ORD – MIA (1,197 Miles)
This was a Sunday flight and I do not enjoy flying on Sunday for work. It was sadly the only way to be in New Orleans early enough on Monday morning. However, several hours before my non-stop flight to New Orleans, I got the dreaded alert from American Airlines that my flight was canceled and I would have to be rebooked. I do not understand why the system tries to auto-rebook people without speaking to them first, but it does and the results usually are not pretty. This was no exception, so I stuck it out on hold with AA for 20 minutes until I reached a person. I was told that if I hurried I could get on a flight to Miami and then continue onto New Orleans arriving at about the same time I was originally scheduled. The only issue, I was in Milwaukee and would have to drive into Chicago to get my unpacked bags.
I was lucky enough to make it to the Airport with time enough to spare to grab a beer at the Flagship Lounge between H-K Gates. Then, I hurried to the gate and boarded my flight to MIA. The flight was uneventful and we arrived in Miami ahead of schedule. I was excited, multiple clubs to visit while I wait for the flight to New Orleans. The first “Club” was located just outside my gate, but I was quickly directed to the “Premium Lounge” as the club was under construction and it was basically a sitting area with coffee and soda. I was blown away by the E terminal Lounge. There was plenty of food/beverage options and excellent seating choices. In terms of free refreshments, this was by far the best club I had ever visited, but the club definitely showed its age and had an odd smell. I also did not notice any views of the runways which is always a letdown. After a short wait it was time to go to my gate and onto the next flight of the day.
MIA-MSY (674 Miles)
This flight was a breeze, I was happy to be placed into a Main Cabin Extra seat for the second time on a last-minute cancelation itinerary and even got a window! As the minutes passed the ride became slightly bumpy. As we descended for the final approach the Captain warned everyone that all phones must be switched completely off due to the severity of the weather. The ride was bumpy and the visibility was extremely poor, but had there been no announcements it would have been impossible to tell that this landing was anything out of the ordinary.
The weather in New Orleans was a nice break from the cold Chicago winter and I enjoyed my long outdoor walk to the rental car stand. I spent the night in New Orleans and was on the road to Lafayette early the next morning only to return to MSY just 18 hours after I arrived.
MSY-ORD (873 Miles)
This was a lovely flight on my favorite plane in AA’s fleet at the moment; The EMB-170. The 2 and 2 coach configuration means that no one is stuck in the middle. You either get a view, or an aisle. I was seated in my favorite seat on the plane, 8F, a bulkhead seat with no bulkhead wall. Legroom is nearly infinite and the view out of the oversized window was beautiful. It was the perfect end to a great trip to New Orleans (for a day).
Lastly, I’d like to comment on canceled itineraries: They are absolutely fantastic in terms of Frequent Flyer earning. In this case I was given more miles that I would have originally earned, but most importantly, I was booked up into the “Y” fare class which earns 1.5 Elite Qualifying Points. If, you intend to qualify for status with EPQ’s, canceled flights, or involuntary routings, are amazing because you are usually booked into “Y” from whatever your original fare class was.