The Traveling Steve's

Day 1 of my Sentimental Journey

Good morning everyone! It’s Steve (DOS) here for a change. I’m onboard my first flight leaving from Orlando, Florida to Charlotte. If you didn’t read my recent post Sentimental Journey, I need to give you a quick synopsis of the post and my upcoming week, so this post will make more sense. I’m doing a series of flights to make Executive Platinum (like Steve UNO has), and also reminisce about some of the flights I used to work before I retired as a pilot. I must say. It’s much more enjoyable flying as a passenger, especially in First Class! This week I will be on a total of 10 flights.

I’m seated in seat 3A on an A330-200 wide-body aircraft. The flight seems quite full, but it’s quiet and pleasant. My seat is nice as the configuration of the cabin is 1-2-1. One seat by the window, two seats in the middle and one seat by the other window. I think while I have to change aircraft in Charlotte, I’m going to be on the same plane and also same seat flying down to San Juan as the flight arrives into gate D3 and my flight to San Juan departs from gate D3.

This first flight is not much more than 80 minutes long from gate to gate and only 60 minutes in the air. I did have some coffee and a fig bar, which was very enjoyable.

The two flight attendants working the First Class cabin are both so friendly and caring. This young girl had a head cold and the flight attendant noticed that she was crying and realized the cabin pressure along with the effects of her cold made for a quite unpleasant pain in her ear. The flight attendant showed her how to hold her nose and then try and push air through her nose which will help relieve the pressure in her ears. She did it in such a loving way, which made me feel so good inside.

Steve and I had recently taken several flights on Korean Air and we both noticed how different the flight attendants were on Korean Air compared to American Airlines. The Korean Airlines flight attendants all look like models. Their skin was so smooth and flawless, and their uniforms make them look like little Korean Porcelin dolls. They bowed and treated all the passengers like royalty in such a formal manner. Not until now did I realize that they are not allowed to show any of their own personality in their job. Well, if they are, it doesn’t come across at all. While all American Airlines flight attendants don’t look like they walked off the fashion runways of Milan, they all have different personalities and while some are better than others, I’ve come to appreciate the diversity.

After a short layover in Charlotte Airport, I’m back on my next flight to San Juan. While my layover was short, I did have some time to take a little walk, look in a couple of the shops, change my money for Hawaiian Dollars, (just kidding) and return back to gate D3 to board the flight to San Juan. I am on the same plane as I was on my first flight, but the flight crew is different.

Once onboard, I had my pre-flight cocktail, in my case, Cran-Apple juice. Once we took off we were given warm nuts and another glass of Cran-Apple juice. For lunch I had pre-ordered the cold chicken salad and a warm chocolate chip cookie for dessert. Pre-ordering meals is a good option, as they only have two options in general for lunch, and it seems to me it’s rare that both options are appealing. No offense to American Airlines, but some of their choices seem less than appealing to the masses. The masses being Steve and Steve. For example, one common choice is lentil chili. While some people might love lentil chili, it doesn’t seem like a great option to serve to a bunch of people sitting together on a crowded aircraft. The cold chicken salad is quite nice, as they keep the chicken separate on a small plate, and the salad can be dressed with dressing gain in a small separate container, compared to the typical mayo chicken salad, which I don’t like.

The flight to San Juan went by very quickly and before I knew it I was arriving. We got in about 20 minutes early. I knew that there was a nonstop flight from San Juan to Dallas, which was scheduled to depart only ten minutes after our scheduled arrival, but since there was 30 minutes, I figured I see whether there was any room on that flight. That flight was sold out, which worked out very well anyway, as I was able to call Steve and walk around the airport and wait for my scheduled flight.

I’m now on my third flight for today, flying from San Juan to Miami. This flight is a B-737 and has a standard First Class seat. Luckily I’m in row two and the woman in front of me hasn’t reclined her seat at all, leaving me lots of room…well, enough room. The woman sitting next to me spoke no English, or at least the only time she conversed with the flight attendant it was in Spanish. She was a business woman and worked on her computer the entire flight.

The meal on this flight was eggplant parmesan with penne pasta. For dessert, there was a nice chocolate cake with a dab of cream on the side. I’m certainly not going hungry today! If you had asked me how I enjoyed the eggplant parmesan during the flight, I would have told you it was delicious. Hours later, when I was lying in bed at the Grand Hyatt DFW, my stomach would have to disagree. I don’t deal well with lots of cooked onions, and they must have loaded the eggplant parmesan with more onions than my system can deal with comfortably, so NO more American Airlines eggplant parmesan for ME!

The two flight attendants on this flight were also both very nice. The lead attendant was let’s say in her 40’s and had a great personality with dealing with people. Whenever she gave me anything, she addressed me as sweetheart. There are only a very few people that can do that and come across well. She did it magnificently. She was warm and charming and was a true pleasure having on the flight. The other flight attendant working the First Class cabin was a guy in his early 20’s, who handled all the preparation of the food and drinks for First Class. He was very organized so the meal service went by so efficiently. They really worked well as a team.

This is the only flight today that will offer wifi, but only when we are within a few miles of the coast, so if I’m lucky, maybe five minutes of wifi before we arrive in Miami.

I don’t want to take any photos of the flight attendants, in order not to invade their privacy.

When I arrived into Miami I had a little less than three hours before my last flight of the day, flying to DFW. I’ve spoken to Steve (UNO) at each stop and I have commented to him how rested I feel. I had the feeling I might feel tired after a full day of travel. Of course, I’m not there yet. But Steve pointed out to me that all I’m doing is sitting and eating, how tiring can that be? Steve so very kindly pointed out that when he travels for the day, he has to arrive and then go to work. He keeps reminding me that he still works and I don’t.

During my three hours in Miami Airport I had some time to play my computer games and catch up on email, speak to Steve about four times and have a light meal. My last flight of the day, from Miami to DFW leaves at 8:14PM, and any flight leaving after 8PM only serves warm nuts and a warm cookie. I was looking around the airport for something to eat and I first past an empty Nathan’s Hot Dog place. I looked at the price of a hot dog and it was $9.39. I really didn’t want a hotdog anyway, so I didn’t look to see whether anything came with the hotdog, but at my quick glance, it just looked like a plain hotdog. I thought $9.39 for a hotdog? I see why it’s empty. Then I passed a pizza place and found a fully loaded slice of pizza cost $9.79. Where do they come up with these prices??? When I was ready to give up and found a Chinese place that offered a choice of two main dish portions and some lo mein for $8.69. I had orange chicken and sweet and sour pork along with some lo mein for a reasonable price, at least at MIA prices.

My last flight of the day was again on a widebody aircraft, this time a B767-300. The seat chart on American’s website for this particular flight showed the new seating arrangement. The 767-300 is re-doing the seats in the First Class Cabin. The old configuration is 2x2x2. The new arrangement is 1x2x1. The new arrangement is SO much better. First of all, every seat is accessible to the aisle and the window seats are alone, giving you both a window and an aisle. Well, when I got on the plane it was the old configuration. I was in seat 4A, which meant I had to climb over the person in the aisle seat if I needed to get out. It worked out fine, as I didn’t need to get out at all. The gentleman sitting next to me was very nice and we chatted for a while and then we both took an hour nap before arriving into DFW.

Once I arrived into DFW, I took the Sky Train, over to Terminal D and right to the Grand Hyatt, which is located right outside security at Terminal D. So convenient and a very nice hotel. I quickly checked in and was up in my room on the top floor overlooking the runway.

Before heading to bed, I did my online check-in for my flight to Honolulu in the morning. 11:05AM, so late morning.

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