Tag Archives: American Airlines

United Airlines SFO – Shanghai PVG bad experience

United Airlines

Yesterday I took for may be 10th time the United Airlines flight from SFO to Shanghai Pudong. The flight has been serviced via a very aging Boeing 747 which is was old a year ago already.

The flight yesterday was rather disappointing. Here is why I say that: – the seats on the plane were obviously tired and rather uncomfortable
– since the plane does not have in-seat entertainment screens, you would have to either watch the TVs that are for all to share or watch on your own phone or tablet – there are two problems with that approach

A) the audio jack on my seat was busted…so no way to watch the shared programs unless you want to make up your own stories as you watch the "silent" movie…

B) the WiFi service was very intermittent-I tried to watch Game of Thrones….but the games ended up very choppy ūüôā The streaming kept pausing and starting- until I finally gave up

So why are we being kidded that there is a "convenient" service to select your own entertainment …? Yes you can do that by downloading your own movies from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video

So, to top this I had also a mishap with the butter during the breakfast service As you probably know – the trays get served
Hot with some meal – as a result the butter in the small container had melted and when I tried to open it, the content – liquid butter – poured all over my shirt! I was pretty unhappy!

Now – why would you put the butter on a hot tray? How can you possibly use that butter?

All this point to is sloppy service – I do not see another explanation…

So bad service, no entertainment, great way to spend 13 hours on the plane….!

Oh, oh, and to top this our flight was delayed by 1 hour… the plane just came late into SFO so we left at 3pm rather than 1:30 pm and even though the pilot tried we were still late…. why a long haul flight had a plane that was late to come in for its flight is a mystery to me…. bad planning ?

Don't know, but the net result was frustrating experience

One of the flight attendants told me this plane was being decommissioned in one month – for sure that is a positive step. Hope the hot trays and melted butter goes away too ūüôā

By the way, I fly quite a bit on American as well – you can see my review of their business class to Europe, from a flight this summer…Hm…

American Airlines International Business Class – Disappointment

American Airlines International Business Class

Do you have any experience with American Airlines International Business Class?

I have been a loyal AA and OneWorld frequent flyer since 1998!  You can imagine the miles I have accumulated over that time.  Let me put it this way – I have been at Executive Platinum for the last 10 years or so, and have a life time Platinum due to the number of miles flown.

So, when my family decided to take a vacation to Europe this summer, I decided that we will fly on American  – of course – and use some of my system wide upgrades to have us in international business class across the Atlantic between the US and Heathrow.

All of us were excited…Lie-flat seats, Entertainment, Premium dining….!

This is what we expected:  

American Airlines International Business Class
This is what American Airlines advertises on their Web page

Well, turns out our experience was less than great.  On the flight to Heathrow, our meals were inedible!  I kid you not. I had a wedge salad and roast beer.   Please see the pictures below and you will know what I am about to say:

American Airlines Premium Dining International Business Class
Premium Dining? Really?
American Airlines Premium Dining International Business Class
Would you consider this Premium Dining..? I do not
American Airlines Premium Dining International Business Class
How does one cut this Wedge salad with a butter knife? I could not

The wedge salad was impassible to eat – it was a hunk of lettuce which I had to slide with a butter knife… .How?!?!  Others on the plane could not either….

Then, the main course – Beef sounds exciting — well, it was NOT!   It was shoe leather like, no taste, and please see the dish with sauce – it was spilled all over the place.

All in all – the dishes went back to where they came from.  I barely touched them…

The flight attendant noticed (I think others were in the same boat) – and asked me with an apology – “Should I bring you something else?”   I thanked her and did not take her up on the offer… I could not imagine the rest was any better.   

Our flight back from Heathrow, 9 days later, was not much better.  There was no wedge salad.. Thanks for small mercy!

The entertainment system was another story – on the flight from Heathrow to DFW, most of the business class passengers had the same experience – the system was not working properly… Oh, well – it is a premium experience ūüôā

Needless to say – American, your service has SLIPPED big time!  I would not call our experience – all of my family flew business – anything to write home about!

