Hi and welcome to this shot trip report to MIA that I took last weekend.
AA operates 3 nonstop flights from SFO-MIA and the one in the afternoon is the best. Not only is the time convenient but also it is operated by a 763. The other two flights are 738's. I miss those days when all three flights were operated by 763's.
I live very close to the airport so I have the luxury of leaving my apartment late and arrive a little over 1 hr before dept. time. I dropped my car at the valet parking of the SFO Parking lot and took the free shuttle to the terminal.
AA and VX are the only airlines that use T2 and there is a new control tower being built in that area.
I used the check-in kiosks on the side of the ticket counter and was welcomed to use the Priority line upon presenting my boarding pass. Security took a bit longer than expected but soon I was on the other side.
T2 is a modern and beautiful terminal. It's been covered before but I will include two pics near the entrance.
You can tell this is California.
I arrived at the gate at around 30 min. before departure and boarding has already started. I quickly inquired at the gate if my upgrade looked promising but the agent told me that everyone has checked in for F. However, she advised me that if there was any chance of clearing she will come inside the cabin and get me. I thanked her and boarded the plane.
As you can imagine, most of the passengers in the Main Cabin Extra section were already seated. Unfortunately I couldn't take any pics of the cabin nor of the plane at the gate. However, I managed to take a shot of my seat while deplaning.
I took my seat next to a large gentleman and settled in. A few minutes later I saw the gate agent enter the cabin and stop by my row. My heart was beating a bit faster at this time and was waiting to hear an invitation to move to the front. The agent leaned to the guy next to me and told him to move to seat XX in the front. I have never seen anyone leave a seat faster. I consoled myself that at least now I had an empty seat next to me and was the only one in the cabin without a neighbor. Then to my surprise a last minute passenger appeared and started putting his things in the overhead above my row. My expectation of an empty seat next to me was dashed, just like my hope to get upgraded at the last minute.
There are 3 rows in Main Cabin on the 767-300 that provide a seat pitch of 35 - 37 in. or 88,9 - 93,98 cm. Row 11 which is the bulkhead is really spacious compared to the other 2 rows. Row 12 has a misaligned window on each side. Row 13 has plenty of space behind and some people use this space behind the center row to cross to the opposite side. Here are some pictures of this cabin from a previous trip.
T2 is between the runway and the international terminal, so I was able to see several planes pass by from my seat.
Neighboring AA 738 with MU A330 departing.
CA just landed and is now a 773.
Followed by LH A380.
NH 773 leaving for NRT.
Taxiing to the runway. There is construction going on and that was the reason for planes using a different take off pattern.
View of downtown SF on the right side.
Our turn for take off.
One thing that surprised me on this flight was the greeting from the captain when he welcomed passengers onboard and stated that he was going to keep announcements to a minimum in order to allow people to rest. Remember that this is a daytime flight.
The service began after we leveled off. FA's were friendly and efficient. I chose a Cobb Chicken sandwich and a bag of Chex Mix from the B.O.B. cart.
Cabin shot about halfway through the flight.
The changing landscape on a transcon flight.
Arrival into MIA was a bit early and I headed to the Rental Car Center to get my car from Sixt, which is the boutique of car rentals. Their service has always been efficient, friendly and professional. I also appreciate their effort to set themselves apart from the competition by adding a touch of style to their facilities and having an user friendly website.
QR flies to MIA now.
On my way to Sixt. I was able to get a car for USD 50.83 from Sat. night thru Mon. afternoon.
Voilà my Volkswagen.
I stayed at two hotels during my visit to MIA. The first was the Homewood Suites by Hilton near the airport. In general the staff was efficient but the hotel was going through some renovation and only one elevator was in service at night. The room was spacious and well divided. It had a fully equiped kitchen with refrigerator, microwave, cooking and eating utensils and dishwasher. Although the room was nice, I found the breakfast disappointing. The quality of the food was subpar with dry scrambled eggs and tasteless potato patties, unappealing buffet arrangement and an open space dining room that felt like the cafeteria of a public institution.
Homewood Suites by Hilton
View from the room early in the morning.
Breakfast at one of the meeting rooms.
The second property was the Holiday Inn Express in Kendall, a suburb south of the airport full of restaurants and shops. My stay here was great with a very welcoming, professional and friendly staff. The room seemed a bit smaller than the Homewood Suites and the WC sink was in front of the beds without any proper separation. In addition, the air conditioning unit was close to the bed and not controlled from a central area with vents throughout the room. The breakfast was more appealing than the one at Homewood Suites and the quality seemed better.
Holiday Inn Express.
Being in MIA means the opportunity to indulge in some good Cuban food. The cuisine tends to be hearty with huge portions and is heavily influenced by its Spanish roots. This is evident in dishes like caldo gallego or dishes cooked a la valenciana or andaluza to just mention a few examples. Of course, pork is featured heavily from medianoche sandwiches to lechones asados or roasted pigs.
Cafe Versailles hints at French cuisine but in reality this is a Cuban institution that is packed most of the time and opens late at night. More information can be found here:
I ordered some food to go like the Plato Criollo with Yellow Rice, Black Beans, “Ropa Vieja” Shredded Beef in Tomato Sauce, Fried Pork Chunks, Ham Croquette, Sweet Plantains, Cuban Tamale, and Cassava with Cuban Mojo.
Braised Lamb with Vegetables, Fresh Rosemary and Red Wine. Served with White Rice and Sweet Plantains.
El Palacio de los Jugos is another chain that specializes in Cuban cuisine and is famous for its fresh juices.
An average flight on AA with comfortable seating and a nice crew.
My sandwich was a strange creation with strips of chicken, slices of hard boiled egg, guacamole, Blue cheese dressing and veggies. It tasted ok, but the combination of all these ingredients was far from harmonious.
Flight arrived earlier, what else can I ask for?
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