Thanks for checking out this FR from my recent return trip to the U.S. from Paraguay! After a relatively uneventful ASU-GRU commute, we were lucky enough to have about three hours in GRU to enjoy the Admirals Club.
All the lounges were located in the same second floor corridor…it was kind of like a shopping mall of the privileged traveler…then I realized that they all shared the same kitchen because of the layout.
Hands down, this was the most phenominal Admirals Club experience I've ever had. At check in, the very friendly and helpful agent offered to reprint our boarding passes onto American stock so we could get rid of the LATAM ones received at checkin in ASU. This was a detail I loved for two reasons: 1) LATAM actually doesn't participate in TSA Precheck, so Precheck was not listed on our passes and 2) We've encountered issues at the U.S. TSA checkpoints when holding Iberia branded boarding passes when connecting at CLT and the TSA agent actually telling me that "Dat airline don't exist…" Riiiiight.
We were the first patrons of the day and had the club to ourselves…
Breakfast was ready and waiting… Everything was very fresh, tasty and presented well.
Since we had quite some time to relax, I decided to enjoy a shower. Only real "complaint" that that there were no amenities available (i.e. razors, shaving cream, mouthwash). I would have liked to have seen that available without asking. Other than that, it was a steamy good time.
After a relaxing three hour stay, we took a leisurely walk to our gate and chatted with a few other PAX waiting to board. No intercom announcements were made…just a very soft spoken Brazilian woman offering "suggestions" of who "may be able" to "perhaps" board (i.e. it was a cluster of people just trying to get on and absolutely no boarding priority…)
Our beautiful home for the day…
This is the cabin I had actually expected on our MIA-EZE trip until I was treated to the newer set up…still, this isn't too shabby.
Bulkhead seats for my daughter…
Aisle seat for daddy…
Getting settled in…
Lots of room to sloth in…
After being spoiled on the way down with the touch screen remote, this seemed archaic…
Screen size is good but I'm not a fan of the flip out screens…makes working on another device a bit cumbersome (more later on about that…)
This is something I could get excited about…but the technology isn't there. I would love to watch my own content on the IFE, but to sync my Apple products with the IFE was either too difficult for me (doubtful as I work in IT integration) or you still had to use antiquated cables. This needs to be revisited so that devices just sync– that is the expectation these days…technology just syncs.
Getting acquainted with the menu…everything looks delicious… I had pre-ordered the steak…which I know is always risky but eh I like to gamble…
Yay, another Cole Haaaaaaaaaaan kit that will inevitably multiply in the drawer I have with all my other kits…
Mood lighting in the cabin was cut on as we settling in…it got me in the mood.
After the safety video was presented, I got the moving map going…but…somethings not quite right…looks like they never reset it from the outbound journey from DFW! You could follow the green line on the map of where the aircraft had come from…
About 35 minutes into flight got things going with warm nuts and a very nice Malbec…actually had a good peppery Carmenere taste to it (which is my favorite red…)
Took my time enjoying the first course…for AA I thought this was fantastic presentation. I could have easily made a meal out of just this. The roasted red pepper had excellent texture and the hummus and toast was outstanding. The cassava (yucca) salad was heavy but still enjoyed it. The celery stalk complimented all tastes well.
So the beef is always a gamble but I'm very glad I took it. It was very moist and the texture was very soft…reminded me of high quality, Paraguayan beef. Then I remembered…this is Brazilian catering…and Brazilian beef. It was fantastic.
After the meal, enjoyed the REAL cheese platter (not the Americanized cheese product on the way down) with some Cognac. Also connected to the WiFi at that time ($19 for a flight pass) as I had to start knocking some work out. I always return from trips at the very last moment…I'd rather be tired the first day back in the office than wasting a day at home preparing for the inevitable…
Connectivity ranged around 5mbs…which was good enough to catch up on emails and to do some reporting work. Couldn't participate in any video conferencing…but who wants to be that connected anyways?!
As for working, the setup was comfortable…but, it would be nice if the tray table slid further towards me. It seemed to be too far away.
After wrapping up my work, I kept my email open to monitor work for the rest of the flight and I broke out the Casper blanket. On this journey we were only given the comforter and one pillow opposed to almost the full set on my outbound journey. This was just fine for the daytime flight…
After relaxing for no more than an hour, had to get back online and support a work issue…but first took a walk up the bar and grabbed some snacks and a refresh of the Malbec… Snack bar on the outbound journey was a bit more inviting and had better variety…but this was still good.
About an hour out from MIA, a light late lunch/early dinner was served… I went with the beef empanada which was good but not great…was a bit dry but it served its purpose for taming hunger.
We arrived in MIA on time…along with what seems every other international flight and Immigration was chaotic even for MIA standards. We don't yet have Global Entry and though we got all clear slips from Automated Passport Control, it took us slightly over two hours to clear customs, pickup and re-check bags to RIC, and to clear TSA Precheck security. By this point we also had hit a wall and were exhausted from our day that had started at 0000 EST (0200 in Paraguay). We then did a zombie walk to the Admirals Club and took naps in their quiet area (which was surprisingly comfortable and quiet!). An uneventful regional jet whisked us away at 2130 EST back to RIC. Luckily our flight boarded between a BA A380 and a Finnair A330 so at least the waiting area was better than the normal cattle corral of regional jets.
American Airlines Admirals Club
Sao Paulo - GRU
Miami - MIA
Another great AA Business experience! Though I had been spoiled on the way down with the configuration, this didn't disappoint either. The setup for work was a a bit cumbersome and I really want seamless personal technology integration with the IFE. Again, these two AA flights in J really re-sold me on the airline for 2018.
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