January 3, 2011
Informational post to start the new year. For those that have an Admirals Club membership, there is a great benefit that you get with your membership. It is a complimentary “Regus Gold Membership” for free. I wanted to have a change of environment as I was studying for an exam, so I remembered a sign that I had seen in the Admirals Club saying that Admirals Club members had free access to Regus offices around the world. I went to AA.com and found the offer. I clicked through to the Regus website to find locations near me. The quantity of locations was surprisingly abundant. I called the their 800 number to activate my membership with Regus, as you must have their card not your Admirals Club card to visit their locations. I visited two locations, one in Pompano Beach and the other on Miami Beach, both locations offered free wi-fi and coffee. If you work from home, need an office space while traveling to another city, or just need to change up your day to day environment, consider taking advantage of your Admirals Club perk.
My first trip of the year will be to San Antonio, Texas to scope out yoga studio spaces. I will be leaving from Fort Lauderdale, so watch for a late January post.
Welcome to the New Year!
December 17, 2010
So I was able to get the second to last seat in business class (late upgrade) and I got stuck with the bulkhead – the seat sucks and there is no space for your legs and your bag has to go up. Avoid at all costs if possible – dare I say a emergency seat is better. BUT there was lunch served…I’ll take it.
Had no issues checking in, on the plane, or getting my bag – all smooth considering I was going up North to the cold. And IT WAS COLD – have not been exposed to these harsh conditions in a very long time. Now I know why I like it so much in Miami.
Unlike Randy, it seem like I will only be a Platinum AA customer next week – a real shame…the complimentary upgrades are KEY. So Randy, here is to you and your status…
December 14, 2010
Well readers, this is a special blog entry. Why? Not because, we are an hour late leaving Dallas. Not because, the Admirals Club at the C concourse provided amazing customer service after I left my winter coat in their lounge five days ago, and they kept it safe for me to pick-up. But, because on this flight, I re-qualify for my Executive Platinum status for the 2011. Yes, I have flown 100, 318 miles in 2010 once I touch down in Miami from this flight. Anyone who has flown this many miles in one calendar year will attest that it is a lot of travel. You really must have a love for travel, a love for your job, and/or a special love that will allow you to not be seen regularly because you have to away from home a great deal to reach this goal.
Now, the status factor is not the sought after perk. The convenience factor is the real reward for flying this much. No fees for checked bags, business class upgrades at no charge, priority check-in to get an overhead bin, and special stand-by rules are the real reasons for “going the extra mile” to make “status” each year. i can share crazy stories of my fellow travel friends that have flown to Las Vegas for an hour to make status, or a certain someone that flew to Madrid for the weekend to make status. Yes, the road warriors value these benefits THAT MUCH! Yahoo!, I’m good until Feb 2012.
Oh! This is also my first flight from Dallas to Miami that has Wi-FI on the aircraft. This might actually be my oversight as I always choose 767 or 777 aircraft for my flights between these two cities.
I don’t know if I will be a r0ad warrior in 2011, so there may be fewer blog entries, so I hope that they have been informative.
Safe travels (Buen Viaje)!
Former Road Warrior - Randy Moreau
December 9, 2010
After two power hours in the Admirals Club at C20 in the Dallas Airport, I’m now seated on my flight to Minneapolis in a S80 aircraft with my Mac and Iphone batteries 100% charged for my flight. During my visit to the Admiral’s club lounge, I had the chance to go to AA.com to see if my flight would have Wi-Fi. The site said that there would be WI-Fi on the flight. Arriving to the aircraft I looked for those happy little parenthesis around those letters “Wi-Fi” to the right hand side of the aircraft door. To my joyful confirmation, they were there just like the website said that they would be. The flight is about 20 minutes delayed on departure. The captain announced that we will only be about five minutes late. Yahoo!
Now, I’m going to “half” jump off subject for a second if I may. I find that people often forget to say thank you and to acknowledge quality customer service. I have about three of those American customer service acknowledgement slips left in my computer bag that will soon expire in February 2011. I see no reason for them to be thrown away because I couldn’t find a few good employees to acknowledge. I gave one on my last Miami to Dallas flight and I see an opportunity to give another one on this flight from Dallas to Minneapolis. I am always surprised at the positive reaction that I get from cabin crew or gate agents when I give them the little slips. I don’t know if they get free Mercedes cars or something, but they sure seem pleased. Pay it forward my friends if you have the little slips or just say “Thank you for a nice flight” as you leave the aircraft. It improves everyone’s day, which can be hard to do in the travel industry. This post is being done from 32,000 feet thank you to Go-Go In-flight service and the second imported beer that Felix will buy for me after I return from Minneapolis. December 21..Felix at Grazianis in your building! Until next Monday, have a nice weekend! Best, Randy
December 9, 2010
To avoid any traffic delays with my 10:45am departure, I drove from Pompano Beach to Miami at 6:30am to squeeze in a quick workout on Miami Beach before heading to the Miami airport. Now, there are Fort Lauderdale flights to Dallas with connections to Minneapolis, but fares were notably lower from Miami. The Fort Lauderdale departures do not have any 767 nor 777 aircraft on its routes. After airfare prices and departure times, aircraft models are my key criteria for choosing a flight. Who doesn’t love a foot rest and the choice of laying “nearly flat” on a flight. Now, good old I-95 provided me with a 10 minute traffic delay within the first 10 minutes of my commute. I couldn’t believe a delay so early in the morning! Instead of being one of those South Florida drivers with a “happy” car horn, I decided to get to know my Iphone application for AA.
