We started our day with breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport, where we had stayed last night, taking advantage of the seven day airport parking, as well as being a bit more relaxed before our overnight flight to Chile.
As I have Hyatt Diamond status, we got a late 4pm checkout, which allowed me to get a full day of work in, as our first flight to Miami was not until six pm. Here we are at gate 57 in Orlando waiting for our flight to Miami.
Our American Airlines flight to Miami was on a Boeing 767, and our Business Class seats on this two cabin aircraft were in the middle section, 3D and G. This quick 40 minute flight was slightly delayed by lightning, (almost guaranteed to strike late afternoon in the Florida summers), but fortunately there wasn’t a big storm, and we were on our way by 6:45.
Our connecting flight to Santiago, Chile didn’t depart until 10:45pm, so we had nearly 3 hours in Miami, which we made the most of by relaxing in the Premium Lounge in the E concourse. We came into concourse D, so had a bit of a walk to E, but stopped to admire the sunset view amongst the planes along the way.
The Premium Lounge is for departing international Business/First Class passengers on American, British Airways, One World, and a couple other airlines, and was excellent, offering complimentary premium food and drinks in a living room-like setting.
We were really impressed with their food offerings, which consisted of a nice buffet spread of hot and cold foods, salads, fruits, and savories. Likewise, the drinks included a full bar, several wines, Tattinger Champagne as well as several different beers. Too many choices, in such a short amount of time!
I had a couple of brewskis and some Cabernet Sauvignon while pairing it with some cheeses, cold cuts, and fruit, while DOS stuck to veggies, fruit and snacks, not wanting to fill up before the dinner flight to Chile.
We headed out of the lounge around 9:45pm and over to our flight in the D Concourse, making a quick ‘campaign’ photo op with one of the future Presidents!
The 10pm boarding for our American Airlines flight to Santiago was very orderly,
and once aboard we (and the other Business/First passengers) marveled at the spacious and remodeled seating arrangement, which was in a 1 X 2 X 1 configuration, with alternating front to back ‘suite seats’.
American has recently updated their Boeing 777-200 series jets as a two class (formerly 3 class) configuration with these Business-First seats and the coach section, although they do have a main cabin extra section with extra legroom in coach behind the Business-First cabin.
Steve (DOS) and I had been researching the seat maps on Seat Guru and other sites, and for all the research we did, it basically comes down to sitting in the seat first to see which is to your liking. While we were both in the single seat window/aisle right side of the plane (2L and 3L), DOS faced backwards, and I faced forward.
We had read so many comments from others about how the seats were connected and moved when your adjoining seat-mate got up, but we didn’t find that to be an issue at all.
What I did find a slight issue was the forward-facing aisle seats were angled towards the window, but the person In the adjacent middle section window seat was directly facing you, which felt a bit awkward at first.
Fortunately it was a night flight, so it wasn’t a problem, and I chatted with my seat mate and his family a bit before and towards the end of the flight. The back facing seats actually seemed more private as they didn’t directly face other passengers, contrary to comments we had read prior to traveling. The overhead bins were quite large, while the Business-First seating looked like a call center with all the individual ‘cubes’, and the mood lighting added some interesting colors to the cabin.
The Chilean-based flight crew was excellent, and provided very attentive service. We each had a welcome aboard drink of orange juice, champagne or water as we were welcomed by the Flight Attendants assigned to our section. I choose the champagne of course.
Once in the air, the cabin service began, and I had a brewski with my warm nuts starter.
The only drawback to this seating arrangement, was I could not see DOS, nor share dinner conversation with him. If you are traveling as a couple it would be more preferable to have 3H (middle section) and 3L (aisle) as the middle section backwards facing seat actually looks directly at the window,forward facing seat. We both got a few hours sleep on this eight hour flight though, much aided by the fully reclining sleeper seats on this 777 aircraft.
The flight was quite smooth, and we were gently awakened and served breakfast about an hour before landing. A first for me was the requirement for forward-facing passengers to wear a shoulder strap in addition to their seat belt for take off and landing only.
Customs and immigration went smoothly, and were soon in a cab by 8am, and at our hotel, the Grand Hyatt Santiago in 35 minutes, even with the morning rush hour. Our cab driver Pierre was very nice, and we communicated in broken English and Spanish on the way to the hotel. We actually arranged for him to pick us up at 5:30 tomorrow for our onward bound flight to Easter island.
We got to the Grand Hyatt, and although our room wasn’t ready at his early 8:45am, hour, we were able to,relax in the 16th floor Grand Club, and have breakfast while we waited on our room, which was ready within the hour.
Bienvenidos a Chile !