Bypassing Southwest for a Premium American Airways Connection: My Enterprise Class Journey to Chicago

I not too long ago wrote that I gained’t purchase Southwest Airways flights the place they aren’t promoting Early Chicken check-in. Now that I not have Speedy Rewards A-Listing standing, I want a means out of a center seat. And the percentages I’ll hit checking in at precisely 24 hours out are low, plus that’s not even a assure.

Out of Austin, Southwest really had the most effective schedule for me to fly to Chicago. After I booked this journey there was nothing between 8:20 a.m. and three p.m. on American. I didn’t must be in earlier than dinnertime, however I did must be there for dinnertime. And I didn’t need to depart residence earlier than my daughter left for varsity simply to take American. Southwest was out as a result of their mid-morning flight to Chicago Halfway wasn’t promoting Early Chicken. And United’s mid-morning flight doesn’t function every day.

So I settled on an American Airways connection from Austin to Dallas to Chicago.

  • It didn’t actually add extra distance to the journey
  • The Dallas – Chicago flight could be on a Boeing 787-9
  • And there was confirmable improve house into enterprise class on that 787!

I used a Enterprise Further ‘BXP1’ home improve certificates to substantiate my worldwide enterprise class seat on this two hour home flight. The lack of Enterprise ExtrAA in a few weeks, which is being changed by the far inferior AAdvantage Enterprise program is de facto unhappy. I’ll miss confirming upgrades this fashion.

In the meantime, my improve for Austin to Dallas cleared on the 100 hour mark, one thing fairly uncommon as of late but additionally not shocking following the lengthy Thanksgiving vacation.

I left residence round 8:50 a.m. for my 10:20 a.m. Austin – Dallas flight that was exhibiting on time. TSA screening took an particularly very long time. The lanes with out the Analogic scanners had been all closed, so even with out a backup of passengers PreCheck took greater than quarter-hour as they had been processing backs by the checkpoint slowly. (Professional-tip: each time there are lanes with the Analogic machines and with out them, all the time take the lane with out them even when it seems to be longer.)

Then I headed as much as the Admirals Membership for only a few minutes, earlier than heading right down to the gate. Although I wouldn’t have a meal on both flight I skipped what they name breakfast within the lounge.

The agent there was a bit overwhelmed by a full flight, regardless that it was only a regional jet. She needed to help the crew in getting the lav companies after having known as for the beginning of boarding and simply turned flustered. I do know that using solely a single particular person to board a home flight has turn into de rigueur however two makes journey a lot smoother.

I don’t thoughts Embraer ERJ-175 regional jets in any respect (besides that the majority have gradual air to floor wifi, regardless that excessive velocity satellite tv for pc is now doable) I don’t very like similar-sized Bonbardier CR7 and CR9 planes. That’s as a result of their overhead bins don’t accommodate normal keep on luggage. So you possibly can carry your bag on, form of. You drop it off on the jet bridge, and it’s returned to you there if you deplane. Solely passengers line up in an extended queue down the jetway, and it might take awhile to get yours as one comes up at a time – treasured minutes if you’re on a brief connection.

It seems we got here in onto the E concourse in Dallas, and never simply E however the American Airways E satellite tv for pc gates. I’d really by no means flown out of these earlier than. You cave to stroll to an underground tunnel to succeed in the principle E concourse earlier than making it onto the Skytrain to vary terminals. I used to be heading from E satellite tv for pc to E to D36. D is the worldwide terminal, however some home flights depart from there, and it’s usually the place widebody plane will depart from.

I made it simply in time for scheduled boarding of my flight to Chicago, however the gate really began boarding two minutes early. Cabin crew weren’t permitting passengers on but, so there was an extended backup on the jet bridge for my second flight regardless that I joined the queue earlier than group 2 was known as.

I had chosen seat 1L for the journey, the bulkhead seat within the first row on the precise facet of the cabin. That is kind of probably the most non-public. You’re angled dealing with the window and actually don’t see anybody else. Nevertheless I might hear loud galley gossip all through the flight.

On American’s 787s you possibly can’t use any ground storage so my laptop computer bag needed to go within the overhead bin. No huge deal, although I do favor it inside arm’s attain.

These 7 12 months outdated seats nonetheless maintain up fairly properly. They’re a largely off-the-shelf Tremendous Diamond seat that’s standard with many prime airways. Qatar Airways makes use of it on just a few plane. British Airways makes use of it, however added doorways and a variety of bespoke design, for his or her new Membership Suite.

American’s 787-9s have this seat. 4 of their 787-8s have it. And about 60% of their Boeing 777-200s have it. The remainder of these planes have ‘Idea D’ seats. My largest criticism is that they didn’t set up dividers between the middle seats. That was their answer, I suppose, to the dividers getting caught on their earlier (Idea D) seats. Nevertheless it means there’s actually no separation or privateness for solo vacationers seated within the heart part. I used to be within the window.

There’s a big, accessible bathroom between the enterprise and premium economic system cabins.

Predeparture drinks had been supplied, although simply water, with a flight attendant explaining that they had been late-catered.

As soon as we had been within the air I fired up my laptop computer. American wished $19 for one hour of web, or $25 for the complete flight. Their widebodies are served by Panasonic, and month-to-month wifi subscriptions are solely legitimate on Gogo and ViaSat-equipped narrowbody plane. Nonetheless, I paid it in order that I might work.

Shortly after drink orders had been taken, and a snack basket was handed. We arrived after 3 p.m. native time, and I hadn’t had a chance for lunch. So the snacks had been one thing, I suppose. Dallas – Chicago is over 800 miles. That’s shorter than American’s meal threshold. However a hub-to-hub flight like this one must have one thing extra substantive.

Finally although – restricted inflight service on a brief flight apart – there’s actually nothing like flying a widebody domestically. It has premium economic system offered as coach and enterprise class instead of home first. Quick haul flying between main cities in Asia is commonly like this, however widebodies U.S. home are much more restricted – one thing that didn’t was the case after I started flying for work years in the past. Alongside a sure margin I’ll exit of my means for it, although definitely extra so on longer flights than on quick ones like this.

I wouldn’t usually join flying between Austin and Chicago however for this journey it labored out completely.

On arrival, I finished at Tortas Frontera, the one actually nice meals possibility in a U.S. airport to select up a choriqueso that I’d eat as soon as I made it to my resort.

My flight arrived in Chicago early. It wasn’t that inefficient to attach in Dallas, contemplating my schedule choices. It was much more comfy than flying Southwest in a center seat. And I obtained the prospect to fly in an American Airways worldwide enterprise class seat for the primary time in fairly a while. So I used to be pleased!

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