February 1, 2014
This was my first time departing out of Managua’s airport. The airport is very small, so it was easy to navigate. Regardless of how small the airport is the check-in line is usually miles long. Surprisingly, there was hardly anyone checking in. After boarding the flight, I see that the only cabin that was full was first class. The coach cabin was about 65% full. This might explain the shorter line, but I still used the first class check in line. I didn’t fly more 2 million miles to not take advantage of the permanent Platinum for Life status. According to my office, I was also arriving a little too early. I only waited 45 minutes at the gate to board, so I don’t feel like I was that early to the airport.
So, the upgrade didn’t happen, but 15A (exit row) was pretty decent. I was number seven on the list for potential upgrade at the gate. I knew that wouldn’t be happening, so I ate before departing, since I knew that there would be no food on the flight. Given this is the last American flight out of Managua on Friday, I don’t think that upgrades will be too common. And being Platinum level is not going to get me to the top of the list. I did make my reservations for the next two weeks. What some people don’t realize is that when you make your reservation and request the upgrade does impact your odds of getting upgraded. While each status level has its respective priority above other status levels, the priority within a status level is determined by when you make your upgrade request. To make an upgrade request, you must purchase your ticket and request the upgrade. I’ll continue my rolling flight purchases as the weeks progress.
If this routine to Managua were to be permanent, I would put myself to the challenge of getting the Exec Plat status as fast as possible. For the moment, I don’t see that being the case, so I’ll enjoy the exit row and the occasional upgrade. My expectation is that I will get upgrade on Sunday nights when I am flying to Managua more often than when I fly home.
After boarding, I hung my suit coat on the back of the seat in front of me. Surprisingly, the cabin attendant saw it and offered to take my suit coat and hang it in business class. Huge kudos to her! I’m looking for one of those little thank you sheets for her. Ah, they are called ‘Applause – For outstanding service’. Not only is she deserving, I have been carrying them around forever in my computer bag. Time to recognize some outstanding service in coach on flight 344.
The flight was uneventful, and we landed about 15 minutes early. More posts to come as I fly back to Managua in less than 48 hours. Until Sunday, Randy Moreau
January 28, 2014
Our flight departed on time. The short short flight of 2 hours and 15 minutes to Managua was uneventful. It looks as if this route is going to be a regular flight pattern for me. The first class cabin crew provided great service. The lead attendant didn’t know how to smile, but that didn’t stop her for doing the rest of her job very well. Towels were hot, food was hot, and drinks were attended to quickly. We arrived on time. Bags were available quickly and passing through immigration and customs was a breeze. Welcome to Nicaragua!
January 26, 2014
Excellent flight this morning from Washington, D.C. I actually needed to change my flight due to a project assignment that required me to be in Miami earlier on Sunday. American now allows you to change your flight within 24 hours of your preferred new flight time. If there is inventory available, you only pay $75 to change your flight. This avoids the stress of flying standby, which is even more stressful if you need to check bags. Another perk of this service is that you can request an upgrade once you are confirm on your new flight. This is very difficult to do when flying standby. Nothing to exciting to report on the flight. The cabin crew were professional and polite. The flight arrived 20 minutes early, and my luggage was available within five minutes of my arriving to the carrousel. Wonderful experience, especially since Miami was WARM upon arrival!
January 25, 2014
Our flight was delayed 25 minutes due to the inbound flight being late. We boarded quickly. Life time platinum status delivered on an upgrade for 4A. The upgrade came late, so couldn’t select a meal on-line. The first class cabin attendant was polite, but not on top of his job. The usual mistakes of cold hand towels and cold nuts. Amazing how many cabin attendants can’t get this right. Yes – arriving safely is much more important, but is it that hard to warm things up properly? The green salad with chicken was tasty. Actually, the salad part was very good. The chicken was pale looking, so didn’t even consider eating some. We made up time, so we only arrived about 15 minutes late.
January 20, 2014
This year will be a new year of increased travel, so seems logical to reinvigorate the HOJF blog entries. Just made reservations to Washington, D.C. to see my buddy Jason. If you haven’t been to AA.com recently, there are numerous changes on the site. My favorite one is being able to choose your meal option before departure. Well, the option exists for business class passengers for domestic flights with meal service. I would presume that international flights might give the option to all classes of service. The US Airways integration has began with US Airway flights appearing in the flight options list. If you are an Admirals Club member, you can use the US Airway’s clubs. Happy Travels!
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