Did a mileage run from PDX-PHL with a r/t price of $246.
10-Jan 2014. PDX-ORD-PHL
AA 115 PDX-ORD 737 Sky Interior Seat 5A
Upgrade cleared T-72 and I pre-ordered the beef filet for lunch. Scheduled departure of 1:25p but announcement came that ATC in Chicago pushed our takeoff to 2:15pm. Maintenance problem resulted in a 3:00pm takeoff, meaning a missed connection at ORD but there was a later flight to PHL so I wasn't sweating it. Flight was booked less than 50% in both classes. PDB unlimited as we were delayed at the gate. FA working First was outstanding. After takeoff warm nuts, hot towels, unlimited drink refills. Beef filet was miniscule, as were sides. 2 warm cookies for dessert. Very bumpy approach into a foggy and windy ORD.
Verdict: 7/10. A pleasant flight, even with the delay. Too bad the meal was not filling.
AA 4220 ORD-PHL E75 Seat 2A
Upgrade cleared T-72. I should have missed this flight, but it was delayed long enough for me to make it. Brand new E75, with my single seat on the left. 100% full . No power ports and oddly placed windows. Flight departed nearly two hours late due to problem with loading bags and runway congestion. No PDB, but a full meal served even though flight was listed as "refreshments." Spicy chicken tenders and potato salad good - turtle cheesecake excellent. Excellent FA in First - despite a very bumpy ride most of the way.
Verdict: 6/10. Ground delay at ORD was crazy and aircraft was not that comfortable. Tasty meal and good service helped somewhat.
11-Jan 2014. PHL-DFW-PDX
AA 1289 PHL-DFW MD-80 Seat 4F
Upgrade cleared T-72. Late inbound aircraft meant a fast boarding and no PDB. 100% full in both cabins. About 30 minutes after takeoff, plane was hit by lightning - huge blue flash and hollow pop. Scared everyone - and FA's stayed seated for first 45 minutes of flight. Once clear, service began and it was slow. Warm nuts, drinks, hot towels, followed by my pre-order of cornmeal crusted chicken that was lousy. Highlight was warm cookies and cold milk. Very senior FA never smiled and moved slowly.
Verdict: 5/10. The weakest segment of the trip. Middling service and a bland meal exacerbated by a frightening lighting strike made this a flight to forget.
AA 1529 DFW-PDX MD-80 Seat 4F
Upgrade cleared T-72. 100% in Y but only 50% in F. No PDB and FA was slow to begin the service, which gave me pause. Once going, she was beyond excellent. Drinks refilled constantly, refills of nuts, shrimp cocktail, and hot rolls complemented a very nice grilled chicken breast entree. Ice Cream and cheese plates were served for dessert. Hot towels and ice water served during a bumpy approach into PDX.
Verdict: 10/10. Nothing beats a lightly loaded, on-time flight with continuous, friendly service.