Hello and welcome to this new series of Flight-Reports with AA. As some may be aware, I'd recently decided to switch loyalty from Delta to American and did a status challenge to gain top tier status. In order to get 30K miles in 90 days, the best way to get there fast is with long flights so it was logical to take AA's longer flight. This one roundtrip was worth almost 19K miles on its own.
This report is going to be rather short as the early morning hours and a stressful situation (I'll get into that in a bit) were not conducive to the making of a detailed report. But no worries I flew plenty of legs in AA legs before and after this trip so I'll have many AA domestic First reports to post…I know, how exciting right? :-)
I won't go too much into detail, but the problems started when I couldn't check in online or on the app the night before. I was travelling with an Executive Platinum friend in the same reservation who called the ExPlat desk to inquire about this issue. The agent tells us that the system seems to be having a problem associated to using an SWU with two passengers in the PNR with different status. This didn't really make any sense since this scenario probably happens all the time and the SWUs had already cleared. After repeated tries and even re-issuing the tickets, the ExPlat desk could still not figure out what was wrong and was unable to get us checked in for the flight so they advised us to check in at the airport in the morning. I'm not a fan of not being checked in ahead of time in case something goes wrong, but what can you do.
The morning of departure, I got to the counter at DCA at 4:30AM for a 6AM flight giving myself enough time to go to the counter to fix whatever was wrong with my reservation. I first tried to check in at a self-check in kiosk, but of course it didn't work. I then had to stand in line in the Priority Lane for a good 10 minutes, which I was not thrilled about considering I had no bags to check. At the check in counter, the agent worked for over 45 minutes trying to fix my ticket. She was finally able to issue the DCA-DFW boarding pass, but not the DFW-HKG boarding pass. A supervisor assured me that they would work on fixing the issue and that it should be all fixed by the time I go to Dallas. She told me to go ahead and get to the gate since it was getting late and check at the Admirals Club or a service counter in DFW. I was glad that we had a 4 hour layover in DFW so that we could get everything straightened out, but as a new-ish AA Elite, this mysterious ticketing issue was not giving me a great impression of AA's IT. Considering AA and US have not yet merged their reservations/ticketing systems, it is not giving me a lot of confidence for the day that it happens. Note to self…don't fly on that day (slated for 4th Quarter).
Needless to say, I had to rush to get to the gate. When I got there boarding had just started so I did not get a chance to take a pic of the plane, but it was in the old colors as you can see from this pic of the door 1L.
A warm welcome on board by a cheerful crew despite the early morning hour. A flight attendant came to my seat to take my coat as soon as I got settled in. We were offered a choice of water or orange juice for Pre-departure drinks. So far in my experience with AA in Domestic First, I find them to be inconsistent with offering PDBs. I had not been offered PDBs on about 20% of my flights in F so far and when you are offered it is usually just a choice of water and orange juice whereas in all my years as a Delta flyer, PDBs were always open bar and always offered. This is a point that AA could improve, but on an early morning flight, a choice of water and OJ is totally fine.
Great seat Pitch.
First class is full as usual. Listening to the chatter in the cabin I gathered that about half of the passengers in F were on a family trip to Cancun. You could kind of tell they were a family from their similar traits and all the men wore baseball caps. It was like a group uniform, LOL.
We pushed back on time and took off facing north after a relatively short taxi time. On the left side of the aircraft, we had a view of the Pentagon.
The overhead TVs came down shortly after takeoff and an episode of the new NBC series State of Affairs was shown. I first saw this show on an AA flight and am now addicted to it.
The meal was served about a half hour after takeoff. There was a choice of omelette or French Toast Strata with peaches. I had never had French Toast strata before so I went to that. I'm glad I did because it was delicious, though I found the portions to be on the small side. I washed breakfast down with a screwdriver (vodka and orange juice) to calm my nerves after all my ticketing woes :-)
My seatmate got up after the meal and gave me an opportunity to take a pic of the seat with which I am very familiar by now.
The sun is rising
The sun may be rising, but I was fading. After the stress of the morning and the vodka starting to do the trick, I fell asleep until landing when a FA came to ask me to put my seat back upright.
And here we are on our descent over the plains of North Texas.
Downtown in the distance…though I have no idea if it's Dallas or Fort Worth, I'm guessing the latter.
We got to the gate 15 minutes ahead of schedule, which was great as it would allow me more time to get the ticket issue fixed in case I needed it. Though I was hoping that it would be all fixed as the supervisor in DCA had told me.
We park next to our next plane. What a beauty, can't wait to get on!
Thanks for reading and see you soon for the DFW-HKG leg!
Washington - DCA
Dallas/Fort Worth - DFW
An overall good flight with AA in Domestic First. A comfortable seat, good crew, and decent catering. Though I think DL usually does better with breakfast, I give AA credit for originality.
On-time departure with early arrival.
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