Author Topic: An AAmerican Bonanza w/ some Brazilian Flair: 16,000 miles, 36 hours, & a Prayer  (Read 49015 times)

Online AJK

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Soon, soon. It's already written, but it takes time to post, and I need to do some actual work.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline mochada

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Soon, soon. It's already written, but it takes time to post, and I need to do some actual work.

Work...what's work?  ;D ;D ;D

Offline jaywhy

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Such a funny and captivating report, in true AJK style. Can't wait for the rest of it! And yes I flew TAM F, it is as amazing as people make it.
It truly is.
Great report AJ.

Offline Achas Veachas

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Offline Joe4007

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All time favorite deal:

Original British Airways 100K...

Why? Because applying for that ultimately turned into...




Drooling...

Interesting you haven't touched SA yet.
At least draw a red line over it like you did with Australia. Can't afford that white continent humiliating your badge
...and you finally did it!

Admit it. You just couldn't look at your map with that white continent staring right at ya  :P

Online Yaalili

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...and you finally did it!

Admit it. You just couldn't look at your map with that white continent staring right at ya  :P

lol :)

Offline morgs

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ONCE AGAIN...you have us at the edge of our seats :P keep it comin!!!!!!

Online AJK

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...and you finally did it!

Admit it. You just couldn't look at your map with that white continent staring right at ya  :P

LOL

Did it:

2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline MC

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Now that is one beautiful looking map

Offline eis517

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LOL

Did it:



How does Dan's map compare?

Offline Yehoshua

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Amazing TR so far! Beautiful map. I can't wait for the rest.

Offline mochada

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LOL

Did it:



Is this all your flights since you joined DD or ever?

Online AJK

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Since DD.
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Online Yaalili

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Online AJK

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III. Flagship Lounge in LAX and the A321 from LAX-DFW

As we disembarked, I took (what I thought was going to be) one last shot of the beauty that ferried us in style from LAX:



Unfortunately, Coffee Bean is nowhere to be found in the new terminal, so we went straight to the Admirals Club, where were given a card key for the Flagship portion of the Admiral’s club, where I tried once again to get moved to the 12:20, and was given the same response as I was back in JFK. 


Entrance to the Flagship portion of the Admirals Club





When I got past the ticketing agent, I noticed out the window that we were right above our, by now, friend in the sky! Seems like she was waving and winking at me... at least IMO.



Still amazes me that that narrow-body plane is a true three-class plane  :o

We spent a few minutes relaxing in the lounge and then given the fact that the 12:20 was about to begin boarding, we went to the gate to try our luck.

I was rebuffed again: “If there is no award availability, I can’t really help because they won’t let me waitlist an award ticket.  The only thing I can do is call revenue management and see if they’ll release it as an award.” Knowing that wasn’t true, I asked her to just try it and waitlist it.  Lo and behold, she was surprised it worked, and I was instantly confirmed as #3 on the waitlist. Not only that she put in the emergency exit. Woohoo!

We boarded the plane soon afterwards.







We had a smooth flight on the new A321 (non-transcon), which is also a beautiful plane, with a great AVOD (the same as on the A321T, though on this leg, they charged for the movies).

We landed in DFW at about 5:30 and made a beeline for the famed Centurion Lounge. 















Bottom line: It’s definitely nice, infinitely nicer than slumming it at the gate, but by no means should one deliberately route through DFW to try it.  We had a couple cocktails, got a 15 minute massage, did some work, and before we knew it, it was time to board our next attraction: a ten hour redeye on American’s 777-300ER to GRU.

2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline Yehoshua

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It's like you left us on a cliffhanger. Can't wait to see what's next!

Online AJK

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IV. DFW-GRU on AA’s New 777-300ER in F

We boarded and were instantly greeted by AA's (not yet setup) bar for Business and First class passengers in flight. 



When I turned left, I was for the first time impressed with the hard product of a United States-based airline:

















And here's a picture of the mini-business cabin directly behind first:



But despite being very impressed, at the same time, I was somewhat “disappointed.”  Since AA started operating this new long-haul plane, they've been very stingy with first class award space.  Not as stingy, of course, as TAM had been historically, but it’s known as being a very difficult product to score even a single first class award, let alone two, as we had done.  And I think the reason they released the two seats on this flight was because the flight, as of Sunday, was F7 (which means that they were still selling 7 out of the 8 seats in the cabin). Wide open.  After we booked (which again was a mere 24 hours before departure), the number went down to F5, meaning we were going to enjoy the perks that come with flying with a nearly empty cabin.  I kept an eye out on the loads throughout the day, and up until we arrived in Dallas, the flight still showed F5. 

