilot took a turn at KK and performed a short takeoff from 31L.

    Once the flight settled into place, the flight attendant came by, asked our names, took drink orders and gave us our menus. She gave us warm nuts too, which she later refilled. Those are always a pleasant snack.

    The personal entertainment devices were also handed out at this time. I dont know where the time went but I didnt have the time to watch a flick.


    The menu was as follows:




    Right before the dinner service, a man in his 40's, seated ahead of my son, threw a minor hissy fit over the FEBO service. He was terribly concerned about getting his menu choice and gave the FA such a hard time that the purser had to step in to console him. I think our baby tried to console him by offering a binky, to no avail.

    I ordered the beef filet and it was pretty disappointing. I don't think it was truly the airlines fault. Its just sometimes when you order a cut of beef, sometimes you get a bad cut. This was a relatively fatty cut, cooked to medium. Meanwhile, my wife had the same, looked over at mine, thinking it LOOKED like it was cooked better than hers. But her's was a better cut. C'est la vie.

    Meanwhile, our son conked out, without a whimper, no crying, for a few hours. It was way past bedtime but the excitement of flight kept him up longer.

    We were now at Flight level 380. I threw on the Bose headsets and tried to watch a movie (Indiana Jones) and also tried to catch up on reading.

    It was a pretty quick flight or least it seemed. I didn't get to finish Indiana Jones. I did get a touch of shut eye though. Then the baby awoke, happy as ever and we got him some cheese and fruit. He was content in his "play area" in front of his seat. However, every once in a while he'd cross the aisle and come to me, where we'd watch a bit of kids cartoons and I fed him.

    Also at this time, our warm chocolate cookies were being served, so the three of us enjoyed those.

    At the top of descent, he happened to already be in his seat, strapped in and he started to grab at his ears a few times, but no pain, just a bit of temporary discomfort. He was paying attention to the lights and the world quickly approaching outside the window. Then he pointed out and said "airplane" and he spotted an A340 on a parallel approach with us into LAX. I looked to confirm and saw that he picked it out of the bottom-lit smog. Pretty impressive. Good job, kid!

    We landed on the right runway, at LAX, and the captain really hammered on the brakes. We taxiied over to the AA gate area and sat while our gate was vacated. We landed 50 minutes early but the time spent waiting for the gate to clear and to be towed in ate up the time gained.

    Good times we had in Calabasas and Olvera Street with family. We were in Los Angeles for a wedding at the LA County Museum of Natural History.

    Even got in a bit of spotting at LAX.





    The way home...

    09/29/08
    AA32
    N324AA
    lv 1315 (actual takeoff 1400)
    J class
    Seats 8A,B,D


    Today was an untimely early start. Our son awoke at 5 AM (RARE) and wanted to stay up and play. He usually awakens at 0745. While we loved our accomodations in Calabasas, the problem was that we had floor to ceiling windows and he was waking up at sunrise on some days. I knew this would make for an interesting flight.

    A view from our bedroom.


    At the gate, everything was running on time. There was a small problem in that one passenger was boarding with 4 film cannisters and was having seating issues in J. This was all sorted out and they allowed him on board first so he could stow some of that in the cabin.

    Of note, first F was called, then J class whereas in NY they were called together. I boarded first, and repeated my routine: set up our son's seat, threw his stroller under the seat and got settled in. Once he boarded, he explored his new surroundings and satisfied, let us buckle him in. (Note: a flat stroller can fit beneath a J class seat. Nice tip)

    We pulled away from the gate and taxied to the runway. Somewhere along the taxiway, he fell asleep. We took off around 1355, so he was on par with his afternoon nap and he went quietly. As we powered down the runway, a New Zealand 777 was speeding up, (actually landing) and we accelerated past and up and away.

    The pilot took off and we followed a few outbound heavies that I could see breaking off northwest in the distance. Turning east, I settling in for a quiet flight. It was warm and I was in jeans, so I hit the loo and changed into shorts.

    I got back and sat. Looked over to my sleeping son and the passenger seated ahead of him got up, stretched and turned to me. He looked familiar. It was Dr. Drew Pinsky. We made eye contact and I had a short conversation with him regarding an interview he gave recently in Muscle And Fitness magazine. He gave me some more tips too. Nice gentleman.

    The FA came by with our menus, drink orders, Bose personal entertainment devices and warm nuts. I had my standard summer drink, a gin and tonic, (though it was not a premium G+T with Bombay Sapphire.)

    The menu was similar as the one given on the outbound flight.

    I opted for the chicken ciabiatta sandwich and it was orgasmic. Perhaps it was because my usual carb intake consists of whole grains and fruit, but this chicken was tender and the bread was soft and sumptuous. Could a sandwich served in business class evoke such senses? Excuse me while I wipe the drool from my mouth.

