Monday, January 3, 2011

Dude Where's My Remote? Brussels to New York

Remember the 1980s? The time when cars had signs that said No Stereo!, when a few weeks ago I had a little experience that made me wonder if something similar should exist on AA… Dude, Where’s my Remote? On October 15, I flew BRU-JFK on AA 172, a Boeing 75L with the NGBC seats.  I had booked myself a ticket on Continental/Brussels Airways to FRA and BRU but realized I had to be on the 15th in Chicago, so I quickly redeemed 50,000 miles for a one-way Business Class ticket. What can I say, having flown over 140,000 miles in 2010, I’m used to tiny faults and ignore them, but the mechanical problems I encountered during this trip made this a horror show. It’s not a case of damaged IFE, it’s downright missing IFE, the remote was gone, and I guess someone thought that it was part of the amenity kit… or someone really crushed it under the seat, it can happen at times, but usually remotes can take a little tough love...
Hum, seems like something is missing here...

Some more background info, since I only had 3 days to visit Belgium/Luxembourg, I planned a massive and wild tour, Brussels, Antwerp , Leuven, Bruges and Luxembourg in 72 hours, with some Couch surfing, tons of Frites and Beers and even more beer  to fuel my adventure. The night before, my CS host was in Leuven, a college town an hour from Brussels, so what did I do, I took up his offer partied all night with other couch surfers, the bad part of CS and having an early morning flight is that you can only flirt that much, I was chatting up this lovely Portuguese girl, Brunette, olive skin, only wish I had some more time… hehe anyway, I take the first train to the airport, wait for an hour for AA to open and then hit the British lounge, now I know my liver thinks it’s wrong, but I still think that part of a healthy breakfast (6.45 AM) includes 3 ice cold beers… I boarded the plane wanting to try out the new seat.I had previously selected 3E; I enjoy aisle seats and in this case used FEBO rules for my meal selection. 
When I got to my seat I noticed my remote was missing, not malfunctioning or damaged, just nonexistent, an empty spot.  As in someone pulled the poor thing totally out and kept it as a little souvenir. I guess it might be an AA specific version of the Lufthansa Duckies, but instead o a Yellow ducky you get a remote. I pressed the call button and the Flight Attendant approaches me, acknowledges the lack of a remote and claims that I was supposed to have been informed at check in, which was not the case. Hum, really, I guess check in should mention tiny details as your seat is missing a remote.
I was given a new seat (4F), a window seat which is not what I had selected and in my opinion highly inferior to an aisle seat, my new seat also had several IFE problems, the remote was there, but barely reacted to my commands, the decent food somewhat mitigated the negative seat and IFE issues. Two seats in a row with issues, I guess the 75L is just not made for me...
So let’s get back to trip details, food was OK but nothing to write home about, we started with the classic Cheese or Nuts, after a few drinks and since I started ordering Jack and Cokes, I decided to try both the Cheese and Nuts. Salmon with extras as the appetizers (lost the menu), followed by a made to order salad, lots of greens… Beef as a my main course, at that point decided to sleep till we were somewhere close to NYC, I skipped desert,  since I was exhausted and slightly hung-over. Hehe…

Cheese/Tomatos and Warm Nuts

Pretty decent Salmon appetizer

All the greens... :)

Main course... Beef with Potatoes (I think)

Seat shot... on the JFK-ORD leg
Overall, considering that this was a brand new refurb, so many problems shouldn’t exist. I flew another plane right after to ORD, also a 75L and the IFE was bit smoother, the service on the 75L is similar to that of a 763. Extra food, but the single aisle is a bit of a turnoff. I like easy aisle access, so the plane is OK in an aisle in J, but the windows as the rest of the windows/middles with the NGBC require a bit of flexibility to be able to jump over the person in the aisle.

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