Holiday to Pacific West Coast in Jun 2012

This was our first post on our first blog!  This was the place we kept everyone up to date with what we were up to on our road trip holiday on the US West Coast in June 2012.

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The Soho Lounge at New York JFK T8
The Soho Lounge at New York JFK T8
The Soho Lounge at New York JFK T8
The Soho Lounge at New York JFK T8

Tier Point Run to Palm Springs in Dec 2023: Day 2 – New York JFK to Phoenix PHX

By Nige on Fri 15 Dec 2023 at 09:59
Type: Post
Story: Tier Point Run to Palm Springs in Dec 2023
Tags: American Airlines | JFK | New York | Phoenix | PHX | Trips | USA

I almost always end up staying at a hotel like this on a trip out to the west coast. That’s one where I arrive really late, and I am due to fly out again really early the following day. That means my hotel stay includes a visit to bed for no more than 3 or 4 hours.

The Hampton Inn, JFK early in the morning
The Hampton Inn, JFK early in the morning
The Hampton Inn, JFK early in the morning
The Hampton Inn, JFK early in the morning

That makes it really challenging to catch up on sleep. I’m not really one for sleeping during the day, although I enjoy a snooze after work from time to time, if I need it.

My stay at the Hampton Inn, JFK was another example of such a hotel stay. I ended up with about 3 hours in bed, but it was still worthwhile.

Any time in bed is restful, if nothing else.

I was up well ahead of the 4am shuttle back to JFK. Good job too since the bus was full to the brim.

I was 3rd to arrive into the foyer of the hotel, with the intention of catching the shuttle.

A welcome sight of an open Starbucks at JFK T8
A welcome sight of an open Starbucks at JFK T8
A welcome sight of an open Starbucks at JFK T8
A welcome sight of an open Starbucks at JFK T8

I watched as groups started to arrive as we got closer to 4am and a number of us early arrivers started to wonder whether there was going to be room!

The good news was that we all made it on board. I don’t think anyone was left behind!

First stop for the shuttle was T8 and I was the only person alighting at that point. I headed through to Premium Checkin to get some printed boarding cards.

The TSA Pre queue wasn’t open when I joined the security queue at around 4:15am. I should have waited since it must have opened about 5 mins later.

A completely empty Soho Lounge first thing in the morning
A completely empty Soho Lounge first thing in the morning
A completely empty Soho Lounge first thing in the morning
A completely empty Soho Lounge first thing in the morning

The main security queue was poorly organised and there were multiple streams of checked passengers trying to join the same queue at different points.

I eventually got through in about 15 mins and by that stage I was desparate for a Starbucks. Luckily the main T8 store was already open, so I picked my coffee up on the way into the Soho Lounge, which was completely empty.

I was in the lounge about 45 mins or so, before I needed to head down to the gate. The flight left from Gate 36.

I timed my arrival at the gate really well. There were a lot of people milling around the boarding lanes, but I surreptiously slipped through the throngs of folk to get close to the front.

A beautiful silhouette of a plane landing at Phoenix
A beautiful silhouette of a plane landing at Phoenix
A beautiful silhouette of a plane landing at Phoenix
A beautiful silhouette of a plane landing at Phoenix

Boarding commenced about a minute after I arrived.

On board into seat 01F. This was my first ever experience of a 737 MAX8, which made me think about what I was doing!

Flight: AA2369 Equip: 737-MAX8
Sched Depart: 06:35 Actual: 06:27
Sched Arrival: 10:21 Actual: 09:56
Takeoff: 06:49 Landing: 09:44

Based on all of the scrutiny it has now been subjected to, it is one of the safest aircraft in use today. I convinced myself all was going to be fine!

Interestingly, there was no mention of it being a MAX8 on the safety literature on board! Perhaps that was to avoid raising concerns in passengers.

A lovely view of the sunrise on the way to Phoenix
A lovely view of the sunrise on the way to Phoenix
A lovely view of the sunrise on the way to Phoenix
A lovely view of the sunrise on the way to Phoenix

The captain announced that the flight time would be just short of 5 hours. Good – I was expecting closer to 6.

We pushed back a good 5 mins early, and after take off, I got a wonderful view of the sunrise.

Cabin crew handed out reasonably hot towels – always a nice touch.

Drinks service started promptly. Tea and a glass of water seemed to clear the nagging tired headache I had earlier in the day.

There’s a lot spoken about the MAX8 but I can tell you it has the cleanest aircraft windows I’ve looked through in a long time.

Breakfast on board the AA flight to Phoenix
Breakfast on board the AA flight to Phoenix
Breakfast on board the AA flight to Phoenix
Breakfast on board the AA flight to Phoenix

Breakfast choice was eggs or fruit. But you get fruit with the egg dish… I won’t try to explain that one!

I enjoyed the fluffy omelette, sausage and potatoes. I had a biscuit and was offered honey to go on it.

Not my first choice as a spread by a long way. It was fine though.

The fruit was nice and refreshing.

On (not quite) final approach into Phoenix
On (not quite) final approach into Phoenix
On (not quite) final approach into Phoenix
On (not quite) final approach into Phoenix

As we flew south west, the landscape changed dramatically. An amazing sight.

We arrived very early which meant we ended in a holding area (along with 2 other AA aircraft) until our gate was available.

We arrived into Gate A23 about 5 mins later. It was another fast exit for an AA flight. Why can’t BA work that fast?


Follow the whole story here: Tier Point Run to Palm Springs in Dec 2023


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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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