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AA: LAX-JFK-MIA-PTY RT $702 in A/J 18.9K EQMs

AA: LAX-JFK-MIA-PTY RT $702 in A/J 18.9K EQMs

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Old Oct 16, 16, 2:15 am   -   Wikipost
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OCTOBER 2016 UPDATE

LAX-JFK TRANSCONTINENTAL FLIGHTS:
Recent fare rule inclusions, effective October 2016, now prevent any routing via JFK on the non-stop transcontinental A321T aircraft. Any future booking will demand a significantly higher fare to route on the non-stops via JFK. Unless the fare rules are modified and these clauses are removed (highly doubtful), the ability to fly on the transcons via JFK is a thing of the past.
IF THE FARE COMPONENT INCLUDES TRAVEL BETWEEN LAX AND NYC
THEN THAT TRAVEL MUST BE ON
ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING
ANY AA FLIGHT OPERATED BY AA
BUT NOT ON AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A321 (SHARKLETS) AIRCRAFT.
AND
IF THE FARE COMPONENT INCLUDES TRAVEL BETWEEN SFO AND NYC
THEN THAT TRAVEL MUST BE ON
ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING
ANY AA FLIGHT OPERATED BY AA
BUT NOT ON AIRBUS INDUSTRIE A321 (SHARKLETS) AIRCRAFT.

1. Same day turns possible on the E-jets and morning 738s.

2. Bonuses now based on fare paid.

3. As of OCTOBER 2016, best fares are now around $1000. Fare tends to rise a few hundred for 2 pax. Fares can also occasionally rise for no discernible reason, but the price spikes have thus far proven to be temporary. Fares have the trend to drop during the year. Keep checking for fares in the $700-$800 ranges for best possible pricing.

4. Airport hotels with shuttles - Crowne Plaza Panama Airport & Riande Aeropuerto. The CP is slightly closer; the Riande is slightly nicer. The CP shuttle leaves the hotel every :00 and :30 and runs 24 hours but they seem to leave a few minutes early as it had left when I went down at 4:00AM on the dot. Also, note UberX charges a US$14 surcharge on top of the ~US$2 fare. CP has poor sound isolation, I could hear my neighbors on both sides including talking, crying baby etc. Had to wear earplugs to sleep.

5. Lounges:

Please refer to this thread for more detailed and accurate information on lounge access in general: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/amer...es-2016-a.html
LAX AIRPORT

= When trying to gain oneworld J / QF F access based on status, it is simply departing/connecting/arriving at any point on same ticket to and from an eligible international destination. PTY is eligible and not excluded regardless of length.

= When trying to gain oneworld J / QF F access based on class of service disregarding status, it is the international long haul clause that applies. Therefore, no "oneworld/QF lounge" access for non-elites for trips to and from PTY unless booking transcons since PTY is under 5 hours. BUT AA doesn't enforce this in their own lounges so Admirals Club access is expected.


AA GOLDs(RUBYs)/NON-ELITES
Admirals Club access is granted regardless of routing as AA does not enforce international long haul rule. However, the oneworld J lounge does for Golds(rubys)/non-elites as they are aware the PTY flights are under 5 hours. Booking transcon flights in J/F gains access to the OWJ/QFF lounges.
<Transcon 3-class (JFK/MIA) in F = Admirals + Flagship + LAX oneworld J lounge + QF F Lounge LAX>
<Transcon 3-class (JFK/MIA) in J = Admirals + LAX oneworld J lounge>
<Non-Transcon F (2-class) + PTY = Technically NONE (PTY under 5 hours therefore class of service rule applies) BUT AA still opens Admirals Club doors to all customers because they dont enforce the long-haul rule>

AA PLATINUMs
Platinums gain access to all AC/Business lounges regardless of routing due to flying to and from PTY. They gain access to First/Flagship lounges when traveling in F 3-class transcon
<Transcon 3-class (JFK/MIA) in F = Admirals + Flagship + LAX oneworld J lounge + QF F Lounge LAX>
<Transcon 3-class (JFK/MIA) in J = Admirals + LAX oneworld J lounge>
<Non-Transcon F (2-class) + PTY = Admirals + LAX oneworld J>

AA EXPs
EXPs have access to all lounges at all airports regardless of routing so long as they are traveling to and from PTY on the same itinerary (an international destination neither excluded from AA's list of ineligible regions nor limited by the flight length rule)
<EXPs Transcon F (2-class) + PTY = Admirals + Flagship + LAX oneworld J + QF F lounge LAX>
<EXPs Non-Transcon F (2-class) + PTY = Admirals + Flagship + LAX oneworld J + QF F lounge LAX>
<EXPs on Transcon 3-class (JFK/MIA + PTY) in Y = Admirals + Flagship + LAX oneworld J + QF F lounge LAX>
<EXPs on Transcon 3-class (JFK/MIA + PTY) in J = Admirals + Flagship + LAX oneworld J + QF F lounge LAX>
<EXPs on Transcon 3-class (JFK/MIA + PTY) in F = Admirals + Flagship + LAX oneworld J + QF F lounge LAX>

