After months of anticipation, it was finally time for my husband and I to have a well deserved long weekend in Las Vegas! I had been excited for the first leg of this trip in particular as I had been thinking it would be my final trip on an AA MD-80…an aircraft that brings back very specific childhood memories of flying with or to my Grandparents that lived in Texas and California while I was growing up. I wasn't concerned about the loud cabin or jet fuel exhaust smells that you experience even in F.
Little did I know that I'd be on two more AA MD-80's only a week later for a quick trip to SFO and back! That report is coming up…
Our aircraft was a relatively newer addition to the MD-80 fleet, coming over from TWA.
Our aircraft had a busy day ahead of her until making it to RIC to get us.
I had been tracking our aircraft all day long since there had been some storms in the DFW area. All day she had been running on time…until it was time for the DFW-RIC run… Bad weather at DFW made arrival to RIC about an hour and twenty minutes late, pushing our departure to 20:15.
When we arrived to the airport I got the robo call indicating that we would miss our connecting flight at DFW and that we had been auto rebooked for our DFW-LAS leg the NEXT MORNING via PHX. The agent at check in looked for later flights but everything seemed to be booked up… I knew that once we got to DFW that everything would be late and that a quick trip to the Admirals Club would get us on our way that night. So, our bags were tagged DFW-PHX-LAS and on we went to the bar for a pre departure drink and to watch arrivals….
A VERY quick trip through TSA brought us to our gate in time for boarding.
Since the US/AA merger, AA is now routing about (by my estimate) 60-70% of all RIC traffic through CLT. There are two inbound and two outbound DFW and ORD flights a day whereas there used to be several more. Luckily we do still have our one outbound and inbound daily MIA flight still! CLT is a great hub and most of the 45 minute flights are on A319's instead of flying school busses that other airlines (cough United cough) fly to IAH. To that end, we had gotten very used to USAirways standards of service. We had always been warmly welcomed and always offered a pre departure drink. This would be our first AA operated flight in quite a while…and did the differences ever show in service.
The crew arriving from DFW was finished and a new crew boarded for the outbound flight. There was no boarding announcement for first class; rather, the gate agent said in a normal speaking voice, "Common, baby. If yo' in first class you can get on!" So…we got on!
Since this aircraft will be phased out by next year, it did not receive the updated livery…its fun to think that this is really now a "retro livery"…
Standard, older Domestic F recliner seats. I find these to have better lumbar and side support than those on old US Airways aircraft.
An antiquated, yet functional power supply:
We brought a car cigarette lighter power adapter with two USB ports and had no problem keeping our phones and tablets charged.
Standard fleece blankets were in the upper seat pocket in front of us.
We pushed back at 20:24 and orders for dinner were placed during taxi. We had already pre-ordered our meals so we got a confirmation from our seemingly confused FA.
It was if she had never seen a pre-order…though I'm sure she had. She was also very soft spoken and we were on board a fairly loud, old aircraft. Many passengers were asking her to speak up.
Did I mention there were no pre-departure drinks?
After a smooth takeoff around 20:30, we waited until 21:04 for warm towel service followed by our pre-meal drinks and warm nuts.
Nice double vodka rocks to get things more relaxing…
Not only did our FA work at a glacial pace, there was actually an additional cook in the F galley to help! I've never seen an additional cook on any domestic US Airways crewed flight…
Since everything was running late and slow, we just sighed it off, got settled in and I started watching a movie. One great thing about these seats is that the seat pocket is at a perfect location to hang an iPad so that it is at a comfortable viewing level, even when you're eating:
My husband actually took advantage of renting a movie and streaming it for USD 6.48. Though he didn't get to finish it (nor did he really like the movie), the streaming speed was great and it was a good alternative to a hard wired IFE, especially since he forgot to load up his iPad with movies.
Dinner was served around 21:40…
The chicken and olive tapenade came with a handful of iceberg lettuce and was really sloppily presented. Was also surprised that there was no appetizer plate on the tray. When it was presented, the pretzel roll wasn't even there so it made the tray look very empty. At least it tasted good, even if the portions were more on the lunch side (though this was indicated to be a dinner service on our itinerary).
My husband ordered the eggplant parmesan, which was hugely disappointing. At least he had an extra dried pepper on the salad.
Warm chocolate chip cookies were offered for dessert…
After the meal I took a quick trip to the lav which was well maintained. Maybe its just my perception, but this lav was huge compared to more modern aircraft.
As the cabin was prepared for landing, our silent FA made rounds with mints…
Upon arrival in DFW, as I had expected, all flights were delayed. We went to the Admirals Club in Terminal D and worked with the most efficient and outright awesome agent. She was able to get us on a flight to LAS that night. I was sure to give her one of my Outstanding Service Excellence coupons on the spot that I got from AA when I got Gold Status last year. I only wish I remembered her name…perhaps I'll see her on my next trip through DFW tomorrow :)
It was so late, all the food had already been put away…
…but at least the bar was still open!
Nice family room
The International First Class Dining Room…could have sworn I got a picture but it was pretty late.
Richmond - RIC
Dallas/Fort Worth - DFW
All in all a late, but comfortable flight to DFW on a "oldie but goodie" aircraft. I was shocked at the level of service that was slow, too informal, and even inadequate. This was our first AA cabin crew in some time and I have to admit that my personal preference is for a US cabin crew after this experience (along with our DFW-LAS experience that I'll post about later). Passengers had to ask for drink refills during and after the dinner service. The catering compared to other AA F flights I've taken was poor. The portions seemed smaller and I would have liked an appetizer.
<b>The Admirals Club service blew me out of the water--a truly outstanding experience.</b>
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