 

Entertainment in the Air on Planes

Entertainment in the Air

I have often been surprised how restrictive the US air travel is when it comes to many aspects of the creature comforts up in the air.¬†¬† Let’s see – how do we compare flights in many countries of Asia and in the US?¬† Let’s list the services (besides getting from point A to point B) offered:

  • In-flight food:¬† On all US flights, food is unheard of – unless you are one of the few traveling in First / Business class of the plane.¬† At the same time, in China, and other Asia countries as well as in Europe, the crew serves warm food to everyone on the plane.¬† No matter wheter you are taking an in-country flight on Air China, or Shenzhen Airlines (to name a couple), you are going to get your boxed lunch consisting of a stir fry over rice.
  • Entertainment:¬† The intra-China flights or intra-India flights are usually operated with bare bones planes which do not have the right equipment to show much in the form of entertainment.¬† Having said that, it is likely to get entertainment if you happen to be on a newer plane…. Now lets compare that to te US – until recently, the usage of entertainment was fee only based –> now both American Airlines and Delta are starting to offer free entaiment following Delta’s first mover act.
  • Why is free entertainment important?¬† Here why:
    • Makes time go by faster
    • It creates a lot more relaxed crowd on the plane
    • It should help reduce the booz drinking on the flight
    • Finally, it will make for a much happier flyers and potentially return business for the airlines.
  • I would like to hear from the readers of this blog… Don’t hesitate – share your experiences and what you think makes sense on board an airship….
    • How would you like to pass your time?
    • Is getting food on-board the plane important to you?
    • What do you consider best in class services when traveling by plane?

Happy Travels

WLAN Costs on American Airlines -Surprises

WLAN Costs on American Airlines

I do not understand the pricing model for WLAN access American Airlines offers to its passengers… On a recent flight from Phoenix to Austin, American Eagle offered $23.95 WLAN access for….wait for it….yes, only less than 2 hour flight. ¬† The service offered by GoGo

American-Airlines-WiFI

Two weeks ago I flew Dallas (DFW) to Hong Kong also on American Airlines. ¬†This flight is close to 15-16 hours. I had WLAN coverage for most of the flight, at the cost of…wait for it…$19!

So, now comes the million dollar question – how does this make sense? ¬†I can see the 2-hour flight for a fee of $5….may be….BUT $23.95 makes no sense whatsoever!!!!

Comments?

American Airlines Boeing 787 Business Class Seats

American Airlines Boeing 787 business class brief review.  My wife flew to Beijing late last year Рand experienced the first of the American Boeing 787 aircraft which due to their high efficiency have been deployed on the long distance flights between Dallas and Beijing (as one example).  Her luck was good and she was able to get a system wide upgrade and had a great experience in the new business class on those planes.  All great with one BIG exception Рwhen she came back home she complained about have a pretty weird experience flying and noticing each movement of the person in front of her (sitting on another business class seat).

My experience was better РI was in seat 6L Рrear facing Рfirst row in the mini-cabin which meant that my seat was solo i.e. not attached to another.  As a result I had a much better in-flight experience, undisturbed by others.

Reading through flyertalk I noticed that many are complaining about the movement of the attached seats. ¬†To that effect, I think if you can you should avoid the middle seats in the minicabin and 1A & 2A and 3A & 4A, 1L &2L, 3L&4L… as those are likely to cause you the effect of the disturbing neighbor.

What else about the seats Рthey are narrow and shorter than the business class on the Boeing-777;   for a tall person 6ft and above Рthey will not allow you to truly be in a flat sleeping position.

The amenities were packaged in a Cole Han pouch which was weirdly made of of some artificial material (like PVC) – makes you wonder – why Cole Han then…? ¬†But I think this was a minor nit pick.

American Airlines B787 business class seat American Airlines Business Class American Airlines

Interesting new controls for the seat in business class. ¬†Made to look like an iPhone / Smart Phone. ¬†Not sure why, but ease of use wise – not a bad design…

 

 

 

 

 

The verdict Рit is up to you Рif you prefer the lower prices of the new B787 flights then you will need to compromise and enjoy the better entertainment and food on the flight.  Otherwise proactively seek out the B777 service.

 

American Airlines Chicago Beijing Flight in Business Class

Coincidences are always great. Earlier in April I flew from Chicago to Beijing on American Airlines Boeing 777-200 a 12 hours 50 minute flight which of course can be tiring.  I have done that flight in all classes РFirst, Business and Coach.  The coincidence I am referring here is that just as I had done this flight in Business Class, I came across the review of the same flight in First Рso of course I wanted to compare the two experiences

Per the reviewer there were some good and some bad things about the flight

  • Amenity kit: ¬†surprisingly essentially the same – please see below

American Airlines Amenity Kit in BusinessAmerican Airlines First Class Amenity

 

 

 

from Boarding Area Blog

 

Not easy to see from the BoardingArea Blog – but the amenity kits are essentially the same..

