The Traveling Steve's

4th of July weekend in Long Beach

This year July 4th is on a Friday, so our 3 day weekend started on Thursday night, July 3rd.  We had planned this months ago, booking our flights from Orlando to Long Beach, on USAirways, connecting in Phoenix.  Although I get complimentary space-available upgrades on USAirways due to my Executive Platinum status, I didn’t want to chance sitting in coach for the holiday weekend, so used some miles and points to guarantee our First Class upgrades, which really paid off due to our flight issues we would later have.

We drove to the airport in the typical summer Orlando storms, but checked in ok at USAirways for our 5:40pm flight to Phoenix.  After a quick bite at the ‘B’ side Ruby Tuesday’s, we noticed our inbound flight from Phoenix was now showing over 2 hours late!  Although the storm had stopped, it was so bad earlier that our flight (and many others) was diverted to Tampa, and was significantly delayed inbound to Orlando.  As we would miss our connection in Phoenix to Long Beach on the last flight of the night, I proactively called USAirways, and fortunately got an excellent agent (Debbie) who was newly cross-trained on the American Airlines reservation system, which would be implemented by October.

Debbie not only got us rebooked on an American Airlines flight, but got us nonstop to LAX on the 6:30pm flight, and also in First Class!  This was a major thing, considering the two airlines reservation systems are still separate, and she was one of the first people to get trained on both.  Without her help, we would have had to go to American and plead our case, and may or may not have gotten the flight, much less First Class.

Our new AA flight from Orlando to LAX was five hours, but we had outstanding service, and nice inflight entertainment on this new A321 plane.  We both had the beef Tri-tips for dinner, and I had plenty of red vino along the way.  I watched the classic movie ‘An Affair to Remember’, with Cary Grant and Deborah Carr, which takes place on an ocean liner, while Dos watched the film about Liberace ‘Behind the Candelabra’.  He took a short nap after dinner, but I stayed up for the whole flight, which seemed to breeze by with the movies and inflight internet.

We got to LAX around 10pm, and it was a zoo!  Busy, busy, busy!  I used to fly out here fairly frequently, but it has been a few years since I’ve been, and boy was it busy!  We took a cab from LAX to Long Beach, and checked into the Queen Mary Hotel. Here is Dos boarding the ship.



We got checked in quickly and were on our way to our room, the spacious and grand old Eisenhower Suite.  While not plush like todays Penthouse Suite on Celebrity, with the plush woods, spacious accommodations with living room, huge master bedroom, maids or children’s bedroom, and two baths, we were more than comfortable.  There is an adjoining suite, also called Eisenhower, which I later found out was for the President’s or other dignitaries/celebrities assistant.  Here’s a couple pics of the room, and then we headed up on deck for a view of the pre-fourth fireworks.

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‘Twas a long day and trip out to California, but a good night’s rest will feel great.  Welcome to the Hotel Queen Mary!

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