ORD-DFW (801 Miles)
This was a day that it paid to be flexible. I had a flight at 2:30PM connecting through DFW, continuing onto SEA. When I woke up I saw one of the worst sights; Ice. I knew that there was not a chance my flight would leave at 2:30PM and knew that my 1 hour connection was not nearly long enough. So, I scrambled. I went directly to the airport in order to catch the 12:30PM or the 1:30PM flight. I got to the airport around noon and quickly passed through security. I arrived at the gate just before boarding and asked the Gate Agent if I could standby. I quickly learned that going to the Gate Agent is not always best in terms of customer service. The agent gave me a hard time about flying standby, he said that because of the weather he would allow it. The truth is, as an AAdvantage Gold member, you are allowed to do same-day standby for free. He told me he could not guarantee me a seat. I made a run for it! Went into the Admirals Club and spoke with a customer service rep, know to frequent flyers as an AAngel. In this case the agent earned the nickname. I was given a window seat of the left side of the MD-80. In this instance I sacrificed the added leg room in order to sit on the side of the plane with only 2 seats.
The Ride was very bumpy due to high level clouds and the low level clouds at DFW made for an interesting landing, but I made it to DFW with enough time to check out two of the Admirals Clubs at the airport. When I checked in at the Terminal AAdmirals Club I was informed that there were 6 open first class seats and asked if I wanted to upgrade. I did not have enough 500-Mile upgrades in my account. I had crossed the 10,000 Mile mark just days before and the miles had posted to my account. I was confused as to why I did not have any upgrades available. For the record, for each 10,000 miles flow, you earn 4 500-Mile upgrades know as sticker upgrades. Those upgrades can be used to upgrade to a higher cabin on domestic flights. In this case I learned that the miles reset, for whatever reason, on March 1st of each year. This was particularly frustrating because I had flown my 10,000th mile ON March 1st. So, I called the Advantage Gold desk and begged for the upgrades. After a few minutes talking to the agent, I was granted 3 500-Mile upgrades as I was “3/4 of the way there.” Once the upgrades were credited, I ran to the desk and asked to be upgraded. I was 1 upgrade short, but gladly shelled out the $30 to purchase it in order to fly first class on a 767 to SEA. It was a unique opportunity because just days before there had been an equipment swap from a 737.
Next, I left the Terminal A club and took the skytrain over to Terminal D. I went to my second Admirals Club of the day and was not disappointed. The views of the runway were fantastic and the amenities were similar to the Terminal A lounge. I tend to prefer a lounge with a view considering you can get the same food/drink at any location. As I waited, I constantly refreshed the mobile AApp to see if my upgrade had cleared. As I left to return to Terminal A I checked with the AAngel; still nothing. As I rode the skytrain back to A, nothing. Then as I was exiting the train, my upgrade cleared and I was put into 5J!
DFW-SEA (1,660 Miles)
I was one of the last to board the flight because of the long commute from Terminal D. I was worried that there would not be enough overhead space, but was please to see that the flight attendants were not allowing coach passengers to put their bags in the first class overhead bins. I had plenty of room to stow my bag and took my seat. The seat was an old international first class seat that reclined to nearly 180 degrees. Prior to takeoff we were served only water for our pre-departure drink, but it was nice to get something. Once we were airborne, the flight attendants passed out warm nuts. Then came dinner! Lasagna, salad, hummus, and a cheesy roll. Then, the highlight of the flight, cookies and cream ice cream. I was stuffed! So full that it made it uncomfortable to lie flat on the flight, but somehow I survived. (Sarcasm).
I was sad as we were told to prepare to land as my time in first class was coming to an end. It was one of the first times I was truly sad to arrive at my destination, but happy that my flexibility paid off and I was able to enjoy a first class experience from Dallas to Seattle. It was a subtle reminder of what I’m trying to achieve and why I chose to fly through Dallas instead of flying non-stop from Chicago.
SEA-ORD (1,710 Miles)
I am still very unhappy about this flight! I woke up to find that both legs of my original itinerary from SEA-DFW-ORD had been canceled for the day. I was busy in the morning, but decided to call AA to sort out my flights home. I sat on the phone for nearly an hour and gave up when I got an email from United that I was on a 2:30 non-stop flight to Chicago. I figured, at least I was going home, I can figure everything else out when I get to the airport. I finished my work for the morning and drove to the airport. I was able to switch to an AA operated non-stop flight to Chicago. I asked about routing through DFW as originally intended, but was told the only way that was possible was to spend the night in DFW and arrive in Chicago the following morning. I passed. The flight was nearly 100% full and I was lucky to get a middle exit row seat. I hate middle seats, but the added leg room made the flight tolerable. We landed in Chicago and I was happy to be home. I am unhappy about the lost miles and will call AA to request an “Original Routing Credit for an Involuntary Re-Route.” I have read on Flyertalk.com that it is hard to get, but the old Hang Up and Try Again method sometimes yields results. Fingers Crossed.