NON-AA ONEWORLD ELITES
All sapphires and emeralds have some form of lounge access on any flight systemwide
<non-AA sapphires on ALL AA FLIGHTS = Admirals Club + oneworld J lounge LAX>
<non-AA emeralds on ALL AA FLIGHTS = Admirals Club + oneworld J lounge LAX + Flagship Lounge + QF F lounge LAX>



OTHER AIRPORTS

SFO - Admiral's Club (Centurion Lounge for a fee)
JFK - Admirals Club & Flagship Lounge for EXP/First 3-class/Emerald
MIA - Admiral's Club (Centurion Lounge for a fee), Oneworld Premium Lounge for EXP/First 3-Class/Emerald
PTY - No lounge access (Copa with PP, or for a fee, for 7am or later flights)
YVR - No lounge access (PP for a fee)
DFW - Admiral's Club (with F/C Dining for EXP/Emerald) (Centurion Lounge for a fee)


6. PTY Customs:
Inbound to PTY -
  • 12 noon - no lines reported
  • 8PM Fri (5/27/16) - ~10 min line

Outbound to MIA -
  • 4:40am - no lines reported
7. Finding flights:

NOTE: LAX-JFK NO LONGER VALID FOR LOWEST FARES (effective OCT 2016)

If you want the transcon bonus, enter the search with a connection in JFK. (e.g. LAX-JFK,JFK-MIA,MIA-PTY,PTY-JFK,JFK-SFO.) You can play around from there to get the best deal. Some of the better deals do not start and end in the same city (e.g. start in LAX, end in SFO may be cheaper than start/end in LAX).

Also, it's possible on the outbound portion to time it so you have no more than a 60-minute layover at JFK or MIA (though note that some of these flights aren't available on weekends). While yes, JFK is notorious for delays, this rarely applies for inbound red-eye flights. Also, note that AA 28 below is sometimes "hidden" if you're looking on Google Flights inside a much more expensive trip; that does not necessarily mean, however, that you can't get it for one of the trips under $1,000 (in other words, try it out to see).

NOTE: LAX-JFK NO LONGER VALID FOR LOWEST FARES (effective OCT 2016)

Below is the shortest-possible outbound itinerary that has the LAX-JFK transcon on AA's A321T with flat-bed seats:

LAX-JFK on AA 28
10:45pm - 7:22am

JFK-MIA on AA 200
8:15am - 11:24am
(Note: AA has now switched all of the metal it used on this leg - on all JFK-MIA nonstops - to 757s instead of the 767s with international-style F & J seating.)***767 and 772 are back. Flight 200 is a 772**

MIA-PTY on AA 4434
12:33pm - 2:48pm
(Note: Even more distressingly, AA switched from using a 737 on this leg to an RJ, presumably because summer is off-peak season in Central America. The 6:05pm flight still uses a 737 if a full-size aircraft is a must.)
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Old Oct 24, 16, 8:59 am
  #1966  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Programs: Alaska MVP
Posts: 48
My partner and I are finishing up this run tomorrow, including a flight on the 77W from MIA to LAX. I've got to say, if this comes back and time allows it, Panama City is a wonderful place to stay a few days. Even during the rainy season, we loved every minute here. The canal is worth seeing, but the city itself is vibrant and friendly, and full of really delicious, affordable restaurants. Probably would never have visited here were it not for this mileage run, so thanks American (while it lasted...)
Hoosier1710 is offline  
Old Oct 24, 16, 9:55 am
  #1967  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Australia / USA
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP, VA Platinum, AS 75K, HA Platinum, HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by Hoosier1710 View Post
My partner and I are finishing up this run tomorrow, including a flight on the 77W from MIA to LAX. I've got to say, if this comes back and time allows it, Panama City is a wonderful place to stay a few days. Even during the rainy season, we loved every minute here. The canal is worth seeing, but the city itself is vibrant and friendly, and full of really delicious, affordable restaurants. Probably would never have visited here were it not for this mileage run, so thanks American (while it lasted...)
Were you on the MIA-PTY flights yesterday? I was on them yesterday but did a quick turn and straight back to MIA. Both flights were turbulent especially the return flight. It was a torrential downpour and lightning upon landing in PTY. Despite the rain, I know what you mean and think Panama and Central America in general are incredible places to explore.

