Over the last week I’ve been travelling around the US on business, going to a few of the different sites that the company that I work for has, whilst on the trip it reminded me of some of the differences that you find when travelling to or indeed within the US.
My itinerary was pretty busy – after flying into Atlanta, then travelling across Georgia to South Carolina. I then flew from Columbia via Atlanta to Rochester. From there I then flew from Minneapolis to Indianapolis. For the return to Singapore I took the Indianapolis – Chicago – London – Singapore route.
Flying Domestically in the US
Generally I found that there was good treatment for Elite members. For the flights I did with airlines I have status with I found the check-in and the seats that I was given (as they were short-haul I didn’t care) were generally very good and I often had a the row to myself. In addition to that I also received an upgrade for one of the legs.
There is a big variety of aircraft that are flown in the US, much more than you’ll get if you live in Malaysia or Singapore. Some of the aircraft a new but some are 10+ years and some are probably even older. For the domestic legs I was predominantly in aircraft with less than 60 seats, either Bombardier or Embraer aircraft.
I also found that some of the smaller domestic flights lack a dedicated business class, as the aircraft were small and the flights short so it wasn’t surprising. Business class is often referred to as First Class too but don’t expect any caviar!
Differences in US Airports
If you’re used to the airline lounges in Asia and then travel and experience the lounges in the US you might get a shock. I’m actually in the American Airlines lounge in Chicago at the moment and apart from a few nibbles all the food is to be paid for. In addition to that only the first beverage is free. The food and drinks weren’t that cheap if you were thinking of purchasing.
Generally I found boarding to be pretty organised and I think the Americans are better at it than the majority of flyers out there, they board in the right order and sit down in good time – so most o the flights were boarded pretty late but it did;t matter.
A few of the airports that I flew out of were pretty small and tended to lack any lounges, there was certainly no Priority Pass coverage! Most of them didn’t have a whole lot to do there either.
I read a few American sites for frequent flyer news, and I see from time to time horror stories about TSA, but I have say in general I found the staff and the treatment to be really good. Just remember to take your shoes off, take out your liquids and it’s fine, I don’t quite see what the fuss is about.
I’d be interested to hear what you think about flying to the US or within the US and what your experiences have been. I’ve done some domestic flying there but not a great deal, but it’s still interesting to see what the differences are.