Having flown out to Copenhagen, and then back to London and up to Manchester, it was soon time to fly out to Vegas. I was thankful that my Gold status allowed me to book a seat in American Airline’s Main Cabin Extra section. These tend to be seats with slightly more legroom that are situated in preferable areas of the aircraft. In my case this was the front row of the economy section by the bulkhead. The aircraft was laid out in a 2-4-2 configuration and only three of the middle four were taken. Unfortunately, not the seat next to me, which might have been the case if travelling on British Airways with their blocked seating algorithm but this was not a big deal.
The take-off was smooth and the crew launched into this service relatively quickly. Lunch was served and consisted of a vegetarian Thai green curry and some other bits and pieces on the tray. To drink I was offered a choice of red or white wine – it was fine.
I then settle down to watch some of the in-flight entertainment. Unfortunately, my screen was not working so I just watched something on my iPad.
Towards the end of the flight a snack was served. This was a pizza style snack in a box with a small muffin and a soft drink. It was a bit doughy but nothing to complain about. The plane landed into Philadelphia pretty much bang on time and disembarkation was relatively swift.
On reflection, economy was not that bad. The food was fine and the flight was not particularly long. The broken in-flight entertainment did not bother me on this flight as I had come equipped with my iPad. The only slight niggle, which was more to do with my fellow passengers, was that some of them thought that the area in front of my seat by the bulkhead was a legitimate area for them to walk through. Now, I don’t mean to be selfish but I am 6ft3 and value every inch of leg room I get which is why I choose the extra legroom seats; I don’t take kindly to having small children climbing over me because they cannot be bothered to walk round, and their parents give me evil looks when I don’t move for their cherubs!
On arrival to Philadelphia, there were no automatic ESTA like we have used in Miami in February which meant joining a very long queue. The queue just did not seem to move and there were way more people on the US section than the international one. I guess this is the same for any host country but it is annoying when staff are sitting doing nothing and there is a big queue. Eventually I made it through and, being hand-luggage only, didn’t need to stop at the baggage reclaim so proceeded straight through security and into the lounge. I didn’t have very long but enough time to watch some sport and have a beer.
I then headed towards the gate for my flight. At this point I wasn’t sure where I will be sitting because my boarding pass did not include a seat. This is the first time this has ever happened to me and I was a little put out given that I had previously chosen a Main Cabin Extra seat at the front. I was given a boarding pass at the gate and due to my British Airways Gold status was in group 2 for boarding. This is behind anyone who is serving military in uniform, the top of American’s programme and those travelling first. It was nice to get on quickly and I found a very jovial seatmate who enjoyed the chat on the way to Vegas.
One interesting fact about this flight is that carries the same flight number as the flight from Manchester to Philadelphia so if you book with AA it counts as one flight because both MAN-PHL and PHL-LAS are coded as AA735. For this flight I would have earned 35TP and 7632 Avios. By booking it a code share which I did by accident, I was given two different BA flight numbers so it credited 35TP and 5133 Avios for BA 1394, and 35TP and 3264 Avios for BA1600.
I think that I should have received a free drink on this flight but I didn’t and I wasn’t really bothered so I settled down to watch my iPad because there was no in-flight entertainment provided on this flight. However, because I have used it on the previous flight, the battery died and I ended up being without any movies to watch. I therefore use the in-flight Wi-Fi to drop American a quick message on their complaint form about the lack of working IFE on my flight from Manchester. Within 48 hours I had received very genuine apologetic email and confirmation that they will be sending me a $200 transportation voucher.
It is very unlikely that I will use this given my upcoming travel plans but it is a very welcome gesture and one that would be unheard-of with British Airways! I arrived into Las Vegas and I was soon waiting in the car park for my friend to pick me up for a few days of shopping, eating and gambling.
You can read the other parts of my Vegas2017 trip report here: