After a short night’s rest at the DFW Airport Hyatt Regency, Steve (DOS) and I got up around 5:30am to get ready for our 8am flight to Santiago. As I detailed in the last post, the flight was supposed to depart last night at 8:30pm, but due to weather at DFW the flight was delayed nearly 12 hours as so may passengers like us missed the flight. We had a quick breakfast buffet at the Hyatt, before taking the hotel’s shuttle over to terminal D at 6:30am.
Since our luggage was checked thru to Mendoza the previous day in Orlando, we only had carry on luggage so it made for a quick checkin and TSA security check. We had only a few minutes, but we did briefly stop by the American Flagship Lounge we had missed going to last night as it closed at 10pm. The newly opened lounge is quite nice and we had coffee and I had a bit of bacon and croissant before we headed down to our gate for the delayed 8am flight.
Our new flight time of 8am on Saturday was delayed slightly at the gate while it was being catered. (No idea why since it was the same plane and same dinner meal as we would have received on our flight from 12 hours earlier. Assuming the food was taken off the flight they had plenty of time to re-cater the flight before delaying boarding another 1/2 hour without announcing the new delayed departure time over the speaker or video boards. Whatever, at least the Boeing 787 flight was going to fly today.
Once we boarded, however, we had exceptional service by the young relief Flight Attendant (FA) crew who were substituting from the originally scheduled crew from last night. DOS and I had sleeper ‘suites’ 3L and 4L in the 1 X 2 X 1 Business Class configuration (only Business Class, Premium Economy and Coach – no separate First Class section).
There were several Flight Attendants (FA) assigned to the large two section Business Class cabin, but Daniel was the FA we interacted the most with. Daniel said he had gotten called at 5am to be there for this 8a flight, as did many of the other FA’s. I told Daniel prior to deplaning that we really enjoyed his and the whole crew’s service. They were a young crew as opposed to a ‘seasoned’ crew, meaning many years of seniority, but I told him we much preferred the younger crew service as many times (not always, but often) the ‘seasoned crew’ have been there too long and are not as friendly or service attentive as a younger more energetic crew.
Here are some photos of us after boarding the new Boeing 787 jet. The 787 is a very comfortable plane, and the cabin pressure is lower and better than the older wide-bodies such as the 767, 777, and even 747, while it is also a quieter plane. In American’s version of the 787 Dreamliner, the Business Class seats are configured in an alternating forward/backward facing arrangement. This setup offers privacy and presumably saves space too, without compromising the lie-flay seating, nor bothering you with someone reclining in your space, as each Business Class seat has a fixed bulkhead.
The windows do not have shades, rather they are darkened or lightened via a button by the window – pretty cool! The suite itself is very comfortably designed with two 110 power outlets, USB outlets, a couple different lights, sliding tray table, large personal screen TV with touch screen and remote control, and easy to reach control for reclining the seat to a range of positions, including lay flat. American also provides Bang and Olufsen noise canceling headsets for use, although as the FA normally collects these an hour before the flight ends, we always bring our own Bose headsets.
Even though the 12 hour delayed flight from DFW to Santiago now left after 8am, it was still catered with the original meal selections from the night before. So around 9am when we are being served inflight, we were first served a drink and mixed nuts, followed by dinner! Nothing like having a beer and nuts first thing in the morning, along with beef ribs and vino, and later dessert – all for ‘breakfast’! Actually it was fine as DOS and I each watched a movie with ‘dinner’ and then slept for a good 5 hours or so on the 9 1/2 hour flight.
Upon waking up, what should have been morning, was actually evening, and I at first thought ‘What a beautiful sunrise’, only to realize it was a sunset over the Andes Mountains, as we approached Chile. Just to throw the body clock off a bit more, we had our ‘breakfast’ meal at the now 6pm dinner hour, again thanks to the catering times of the 12 hour delayed flight.
For take-off and landing in the forward-facing Business Class seats only, you have to wear an additional seatbelt strap over your chest. DOS was facing backwards, so he just had a regular seatbelt fastened.
Upon arrival, we weren’t sure if we had to claim our luggage or not, as it was originally going to be checked all the way thru to Mendoza. To American Airline’s credit, they gave us a hotel and meal voucher (without us asking for one) when we inquired about our luggage whereabouts. We had to stay overnight in Santiago, since the Mendoza flight had left in the morning, and we were rebooked on the noon Mendoza flight now scheduled for the next day (Sunday). We were not expecting a hotel or meal voucher, and ironically DOS had already reserved the same Holiday Inn hotel on our own, knowing we would be stranded overnight.
The Holiday Inn hotel is a very deluxe hotel and conveniently located just a short walk outside of the departure area. We have stayed there a couple times, and always enjoy the service and location. We would also stay there as a day room on our long 8 hour connection thru Santiago on the way home.
We did have to claim our luggage in Santiago as we misconnected on the first flight, so we gathered our luggage and were quickly thru customs. We makes the short walk across the arrivals area, outside to the Holiday Inn, and checked in.
After dropping off our luggage in the room, we then headed down to the lounge/restaurant area for a brewski and dinner, now at the proper dinner time of 8pm. The room while not huge, was quite comfortable for one night, and very soundproof as well being that it was on the airport property.
After heading down to the lounge area, I first had a local brewski, while DOS had a Coke Zero. DOS meanwhile had to contact the Hyatt in Mendoza to let them know we were coming a day later now, as well as contact our private winery tour company that we would be delayed a day getting there. Fortunately both the Hyatt and our tour waived the cancelation fees due to the delayed American Airlines flight.
After drinks and a couple phones calls, we went to the adjacent dining room, and used our voucher which included a pre-selected meal of soup, roasted chicken, asparagus mashed potatoes, followed by a nice chocolate dessert. It was a nice and relaxing meal after such a long and delayed start to the trip.
After dinner it was time for a shower and well deserved night’s rest. Our flight the next day did not leave until noon, so we could catch up a bit on our sleep. Buenas Noches from Santiago!