  • Then we go to the food: ¬†The Boarding Area blog reviewer was VERY disappointed by the quality of the food in first class. ¬† Interestingly enough – I had the same selection – the reviewer had pan seared sea bass — so did I. ¬†Here are the images:

American Airlines Food American Airlines Food

 

 

 

The business class meal

 

 

The First class meal

 

 

 

Well, aside from the presentation of the food, I could not tell much of the difference in the fish. ¬†Actually, mine was not half-bad….

  • Then off to the dessert: ¬†I had a great selection – either ice cream (as in the first class posting) or a very nice¬†tiramisu parfait

American Airlines Dessert Business class meal dessert

 

 

 

 

 

 

So all in all, I think my experience in business class on exactly the same flight (may be not the same date) of American Airlines was actually a LOT more satisfying – especially given the price difference in the two tickets I am sure!!!

American Airlines – Kudos on Going Beyond the Call of Duty

American Airlines

These days amid the flury of various articles on missed flights and unhappy travellers, I wanted to congratulate American Airlines on getting a job well done and praise a number of American Airlines team members that made some miraculous happen on a recent international trip I took……This is a story of a brand new iPad which I thought I had lost and subsequently reaquired all within a week's round trip between Texas and India…!  

What are the odds you would say?!?!   Negligeable to Nill as my father in law liked to remark…. Please read the rest and comment if you would like.

The story started with me heading off on a many hour trip from Texas to Bangalore, India with connecting flights with stop overs in Chicago, London on the way to Bangalore.  So here I was in my seat as we were waiting to get  off the plane in London (after a 10-hour flight (almost)) and a significant delay due to weather in Chicago.  I was getting concerned about making my connection in London since I had to change Terminals, go through security etc.  With that on my mind, I managed to forget my iPad on the seat on the plane!  Out of all places….I was going to put it in my bag and then we started moving and I forgot….

The realization of me having left the iPad on the plane came about 10-minutes later as I was walking rapidly to the bus for Terminal 5.  Here where the story starts.  We contacted American Airlines and by the time I was boarding the flight to Bangalore I knew that several folks from American Airlines are looking into the case.

By the time I arrived in Bangalore — another 9+ hours later — and in my hotel — I learned that more news will come the following day.  24 hours needed to go by to have the potentially found iPad makes its way to lost and found.   Well a day later I was told "Yes, the iPad was located and will be possible to pick up from Termnal 3 on my way back through London"

So a week later – this past weekend – here I was landing in London and rushing from Terminal 5 to Terminal 3 – going through security and at this point in time I had only 30minutes left to the time my flight to New York was to take off.   I ended up at the Transfer desk of American Airlines at Terminal 3 and had a VERY helpful person there who was not only able to locate the iPad at an auxilary office but also have a person from the company run it to the gate — where I was headed so not to miss the flight.  

At the gate I had to tell the crew that there may be a person showing up bringing an iPad – and yes, that will be just great if they let him deliver it…. A helpful member of the crew told me that it will be fine but the plane won't wait….. which was fine with me.   Well folks, about no more than 5 minutes later as I was sitting on the plane, a guy with American logo jacket showed up and waived at me the newly found iPAD!   This was an amazing feat!  I could not believe it!  This iPad made if back to me — I really do not know what were the odds of this BUT – here it goes BIG THANKS TO ALL THE FOLKS FROM AMERICAN AIRLINES at the London Heathrow airport!   You made something really special and amazing happen!   Thank you

Blogs, Media Continue to Write about American Airlines’ Current State of Affairs….

Interesting to read the article published on one of the big Travel Blogs – The Daily Traveler:

 

 

Here is the article in the Conde Nast Traveler Blog…..

I personally cannot wait for the "New American Airlines" to come out with those 500 brand new planes….. Why?  Because of all the issues all of us travelers face with the current fleet of aircraft.  As my most recent experience — I wrote about it directly while being on-board of a delayed American flight — delayed due to – yes, you guessed it – mechanical trouble….That day I took four flights — and THREE of them were delayed by over 30-40 minutes.

Well, lets hope American comes out of the bankruptcy soon and we all get to fly in the new planes.