I encountered a considerable delay and moderate to severe turbulence on every single flight on this run and I just cannot wait for it to be over. On three of the segments, there was no inflight service offered due to FAs required to be seated the whole flight. Missed a connection on the outbound transcon so had EXP desk put me on 787 via ORD but then a Y passenger went ill and unconscious on the plane during taxi to runway so plane had to return to gate and delay was 2 hours so then missed connection in ORD. Should have just waited the extra time for the next available nonstop but thought 787 would suffice. On my JFK-MIA flight on 77W in First with the J/Y cabins open to all Y, we were all boarded and ready to close doors and then captain reported a missing plug cover on outside of plane so we had to deplane and flight delayed 3 hours.

No equipment changes. Just a lot of delays either mechanical, pax incident, or weather. All I can say is that no run is similar to the next and it sure is an adventure whether good or bad. You just dont know what will happen next. The EXP line is priceless for rebooking and getting seats held on other flights for misconnects. I never needed to wait in line at a counter when I could simply call from my seat and have it all sorted quickly. I also received compensation, without asking, totaling 10K miles from Customer Relations for two of my delayed flights.

Heading back to LAX today. Paid 15k miles + $175 for the upgrade from J to F. I normally wouldn't waste money to be in a marginally better product in F over J but its been 4 days on this run and any additional comfort even in the slightest is worth it now.
wanderlust4life is offline  
Old Oct 24, 16, 11:40 am
  #1968  
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Posts: 524
Am returning to PTY for the 3rd time in recent months, this time via UA (they've been quietly matching P fares). Highly recommend Donde Josť for dinner and the mercado de mariscos. Cannot recommend the Waldorf, even on Amex booking.
Does anyone have recommendations for a day trip to the San Blas Islands? I don't need to hold sea stars (which seems to be a draw for those who live inland or have kids along) but I would like some snorkeling and visiting the indigenous people. Thanks!
ErthCrclr is offline  
Old Oct 24, 16, 11:47 am
  #1969  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Programs: Alaska MVP
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by wanderlust4life View Post
Were you on the MIA-PTY flights yesterday?
No, we came down before the weekend, so we could spend a few days here checking out the city (I agree on the Mercado de Mariscos: a great place) and the canal. Our flights were smooth, thankfully - the weather seems better early in the day this time of year. Unfortunately, I didn't get to enjoy them. I'm recovering from a sinus infection, and on both flights (from NYC and MIA), right as we hit cruising altitude, it felt like someone started stabbing an ice pick right into my frontal lobe. It didn't let up, no matter what I did, until we began descending. It was so debilitating I didn't eat on either flight - all I could do was hold my head in my hands and writhe in pain. I've been taking decongestants all weekend and hope that tomorrow's flights will be better; I'm really looking forward to flying F on the 77W and would hate to spend 5 hours doubled over in agony.

Hope your flights today go better than yesterday! Save travels.
Hoosier1710 is offline  
Old Oct 24, 16, 12:21 pm
  #1970  
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: YVR
Programs: BA GGL/CCR
Posts: 59
Originally Posted by ErthCrclr View Post
Am returning to PTY for the 3rd time in recent months, this time via UA (they've been quietly matching P fares). Highly recommend Donde Josť for dinner and the mercado de mariscos. Cannot recommend the Waldorf, even on Amex booking.
Does anyone have recommendations for a day trip to the San Blas Islands? I don't need to hold sea stars (which seems to be a draw for those who live inland or have kids along) but I would like some snorkeling and visiting the indigenous people. Thanks!
We did this tour (the overnight, but same company).

http://www.sanblasexperience.com/Packages.aspx

No issues, bit a bit primitive, unless that is what you are into! Very laid back, drivers good and on time. Long day trip I assume, but worth the journey. Amazing people, laid back atmosphere. They only let in a limited number of people per day I think, the indigenous people are very careful of this area. So go with a good, reputatable company they work with...

PM if you want more info.
47Chits is offline  
Old Oct 24, 16, 12:49 pm
  #1971  
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Australia / USA
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP, VA Platinum, AS 75K, HA Platinum, HH Diamond, Hyatt Globalist
Posts: 349
Originally Posted by Hoosier1710 View Post
No, we came down before the weekend, so we could spend a few days here checking out the city (I agree on the Mercado de Mariscos: a great place) and the canal. Our flights were smooth, thankfully - the weather seems better early in the day this time of year. Unfortunately, I didn't get to enjoy them. I'm recovering from a sinus infection, and on both flights (from NYC and MIA), right as we hit cruising altitude, it felt like someone started stabbing an ice pick right into my frontal lobe. It didn't let up, no matter what I did, until we began descending. It was so debilitating I didn't eat on either flight - all I could do was hold my head in my hands and writhe in pain. I've been taking decongestants all weekend and hope that tomorrow's flights will be better; I'm really looking forward to flying F on the 77W and would hate to spend 5 hours doubled over in agony.

