So I left this story in the previous post, which you can see here, when I was disembarking from my flight from London. The jet bridge was connected to door 2L which is behind the business class cabin where the stairs to the upper deck, which meant that we were not first off the plane.
I know that America has a bad reputation for immigration and so was prepared for a long wait. Thankfully it was only about 30 minutes from leaving the plane to passing through. I was grateful that I was not at the back of the queue which must’ve taken over an hour.
The rules for baggage mean that one needs to collect any checked luggage from the carousel after immigration and then deliver it to a special desk in the terminal where British Airways will forward it on to the next airline. I did this and then got on the Air Train which took me to Terminal 8 to pick up my American flight to Los Angeles. On the way I saw one of British Airway’s A318 (aka BabyBus) which operates the Club World only LCY – JFK route. I will be on this on the way home.
As I had been flying in First class and was connecting to First class I was able to access the American Airlines Flagship lounge. This is for the top tier members. The first thing I did was to have a shower before settling down to watch the aircraft.
By this time I had been travelling for a full day so having a shower was a nice way to freshen up. After a couple of cups of coffee and catch up on emails I was ready to board my next flight.
Flight: AA0181 JFK – LAX 1730 – 2100
Aircraft: Airbus A321T
Seat: 3A First
Payment: Cash earning 3712 Avios and 210TP
The First Class cabin on this American Airlines plane is very spacious. It operates in a 1–1 configuration so everyone has direct access to the aisle.
The cabin crew offered pre-departure drinks but these are served in a plastic cup and not the glass champagne flutes one receives on British Airways. The menu for the flight was very interesting and contained a range of options. Before take-off our orders for drinks were taken. I settled for a Mimosa, telling myself that the vitamin C would be good for me!
To start with I had the vegetarian option which was hummus with toast.
This was followed by a salad with a balsamic dressing. It was okay but I didn’t finish it.
For the main course I chose the beef which was tasty. I enjoyed the potatoes and the peppery crust, although I was not a fan of the crab on the plate – it just felt out of place.
To drink I tried the American wines but these went down very slowly. I did not have any desert or cheese as I was full, and did not want to overdo it.
Once dinner was finished I watched some TV programmes using the complimentary Bose noise cancelling headphones. It is only once you use them do you realise how noisy the cabin is. The sound quality was very good and much better than the ones that British Airways use.
I felt that there was generally more space in the first-class pod here but one weakness was that the foot area when the bed is flat is underneath the seat in front and its storage area. This means that you cannot roll onto your side. I also felt that the seat was quite restrictive at the knee point. If you sleep on your back or on your front you will have no problem but I found it rather uncomfortable.
We landed into Los Angeles and it was only a short walk up to the next Flagship lounge. I felt this was bigger and better equipped than the one in New York although there were fewer showers. However this was not a problem as I got straight in. I don’t normally have three showers a day but felt that I had the opportunity and nothing better to do, so for the sake of my fellow travellers I had another wash. I was very tired at this point having been awake for 24 hours. Thankfully the flight was not delayed and I was soon back downstairs and heading to the aircraft.
Flight: AA1554 LAX – LAS 2235 – 2358
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Seat: 6A First
Payment: Cash earning 413 Avios and 60TP
This First Class configuration was 2–2 in older reclining seats. It reminded me of how business class used to be on some airlines. As it was a short flight, it did not bother me.
The cabin of 16 seats was full, as, it seemed, was the rest of the plane. We took off and were offered drinks; the stewardess was happy to give me a coffee. And uneventful 50 minutes later we arrived in to Las Vegas.
I think we arrived at a satellite terminal as I had to get on a shuttle to the main terminal for baggage reclaim. This was where the fun started.
When I arrived at the carousel it was showing the Los Angeles flight and I waited patiently. The belt started to move deposited some bags and then stopped moving. Needless to say my bag was not amongst them this became evident when the bell started moving again to deliver the bags for the last Miami flight of the day and my one disappeared from the display. I went to the baggage counter which seem to be doing a roaring trade. This was not made easier by the fact that the computer systems were down and it was difficult for them to process the claims. About an hour later I had finally spoken with an agent and it was confirmed that my bag was not in Las Vegas and they didn’t know if it had even made Los Angeles. With a claim form in my hand, I finally left the airport and jumped in a taxi for the short $12 ride to the hard rock.
On arrival I was not able to use the front entrance as they had been closed for renovations. It seems that the main central bar in the hotel is being done and will reopen in September. As I had never been before I didn’t know what I was missing, but my friends tell me that this is the focal point of the hotel and a great shame that it is not open. They had not been informed prior to their arrival that it was not open. I think the check-in lady took pity on my dishevelled appearance at the check-in desk at 0130 in the morning because she told me that I had been upgraded to a suite overlooking the pool in their newest Tower which was a welcome bonus.
My room was huge and contains two massive flatscreen TV is and two queen size beds. There is a full-size bath and a big shower along with two wardrobes and sofa seating for eight. It is more than enough for me on my own!
After several thousand miles, four flights, more than one glass of champagne and the lost bag I was more than ready for sleep.