Old Sep 10, 17, 11:36 pm
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 289
A Tale of Two Ritz's (RC Laguna Niguel, RC Half Moon Bay, AA J, B6 Mint, and more!)

A Tale of Two Ritz's (RC Laguna Niguel, RC Half Moon Bay, AA J, B6 Mint and more!)

Part 1. AA J/LAX Silvercar/In-N-Out Plane Spotting
Part 2. Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel
Part 3. VX F LAX-SFO and Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay
Part 4. Hyatt Highlands Inn + Big Sur
Part 5. JetBlue Mint SFO-JFK

It's been a while since we took a vacation without some other family or friend joining us. We were looking forward to our first solo adventure with our daughter. With some award stays to burn and AS miles to use, we started planning a few months back and decided on California. Our 11 month old daughter had been on 6 flights already, with the longest being Colorado, so we figured we could push it a bit and give a transcontinental to L.A. a whirl.

Day 1: September 1st, 2017
AA 171
Dep JFK: 6:00am
Arr LAX: 9:25am
Seats 7D/F + lap infant

After debating about parking at long term parking and taking the Air Train to Terminal 8, we decided against that, as having 4 bags (2 rollers + car seat + travel crib) was going to be too much to handle with the little one. We reserved a car via Carmel for the ungodly time of 3:45AM. FML.

Terminal 8 - JFK

Deserted Check-in

An empty Terminal 8 ahead of us. Precheck was empty at that hour and we were through in minutes.

Headed straight to the Flagship Lounge, which had opened minutes earlier.

Flagship Lounge check-in and entry

As expected, it was empty.

Spent about 45 minutes at the lounge, which was just enough time to let the little one run herself back to sleep. The lounge is decently sized (however I have seen SFO777s recent afternoon pics, which looks like it's annoyingly crowded). The food was simple and hit the spot as I wasn't counting on AA J breakfast to be anything to write home about.

Walked over to gate 43 at about 5:20am.

We arrived just as boarding opened up and we boarded easily. F and J cabin were full. I noticed availability for F via AA and BA websites the day before. I asked my wife what she thought about burning some more miles and going F, but she felt being next to each other would be more important as we did not know what to expect with the little one and figured it would be easier than being an aisle apart. I thought easier would be me in F and her in J with baby...that only got me dagger eyes and a "don't even f'ing think about that". In the end, I'm glad we went business.

Boarded an AA 321 that was delivered 3.5 years ago.



Cream cheese omelette was OK, the smoked salmon hash was not OK. The biscuit was delicious.

Arrived about 45 minutes early at LAX. Our bags were one of the first to arrive at baggage claim and then on to our next adventure: Getting to LAX Silvercar. I decided to give Silvercar a try. My brother has used them in the past and has had decent experiences. I then remembered, he only used them when traveling solo. I was with wife, daughter, 4 bags, stroller, diaper bag and it just happened to be almost a 100F in L.A. I wanted to laugh but I was crying inside.

We got our bags and up the elevator to departure level to find the shuttle that would take us to the off airport lot so that we can then walk to the Silvercar garage. Departure level was a mess, many different shuttles and passengers being dropped off, 4 lanes of traffic. We looked for the yellow and maroon shuttle. Ah, we found it! yes, it's coming, yes, it sees us, he's going to stop, i think he's stopping, holy F, it just passed us by, he's not stopping!
Well f this. Uber it is. $30 later we arrive at the wrong Silvercar location (apparently they have two) but the guy says no problem, fires up the app on my phone, shows me how to get in the car and we are good. Two t-shirts, $30, one dirty diaper later, we are loading our luggage into a 2016 Audi A4. I then remember I'm 6'4'' and man, this car is not easy to get into.

We needed to stretch our legs a bit so we stopped at the LAX In-N-Out to grab some burgers and do some plane spotting. Arrived just as this OZ A380 was landing, what a great location!

Runway to the left

OZ A380

A buddy of mine had just finished up a meeting nearby and came over to hang and spot with us. Watching JL 787 land.

Baby J too busy looking at the planes

JL 777

We then drove an hour and 45 minutes to the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, which would be home for the next 3 nights. To be continued tomorrow....

Last edited by benjahman; Jul 18, 18 at 10:20 am
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