I had downloaded American Airlines mobile application several months ago, but had never opened it. After typing in my Advantage number and password, the application took me immediately to my reservation that I had for today. Very cool!!! The screen had my reservation showing with my flight number, flight time, and gate information. An impressive introduction to say the least. The screen had a “check in” button, so I allowed my index finger to leave my coffee for a nano second to click the check in button. I was “checked-in” immediately. Now I don’t pretend to know how this differentiates me from someone else who had not left his or her coffee cup for that nano second. Given my new curiosity for my mobile app alternatives, I used that index finger with my coffee addiction allowed me. I was a bit disappointed to find that my mobile boarding pass option was not illuminated. i guess that the Miami International team at TSA does not have the ability to check-in with a mobile device, or it could it be my connecting flight in Dallas. The mobile application allowed me to review my frequent flyer balance, my progress towards my 2010 Executive Platinum re-qualificaiton (see next Monday’s posting for a celebratory post). The application allowed me to have just about the same functionality that i could find on the internet website. Now, I do not want to let out any top secret corporate data, but I just had dinner with a certain person who works at a major US credit card corporation. This person was sharing a few highlights from a corporate PowerPoint deck that they had reviewed regarding the future of technology. The key ‘take-away” (not to be confused with Canadian carry-out food) was that technology will migrate nearly 100% to mobile devices in approximately five years. So you will now hear me say…..thank you to that 10 minute traffic delay that gifted me ten minutes to advance my mobile lifestyle. It often hard to find 10 minutes to explore new technology, especially software that will be required me to be 100% mobile by 20015. Ohhh! sorry Felix, I keep forgetting to recap my flight experience. Well, the good news is that the flight left early, we are more than on-time to arrive to arrive to Dallas/Fort Worth. There was a little turbulence leaving Miami due to the unusual winter rain system. The crew was great on this flight. I am going to use some of those little service acknowledgement slips that I have in my brief bag. I’m an accountant, but brief cases are so 1990′s. Upon landing I will check-in to the Admirals club for a longer than desired layover…..my trade-off for the 767 aircraft and lower airfare. Don’t stop reading….Randy the travel writer has another post for you! Happy December to All! Randy
November 30, 2010
After a great Thanksgiving weekend in Bogota, it was time to head back to Miami. The “El Dorado” Airport in Bogota had been closed for several days due to rain so I decided to call reservations the day before my flight to see if there were any known delays. At one time in history, this was a recommended procedure for all flights, especially international flights. The agent didn’t seem to know how handle my simple request in that I wanted to know of any known delays. I had to walk her through the analysis. One- are there any official delays for my reserved flight. No, she says. Two – Has the flight for tonight (Sunday night) left for Bogota as this will be the aircraft for my departing flight in the morning (Monday)? Yes, but it was delayed leaving Miami, but it is in route now. Ok, so we have an airplane and a crew that will also be stuck in Bogota with me should the airport be closed on Monday am. Three – I then asked how the rest of the flights had been leaving Bogota during Sunday. She gave me the run down on the delays for Sunday. In summary, the flights were leaving late, but they were leaving. I have to ask if any of these reservation agents have ever used their travel benefits with their employer or if they just like sitting somewhere in the Carolinas. Get out and travel people…it is fun and you will be a better agent!
On Monday morning, the check-in process at American and clearing Colombia immigration were both usually slow, even for international travel. The flight left on time, arrived on time, and I didn’t test the champagne inventory on this 757 as I had already had a pleasant holiday weekend. For those who choose their aircraft carefully, the same flight felt completely different in a 757 then in a 767 aircraft. Go BIG!
Until next time, Randy
Exec Plat Traveler - Randy Moreau
November 30, 2010
Nothing like making a traditional holiday as untraditional as possible. This trip is a rescheduled trip from August 2010 that I had planned to take to Bogota to see friends and co-workers. I learned a few new “airline rules” on this rebooking for my Thanksgiving day flight. If you have ever used a co-pay with miles to upgrade, you might find it helpful to know the rules around the upgrade. When I cancelled the original travel (August 2010), American told me that I had a few options regarding my $150 co-pay and 15,000 miles that I used to upgrade the first portion of my flight. I could leave the “upgrade” unused for up to one year from the original date of my flight and then rebook the flight with an upgrade for no additional fees. The upgrade was a “free standing purchase” that can be moved to another reservations within the same upgrade region. This means that I could rebook to Colombia (or any other destination in the same upgrade category, like Venezuela) and use the upgrade on one of those flight segments. The other option is to forgo the $150 and have the miles added back to my account. Knowing that I would get to Colombia, I decided to leave this on account for a future booking.
