Back in Los Angeles now. There's a slight difference from Chicago where, when I left, it was a balmy 11-degrees. And as I mentioned to someone, it's not that it was so cold, that's a given in Chicago during the winter, but that... well, it won't be winter for another month!
I have a whimsical time at O'Hare. Fortunately I got there well-early, and had my luggage with wheels. When I checked for the departure gate I was pleased to see that it was K-5. Usually flights to Chicago are from one of the last gates on a spur (like around 20-ish) and it's a long walk to get there, but Gate 5? Easy.
The thing is, when I got to the gate, there were Departure monitors, and I check them...and my gate was now listed as H-18. So, I had to walk back, head over to the K spur, and then all the way down to Gate 18. And when I got there, I looked up at the Departure monitor, and my flight was listed as...K-5 again!!
This time, I headed over to a gate where a couple of American Airlines attendants were working, and asked them to please let me know what gate my flight was actually, really, truly leaving from. They said it was K-5. I asked if they could double-check and make absolutely sure it was K-5 and explained why. They said they were sure and, hoping my trust was justified, I headed back -- returning all the way to the start of the spur, going over to "K" and then back up to Gate 5. Where...huzzah!, my flight was now listed.
American has now new planes, which I took in both directions, and the seat console is vastly changed. (Not for all flights on American, just the ones with these new planes. It's the Boeing 737-800, though listed as a 738.) Largely for the better, but some negatives.
They have an entertainment console more like those on international flights, that's a touch-screen with a lot of options. One big difference is that there were no free movies. Instead, there's a Movie Channel, that suggests you have a choice of a bunch movies and TV shows, but which costs about $7. I do miss the option of having a free movie, though I rarely watch them. For those who do, it might be a disappointment but if you're a big movie fan, you might prefer this, having (apparently) more choices, and the ability to watch a couple films on a long-enough flight. Also, the Music Channel had about 12 genres, though looking through the AmericanWay magazine guide, other flights have 18 genres, and one that wasn't included was, inexplicably, classical music. Which is what I listen to. That would seem to be a real lapse in judgment, since it's the only alternative to popular/internatal music. Happily, I had enough music on my mobile phone.)
On the other hand, I like that the screen can show your flight in action, and includes different views. And also, and importantly, there was a USB port, so I was able to plug in my phone, and it kept fully-charged while listening. In addition, there was actually an AC/DC plug, so you could use your laptop and plug it in without it running out of battery on a long flight.
Apparently there's more overhead luggage room, though I couldn't judge that. I didn't see that there was normal leg room under the seat in front for the middle and window seat...but almost half-normal for the aisle seat. And yes, I had an aisle seat. My carry-on could only barely fit in, and no room for my legs.
And now I'm back.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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