01: Introduction: Premium transcon service between Los Angeles and New York
02: American Eagle ERJ-175 first class San Diego to Los Angeles
03: American Airlines Flagship Lounge, LAX
04: American Airlines A321T first class Los Angeles to New York (JFK)
05: Hyatt Times Square New York
06: Delta Sky Club, Terminal 4 JFK
07: Delta Airlines 767-300 business class (Delta One) New York to Los Angeles
08. Delta Sky Club, LAX
09: Delta Connection ERJ-175 first class Los Angeles to San Diego
The final segment of an exhausting itinerary is always the worst. I’m usually all kinds of tired and cranky by that point, and there’s not enough airline and travel nerd in me to feel excited about boarding a regional jet for the final leg home – even if I am holding a first class ticket.
To make things even worse, the boarding gate for the flight down to SAN this evening was at the end of terminal 6 – which is basically one giant construction zone at the moment with nowhere to sit and relax. It’s standing room only unless you want to sit on the floor in the middle of everything! I was tired enough to choose that option, and I certainly wasn’t alone this evening.
Los Angeles, CA (LAX) – San Diego, CA (SAN)
Monday, December 21, 2015
Seat: 3A (first class)
Despite my earlier worries about being delayed due to the rain and fog outside, they started the boarding process only a few minutes late and I was in my seat and ready to go in seconds. Let’s go home already!
It turns out that the aircraft operating down to SAN tonight (N625CZ) had been around for a while. Unlike the brand new ERJ-175’s I recently experienced with American Eagle and United Express, this tired old bird was showing her age in not so pleasant ways. It was dirty and smelly airplane with smudged windows and stained walls, which highly degraded the first class experience. Well, perhaps I shouldn’t exaggerate so much.
There isn’t much of a first class experience on an ERJ-175 to begin with (other than a slightly larger seat), so it really didn’t matter if I was back in economy or up here in 3A. The only place I really wanted to be at that moment was under the covers in my own bed.
Unfortunately, they (the pilots and ground crew) were having paperwork issues and that resulted in a 15 minute delay to get things sorted out. Considering the flight time from Los Angeles to San Diego is only 25 minutes, that was nearly 67% of the total time we were supposed to be onboard in the first place. How’s that for a delay? I’m not sure I’ve ever had one that was worse – at least percentage wise.
It was still pretty rainy and gloomy out there as we pushed back from the gate, and I killed some time trying to get some halfway decent pics of the action on the ground here at LAX. It wasn’t so easy due to the conditions, but I tried my best as any true airliner nerd would.
Shortly after departure from 25R, the flight attendant came through the cabin offering snacks and beverages. Not many people took her up on it, but there were enough to keep her busy right up until we began the descent for SAN.
The weather didn’t look any better in San Diego than it did up in LA, but it mattered not. It was a great feeling to know that I was finally home and would be sleeping the comfort of my own bed in less than 45 minutes. The cherry on top was knowing that I was on Christmas vacation and that I didn’t have to go to work the next day!
And that wraps up my 2-day trip to New York and back. I definitely got my fill of premium travel over the past 48 hours, and I’d really like to do the same thing on jetBlue and Virgin America sometime soon just for the sake of comparison. But wouldn’t it be nice if there were some premium transcon products based out of SAN to try?
Delta used to run their international-level Business Elite product between a handful of west coast cities and New York, and I’d love to see something like that out of San Diego. It sure would make these kinds of trips easier!