Bogota, Colombia – Miami, FL | AA 2170 | 3F

November 30, 2010 by

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

Miami, FL – Bogota, Colombia | AA 913 | 3A

November 30, 2010 by

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.

Cheers  Randy

Exec Plat Traveler - Randy Moreau

Miami, FL – Washington, DC | AA 1268 | 14B

November 25, 2010 by

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.

Dallas, TX – Minneapolis, MN | AA 1175 | 4A

October 19, 2010 by

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!

Cheers
Randy

Miami, FL – Dallas, TX | AA 996 | 2J

October 19, 2010 by

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.

Miami, FL – Caracas, Venezuela | AA 935 |18F

September 22, 2010 by

This plane was completely packed – and this post will not so much be about the flight, but the journey that ensued once I landed in Caracas:

  • Immigration: The lines were ridiculously long – wait time must have been about 1 hr
  • Parking lot: Leaving the parking lot alone took us 35mins
  • Car: In car over 2.5 hours for a route that usually takes 40mins with no traffic

It seems like the whole process to leave the airport and getting to the hotel took more than the flight itself.  What a mission!

Although it should not come to a surprise – Caracas is know for the traffic, it is a test of patience…

Dallas, TX – Miami, FL | AA 1740 | 4G

September 17, 2010 by

Spent the morning at the Admirals Club in Dallas and had some breakfast…layover was very short which was absolutely fine by me.  Once again, I was not able to check the three pieces to the main cabin – seems there is some consistency now…

Flight to Miami was smooth and I was able to get some more sleep – arrived on time in Miami.  Door to door the trip from the Buenos Aires hotel to my house was about 20 hours…

Buenos Aires, ARG – Dallas, TX | AA 996 | 10G

September 17, 2010 by

Usually I am not picky about my flying – delays, etc.  But I was just annoyed by the fact that at the Buenos Aires airport, the AA attendant counted my suit as a carry on, so I had three in total.  Odd thing is, from Miami to Dallas to Buenos Aires it was not an issue.  So, I had to check-in one of my bags.  Consistency is all I ask for.

Apparently in Buenos Aires, the truck drivers were on strike thus food had to be brought from incoming flights – not an issue though.  Then, our entertainment system was not working and had to be restarted…just seemed that it was not the right day to fly – at least I made it to Dallas.

Flight was on time.

Dallas, TX – Buenos Aires, AR | AA997 | 10G

September 15, 2010 by

I must say, this was a very smooth flight, usually I do not sleep that well on planes, but this time I completely conked out.  After watching two movies, I pretty much slept the rest of the flight…really nothing exciting to share.  Impressed by the service by American on the flight.  There always is that one snorer though, usually a man, that is so DAMN loud…

Did enjoy the taxi ride to the hotel – spoke to the diver about futbol – what else! Said that Germany was not that good…eh hem…I let it slide 😉

Miami, FL – Dallas, TX | AA 2207 | 18F

September 15, 2010 by

It has been a long time since my last post – I have since changed jobs and am now working with Research in Motion (Blackberry) for the LATAM region. Travel has not really slowed down, I have been to Chile and Mexico in the last four weeks and I am on my way to Buenos Aires now. Flying through Dallas on this trip – direct flights were booked.

While most airports are plagued in the winter with delays, Miami has to deal with summer showers and lightening. My flight was delayed as the crew for our plane was diverted to West Palm Beach, FL. Luckily there was an alternative crew in Miami which made the wait fairly short. However, before closing the doors, there seems to be an issue with one of the overhead bins…would not close, so maintenance had to come on board and fix it. Total delay time about 1 hour – could be worse.

I decided to watch “The Crazies” on the plane – brought my own DVD (rental from Netflix) – had to keep the volume low on the earphones to avoid any unnecessary jumping. At least time went by fast…now I am in the admirals club – must say it is one of the nicer ones that I have stayed at.

Pretty tired and hungry, believe it or not, I am looking forward to the plane food and some sleep. Which reminds me, I have a friend that actually LIKES airplane food – you know who you are and we are waiting for some interesting posts from you…