View Full Version : AA 1559 16 January LGA-MIA/AA 1226 17 Jan MIA-LGA

Art at ISP
2008-01-17, 09:18 AM
As some of you know, I am entering a period of extended travel which will bring me to China for the first time next week. However prior to that trip, I was scheduled to travel with some of my colleagues to visit my two largest photo customers to introduce a new 8 x 10/8 x 12 photo printer which will be coming out at the end of this month.

After our first meeting here in New York, we drove to LGA, and found out that my preferred parking level (4) in the main garage was closed...so I found an end spot on level 1, and we proceeded to the bag check area (we were carrying equipment). I had checked in on line, and my crew had gotten their boarding passes the night before in DFW when they checked in for their flight to LGA.

The bag check system at LGA is a little confusing, but we were able to check bags using the kiosks which then direct you to an agent--who then sends you to a DIFFERENT area to drop bags. At LGA for some reason Florida bags go to a different area than all others--and since all of my colleagues were checking bags I decided to do so as well, which is not my norm. Unfortunately I forgot to take the bag clip off the top of my bag, which made me worry quite a bit (unfounded as it turned out).

The line for security at the D gates reached all the way around to the bar..which was a little strange for 3PM on a Wednesday. It moved quickly though, and we proceeded up to the Admirals Club to relax and have a quick "meeting". The inbound was running a little late, and the agent was kind enough to monitor for us--finally 5 minutes after the time we were supposed to board, the inbound 757 showed up and pulled into the gate.

The gate area was a little disorganized, and as they called boarding of course all the non business travelers crowded the gate. It seems that AA has changed the boarding priority a little (as I recall), because the boarding group on my pass said PLATINUM rather than Group 1. I had declined the upgrade on this flight because I didn't want to be in F as my boss's boss was in the back along with our engineering manager and a visitor from the factory in Japan. I did, however get the exit row, which while the seat was narrow, the legroom was ample. For those on the AA 757, however, it seems that exit row 18 is more desirable than 17 (18 reclines, and has 2 windows).

This flight was F U L L and the boarding after I got on was a bit of a zoo, but finally everyone was on and we pushed back. 20 minutes in the conga line and we were off. The crew did one beverage service and until clean up that was the last we saw of them. I was content with a good book and the ole IPOD, but at some point I tried to nod off but kept getting jabbed by my seat mate, who was somewhat rude and more than somewhat odiforous if you will...not a desirable situation on a 3 hr flight.

Finally descending through the clouds onto RY 12 at MIA, and we had to be towed into the gate (E5), off we go to bag claim. I was surprised that by the time we got off the plane (my colleagues were in the back), the bags were already coming out and ours were out within 10 min of our arrival at the bag claim area. Off to Avis to pick up the car (another story entirely as the bus was full of people traveling with all of their lifetime possessions), and here we are at the MIA Airport Hilton ready to start our day.

I am flying out on the last flight of the day at 9PM tonight, but the good news is my upgrade has already cleared, so I will be able to have a cocktail and space on my way back--in time to leave on Saturday for a FFOCUS event in GSO (the wife IS coming this time).

I will post the return experience tomorrow.....

Art at ISP
2008-01-19, 09:49 AM
The day came and went, with successful meetings. I had scheduled myself out on the last flight of the day, which was 9:10PM, so I could spend some time with my colleague from Japan, who was staying over another night.

When I had dropped off the others in my party earlier in the day, I had noticed that MIA was particularly busy for a Thursday, so I decided to fuel the rental and return it early, giving myself lots of extra time at the airport. It turned out to be a good decision in the long run. The rental van to the terminal again had many people carrying their lifetime possessions-there were more bags than people on the van!

Arriving at Terminal D, AA has a full complement of redcoats guiding people to the proper lines and making sure that lines move. I was ushered to the First Class check in, which had about 20 people on it-it seemed long, but after looking at some of the other lines, it was a dream-although it moved very slowly. The redcoats were constantly checking on departure times and pulling people with short time to the head of the line.

