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An empty Chelsea Lounge at JFK T8
An empty Chelsea Lounge at JFK T8
An empty Chelsea Lounge at JFK T8
An empty Chelsea Lounge at JFK T8

Tier Point Run to Los Angeles in May 2024: Day 3 – New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX)

By Nige on Thu 16 May 2024 at 20:13
Type: Post
Story: Tier Point Run to Los Angeles in May 2024
Tags: Hilton | JFK | LAX | Los Angeles | New York | Trips | USA

Having left the aircraft first, I was on my way up the airbridge, when I heard “Mr Billingham” from an AA rep that was now behind me. I had to double back and take a boarding pass from her.

The Soho Lounge buffet - always looks tempting!
The Soho Lounge buffet – always looks tempting!
The Soho Lounge buffet - always looks tempting!
The Soho Lounge buffet – always looks tempting!

I said thanks, but it took her a few mins to rip off the boarding pass for me, and I was now behind a number of other passengers! I didn’t even need it – I had already got a valid boarding pass for my next flight. Doh!

Interestingly, I bumped into the same lady AA rep on three further occasions in the following 15 mins!

On every occasion, we had something to say to each other. It was quite funny in the end.

I managed to sneak past all of the other passengers that were now ahead of me, and I was delighted to see that the immigration hall was completely empty.

An 777 sat at one of the upper gates at JFK T8
An 777 sat at one of the upper gates at JFK T8
An 777 sat at one of the upper gates at JFK T8
An 777 sat at one of the upper gates at JFK T8

As I headed down to the Global Entry (GE) kiosks, passengers from another flight started to arrive from the other end of the immigration hall, so I ended up behind about 4 other passengers queuing for the GE kiosks.

We then had to wait a few mins for a TSA agent to boot up his machine, so that he could process GE passengers. It seemed like we were the first passengers to arrive for the day.

I had to answer a couple of questions and have my photo taken before being allowed through.

The baggage reclaim area was empty and there was no queue to head through customs (as opposed to the last time when I had a little disagreement with a customs official)!

The view from my seat in the Soho Lounge at JFK T8
The view from my seat in the Soho Lounge at JFK T8
The view from my seat in the Soho Lounge at JFK T8
The view from my seat in the Soho Lounge at JFK T8

It was in the baggage reclaim area that I had my second meeting with the AA rep. She called me by name and asked me whether I knew where the lounge was. I said I did and was on my way.

I whizzed through arrivals, up the escalator and into the TSA Pre-Check queue. There were a fair number of passengers waiting to be checked.

Even so, it only took about 5 mins before I was heading up the stairs into the Chelsea Lounge.

I had the whole Chelsea Lounge to myself. I said hello to a few people and then dumped my stuff and headed over to Starbucks.

More aircraft spied on my walk around the terminal building
More aircraft spied on my walk around the terminal building
More aircraft spied on my walk around the terminal building
More aircraft spied on my walk around the terminal building

I started jogging and lo and behold, I bumped into the AA rep again. Since I was jogging, she was concerned that I may have mislaid something.

I explained what I was doing and she wished me well in getting my coffee.

Back to the lounge complex and since the Soho lounge was also empty, I decided to decant to a window seat with a far better view and much more atmosphere.

On the way back to the Chelsea Lounge to pick up my stuff, I bumped into the AA rep again and we laughed at the number of times we had seen each other.

Daft things like that make me smile!

Waiting at Gate 33 for my flight to Los Angeles
Waiting at Gate 33 for my flight to Los Angeles
Waiting at Gate 33 for my flight to Los Angeles
Waiting at Gate 33 for my flight to Los Angeles

I settled into the Soho Lounge and enjoyed the view. I had almost 4 hours to chill in the lounge so I made sure I fitted in a walk around the terminal and caught up with some admin.

Flight: AA0300 Equip: A321T
Sched Depart: 15:30 Actual: 15:31
Sched Arrival: 18:45 Actual: 18:17
Takeoff: 15:56 Landing: 18:09

My next flight to Los Angeles was due to leave from Gate 33. That’s the furthest gate from the lounge complex, but at least I’d be adding to my steps on the way down there.

What a view? New York in the background as the aircraft waited on the runway
What a view? New York in the background as the aircraft waited on the runway
What a view? New York in the background as the aircraft waited on the runway
What a view? New York in the background as the aircraft waited on the runway

I got down there about 45 mins before departure time and it was all very quiet.

As we got closer to boarding time, the obvious CK-looking passengers started gathering close to the priority boarding queue.

It feels a challenge waiting for Group 2 to be called before joining the queue. I controlled myself on this occasion.

On into my normal business class seat 06F. Based on previously bad experiences, I decided to check the headphones supplied and found quickly that the audio jack wasn’t working.