Hope your flights today go better than yesterday! Save travels.
Wowza!! I hope you feel better soon! Luckily I'm doing fine health wise but I absolutely hate flying when I have any sinus issues as the pressure from ascending is unbearable. There's nothing worse than feeling nonstop pain as it's impossible to enjoy the flight. Thankfully you are in F on the 77W so you can maximize the chance of comfort! Keep taking those decongestants! The flight today to LAX is running on time as of right now but still a few hours before departure! I didn't drink on any of the previous legs but this is one I'm enjoying to the fullest at the oneworld premium lounge here in Miami. I preordered the mushroom gnocchi so I'm hoping that's good. Safe travels back!
wanderlust4life is offline  
Old Oct 25, 16, 1:46 pm
  #1972  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Programs: Alaska MVP
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by wanderlust4life View Post
Wowza!! I hope you feel better soon!
Thanks! Felt okay on the PTY - MIA leg: a bit of pressure, but it never bloomed into full blown pain, thankfully. Now I can enjoy F in the 77W
Hoosier1710 is offline  
Old Oct 25, 16, 5:32 pm
  #1973  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: LAS
Posts: 8
700$ fares look to be back this afternoon from LAX in Nov/Dec.

Just held LAS-LAX-MIA-PTY-MIA-LAX-LAS for $715 over Thanksgiving
https://goo.gl/flights/wqys
miannant is offline  
Old Oct 25, 16, 5:49 pm
  #1974  
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: 12 stops from ORD
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Originally Posted by miannant View Post
700$ fares look to be back this afternoon from LAX in Nov/Dec.

Just held LAS-LAX-MIA-PTY-MIA-LAX-LAS for $715 over Thanksgiving
https://goo.gl/flights/wqys
Looks like 2 night min stay this time around. Damn.
XLR26 is offline  
Old Oct 25, 16, 10:51 pm
  #1975  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Upper U.S.
Programs: AA EXP x 1.5, DL GM, JB, HH GLD
Posts: 145
Originally Posted by Hoosier1710 View Post
Thanks! Felt okay on the PTY - MIA leg: a bit of pressure, but it never bloomed into full blown pain, thankfully. Now I can enjoy F in the 77W
Glad to hear that you ended up feeling better. I always carry saline nose spray, which can help a lot.

How did you end up in F on the 77W? Inquiring minds want to book.
Flyerhandle is offline  
Old Oct 26, 16, 10:16 am
  #1976  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Programs: Alaska MVP
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by Flyerhandle View Post
Glad to hear that you ended up feeling better. I always carry saline nose spray, which can help a lot.

How did you end up in F on the 77W? Inquiring minds want to book.
Using saline nasal spray is what got me through the flights yesterday; I'll have it with me from now on.

As to F on the 77W: it was a stroke of good luck. I booked this run way back in April (I had a wedding I needed to attend). Originally, we an A fare on the 767. Due to all of AA's retrofitting and aircraft swaps, we were predictably swapped to an earlier flight, on a 737. The connection time would have been tight, so I called AA to see if we could change flights. They had no problem with this, and I'd checked to see if there was availability on the 77W. There was, and I asked if we could be booked onto that flight. The agent I talked to was fine with this, so, voila. So my advice would be: book your ticket a ways out and hope for an equipment change
Hoosier1710 is offline  
Old Oct 26, 16, 3:26 pm
  #1977  
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Flyover Country
Posts: 145
Originally Posted by miannant View Post
700$ fares look to be back this afternoon from LAX in Nov/Dec.

Just held LAS-LAX-MIA-PTY-MIA-LAX-LAS for $715 over Thanksgiving
https://goo.gl/flights/wqys
Back to $1100+
ValueAdd82 is offline  
Old Oct 26, 16, 3:48 pm
  #1978  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Upper U.S.
Programs: AA EXP x 1.5, DL GM, JB, HH GLD
Posts: 145
Originally Posted by Hoosier1710 View Post
Using saline nasal spray is what got me through the flights yesterday; I'll have it with me from now on.

