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American Airlines USA - Europe

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icemann

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Jan 2, 2003
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What's the service like on AA across to Europe from North America ? (food, drinks etc.) ? Standard of Admirals Lounges ?

I've flown BA, but yet to fly AA international. One interesting point - Qantas / BA have alcohol on board in all classes, yet from AA's website, they only have it in Business / First.
 

redrat

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Apr 26, 2003
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I haven't flown AA internationally but if you have a platinum card you can get into the Flagship Lounges in North America. This is where the Platinum card comes to the fore. The Admirals club is a pig sty by comparison & I try to route my domestic travel through DFW or ORD (only if I have no other choice) to use the facilities there.
 

icemann

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Cheers for the help :) Not yet at Plat, nearing it ; but it will probably only come in after this trip away.

I was pretty surprised that AA don't do liquor in all the cabins. Some from our group are going economy and they're miffed to pay $US 5 for a drink on an international flight ! (I would be too).

I'm flying through MEL-LAX (QF) LAX to Chicago (AA), then flying out from Chicago to Manchester on AA. I've flown BA international and the service I got in the cabin, for it's credit, was better than QF (IMHO).

On the way out, I get to see what the BA / QF business lounges in Manchester, Frankfurt, Singapore and Domestic at Perth are like. Hopefully the Manchester lounge has Boddingtons there :)
 

thadocta

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Jan 8, 2003
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Manchester and Singapore lounges are "okay" (I am referring to the Business Class lounges here) - not up to the standard of large airport lounges (LHR, SYD, et al) but certainly acceptable for short stays.

PER DOM is quite nice, I was there BEFORE they renovated and wondered why they were bothering.

FRA I can't help you on, I was last there 4 years ago, and haven't heard anything either way about it.

AA lounges, make sure you get your FREE drinks vouchers when you enter, AA members have to pay for drinks.

Dave
 

icemann

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thadocta said:
AA lounges, make sure you get your FREE drinks vouchers when you enter, AA members have to pay for drinks.

Dave
Thanks for the help, much appreciated - please explain though on the free drinks vouchers ? Are these vouchers that they hand to you when you enter and see your card is a QC member / Cathay Pacific Marco Polo member ? (or do you have to discretely ask for them ?)
 

redrat

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Apr 26, 2003
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I've always had the vouchers handed to me as I'm usually too stuffed to remember to ask. I think you get the vouchers for Gold/Plat membership.
 

thadocta

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You are supposed to automatically be handed the drinks vouchers as you enter the lounge - basically, anyone entitled to lounge access through an airline OTHER than AA gets them.

Given how financially strapped AA are at the moment, they sometimes "forget".

The barman will expect a tip as well. :roll:

Dave
 

icemann

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thadocta said:
The barman will expect a tip as well. :roll:

Dave
(or they won't serve you ?) I know that THAT happens in USA in some places, that if you don't give them a tip, they won't serve you.
 

redrat

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That's true. Not even the complimentary services are really free. I don't usually tip anyone there unless it's in an area that I will be going to again or expecting my car back from a car park, etc. The barman at the AA club doesn't usually get tipped by me.
 

thadocta

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The barman at an AA club NEVER gets tipped by me.

I understand that service staff in the United States rely on tips, since they are so lowly paid, and tipping is part of ensuring that service is adequate (or possibly even exceptional).

But in an airline elite lounge, I think it is inappropriate, they are there to serve us, we get in there due to our status (not even then for AA members), we should not be tipping them for something they are giving us for free (non-AA elites, that is).

So, no tipping from me (in AA lounges, that is - OTHER bars and restaurants, NO problem).

Dave
 

icemann

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thadocta said:
The barman at an AA club NEVER gets tipped by me.

I understand that service staff in the United States rely on tips, since they are so lowly paid, and tipping is part of ensuring that service is adequate (or possibly even exceptional).

But in an airline elite lounge, I think it is inappropriate, they are there to serve us, we get in there due to our status (not even then for AA members), we should not be tipping them for something they are giving us for free (non-AA elites, that is).

So, no tipping from me (in AA lounges, that is - OTHER bars and restaurants, NO problem).

Dave
Being an ex-barman myself at a RAAF club, I only got tips for exceptional service, and hence, I reward the barman / waiter if they've done a great job, gone the extra mile and I've had a great night. I like doing it, to get the guy a coffee or a beer at the end of his / her shift, because I understand full well what it's like. That's why I always try and be nice to anyone involved with customer service, because I've been on the receiving end too.

Expecting a tip for lousy service is a really good way to tick me off. :) And having to pay for good service in such an exclusive place - it does the same to me. Give me the bottle instead and I'll serve myself.

But I agree with you - after all, we DO pay our dues for the lounges in one way or another, be they in $$$ to the airlines for flights or on QC fees. To expect a tip after we have paid for the privelige to use the lounges is a bit cheeky of them.
 

straitman

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Unfortunately, tipping is the way the yanks do business. Also, in the more upmarket places the expectation is that the tip will be higher. ie clubs etc.

