The Last Push! The Final 700 Tier Points to BA Gold!
AA45 Paris-CDG to New York-JFK – Business Class
- Why do I do this to myself? (The introduction)
- Off to Birmingham Airport, Air France AF1656 to Paris CDG
- Ibis Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport
- A Rushed Check in, AA Lounge
- AA45 Paris CDG to New York JFK
- A Delayed Transit, AA85 New York JFK to San Francisco International
- Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport
- Intercontinental Mark Hopkins
- One Time Special – Around the Bay and Under the bridge
- Two Time Special – 3 and a half miles. Across the Golden Gate Bridge and back
- Escaping San Francisco to the Crowne Plaza
- Early Morning San Francisco Airport, AA24 San Francisco to New York JFK
- A Dash Across Manhattan and NJ, Newark Airport
- BA Galleries Lounge, EC8004 OpenSkies Newark Airport to Paris Orly West
- Paris. City of Dreams, Romance and Pickpockets?
- Eurostar 9013 Paris Gare du Nord to London St Pancras, Chiltern Railways London Marylebone to Birmingham Snow Hill
- 700TP: Job Done
AA45 Paris Charles De Gaulle 2A to New York JFK T8
American Airlines Boeing 767-300ER, sold as Iberia IB4165
Seat 4J, Business Class
140 Tier Points Earned, 3,635 miles flown, 3,635+1,1,818+3,635 Avios Earned (Base+ Class of Service + Tier Bonus)
I was welcomed aboard the 767, which in Business class had been modernised at least to the Boeing signature interior (namely, it has the pivot bins that have more room in them).
I was dreading the 767s for a simple reason – last time I was aboard one, I was on a twice-rebooked flight escaping from a hurricane, and it wasn’t that great a ride (not in terms of weather, but in terms of seat that had limited recline and limited space – and that was in the bulkhead).
So, you can imagine I had some trepidation even in business class.
Thankfully, the seat was in a good condition with everything working (that makes a change) and for a previous generation seat (a lie-angle seat… or a Wedgie seat) it wasn’t that bad – at least for a day flight.
I settled into my seat as boarding begun its merry way, with the plane filling out (it looked like it was a full load – something common with all the AA flights this trip)
Boarding in progress
Crew weren’t exactly fast off the mark, with pre-departure beverages served about 10 minutes before the doors went to close, however, they seemed to brighten up as the flight progressed.
As departure time came, the doors went to close, and our 767-300ER pushed back.
Il pleut (Still)
The safety demo was completed, and after a short trundle around Paris CDG (Trust me, it was short – I’ve been on a 40 minute trundle around CDG before on-board an Air India 747), passing Concorde (Nope Air France – still don’t forgive you for that debacle).
and soon enough we lined up for take off.
Conditions were similar to the day before – i.e. lots of Eau d’Paris falling, so it was a bumpy ride upwards (and I’d get a load more chop on the way on this ride), but after a while, the plane found some clear air so that service could commence.
A hint of blue sky
Orders were taken, with my order for the chicken was met without a question. Meanwhile, already installed in the seat was a tablet computer and some Bose headphones (they were at seat upon arrival) .
Apologies for the ugly person taking the photo reflected back from the screen
Attempted seat back mounting on the ground… didn’t exactly work (it slipped a LOT)
DC Power Outlet
The 767s that American has are not the first plane in the world you’d select for an IFE experience – especially if you’re in the main cabin, as the only IFE you get is from the main screens (thus necessitating your own tablet or own GhettoIFE system). This is something AA recognised, and for those of us in Business Class customised Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1″ Tablets are the ordered of the day.
Customised? Heavily. It almost demands a mains presence via the DC Adaptor (so good luck getting any work done if you want to use the DC adaptor to do any of your own work and use the IFE system). Power sockets routed to the front of the tablet, as are the headphones (as opposed to the sides Whilst it looks a bit uglier than the normal ones you get, this is theft prevention in action – last thing you want is to use a tablet like this in this condition out in the open.
As we all know, whilst a shiny device is great, what makes or breaks and IFE system is a mixture of the user interface and the content that resides on it.
