Back to Vegas Part 3

Tim, Moff and I should all be travelling back to Dublin together, but the earlier American Airlines schedule change has scuppered that plan. Tim’s itinerary was booked via BA, which meant that any AA flights which don’t have a BA code share were not available as re-booking options. We’re all departing Vegas at the anti-social hour of 7am, but Tim’s routing takes him over to Dallas and up to JFK. Moff and I are travelling west to LA, trans-continental to Philadelphia and then trans-Atlantic to Dublin.

Las Vegas to Los Angeles (40 Tier Points)

Lounge options at McCarran Terminal 1 are pretty poor unless you happen to hold an American Express Platinum or Centurion card. Fortunately Tim holds the latter, meaning that we are not restricted to the small Priority Pass lounge but instead can access the Centurion Lounge close by gate D1. It’s a world apart from most domestic US lounges, with high quality food and premium drinks available, including champagne. American Express have rolled out Centurion lounges to several locations in the US, to Hong Kong, and plan to open a Centurion lounge in Heathrow Terminal 3, late 2019. After breakfast, a couple of drinks and some time reflecting on the whirlwind last few days, it’s time to part company and head to our respective gates. AA are using an Airbus A321, the largest variant in the single-aisle A320 series for this short Monday morning flight. Seat 2F affords a good morning view of the casino hotels on the strip as we depart the runway and begin our climb out towards LA.

About 40 minutes later we’re descending over that urban sprawl that is Los Angeles, before landing at LAX.

Landing into LAX

Los Angeles to Philadelphia (140 Tier Points)

Whilst not top on any individual measure – passenger volume, international connections, aircraft movements or tons of freight – LAX is one of the busiest airports in the world overall. Fortunately it’s also better served by lounges than McCarran, and is the location of one of American Airlines new Flagship lounges, serving international and trans-continental business and first class, and One World members with Sapphire status or higher. Despite both our inbound and connecting flight departing from Terminal 3, with a 3 hour layover it’s well worth the walk to Terminal 4 where the lounge is located. There’s a connecting tunnel which joins up several of the airport’s nine terminals, allowing you to stay airside.

The lounge is quite busy when we arrive, which means sharing a table with a fellow traveller. Some food and American IPA help while away the time before heading back to the gate to board another Airbus A321.

AA Flagship Lounge, LAX Terminal 4

Taking off from LAX there’s a great view north up the coast of California towards Venice Beach and Santa Monica.

Climb out of LAX, looking north to Venice Beach and Santa Monica

Philadelphia to Dublin (140 Tier Points)

We land in Philadelphia slightly ahead of schedule, but there’s a small delay attaching the jet bridge to the gate in C terminal and disembarking. Our trans-Atlantic to Dublin departs from A terminal, but as we’re landing on a domestic flight we can stay airside and walk between terminals. The connection time is only 2 hours, but the AA Admirals Club in A terminal isn’t special enough to wish for a longer layover. As usual in Admirals Clubs, BA Executive Club Silver/Gold members receive two chits for “premium” drinks. Bizarrely there is no IPA, and the barmaid claims not to know what IPA is, so “premium” tonight is Sam Adams Boston Lager.

AA Admirals Club Lounge, Philadelphia

AA are running an Airbus A330-200 on the trans-Atlantic to Dublin. The interior feels a little dated, but the important thing is to get some sleep. Skipping dinner, and instead taking 10mg of melatonin means that I manage to sleep almost the entire way across the Atlantic, waking up about 45 minutes out of Dublin.

AA A330-200 Business Class Cabin

Arrivals from the US land at Terminal 2 at Dublin airport, a modern terminal, swapping Terminal 1’s grey concrete for glass and steel. There’s little delay clearing immigration and then a five minute walk along a covered walkway to Terminal 1 for the final BA flight to London Heathrow.

American Airlines A330-200

Dublin to Heathrow (40 Tier Points)

The final layover of this trip is four hours awaiting the BA835 from Dublin to London. The lounge in T1 Dublin is becoming a very familiar sight on this quest for Gold Guest List!

BA A320, G-EUUD

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