I got to the desk and checked in and the agent asked if I wanted to standby for the 7:55 - which I declined since there was no first available-I did thank her for asking though. So off I went to the security line...which was almost out the door. Out of the corner of my eye I see a sign for First/Employees, so I move to that one, and it still took about 25 minutes to get through. Again they had a very efficient gatekeeper there-pleasant but firm. And again the redcoats were wandering the lines pulling out the people whose flights were very close to departure.

Once through security off to the Admirals Club-got some work done, follow up notes from the day's meetings, and a quick snack and libation. Interestingly, there was an incident at the bar-someone had something stolen apparently, and the police came (full moon?). I was smart enough to put myself near an outlet, as I quickly ran the PC battery down--but it was productive time.

Finally around 8:30 I went down to the gate. For a flight supposed ot board at 8:40, there was no plane! Turns out the inbound was delayed from DCA, and would arrive at 8:55. As luck would have it, there was yet another incident at the gate with an agitated customer -annoyed at a 15 minute delay! The supervisor handled it promptly and efficiently, and actually discussed with the captain whether or not the man would be allowed on board.

While waiting to board, they made an announcement that the flight was absolutely full, and that the one bag rule would be strictly enforced. They further said that if someone tried to carry on and it didn't fit or was over the limit they would gate check but not get the bag until the following day, so please gate check now (interesting tactic), but it didn't help much...

While waiting, I noticed a very proper older lady in uniform working on one of the PC's an answering questions from some customers. I thought she was another supervisor but it turned out she was the number one FA on the flight. We chatted briefly before the crew was to board--found out she was an ex TWA FA just recalled in November-right away I knew this was going to be a good flight.

Finally on board, settled into 3A, and sure enough there's my friend greeting everyone taking coats and still managing a predeparture beverage service even on a late flight (US it is NOT). Once airborne, you could tell that this lady was from TWA-addressed EVERY passenger by name, very prim and proper--like the old days of first class travel. This was not a meal flight, but they still served the baked on board choc chip cookie, with milk or water--when given mine, I said "thanks Mom" and she just laughed-(had we not chatted before and gotten acquainted I would have never taken that liberty, but she took it as a complement).

Finally in to LGA, with low ceilings and 2 mile visibility, no sight of the ground until we were over the old Bulova building, and on the ground. Now the AA terminal is right near RY4 but they had us taxi off on 13 down to the A gates then turn around to come back in--which was strange since we parked at D3. Nevertheless, as we got off the plane, I thanked my new friend, and told her that she definitely put the "class" back in first class....

I got home around 1:45, and had a full day yesterday-was supposed to go to GSO today for a FFOCUS event, but cancelled after realizing I was too tired, and had too much to do before leaving for China on Monday-plus they are expecting significant SNOW in NC!

I am sorry to ramble--I would expect NEXT weeks trip reports will be much more interesting--EWR-PEK-SHE and back.

Ciao y'all....

2008-01-19, 12:13 PM
Art do you recall this FA's name? My FA out of DFW was former TWA and had similar attributes as you described.

Art at ISP
2008-01-19, 03:23 PM
Yes Tommy her name was Anita--short silver hair and a German accent. She was amazing.

It really brought back memories of how air travel USED to be.

We talked alot about the Connie, which I had flown a few years ago to JFK.

2008-01-19, 05:02 PM
Yes Tommy her name was Anita--short silver hair and a German accent. She was amazing.

It really brought back memories of how air travel USED to be.

We talked alot about the Connie, which I had flown a few years ago to JFK.

Nope not the same FA, I don't remember the FA's name I had but she wasn't German. The FA I had worked for TWA for over 25 years. I'm glad she was the F class FA, sort of reminded me of the days I use to fly TWA. That airline truly wrote the book on service and professionalism, I'm glad to see some of them back in the saddle and helping to make my experience flying AA even better.