My Thanksgiving morning flight was on-time with little traffic and congestion at the Miami International Airport. A few things have changed in that the “Flagship Lounge” and the E Concourse Admirals Club which were both closed. In late 2011, the new Flagship Lounge will open in Concourse E. This was a disappointment in that my flight left from gate E8. I figured this to not be an issue since I didn’t have a long wait and I can have endless mimosas on the plane. Well, not so fast…they were out of champagne after one mimosa. How can this be on a 767 with over 20 business class seats? I guess that a lot of people were giving “Thanks” with champagne or American understocked the galley. White wine had to play substitute but it wasn’t the same.
Back to the topic at hand. The flight left on time, arrived on time, and it was a remarkably smooth flight given the rain in the region. After a quick immigration process, it was time for yoga and then dinner in beautiful Bogota.
Exec Plat Traveler - Randy Moreau
November 25, 2010
I was expecting a lot more craziness at the airport – Thanks Giving weekend + TSA pat downs. None of that, everything was smooth sailing. Security was a breeze and the flight left and arrived on time. It is quiet amazing the amount of coverage the TSA is getting, and honestly a bit absurd. Go through scanner, if you reject, than expect a pat down. In any case, I do not think either will stop a terrorist act. Airports need to look more at how Israel and EL AL do it.
October 19, 2010
Guest Blogger again!
I scanned quickly the history of previous posts on HJF and I didn’t see a “Gogo Inflight” post. I had promised Felix over a year ago, to make a post from 32,000 feet using the on-board internet. It is challenging to deliver on such a promise in that very few flights have the service. American announced a long time ago, at least two years ago, that they would be installing the service on their Boeing 737 and MD80 aircraft in a phased manner. Phasing must be… as each aircraft had its annual service. Or it could have meant as it phased from the West Coast to the East Coast as I have seen this on most aircraft on the West Coast, but few on the East Coast routes. They must be playing to Tech companies in San Jose.
So…my flight left on time. When the pilot rang the little bell that signals the flight attendance to say that “All flights on American are non-smoking..blah..blah…blah..you can now use all approved portable electronic devices. For a list of approved devices, you can refer to the back of the American Way magazine in the seat back pocket in front of you. I would recite more of the announcement, but that would be “showing off”. Can we say…travel animal!
I whipped out my Mac and let the Wi-fi grab the signal. I launched the browser which immediately took me to Gogo’s website. I had established an account some time ago with my CC information. After two clicks and ping of $9.95 against my CC (Felix, you owe me a beer..imported please!), I was connected to the internet. E-mails came down immediately, I check the stock market, and went to WordPress to write this entry.
I’m somewhere over Missouri now as I hit the “publish” but for this entry. No words for the impressive connection and browsing speed. Welcome to what I think is the first in-flight blog posting to HJF.
We will assume that I arrive safely and all else goes well with the flight!
October 19, 2010
Guest Blogger on “High on Jet Fuel”!!!
Amazingly smooth travel experience from beginning to end. I was dropped off at the “Priority Area’ of American Airlines at Terminal D in Miami. Getting the boarding pass took seconds at the check-in counter. The TSA security was really backed-up at the terminal entrance, but my time was 20% of those who didn’t use the Priority lane for Exec Plats/Business Class.
The New “again” Admirals club is open at gate D15, which use to be the old “A’ terminal before the new “extendo” D terminal was hatched. My departure gate was D14, so I could arrive and board without breaking my stride. Interesting in that I am booked this flight specifically for its aircraft (Boeing 777) and I needed a few extra miles to hold my status for 2011/2012. If you are ever going to Minneapolis from Miami, there is an evening non-stop each day. When booking on line, I was able to chose the business class seats right at my reservation time. I requested an upgrade and ended up in the “true first class” for the flight when my upgrade processed a few days before the flight. Needless to say, the two hours felt like two minutes and the amazingly attentive and polite flight attendant kept the mimosas coming to 2J. I was feeling so pleased that I gave her one of those little service award slips. You get them when you make Executive Platinum each year. I always throw them in my computer bag. Forgetting them is easy as they are in some inside pocket with a zipper. The flight attendant was too good not to acknowledge her service. I don’t know what they get when they receive them, but every time I give one to a gate agent, flight attendance, etc., they appear to be truly touched and pleased to be getting one. I would “pay it forward” if you have some to give. Dig them out and give them when deserving. They also expire, so no sense saving them.
The flight landed on time. I transferred from the D terminal to the A terminal to wait for my next flight to Minneapolis.
See next blog entry.