When we boarded, however, we were surprised to see 7/8 seats occupied.  And right before the boarding door closed, the last seat was occupied. Well, there went that.

I suspect no less than 3 of the 5 were non-revs (airline employees), while the balance could have been upgraders.

We were given amenity kits and PJs (which I changed into immediately) and we were soon in the air.


 
Two gripes:  One, the alcohol offerings --



Yeah, whereas other airlines offer 21 year scotch--and more than one type at that--AA was offering... Dewar's. Sheesh.

Two, I found the seat lacked storage space for personal belongings, like a phone, passport, boarding pass, wallet, etc.  Literally no real place to put your belongings. A sore oversight in my opinion.

The kosher meal, BBQ chicken nuggets, was among the best meals I’ve had on the plane.

[/url]





However, before digging in, I noticed they had Ben and Jerry’s vanilla sundaes for dessert on the regular menu. So in keeping with living dangerously in all things I do, I had asked the FA if I could possibly have dessert before eating my main meal, and oh, to please not tell my wife.  He happily obliged and brought me a fudge-less, caramel-less, Ben and Jerry's “sundae” and it was wonderful.

After dinner I wanted to begin writing this trip report, before time got away from me and regular (but obviously dangerous) life resumed.  It was then I discovered what I’d say is the coolest feature of this jet:  the capability to turn the recliner seat 90 degrees to face the window, and have a desk pop out allowing one to really get some work done, just as he or she would in the office.




[This was taken during the day after landing, to give a better perspective.]

I wrote in earnest until we were over Cancun when the fatigue started to set in.  I put my laptop away, and rotated the seat 45 degrees toward the aisle (the seat faces straight for take-off and landing, while reclines fully flat at 45 degrees, and the “desk” option, as mentioned at 90 degrees).

It was then that I noticed where, no matter how nice the hard product, the soft product simply does not stack up to its European and Asian counterparts. Just as I was about ring the call button to request turn down service, I realized that the rest of the cabin had just gone to sleep without such formalities.  As I write this now, 37,000 feet over Philly en route back to EWR, I realize now that that MIGHT have been because the majority of the first class cabin was filled with non-revs, and perhaps they don’t get “turn down service” from their colleagues.  However, the more I think about it, the more I think that that is not the case: the guy in seat 2A, who I suspect was the only revenue passenger also didn’t get turn down as far as I could tell, plus the blankets and pillow were already sitting on the ottoman upon boarding (as you can see from the pictures I posted above).

In any event, I didn't press the call button, but instead ripped open the bedding. Before sleeping, though, I adjusted the air nozzles (awesome (!) amenity for those who have ever been too toasty in F at altitude).



Anyway, I was asleep before my head in the pillow, and I slept very comfortably for six hours, until we were about 30 minutes out of Brazil. 

[/url]

Turns out I missed a perfectly appropriate breakfast of… a deli hero sandwich. Thank you, Gd.

I changed out of my pajamas, and we landed in Brazil a bit early at 9:15 AM or so.  Just perfect for our 10:30 flight in back to the US  ;D

...little did I know what was waiting for us at the gate.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 02:56:22 AM by AJK »
2015: 116K bkd | 1.6M brnd | F: OZ,NH,AA,EK | J: UA,CA,TK,DL,TN,AF,VA | LIH,NRT,ROR,PEK,CNS,BOB,MEL,TLV & Pacific Hopper

Offline ilherman

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Awesome!

Quote
...little did I know what was waiting for us at the gate.

Keep then coming please......
You can say what you think when you think what you say.

Offline Yehoshua

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Ok, now you're just leaving us hanging on purpose.  ;)

Online Something Fishy

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...little did I know what was waiting for us at the gate.

Writing a TR like this ^^^ should be punishable by tar and feathering  >:(.
Check out my site for epic kosher adventures: Kosher Horizons