I traveled a fair bit in October, but this trip was the last one for awhile. A good friend of mine had his 40th birthday party scheduled for the 24th up in the Bay Area, and I really wanted to go, but I was afraid I’d be too exhausted and busy after traveling the two weeks prior. I ended up making the trip and today I’ll write about the flight up. I’ll cover the return in a later post. This was my first time flying domestically from the Bradley International Terminal at LAX, and it wasn’t great.
Knowing that my plans weren’t firm, I once again turned to my old friend, British Airways Avios. Since flights under 650 miles are only 4,500 miles each way (at least for the next couple months), I already loved Avios for short haul travel. But you can also cancel awards up to 24 hours in advance and only lose the taxes. There was room on American to fly from LA roundtrip and it would be just 9,000 miles plus $11.20. I figured that since the worst case scenario was that I’d lose $11.20, I couldn’t go wrong. I’m glad I did because I ended up taking the trip. The only downside: I had to fly from LAX. This trip reminded me once again why I don’t like flying from there.
I had checked in using the app and was ready to go for the morning. I would leave the house at 630a and make it with enough time for my 8a flight. Then at 415a, an alert came in. My gate had changed and we were now leaving from the Bradley International Terminal. That’s strange. The airplane had come in the night before, but clearly the game of musical chairs somehow ended with our flight not having a gate.
This was problematic for me in that I had planned my time assuming I had Pre Check. But Bradley doesn’t have Pre Check (since none of the airlines there participate except, apparently, American). I asked American via Twitter if I could just go through Terminal 4 and shuttle over but they said to go straight to Bradley.
I walked into Bradley and found it nearly empty, save a little line at the Cathay Pacific counter for the airline’s 1015a departure.
Out the window, the view was unique with my lonely American 737 parked with nothing else around except for a rising sun shining off the pointed roof. (This photo is now my desktop background.)
The new single security checkpoint at Bradley has opened. You walk upstairs and there are a ton of lanes… but they were mostly closed. With no priority line, no Pre Check line, and only a lane or two open, the line stretched all the way back. It took me about 15 minutes to get to the front. The entire time, I was starting to sweat. I looked at the large departure board just off to the side.
American had scheduled a JFK and Lihu’e flight in addition to my San Francisco flight. Other than the previously-mentioned Cathay Pacific flight, a later Vegas flight and an Air China 1130a flight, nothing else left from the entire terminal before noon. It was so strange the line was this long.
Since I had Pre Check, they let me keep my shoes on even though this wasn’t a Pre Check station. Apparently somebody tweaked the metal detector settings, because for the first time ever, my shoes set off the alarm. Once I took them off, it was fine.
Because security took so long, I walked up to the gate just as they were boarding my zone. I walked right on to the airplane and took my seat.
October 24, 2015
American 2438 Lv Los Angeles 8a Arr San Francisco 922a
Los Angeles (LAX): Gate 155, Runway 24L, Depart 3m Early
San Francisco (SFO): Gate 56A, Runway 28L, Arrive 12m Early
N975AN, Boeing 737-823, Ugly flag colors, ~95% Full
Seat 13A, Coach
Flight Time 52m
The flight was packed, but boarding went smoothly and we pushed back a couple minutes early. After taxiing to the north side, we were airborne in no time.
I pulled out my computer and logged on for a few minutes to get some work done. But of course on a short flight like this one, you can’t log on for long. The flight attendants came through with drinks, and I just had a water. Strangely, the people in the middle and aisle were angling themselves to make it hard for me to reach around them to get my drink. They just stared and didn’t offer to help.
We descended over Monterey and came up into the Bay Area. The low clouds stopped just short of the approach path into SFO, so we narrowly avoided delays, I assume. After landing, it was a quick taxi to the terminal and I was on my way.