A couple months ago, I was emailing with some friends and we jokingly talked about doing a guys’ weekend in Cabo. We had done it for one of their bachelor parties a decade ago and now that we were scattered, we didn’t get to see each other very often. Somehow, the off-handed comment turned into reality. I used a mere 7,500 BA Avios each way and $69.43 to fly on American, and I was glad to have made that choice for a strange reason.
On the way down, things did not start well. The one friend who was going to fly with me from LAX called the night before. He somehow failed to realize that his passport was in his safe deposit box. The bank was closed and wouldn’t reopen until 9a. Our flight was at 937a. Crap.
He had also used Avios, and being within 24 hours meant that we couldn’t change or cancel the booking. It was use it or lose it, and it looked like he was going to lose it. Still, he planned on waking up early to call BA (the US call center for Avios isn’t open 24 hours a day) to see if anyone would help him.
At 630a the next morning, he called me saying BA wouldn’t help. I seemed to remember a glitch where you could cancel online, so he went on and tried it. He clicked cancel and then it gave him an error. I guess I was wrong about that glitch. He was out of luck.
We had talked about options to buy tickets on other airlines, and I told him he just needed to get down there. We’d have a beer waiting for him, and we’d figure out his return later.
At 745a I was driving up toward LAX when I got an excited text from him. “AA 237 just delayed one hour.” Indeed, the airplane broke in Vegas and was on an 8-hour delay. (That airplane sat in Vegas all night. That delay should never have happened, American.) They had a new airplane in LA, but they had to call a new crew in. Departure was set at 1030a. There was a chance…
He grabbed his passport the second the bank opened, flew down the freeway (as fast as you can in rush hour), parked in short term parking, and ran through security. He was panting when he got there just after 10a. He made it.
January 23, 2015
American 237 Lv Los Angeles 937a Arr Los Cabos 1256p
Los Angeles (LAX): Gate 45, Runway 25R, Depart 1h6m Late
Los Cabos (SJD): Gate N/A, Runway 34, Arrive 1h1m Late
N893NN, Boeing 737-823, Silver Eagle colors, ~60% Full
Seat 27A, Coach
Flight Time 1h57m
Boarding started shortly after he got there and the flight didn’t seem all that full. At about 1030a, a flight attendant came on the PA saying that the captain was there and was preparing the airplane but they were still waiting for the first officer to arrive. That was the bad news. But as soon as her announcement stopped, the captain picked up… “The good news is that we’re much better looking than the other pilots.” That got a laugh.
The captain announced the first officer’s arrival when he showed up as if he were a game show contestant. “All the way from Escondido….” It wasn’t long before we were buttoned up and on our way.
Once airborne, we came down the coast and saw a huge backup in the ports of LA and Long Beach. The work slowdown has clearly been having a big impact.
We were soon over the border and we found ourselves bumping along in a high layer of clouds the entire way down. I was glad when we finally started descending and I could enjoy the view of the rugged Baja terrain next to the blue Pacific.
We landed to the north and parked at a hardstand toward the far end of Terminal 2. I didn’t mind, because I had this view.
That was about the last view of sun we had on the entire trip. Once through customs and immigration, we met up with our friends and headed into town for a weekend of drinking, eating, smoking cigars, and relaxing. Too bad it was overcast and cool the entire time with rain starting Saturday afternoon.
It was downright gloomy when we headed home. Our car got us to the airport about 2 hours in advance. We were directed to check in at the kiosks but they were slow and the lines were long. I couldn’t help but notice that Terminal 2 felt like much of Cabo. It was not entirely finished. Here’s a view of the check-in area. Note the ceiling tiles, or lack thereof.
Of course, Cabo has some good excuses thanks to a nasty hurricane from last year. I was amazed at how much work was being done and how many resorts were still closed. But here at the airport, it just looked sloppy.
We made it through security easily and had time to kill. The terminal was packed, and it felt chaotic. Each gate had its own portable speaker system set up so announcements stepped all over each other.
We were supposed to be at a jet bridge gate this time, but inexplicably they decided to swap our flight and the Chicago flight. We were relegated to gate 2. Gates 1-4 are in a separate area of the terminal and have lower ceilings. It looks like a previous building that was adapted to connect with the newer terminal.
The VIP lounge could have been the smallest lounge I’d ever seen. I wasn’t about to pay for it, so I just sat with my friends as they tried to board a United flight out of our gate. Communication wasn’t good, and the United flight didn’t get out on time due to the boarding delay. Finally, our boarding began.
January 25, 2015
American 237 Lv Los Cabos 151p Arr Los Angeles 324p
Los Cabos (SJD): Gate 2, Runway 16, Depart 8m Late
Los Angeles (LAX): Gate 43, Runway 25L, Arrive 13m Early
N972AN, Boeing 737-823, Tail Flag colors, ~99% Full
Seat 22F, Coach
Flight Time 1h59m
The walk to the airplane was less pleasant in the rain, that’s for sure. I hurried to the airplane and took my seat. The weather looked pretty nasty, though the winds were calm. At this point I just wanted to be home.
The chaotic boarding process meant we left a bit late on this completely full flight. This time, we took off to the south, turned around, and soon went into the clouds.
For the first hour of the flight, it was really rough. The flight attendants were kept in their seats, and you could feel the pilots trying different altitudes looking for smoother air. They did tell us it would be rough, so it wasn’t a surprise. I’d guess that we had a good stretch of moderate turbulence in there.
After an hour, the undercast began to clear out but we remained in a high cloud layer. The flight attendants were allowed to get up but the seatbelt sign stayed on the entire time.
There were some nice views as we approached the top of Baja. Though I don’t know for sure, I’m guessing this was the border.
It’s not often I get to fly from the south into LA, so I really enjoyed the view. We crossed over to the Pacific around Camp Pendleton and then tracked it up into Orange County before coming back over land and gliding in for touchdown.
We parked at Terminal 4 but they had to bus us all the way around to the far side of the Bradley Terminal for arrival. This was my first time using the new Bradley Terminal concourse as a passenger, and the bus gates aren’t a great experience. You have to go upstairs, walk for a long time, and then come downstairs again.
This was my first time actually using Global Entry (I haven’t been out of the country since I got it well over a year ago), and it’s amazing. You just scan your passport, answer a couple questions, take a photo, give your fingerprints, and then you get a print-out. Show the print-out to the guy at the exit, and then take it with you into the Global Entry customs line (which is incredibly short compared to the brutally long regular lines). I showed the print-out again and I was on my way home.