Because of the oppressive heat and humidity in Austin, TX, I choose to check my bags at the ticket counter instead of curbside. This proved to be very quick, since there was no line. My boarding pass was issued at the ticket counter, this way I didn’t have to check-in at the gate, which is usual here.
AA #1425 (Super 80) was scheduled to departed at 5:00 p.m. We began boarding on time, and pulled away from the gate right on time. Although it was a very short flight from Austin to Dallas – 31 minutes – the cabin crew managed to get the beverage cart through the cabin and serve a beverage to each person who wanted one. Every seat on the plane was full. No special service or outstanding individual (like you might find working on Southwest), just a crew trying to get their jobs done.
We arrived at the gate in Dallas a few minutes late (fewer than five). I had 50 minutes to get to the gate for AA#1975 (Super 80) to Las Vegas. This was no problem, since the arriving and departing flights were in the same terminal. The Las Vegas flight, too, began to board on time. The E-ticket for this flight indicated that this flight included a snack. I was disappointed to find this was one of the classic “American Bistro” flights. As instructed by the ground crew, I grabbed my sack lunch from the refrigerated cart in the jetway. I really don’t understand why American can’t afford/manage to serve a meal on a two-½ hour flight that departs at the dinner hour.
Several people got into their seats and ate before the flight took off. I chose to wait until we were in the air and I could order a cocktail. The bistro bag included a chicken sandwich (cold, so the bread was soggy), but the chicken tasted good. There was also a bag of salt and pepper flavored potato chips, a small bag of dried fruit (apples, cherries, and raisins), and a package of two Pepperidge Farms sugar cookies (crispy). There was also an eight-oz. bottle of water. I ordered two Jack Daniels and Coke, and was given one cup of ice and a can of Coke about ¾ full. The only difficulty I had was getting more Coke and ice when I wanted it. The crew served coffee, then passed through the cabin for trash, then came back with my Coke and ice.
Again, on this leg of the flight, no special service or smiles. The crew just seemed like they were working hard to get their jobs done and get the plane and passengers to Las Vegas safely.
We arrived in Las Vegas a few minutes ahead of schedule. Baggage arrived at the carousel about 25 minutes after we disembarked.
Departing Las Vegas four days later, I arrived at McCarran about one-½ hours before scheduled departure. I used the curbside check-in, because in Las Vegas they check your bag and issue your boarding pass(es) at curbside. There was no line, and I was off to the gate in no time.
AA#1884 to Dallas began boarding right on time. The ground crew announced that the plane would be full and they would strictly enforce the carry-on limits. Several passengers checked luggage at the gate. We pulled away from the gate about 10 minutes late.
This flight was on a 757 with “entertainment.” The entertainment was what seemed to be a two-hour commercial for CBS. They aired an episode of “King of Queens” but mostly commercials for CBS programming introduced by Craig Kilborne. I chose to listen to the classical music station on the headsets.
The E-ticket for this flight indicated lunch for coach. We were served what the cabin crew referred to as a snack. The food included a hot ham and cheese sandwich, Lay’s Potato Chips, and a brownie with nuts on top. The food tasted okay, but was by no means a true lunch. Again, it was hard to get more ice for my soda.
The flight arrived in Dallas about 15 minutes early. We taxied directly to the gate (actually a big surprise on a Friday at 4:30 p.m. at DFW). I had to go from Terminal C to Terminal B to catch my connecting flight to Austin. This change of Terminals is the furthest within American’s secure area at DFW. I took their tram to the other Terminal. One word of caution regarding the AA tram, hold on to something or sit down. The AA trams provide a very jerky, rough ride.
As I approached the departure gate, the Austin flight began boarding, so I walked directly onto the plane. AA #60 (Super 80) departed DFW right on time at 5:13 p.m. Every seat on the plane was full. We actually arrived at the gate in Austin about 15 minutes early. Again, this is a very short flight, but the crew managed to serve everyone who wanted a beverage. Baggage arrived in the carousel about 20 minutes after our arrival.
This trip confirms that American simply works to move people. They don’t do anything out of the ordinary or special. The crews I encountered were professional, but they all looked haggard and unhappy. Next time, Southwest!
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