As to F on the 77W: it was a stroke of good luck. I booked this run way back in April (I had a wedding I needed to attend). Originally, we an A fare on the 767. Due to all of AA's retrofitting and aircraft swaps, we were predictably swapped to an earlier flight, on a 737. The connection time would have been tight, so I called AA to see if we could change flights. They had no problem with this, and I'd checked to see if there was availability on the 77W. There was, and I asked if we could be booked onto that flight. The agent I talked to was fine with this, so, voila. So my advice would be: book your ticket a ways out and hope for an equipment change
Saline rules. I had an equivalent experience, or close, on my last run, when my JFK-CLT leg on the way to LAX was running late, making the connection iffy, and it was the last flight of the night. I got into J on the 321 three-class transcon instead. It was a very pleasant swap from recliners to a non-stop flat-bed. You never know what might happen, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.
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Old Nov 4, 16, 2:40 pm
  #1979  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Programs: BAEC GGL, IHG Spire Elite, HHonors Diamond
Posts: 5,715
I'm in Panama at present staying at the Crowne Plaza near the airport.

No problem getting the shuttle bus which generally is there or will shortly turn up (girl with a board last time)

Booked an Uber this morning to take he to the canal and 2 drivers accepted my booking but didn't seem to leave the airport after 40 minutes or so. Luckily a third one called Carlos turned up, waited a couple of hours for me at the canal and then took me to the Albrook Mall ($46 for both rides and gave him a few $ as a tip for waiting a bit longer than expected).

Too many tourists at the canal to get perfect shots all the time but well worth the $15 entry fee.

The mall is massive. OK, smaller shops but it makes the biggest shopping centre near me look like a small corner grocery shop!
Needs better air con as rather warm in there although better and drier than outside

Found the bus station and went to get a multi-card for the Metro and buses.
The machines won't let you buy one, only top up, so I had to go to a booth and they wanted to see my passport (were OK with my driver's licence).
$2 for the card.
25 cents cash or off your card if you want to use a toilet in the mall or bus station.

Not sure where the Metro is as there is little in the way of signage, but I assume it's over the bridge in the centre?
Found the Tocumen-Corredor Sur bus around stand E (between the mall and bus station, near the "tigre / tiger" entrance.)
Bus came along around 1:50pm and the journey is an eye opener. Some very poor looking areas en-route that are contrasted by the skyscrapers / Chanel etc. along Balboa Ave. Seems to loop around the Cinco dear Mayo and Balboa areas and it took about 90 mins (heavy traffic but pretty clear on the Corredor Sur.
Bus stops across the road from the hotel and you use the bridge to cross.

Did discover that crossings aren't worth the paint on the road. It's mostly a case of running between cars and hoping for the best!

Added: flying out again today, Saturday, and not sure if it's because it's the weekend and/or the Independence celebrations, but no security queues beyond one person. Roads pretty quiet as well.

Primary security decided my 75ml spray on deodorant had to be confiscated due to it being flammable.
Been through everywhere but today they decided otherwise.

Shuttle from the Crowne Plaza is apparently 24hrs so you don't have to go every half hour if possible.

Last edited by xenole; Nov 5, 16 at 5:00 am
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Old Nov 5, 16, 1:53 pm
  #1980  
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Upper U.S.
Programs: AA EXP x 1.5, DL GM, JB, HH GLD
Posts: 145
Originally Posted by Hoosier1710 View Post

As to F on the 77W: it was a stroke of good luck. I booked this run way back in April (I had a wedding I needed to attend). Originally, we an A fare on the 767. Due to all of AA's retrofitting and aircraft swaps, we were predictably swapped to an earlier flight, on a 737. The connection time would have been tight, so I called AA to see if we could change flights. They had no problem with this, and I'd checked to see if there was availability on the 77W. There was, and I asked if we could be booked onto that flight. The agent I talked to was fine with this, so, voila. So my advice would be: book your ticket a ways out and hope for an equipment change
Well, by fluke, and not intentionally, one of my legs on this last PTY run, from MIA-JFK was on the 77W in F. While obviously a very nice seating option, I find that the fully lie-flat J seats are far more than adequate, and although the food options are slightly better, I would be happier saving the extra thousands of $, (if I was considering paying for the seat, or even upgrading to it) and using the extra savings to pay for a nice hotel, and great meals for a week, which would only consume part of the fare difference.

Originally Posted by xenole View Post

Primary security decided my 75ml spray on deodorant had to be confiscated due to it being flammable.
Been through everywhere but today they decided otherwise.
Yup. Just got back from this run. My tiny scissors, with round (not "rounded," actual circular, non-pointed ends) were taken by security, despite the fact that they went through without any problems a month ago. That airport can be pretty painful. I forgot that they will take away beverages, even unopened ones that you buy inside security, when you get to the secondary gate inspection.
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