    Such gastric euphoria would be somewhat shortlived. As I finished the last 2 bites of sandwich, the baby (now an hour and 30 minutes into flight) tossed and turned and could not settle back into sleep. Thus he awoke crying and we had to do something. I cleared my table and then proceeded to take stuff off my wife's table so that she could stow it and pick him up. Seeing he wasn't settling down, she took him to the bathroom which I guess he liked, for as soon as they made they way back, he started crying again, inconsolable. For once, I felt a bit embarassed for the comfort of the other passengers in J.

    But as I looked around, everyone was plugged into a bose so I suppose it wasn't so bad. Once he got 10 minutes of crying out of the way, he fell back asleep on my wife for the rest of the flight.

    At this point, we were being served sundaes (which were passable). We got him back into his seat. I tried to watch the rest of Indiana Jones (which I started to watch on the outbound flight) but I fell asleep a few times.

    The movie credits were rolling again when I awoke to the scent of baked cookies. I looked over and the baby was still in "snooze control." We had our treats and again relaxed a bit. Both of the flights were smooth and free of major turbulence. I watched a few episodes of CSI which kept my interest and thumbed through American Way magazine.

    The top of the descent was upon us. The baby awoke, well rested, and we peered out across the aisle to see us maneuering to 31R. We landed at 2130 and the QF 747 was still at the gate (quite late!)

    The most memorable parts of the flights? Having my son spot a plane out of the LA night fog. The chicken ciabiatta sandwich. The seats were worth the upgrade on flight as long as this. Getting some tips from Dr. Drew.
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

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    Re: AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

    Nice report, Mario...very thorough! Lucky baby in biz :)

    Guess what... my home is in Calabasas! Will be back there in 13 days; missin' 80F right about now.

    - jMay
    "BANK M*[email protected]*#^$, BANK!!!"

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    Senior Member Gerard's Avatar
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    Re: AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

    >Guess what... my home is in Calabasas! Will be back there in 13 days; missin' 80F right about now. <

    About 25 years ago my wife and I stayed at a friends parents house in Calabasas! We had a blast and it was quite
    beautiful up there. He and his wife now live in Encino.
    BTW cool about Dr. Drew. My wife watches Celebrity Rehab and I am a captive audience sometimes and he does seem
    like a good dude. Not like that jerk Dr. Phil.

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    Re: AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

    Excellent TR Mario. Interesting that Dr. Drew's contract doesn't specify F class though....I guess Viacom is having budget cuts too........

    So I guess the little man has passed his spotters test....

    Hope all is well with you guys...
    It's the fares, stupid

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    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    Re: AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

    We really enjoyed Calabasas. Our cousin's property just had a million dollar view and it was serene. She still owns her first home in Beverly Hills and rents it and while it was much closer to LAX and Santa Monica, I'm glad I got to know Calabasas.

    I haven't seen' Dr. Drew's show but I used to listen to him on Lovelines. A good guy, very real. it was just coincidence that I'd read his article in that magazine a month prior. So his advice was pretty relevant to my age and profession.

    I'd add more pics, but its tedious, so if you have facebook, you are welcome to have a look.
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

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    Senior Member NIKV69's Avatar
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    Re: AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

    As Nick would think, what an elitist!)
    Not as much as you calling him an ignoramous. :roll:
    'My idea of a good picture is one that's in focus and of a famous person doing something unfamous.' Andy Warhol

  7. #7
    Moderator mirrodie's Avatar
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    Re: AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

    As Nick would think, what an elitist!)
    Not as much as you calling him an ignoramous. :roll:[/quote]


    To use your parlance,

    [quote="NIKV69"]
    And I, I took the path less traveled by
    and that has made all the difference......yet...
    I have a feeling a handle of people are going to be very interested in what I post in the near future.

    http://www.jetphotos.net/showphotos.php?userid=187

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    Re: AA JFK-LAX in business and FlAAgShip Lounge, with pics

    Nice report and photos Mario. I like the shot of the ramp from the club, very nice. Back when I used to frequent the LA area way back in the early to mid nineties we used to drive a lot in the hills above Malibu and have driven thru Calabasas many times, beautiful country.

    Kinda cool you got to talk to Dr.Drew. When I worked customer service at LGA (a long time ago) I dealt with many celeberties. Some of the ones who seemed really nice on TV where *******s and some of the ones who you would expact that from where really nice. Glad to here he is one of the nice one's, as that is how he comes accross on TV and radio. As Tommy said though I am surprised he wasn't in F.

    Cheers

    LGA777

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