The Traveling Steve's

Way-Cation weekend!

This weekend was a whirlwind travel trip of flying, different hotels, and different cities. I guess you could call it a mileage run, but it was more than that – it was a good way to check out the Business/First Class seating on three different jumbo jets we would be taking later in the year, try out a new Hyatt Hotel at LAX, and even to see how comfortable our new pants are! DOS had bought us 3 pairs each of these Columbia light-weight pants which we plan to take on our February trip to Vietnam.  The pants are full length, but actually unzip at the knees to become short pants should the weather change! They are amazingly comfortable, and actually quite stylish, which was surprising as we bought them for our day-to-day touring.


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We started our Way-Cation (new word for us – it’s like a stay-cation, but it’s a WAY- WAY-AWAY instead of ‘stay’ for a quick weekend) with an overnight stay at the Hilton Miami Airport on Friday night.


We’ve stayed there several times and it’s a convenient hotel right across from the airport on a small lake, giving it a resort-like feel with the walking/jogging nature trails on the property.  Here’s a couple photos from Saturday morning, one with me in those fancy Columbia pants!  LOL!IMG_9350 IMG_9354

We had a nice balcony room IMG_9307 IMG_9347




with a great view of the airport across the busy freeway, and and as always we enjoy watching the planes come and go.

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After getting checked in, we had a couple appetizers and drinks in the hotel lounge at the hotel before having dinner in the adjacent restaurant.  We always like relaxing in the lounge here upon arrival, and as a Hilton Diamond member we get two complimentary appetizers, and I had a Sierra Nevada brewski along with them.




We then had a light dinner in the hotel’s Coral Cafe restaurant, which offers a casual setting with a cruise-ship like cafe feel. IMG_9331

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We had a small steak and some Conundrum Red, followed by a Florida classic Key-Lime pie. We chatted with a group of people at the adjoining table as they were discussing their trip in the morning along with a tour guide. It turns out they were going to Cuba for a fishing and exploration trip, and they were all very excited about going.

In the morning, the view out our hotel window and balcony had changed dramatically, as in it was so foggy you couldn’t even see the airport or freeway across the street!

IMG_9345Not a good sign for flying! The hotel was quite a bit noisier than I remember, and I heard planes quite loudly throughout the night, but seemed to stop early in the morning; no doubt due to the heavy fog. Fortunately the fog started lifting by the time we finished breakfast, and the flights were operating more or less on schedule by the time of our 10:55am flight (except ours of course).



We had breakfast in the Coral Cafe, again complimentary as a Diamond member, which was a nice perk as it was $50 for the two of us, although we left a $10 gratuity. We took a short walk around the Hilton property, past the pool, down to the Gazebo overlooking the lake.

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After breakfast, it was time to fly – literally to Dallas connecting to Los Angeles. We left our car at the Hilton, and took the shuttle to the airport, checking in at the American Airlines ticket counter to get our boarding passes, even though we carried our weekend tote aboard.

Compared to Orlando, Miami airport definitely has a Latin/Caribbean/South American feel to it, vs the family Disney tourist atmosphere. After checking in, we went thru the TSA Pre-check lane and were quickly on our way to the Admiral’s Club which was surprisingly packed for a Saturday morning over a holiday (Martin Luther King) weekend. Enjoying our coffee and a couple phone calls, we had an hour to relax before heading for our flight to Dallas, with a quiet window seat overlooking the terminal down below.


We also walked around the large and busy lounge touring its many rooms, snack areas and business center.


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I also noted some of the nostalgic artwork memorabilia hanging on the walls.


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Of course, Murphy’s Law had other plans for our Saturday 10:55am flight. We went to the gate 40 minutes ahead of time to board this Boeing 777 jet (the same type DOS used to fly), IMG_9438



but unfortunately the inbound flight was late, and since it was an inbound international flight, it took much longer to service, have the security check etc. We had an hour and 50 minute connection, so at first we weren’t too concerned, even as we boarded 40 minutes late.





Then a maintenance issue arose, and we pretty much could kiss our connection goodbye. While a missed connection is always a disappointment and sometimes challenge due to the always full flights, we had First Class seats reserved on the DFW to LAX flight on the brand new Boeing 787!  We were really looking forward to taking the 787 for the first time, and we specifically booked this flight itinerary to take it.  Now we didn’t know what plane we would end on (probably in the middle on the back row of coach I’m thinking) and with several hours layover. Considering we only have a night in LAX, a late  night arrival would not be much fun.

Anyway, we finally left Miami 2 1/2 hours late, and had a decent and quiet flight to Dallas in ‘Business Class’ seats, yet with economy service on this 2 class-booked domestic flight (even though it’s 3 classes on international flights). We didn’t get upgraded to First on this flight, but had nice seats, just not the service. DOS took this photo of me before we left and said I look like a Playboy Bunny with the AA ears (wings logo) showing behind me! LOL!


Since the 777 is used mostly for international service, it was not equipped with wifi, which made it a bit stressful on the 3 hour flight to DFW not being able to look up our options for other flights. I had called the Executive Platinum desk right before we departed, and the agent told me the only other flight availability wasn’t until 9:30pm, which would have been an afternoon and evening spent in the DFW airport, not to mention getting to LAX around 11:30pm.

As luck would have it, In one of the rare good endings to airline delays, we checked our AA app as soon as we landed, and somehow had been rebooked on an Airbus 321 flight that left at 3:45, less than an hour after our original 3pm flight had left. Still we had to rush like heck to make the flight, going from Terminal D to A with less than half an hour connection, which for Dallas is minimal. This was definitely our lucky day, however, and not only did we make the flight, we actually got the last two First Class seats 1D and F! I guess someone else missed their connections for this flight as we really thought we would be having dinner in Dallas this Saturday night – due to the full flights.

The A321, while not a wide-body, was a brand new jet purchased by AA, and equipped for Trans-Con service with individual entertainment TVs at each seat. Although there were plenty of movies/TV/music selections, I left my screen on the flight map status, showing our progress as we criss-crossed the country, while using my iPad with the Gogo-inflight internet service, which I have a monthly subscription to.

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As we flew over the snow-covered Rocky Mountains, we were served a nice dinner aboard the flight. The Flight Attendant apologized the oven was not working, so the chicken was served cold along with the salad. I told here we were just so glad to make this flight, and explained how we missed our first Boeing 787 flight. She was disappointed for us as well, saying the 787 is wonderful – and made sure we were comfortably served throughout the scenic flight.

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The next post continues with our arrival into LAX on our Way-Cation weekend.

One thought on “Way-Cation weekend!

  1. Pingback: Dinner at LAX (Way-Cation part 2) – The Traveling Steve's

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