Old Jun 21, 17, 8:59 am
  #9  
G-CIVC
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: ORD + HKG
Programs: CX Diamond, AA exExPlat, BAEC Gold, HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist, Starriott Gold, GE
Posts: 2,811
AA 219 LAX-ORD, First Class

Because of the schedule cutbackchange, my layover in LAX was now 7.5 rather than 1.5 hours. With the harrowing experience of getting denied at QF F lounge a few days ago, I had contemplated an In-n-out run instead but I wanted to try my luck once again.

To build up my bravery, I prepared a bit at the KAL lounge which I got in by PP. The picture below of gate lice for the BA 380 to LHR is the best picture I got from the visit, which probably tells you how boring and uninspiring it was:


After a while, I took my leap of faith...across the alleyway barging my way in once again.

And......success! This time I was not carded. As funny as it sounds, I put on a facial mask to look less (or more?) suspicious, and also overwhelmed the agent first before she could, politely 'asking' if I could get access by virtue of status showing my BPs (as there'd been anecdotes about entry denials for EXPs). This did the trick and I was let in without further questions asked after my BPs got scanned. Of course, they were different agents as those on Wednesday night.


Yayyyyyyy!


As many bloggers have written about, the lounge did live up to its expectations. It was stylish, spacious and very different from your average US airport lounge. Even the style of seats were diverse with great comfort. I just casually lounged around, watched TV and fidgeted with my phone and forgot about In-N-Out.

Soon, it was time for dinner. Interestingly there were a few pax I recognized from the AA192 flight, so not only FTers know their stuff it seems...



The salt and pepper squid was indeed 'aspirational' if just a bit too spicy and too much for a single person to have


The service was extremely professional and attentive, and from time to time items were offered fresh out of the kitchen, in this case some sort of stuffed egg roll:


Both the tuna tartare and beef burger/fries were excellent and indeed bordered 'restaurant quality':



Since I didn't want to be asked to leave again, I stayed away from drinks...except for the hot chocolate that I had with the waffles with ice cream and chocolate mousse for dessert. It was off the menu so I was so impressed with how it was presented and of course how fine it tasted!


As there was so much time I ordered course after course. By the time I was done I was very stuffed and the evening had flown by. After lounging and people-watching with an atrium view, I took a shower before I left for my 11:45pm departure back to Chicago over at T4.




Unfortunately, the shower rooms were underwhelming - the water pressure was weak, amenities were lacking compared to the Pier F (dental kit only on request, no cups and facial amenities etc)...there wasn't even a floor mat. I guess that's how QF designs their showers as the otherwise excellent QF HKG lounge also suffers from the same problems. Anyway, I was still able to take a shower and get ready for the red-eye flight home.

It was a short trek back to T4, but there were great tarmac views along the walkway, including once again seeing both CX and AA 77Ws bound for HKG, the very same AA jet again in the same spot that I left off a few days ago.






With a little time left I quickly made a dash to the AC to pick up a bottle of water. The very friendly young drAAgonAAngel recognized me (as I bugged them for confirmation of separate ticket protections in case of IRROPs on my way out a few days ago). He wittily asked if I was doing a 'miles run' and even told me that the ORD flight would be a bit late so I could take my time.

He was very true as gate 48B was all about licelies of an on time boarding process/departure.

Sunday after thanksgiving was probably the reason that prompted a 788 on this flight tonight which normally is just on a pathetic 738. To me it was the only reasonable reason I could change my itinerary to two days ahead as the EXP agent accepted my request- she was willing to move me to a one-time red-eye with a proper flat bed from an original day flight back to ORD.


Finally at T-20, just before the agents lost their grip with the impending miss of D0, we were let on. This time the 787 was lighted up inside in a much more stylish lighting scheme compared to the outbound.

American Airlines 219
Los Angeles (LAX) to Chicago O'Hare (ORD)
November 27th 2016
Estimated departure/arrival: 2345 - 0546+1
Actual departure/arrival: 2354 - 0528+1
Flying time: 3h 1m
Equipment: Boeing 787-8 N806AA
Seat 5A


I applied my SWU ahead of the international leg, so I had no problem securing yet another non-shaking seat 5A.



I really like the 'Hercules'-style o/h lockers on the 787 just like the 777 compared to the 'basketball' style on the A330s for example. But I guess the crew don't like it that much

More shots of cool features in cool lighting schemes:




I was ready to crash so changed into my PJs as the masses boarded. I may have gotten eye rolled at but I don't care jokes aside tho, the crew were great and proactive, and even offered a full on demand PDB service, which I requested warm water...um....

Despite the large plane and initial boarding delay, we pushed just 10 minutes behind schedule and were soon on our way, u-turning over the coast.



Like everyone else we all reclined and tried to get to sleep immediately after. Yeah a long haul config on a red eye but oops, sorry, no pillows just a blanket. I think I used my sweater as a makeshift one...whatever. I woke just 'in time' for a sweet treat before arrival accompanied with coffee. We were blazing fast as the hop from LA back was just over 3 hours:

Mints were distributed before arrival too:


The ceiling must have been 1000' or less as once I saw the lights, we slammed into the wet ground immediately after. It was still dark outside:



A last look at my last seat of this crazy journey. There's also a shoulder-level extra storage compartment at row 5 of the 787:


Some of you may already have known, AAngels do not distinguish too much between arriving and departing passengers and as it was before 6 am, I was able to visit the AC for an extra cup of coffee, with my looooonggg day ahead. It was fun watching the action get going before I went for my Uber ride home.


Thanks for watching if you've made it to here and it certainly was two SWUs well spent! Perhaps I had low expectations to start with, the offerings of AA on this new service greatly exceeded my expectations in general although the somewhat lackluster service on the way back was a dent of some sort. If the price (and most importantly, availability...grrrr........) is right, I could see myself flying this route again over my preferred carrier of CX.

(Unfortunately, I chose not to this April for a quick weekend back home as AA continues to periodically struggle with IRROPs on their HKG rotations and I was on a tight schedule. Hopefully this will be fixed, or the pay raises for maintenance staff will be sufficient to alleviate their 'extreme meticulousness' in exercising their duties... )
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