While this weekend took a little more planning than I usually do for 2 nights, it was well worth it for Joann’s birthday! On Saturday morning, my Dad drove us from North Jersey to LaGuardia. There’s no horrendous NYC traffic in the morning on the weekend so it was a short 25 minute drive to LGA’s Terminal B. With no bags to check, Joann and I walked straight to security which was moderately busy. We showed our mobile boarding passes that displayed PriorityAAccess and we were directed to a shorter line. Note: Redeeming British Airways Avios points on American Airlines will result in getting Priority AAccess even without any status. Bonus!
After a quick walk through the metal detector, we went off to find the American Airlines Admirals Club for a few snacks and coffee. It was right across our gate D3. I showed my mobile boarding pass and American Express Platinum card to the agent who welcomed us in.
The lounge was similar to any other domestic lounge we’d been to – leather seats, plenty of outlets, nice tarmac views, free coffee and bagels. All fine by me. The one cool thing about this lounge was there was a separate area that had dining tables and a counter where you could order food! I’d never seen this before so I ended up looking it up online and finding out that AA is trying to implement in-lounge dining in all of their lounges. I think it’s a great idea for both the passengers and the airline, if they can put out decent food, of course.
With 40 minutes to go, we packed up, took a few apples for the ride, and walked over to our gate to see it deserted except for a gate agents. We scanned our mobile boarding passes and walked through the jetway and onto the aircraft with glaring stares coming our way. Apparently, we were the last passengers on this lightly loaded flight and boarding was finished for a few minutes already. Whoops! We’re used to the United mess and people clogged up in the aisle when it comes to boarding.
As we walked down the aisle towards our seats in the back, 30B and 30C, the gate agent, who had followed us in, signaled to the flight attendant that we were the last passengers. The flight attendant then asked us what seats “they gave us”, presuming we were standby passengers. After I told her 30B and 30C, she said, “You can just sit here” (motioning at the empty exit row). We didn’t say a word, tossed our carry-ons overhead and buckled up. Sure, we’ll take a free exit row without paying or having status! If I were an Elite and saw this, I’d be pretty pissed but I’ll take it for this flight.
The flight still ended up departing early and everything else went smoothly. The flight attendants were super friendly. Overall, it was a great flight after not having flown American Airlines for at least 10 years. Side note: I think that if I ever went for top tier elite status (100k miles flown), I’d do it on AA even though UA dominates EWR, my home airport. Those “eVIP’s” (or systemwide upgrades) are much more valuable on AA than UA, since you can upgrade ANY fare class, even the deeply discounted ones.
Once we were wheels down in Miami, we walked downstairs to the ground transportation area and quickly snagged a $32 flat rate cab to South Beach…