A warm welcome back to my Flight-Report series concerning my winter 2019-2020 trek back home to NY and Seattle. After (almost) 2 great weeks of family, friends, food and flying, it was time to fly back to Europe, with an unorthodox routing. I mean, why go east when you can go south and then east, am I right? But seriously, am I the one person who actually likes to take the longest possible routing to get to the destination?
I experienced 5 new products in a total of 7 flights (including this one). I'll be keeping you in suspense by announcing each new segment as it comes. Here's where the routing stands at this report:
Here's how the entire trip looked like on a map, thanks to the Great Circle Mapper, now that it's all done:
Now on to the actual report. I left my apartment at 5 AM and caught an Uber to take me to LaGuardia. I got one last view of Manhattan from the RFK Bridge, but without zooming capabilities my camera didn't manage to take great shots.
Traffic so early was virtually non-existent, and a short 15 minutes later I was at LGA.
It felt wrong to enter American's check-in area and not United's ?
Despite the early hour, LaGuardia was already full of life.
I'm not in the habit of checking bags, but for this flight it was necessary - I had an embarrassingly large suitcase and a long layover coming up in Miami. I was helped by a nasty check-in agent who barely even look at my suitcase before declaring it too big. After pleading subtly for 5 minutes, she checked my back in to my final destination. While rolling her eyes, of course. She tossed me my boarding passes and told me I'd get a seat assignment at the gate. Urgh. The last time that happened to me on American was on an SEA-PHL pmUS A321 redeye, and I ended up in a last row middle seat. Hopefully I'd have better luck this time. With my boarding passes in hand, I was off to security.
Security was very quick, and I ended up chatting with a super cool TSA agent. In my experience, the best TSA staff are at SEA and LGA. With no lounge access, I decided to grab breakfast from Starbucks, which was right across my gate.
I love American's ancient boarding passes and hope they keep them around for a while!
Before boarding, a took a stroll through the terminal.
Plenty of on-time departures. Is this really LaGuardia?!?!
My flight, AA970, was also on-time.
American Eagle E175 arriving.
Once back at my gate, I could finally snag a photo of my ride down the Atlantic Coast: N855NN (fleet number 3GK), a Boeing 737-823(WL) built and delivered to American in October 2010.
Just before boarding began, my name was called and I went to get my seat assignment. Without even asking, I ended up in 21F, a window seat on the trailing edge of the wing. Fine by me! I was the first from group 5 to board, and the jetbridge was still quite empty.
Great fuselage shot, thanks to the lighting and the skyline!
Never heard of apex before. Maybe they're owned by AA?
I was greeted by a friendly flight attendant (who turned out to be the only friendly one and was in F most of the time), and was surprised to see a faux-Boeing Sky Interior installed in this aircraft! I assume it was a Project Oasis aircraft? Either way, it looked fresh and very cool. First Class seating, which looks like AA's long haul Premium Economy seat, but without the TVs.
Main Cabin Extra. While I loved the Sky Interior ceiling, the old window frames took away from the experience. This aircraft must have been very recently redone, as it looked brand new on the inside.
At my seat, 21F, the legroom was acceptable.
Clean tray table.
USB port, which was a nice touch.
Tablet/smartphone holder. Like United, American offers personal device entertainment.
Great wing view from row 21.
Once everyone was onboard, the captain mumbled something over the PA and then we pushed back.
Classy old AA logo on the hangar. I miss the old logo, to be honest.
Beginning our taxi to Runway 31.
American E190 to Columbus, OH. It's funny to see an RJ operated by a legacy carrier. Hopefully AA doesn't get rid of their Embraers with the ongoing Covid-19 situation, as they are still rather young. This one was only 12 years old at the time of the photo.
Passing the new Terminal B, home to United. Sorry for cheating on you, UA ?
Delta A220-100 to Dallas. I'd love to fly one of these birds with Delta sometime. I've flown the A220 with SWISS and really enjoyed it, even if it was only a 29-minute flight.
Past the famous Welcome to New York sign.
Right turn over Rikers Island.
We flew the same scenic departure that I flew in January 2019, but unfortunately I was sitting on the right hand side of the aircraft, which meant no views of Manhattan ?
But who needs Manhattan when you have the equally exciting North Bronx? ?
Good morning, Bergen County!
Passing KEWR. Note the United 777 taking off.
Cabin after departure. Love that "Sky Interior"!
Philadelphia in the distance.
Universal power point under the seat, which is another plus.
Some fog over Delaware Bay.
Newport News, VA.
The service consisted of your average domestic US offerings: a Biscoff cookie and a non-alcoholic beverage. Alcoholic beverages were available for purchase. Hopefully US carriers will soon realize that more food means more customer satisfaction.
The crew on this flight was very mediocre. Like I said above, there was one flight attendant who seemed very friendly, but she was working in First and only passed through coach once. In the back, the flight attendants seemed like they didn't want to be there. They weren't rude, but they also never smiled. Another issue was the age. I'm all for late retirement, and I know that in the US a lot of the FAs are much older than in other places in the world, but one of the FAs on this flight was so old that she couldn't even pass drinks from the aisle to the window seat or close the overhead bin after boarding. In case of an emergency, I don't think she would have been much help. But I digress.
Our halo on a distant cloud.
Typical Sky Interior PSU.
One more look at the cabin.
Cruising at 36,000 feet.
I dozed off for most of the flight and woke as we were descending. By that point, Florida was in sight.
Pompano Beach, FL.
Fort Lauderdale, FL.
Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL/KFLL).
Opa Locka Executive Airport (OPF/KOPF).
Over the Everglades.
Lined up with the runway.
Over the airport.
Very smooth touchdown on Runway 12 at 11:17 AM, 41 minutes early, after a flight time of 2h35m.
Vacating the runway.
Taxiing to the gate.
One last look at my surprisingly comfy home of the past 3 hours.
We took off and turned northwest immediately. Over The Bronx, we turned south. We flew more-or-less directly towards Florida at an altitude of 36,000 feet. Thanks for reading, feel free to leave a comment down below, and I hope to see you in the next and final installment!
Overall it was a pretty standard domestic US flight.
+ Recently retrofitted 737
+ New, comfortable cabin with power outlers/USB chargers
+ Good selection of entertainment
+ WiFi on board
- Rude ground staff at LGA
- Mediocre crew
- Poor catering
This flight with American wasn't actually all that bad, and I wouldn't hesitate to fly them domestically again, provided there aren't any good options with United. I guess it's time to give out Delta a try. Everyone says they are the best...