The User Interface experience was pretty flowing – those who use Apple iPads or Android devices should be able to get used to these devices with ease. Playback of videos was smooth, not too choppy (and minimal MPG artefacts… always a bonus) – however, precision time controls on playback was lacking in video mode (so jumping forward back a scene was pretty much a move and pray job).
Onto the content – and there was a fair mix of content with a mixture of new release movies, a lot of older movies, a smattering of TV shows and audio programming, some ebooks. The mix itself wasn’t bad, and catered well to general needs of passengers. For me, I found where The Big Bang Theory was…
… and then… Despicable Me 2.
Hehehe. Bottom. (Hilarious according to Sylas Ramsbottom – and funny in 19 different languages too).
Although I will give American this: I like the glass they use for Champagne (No they’re not proper, it is quantity before quality, and I was happy with for a glass of bubbles.
That’s MY kind of glass.
Served with Nuts. Not warm. Sadly mostly tepid (They’re not GhettoNuts. This would involve 0pening a bag of nuts and placing them in a sick bag created bowl…. and my origami skills aren’t THAT hot… like the nuts).
Lunch was served shortly thereafter.
Salmon Starter with an odd base
Salad with fetta cheese balls
The Salmon was reasonable, although the base tasted a bit odd – not unpleasant – but odd. The salad was fresh and the bread was of reasonable enough quality that couldn’t use it to assault your seat mate (not that I condone violence).
The main course was served which was Chicken and Mushrooms served with rice.
Chicken with mushrooms and rice
Not bad at all – the chicken was cooked very well, with the sauce giving a nice offset. The rice wasn’t soggy or overdone – something that is way too common on planes.
Meanwhile nature gave her impressive display outside
Now. You’re probably wondering where the picture of the Ice Cream Sundae is. Well there were two little issues. Issue 1) I hadn’t any lactase tablets on my actual person as they were in my bag in the overhead bin and 2) my seatmate was fast asleep.
Therefore… no sundae 🙁 Even if the flight attendant asked “Are you sure you don’t want a sundae? It’s the of part of the meal)
Still, I could watch the calories. I suppose.
After lunch was cleared down, a lot of the blinds came down and people rested as the flight continued its long slog across the Atlantic.
Cabin during cruise
Personal work light
Seating area during cruise.
As the flight went on I put the seat into recline mode and relaxed. I did try the bed mode – and boy, it was super-slopy to me – so it was deep recline mode for me.
I did try to do some other things – a bit of tidy, a bit of image sorting and the like, but I was noticing battery power was draining at a high rate – with no way to charge as they had DC sockets only (and I have no empower connector in my collection of cables). So I did what I did… and dozed for a bit.
But there was a lump of pretty rough air. How rough? Put it like this: I glad my glass of coke was pretty low…
A nasty bit of chop indeed.
Soon enough we were making reasonable enough time for the second service to commence. This would be for me a Tandoori Chicken Salad or a Pizza. I went for the Chicken.
Again, the chicken wasn’t cooked to death, with the spices coming through nicely. The Potatoes were cooked to a reasonable state (where they didn’t fall apart, but they didn’t feel like they were going to break your teeth.
Clear-down was done quickly, and the sparkling water service followed.
Yup. ‘nuff said? 😉
The Tablets and Bose headphones were collected with an hour to go. This required me to make my own entertainment, repack my bag as needed
And look out of the window too.
Landing was a bumpy affair as we descended through the cloud layers, approaching via Rockerway Beach, before kissing the ground safely
Some aggressive waves down there….
With that, the welcome announcements were made as the plane taxied around JFK, and finally towards Terminal 8. There was quite a wait whilst a gate was prepared for us, but we eventually turned into the T8 satellite, and finally to our parking position where the engines spooled down, and the seatbelt signs were switched off.
Pass the JetBlue Hanger
At this point, everyone got up (as did I), and I retrieved my bag (watching the minutes on my connection). With the door opening, I thanked the crew and headed out of the plane to deal with JFK…
Overall: Nothing bad to report in the least. The crew did a good job, and the food was of a reasonable quality. I love that the flight attendant chose to use a wine glass for my “large” serving of champagne (small little pleasures), but the seat they have… it wouldn’t be my first choice for long haul travel…
Next: JFK = Delay. ‘Nuff said?