I’m currently in Los Angeles for a wedding. My flight from Boston got in at around 12 AM Pacific Time, but I learned quite a few things on my trip. There were some great things about this trip, and some not so great ones. Here are some quick thoughts.
1. American Airlines is definitely having some operations issues
I read about American’s “sick outs” this week right before I left on my trip. Not sure whether it was a coincidence or not, but my flight was delayed by over an hour which was pretty annoying. It was due to the incoming flight from Miami being delayed. While I can’t be sure it’s because of the sick outs, I have a hunch. I saw a post this morning about how even a Florida senator has noticed the issues. I tend to agree with people about avoiding American if possible until this situation is resolved.
2. TSA Pre-check is awesome
My wife and I both applied for and were accepted for Global Entry last year. What I didn’t realize was that this qualified us for TSA Pre-check as well. I hadn’t even realized I was selected until I got into the security line. First, I got into the priority AAccess line since I have the Citi AA card, which was nice. But after the TSA agent checked me, he sent me to a line that didn’t even look like it was open – I was literally the only person to go through that x-ray machine during my entire time at security. It turns out there was a bar code on my ticket that indicated I was a “trusted traveler” (Global Entry gives you a trusted traveler number).
It was amazing! I didn’t take my shoes off, didn’t take my laptop off, just put everything through the machine and walked through a metal detector (instead of one of those full body scanners). It was like I had stepped into a time machine and was going through security fifteen years ago. It was awesome and saved me a ton of time – which of course I lost anyway due to the delay, but it still was nice not to wait in line. I read that more and more people are going to be going through pre-check as time goes on, but I still think those lines should be faster than the regular lines. Get in on it!
3. Always check whether a plane has wi-fi if you’re planning to use it
I had planning on doing work while on the plane, but of course, American’s old 757 didn’t have wi-fi on it. Woops. You can check whether a flight has wi-fi using seatguru.com, which is what I should have done. I had a free gogo pass too, but wasn’t able to use it because there was no wi-fi! Between that and the tiny video monitors, I’m glad I ended up falling asleep. But still, lesson learned: make sure your flight has wi-fi if you want to use it. These legacy carriers really can’t keep up with the coach experience that discount carriers like Jetblue have to offer.
4. There are still good fares out there
I managed to get my ticket for $290 round trip on American. I wanted a nonstop flight since I’m only going to be here for less than 48 hours. Thanks to my Citi AA card’s $100 reimbursement, the flight only cost me $190 in the end, but I still think $290 is a great fare to get to the west coast. I went Fri-Sun too, so that’s when the fares should be most expensive. So if you keep an eye out, good fares are still there to be had!
I don’t get to fly as much as I’d like, so it’s always nice to take a trip. Still, flying alone isn’t as fun as flying with my wife, aka the points hater, so I’m looking forward to getting back to her and my dog tomorrow! Until then, I plan on filling up on greasy west coast food like Korean taco food trucks and the like!