A beautiful sight - there's nothing nicer than a bright blue sky as the aircraft pops above the clouds
A beautiful sight – there’s nothing nicer than a bright blue sky as the aircraft pops above the clouds
A beautiful sight - there's nothing nicer than a bright blue sky as the aircraft pops above the clouds
A beautiful sight – there’s nothing nicer than a bright blue sky as the aircraft pops above the clouds

So I did a sneaky thing: I packed up the faulty headphones and swapped them with the ones in the next seat, which did work.

That passenger turned up shortly afterwards. Result!

As with BA, I found the movie selection was poor. There was nothing that really caught my attention, so I ended up starting to watch Oppenheimer.

At least I was able to listen to the movie on my headphones!

As normal with AA, we pushed back on time and started taxiing for the runway.

The salad starter for lunch on board the AA flight to LAX
The salad starter for lunch on board the AA flight to LAX
The salad starter for lunch on board the AA flight to LAX
The salad starter for lunch on board the AA flight to LAX

As we increased speed up to V1, it felt a little windy, with the aircraft needing to adjust its steering to stick to the centre of the runway.

It was a little bumpy on the way up, but things smoothed out when we got above the clouds.

The lady sat next to me brought her own food – not sure she was that impressed with AA’s offering.

She was also a bit fussy when I wanted to get out from my seat: she insisted on putting her seat down and moving her legs out of the way.

The beef rib main course
The beef rib main course
The beef rib main course
The beef rib main course

Lunch was typical AA. I hadn’t pre-ordered, so I was hoping that they weren’t out of something I was interested in.

They took orders from the back on this flight. It was just the pasta that they had run out of by the time they reached little ol’ me.

I started with the typical two salads. Not sure why we need two salads, but that’s what I quite often get from AA on these flights.

Neither particularly inspiring but fresh and healthy!

A nice salted caramel tartlet served onboard the AA flight to Los Angeles
A nice salted caramel tartlet served onboard the AA flight to Los Angeles
A nice salted caramel tartlet served onboard the AA flight to Los Angeles
A nice salted caramel tartlet served onboard the AA flight to Los Angeles

That was followed by a beef rib dish with a semi-BBQ sauce and some fingerling potatoes.

It also had some green veg with it, which I count towards my 5-a-day at least!

The main course was ok, but nothing special.

First time I have ever had a round dish presented to me on an aircraft!

It can’t be very efficient from a packing space perspective.

Then I turned down the offer of an ice cream sundae and went for a salted caramel tartlet, which was ok.

A little murky on final approach into LAX
A little murky on final approach into LAX
A little murky on final approach into LAX
A little murky on final approach into LAX

It was a little on the stodgy side, but I wasn’t going to say no!

It was nice to try something different, but I might head back to my trusty ice cream sundae next time.

I finished off my food for the day with a warm cookie later on in the flight. It’s one of the highlights of an AA flight in my opinion.

I was glad to grab another couple of hours kip. These lie-flat beds on the A321T are fairly comfy and the duvets provided are really snuggly.

When I woke up, we had less than two hours to go.

The madness of World Way at LAX
The madness of World Way at LAX
The madness of World Way at LAX
The madness of World Way at LAX

My neighbour ended up complaining to AA about her headphones! I couldn’t help but smile.

I finished off watching the movie. Just in time as it happens, since the cabin crew decided to collect up the fancy headsets just as I was getting to the end of it.

The approach into LAX was very overcast, as a result of low-lying cloud. I’d never seen it so dull on the way into landing.

We landed around 18:05, with a heavy bump! We arrived into Gate 42A, not long after, a good deal ahead of schedule.

Room 1752 at the Hilton LAX
Room 1752 at the Hilton LAX
Room 1752 at the Hilton LAX
Room 1752 at the Hilton LAX

As with all AA flights, the seat belt sign was turned off smartish and I was first out of business class, queuing up behind the first class passengers to deplane.

Gate 42A is close to the exit, so it was only a few mins before I was walking around World Way going against the flow of traffic to head down towards the Hilton LAX.

I was concerned that it would be really hot as I walked to the hotel, but it was a nice 16 deg c.

The sun was relatively low, so hidden behind buildings and there was a gentle breeze. Ideal!

I had a digital key to get access to room 1752, which proved to be the best room I have ever had at this hotel. It was only a King Superior, but it was located at the end of one of the crosses and I’d consider it to be huge for this type of room.

I settled in. There was some planning to do for the next day!


Follow the whole story here: Tier Point Run to Los Angeles in May 2024


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Author Bio: About Nige

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Nige is one of the co-founders of The Billingham Blog and works as a freelance management consultant. He loves to fly in his spare time!

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