My opinion is that I agree that tipping should be only for quality services rendered however I recommend caution as I've seen the reaction on occasions when someone has not left the anticipated tip. -- To the point that the customer was chased out of the restaurant and abused at length (and volume).

Thats how the system works!!!

The expectation is now at 15% and rising to 17.5% of the perceived value of the bill or service. Having said that, the locals tend to tip 10% for good service and 15% for exceptional service.
 

icemann

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Jan 2, 2003
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268
AA duty free

I've just browsed the AA duty free pages - do we get QF points on any duty free that we buy on the AA flights ?

BTW, some of the prices are different (read : more expensive) on AA than QF for the same things, e.g. the MontBlanc pen. Check the two catalogues out side by side, you'll see what I mean. I looked at some of them and I can get some of the same stuff in David Jones for cheaper too ! :)

Is there any way of ordering duty free so that you are guaranteed of it's availability when you get on the flight, e.g. you see something in the catalogue before you fly, can you ask QF or AA to get some in so that you can definitely be assured of the availability ? Anyone ever had problems with unavailable stuff ?
 

redrat

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Apr 26, 2003
Messages
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straitman said:
...The expectation is now at 15% and rising to 17.5% of the perceived value of the bill or service. Having said that, the locals tend to tip 10% for good service and 15% for exceptional service.
Hell, I've been tipping 20% rounded down for the last 12 months. No wonder I'm getting great service. :)
 

redrat

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Apr 26, 2003
Messages
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Re: AA duty free

icemann said:
...Is there any way of ordering duty free so that you are guaranteed of it's availability when you get on the flight, e.g. you see something in the catalogue before you fly, can you ask QF or AA to get some in so that you can definitely be assured of the availability ? Anyone ever had problems with unavailable stuff ?
I do remember reading somewhere that you can do that with QF, just give them a ring.
I've had items not available, but I got it on another flight - no sweat.
 

icemann

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Jan 2, 2003
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268
Duty Free - Bad News

I just gave Qantas and AA a quick phone call, and from both Qantas Inflight Sales and AA Duty free, they said that they can't do it. I have the original emails, if anyone is interested.

Here's some of it:-

AA - "Unfortunately there is no way to assure your purchase. The airplanes can carry up to a maximum of six for some items and a minimum of two for other items."

Qantas - "Unfortunately it is impossible to secure duty free items in advance. This is for a number of reasons associated with customs regulations through to the possibility of change of aircraft."

Hey, it was worth a shot. However, I WILL give it a try when I get to the AA Admirals Lounges / Qantas Club. Since I would be there shortly before my flight, I could possibly find out if they had any in stock on the plane a few hours before I fly (which makes more sense).

Reserving 1 or 2 items would be useful, after all, I use it sometimes as a corporate gift / family present.
 

icemann

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Jan 2, 2003
Messages
268
Locks

When I actually finally get to the USA (and bear in mind, I haven't been there on a DOM flight since pre 9-11), what's these stories that I've heard about check-ins / customs on US airports being pretty nasty.

I'll explain. I've heard stories to the effect of locks being broken off if they can't get to them when they're checking them.

What the hell is going on ? I didn't understand the story the first time I saw it on the news and so from the following article, I can only suppose that you have to go through a rigmarole of checks to actually get baggage on, then if they decide to open your bag without you present, and it's got to be opened, BANG - your locks are history. Which begs the question - why lock the suitcase ?

http://www.tsa.gov/public/interapp/editorial/editorial_0598.xml

http://www47.americanexpress.com/corporateservices/bt/alerts/baggage.asp

"TSA suggests that you help prevent the need to break your locks by keeping your bags unlocked. In some cases, screeners will have to open your baggage as part of the screening process. If your bag is unlocked, then TSA will simply open the bag and screen the bag. However, if the bag is locked and TSA needs to open your bag, then locks may have to be broken. You may keep your bag locked if you choose, but TSA is not liable for damage caused to locked bags that must be opened for security purposes"

I remember in Denver that I had to go on a DOM flight some 7 years ago, leave my luggage unattended somewhere in some kind of hall and then after about an hour, it was O.K. to go back and pick it up.

Thoroughly confused now, thanks to the above stories. Anyone got any crystal clear explanation as to what goes on re : locks etc ?
 

redrat

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Apr 26, 2003
Messages
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Icemann, I suggest you have a lurk around the www.Flyertalk.com site where there are constant discussions (only just short of arguments in some cases) about the screening process & the rights or lack thereof for the USA traveller.

The case being left unlocked is not one I'm willing to do but one of the users on FT said they will continue to call you the passenger right up until the flight is due to leave instead of breaking into your case. I guess it's worth trying to find out where the worst airports are & steering clear of them if at all possible.

Some believe the TSA is an organisation that now has a tremendous amount of power without the smarts to use it. :(
 
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