After an excellent flight with JAL I arrived into LAX and realised this was the first opportunity to see true daylight and be outside on the whole trip! I had 5 hours for my connection so I proceeded through immigration and officially entered the USA….technically the first country I visited on this journey!
After catching up with my Family on the phone I walked over to Terminal 4 at LAX, my boarding pass was issued and I took the escalator up to Priority security screening. After security I made my way to the Admirals Club,
once I arrived there I was told the Club was busier than usual and that I should make my way to the Tom Bradley International Terminal as that would better cater for someone with First Class access as a OneWorld Emerald top tier elite flyer. I accepted this (one week too early for the opening of the new Flagship First AA Lounge) and made the five minute walk to the Qantas First Lounge which I have frequented many a time and know to be the ultimate lounge at LAX anyway.
Today would be a first for me….for at least 33 minutes the ENTIRE lounge was 16 staff and ME. The staff at the lounge have always been attentive and people of the finest order in terms of airline employees that I have experienced worldwide.
As I showered the staff made superb efforts to press my new shirt with the steam machine…happy to report 9/10 results.
I had the salt & pepper squid to start (MASSIVE portion)
Followed by the Croque Monsieur with a side order of fries washed down with Perrier Jouet Champagne.
The gate originally had been 153 for my AA flight, with an hour to go the gate was changed to 43 – which meant that the walkway between the terminals would be needed. This only takes 5 minutes but if you are elderly or infirm or travelling with small children you may wish to leave additional time.
Boarding had already commenced upon my arrival, I actually boarded in group 8!!!! Made no difference as I only had a small LV case and I had selected a seat in the small 2 row Business ‘mini’ cabin in 3A.
Once aboard I was offered noise cancelling headphones, hot towel, menu and Lanson Champagne welcome drink.
I had pre-ordered the Surf & Turf – this was the only meal or menu for that matter that I looked at in advance. This is due to the esteem or lack Thereof that I hold AA in. If you don’t preorder from them then expect to be served the cheapest meal on the menu. Happy to report my meal was excellent.
I find it so disheartening that AA have dropped so far in their standards in the time I have been flying up front that even I can’t make apologies or cover for them anymore.
The majority of the staff were rude and disinterested (except their breaks – they love those!). This isn’t just me holding this opinion, My Wife, Son, Father and Mother all have strong opinions on the shoddy service AA have provided them on previous flights. Only my Daughter and I have been open with our opinions and given them the benefit of the doubt. Before the trip I discovered that my little girl only scored AA at a 8/10 because the television was bigger…..Hahahaha – kids!
More than 10 seats were without power in the Business Class cabin and the crew couldn’t of cared less. It took over 90 minutes for the senior cabin crew member to explain what had happened and apologise – something 90% of airlines would and could do in the first 15 minutes. After the Cabin crew manager was accosted by myself, she went to each individual passenger and apologised personally (don’t genuinely know if she would of done this anyway). Now as most of you know I don’t require an entertainment system as I listen to music and drink, but most others do – I could see the pain of the passengers and as one of the most seasoned passengers on board I took action to help.
Today the menu was goats cheese and blackened carrots
Followed by Surf & Turf…with the Steak cooked to perfection.
I didn’t take a dessert because I was still full from the excellent food in the First lounge.
With 7 hours still to go I thought sleep would offer me the escape from a very lacklustre service from a crew well past their enjoyment level.
Sad thing to say that Delta, United and American have fallen so far in service that almost ANY other Business Class product is superior as an all round proposition.
I enjoy flying, but it saddens me to see crew basically not give two hoots what happens and to treat passengers who have spent thousands like dirt.
It’s fine for people like me with airline status, they almost have to make sure we are happy…..but now apparently passengers who lay down $7,000 for a ticket are borderline steerage?
As I left the restroom I met the most senior person in AA international travel…at the time it was just a fellow passenger to discuss current state of affairs with American – the sub-par service etc but as the conversation unfolded and special ‘off the menu’ champagne appeared it became clear that the person I was talking too was somebody with AA. He confessed that only one other crew member knew of his special status and was intrigued to hear my opinions as a very frequent flyer of Business & First. My response was classic me….how much am I being paid to improve AA? The fact is that they are not BA….who over a period of years have built up a level of trust and mutual admiration with me. I’m not in the business of improving an airline for free. Nevertheless the person persisted so I requested items such as Laurent Perrier Grand Siecle and specialist deli meats (I know to be loaded for the flight). I found the chat to be very one-sided and not In any way to my advantage, so I departed the arena claiming tiredness…..once I had secured my booty 🙂
I understand why American are doing a revue of their workforce and I have it on good authority that AA has to modernise it’s workforce at the same rate as the aircraft fleet with none other than JAL being used to train AA crew (an upintherair exclusive?)….even I am sick and tired of a crew member out of touch with the modern travel world telling me (person paying thousands) that basic is good or that my dollar spend is not a factor in the service I receive – yes it is, that is the very definition of an airline class system!
Then I took a nap mainly through sheer boredom the AA flight provides.
I love to end my RTW with one of the poorer airlines in the alliance – lets me know the real world is out there ready to pounce. American….you are falling behind in Oneworld – get back up in the rankings….go for GREAT or don’t – I think you have already pissed off a lot of elite flyers.
I requested breakfast and genuinely you would think I had asked for a mothers innocence with the lacklustre response I received.
Once I arrived at Heathrow I made my way to the comfort of home, the BA First wing…shower, food, Champagne all provided by an amazing airline…..BA.