The end of 2016 was approaching and I have already made up my mind to build status with a Star Alliance carrier in 2017 - TK to be precise. Earlier I matched my AA EXP status to TK Elite and I already flew a paid segment to qualify for a year, so all I needed to do was accumulate 15,000 status miles with TK before Aug. 2017 in order to extend it for a second year.
I have achieved Gold with AA for 2017 and was shy of 5,000 miles for Platinum. Then one day I stumbled upon an incredible SFO-ORD fare for about USD 105 (EUR 96.40) and it was available for the first two Saturdays of Dec. on AA. I debated whether to succumb to this offer or not and after an hour of wrestling with this dilemma i purchased the tickets. in the end, I asked myself this question - would I regret not taking this offer and miss PLT status for under 5,000 miles? The answer was a resounding yes and the thought of carrying the burden of missing this opportunity was too much to bear, especially for a year. So this is how this trip came into existence.
I woke up early and took the local bus to the airport. It was a relaxing 5 min. morning walk and since I live close to the airport the ride took about 10 min.
Waiting at the bus stop with the sun rising on a cold morning.
I checked in at the kiosk and printed my boarding pass. Security was quick thanks to TSA Pre-Check.
Plane at the gate.
I stopped by the Japanese counter and grabbed a box of sushi (which proved to be a wise decision).
Boarding commenced 30 min. before departure and priorities were respected. A cheerful FA greets me at the entrance and i walk towards 5A. Yes, i chose a window on this flight.
The view outside from my seat.
The F cabin will be full today and we have a celebrity aboard - actor Jason Segel who happens to be an ordained minister too.
Overwhelmed with the excitement of seeing Mr. Segel, I immediately jumped out of my seat and proceeded to ask him for an autograph. I comment about his unusual and surprising role in "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" for which he was nominated for an MTV for Best WTF Moment. NOT !! Perhaps in an alternate universe, but not this one.
A pre-dept. drink was offered and I had glass of orange juice to start the day.
QF's SYD flight just arrived and passed in front of us.
Take off. Behold the Bay Area - one of the most beautiful settings in the world. I can never get tired of this view.
After we leveled off the service started with hot towels.
Meanwhile the view from outside.
The choices were egg sandwich OR oatmeal. I had the warm egg sandwich and I was presented with this. Supposedly they are scrambled eggs served over biscuits with a chorizo gravy. The presentation was revolting and it resembled someone's vomited breakfast. On top of that, it was lukewarm and the FA apologized that one of the ovens did not work properly. She kindly offered to reheat my breakfast.
At this point I was glad that I bought the box of sushi aboard and proceeded to eat it after the failed breakfast. The purser was attentive and made frequent passes through the cabin. Before arrival a snack package was distributed.
There were a lot of clouds outside during the descent and I noticed a circled rainbow surrounding the plane.
Gorgeous views of downtown Chicago during descent.
Getting to ORD.
Landing at ORD.
San Francisco - SFO
Chicago - ORD
With the exception of catering, this was a good flight and the price was great value. I'm glad that I took a window seat this time and I was more than compensated with the gorgeous plane spotting and landscapes.
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