SFO777 The First Class Travel Blog

The First Class Travel Blog

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Off to Italy

Mrs. SFO and I are off to Italy today, joining our SoCal travel buddies for four days in Taormina/Sicily and three days in Siena/Tuscany. While we love our new home, the one thing I miss about SFO is... SFO. Sure weather can cause havoc at times, but the international nonstop options are outstanding, and one learns to schedule around the weather.

While Catania in general is one tough place to get to conveniently and in comfort, its even tougher from DEN. With LH not releasing F seats until T-14 and no other non United non-stop options to Europe, I decided to give BA another chance. The last time we tried BA was 2+ years ago during the strike. That didn't work out very well. But with a Chase 2-4-1 certificate expiring early next year and two more just added to our accounts, BA it is. The good news is BA has daily nonstop DEN-LHR service. The bad news is no First Class cabin. Mrs. SFO, who once upon a time opined that she would rather fly non-stop Economy than connect in First, has seen the light and without hesitation decided "connect in First". With plenty of BA options back in March, I went for ORD as it was cheap 120,000 miles roundtrip for both. That plus $2,100 in BA/UK taxes and fees of course.
-AA DEN check-in and Admirals Club Denver
-AA 3765 (American Eagle) DEN-ORD
-American Airlines Flagship Lounge at ORD
-BA Terraces Lounge and First Dining at ORD
-BA First Class Lounge at ORD
-British Airways First Class Chicago to London
-BA Terraces Arrivals Lounge including Concorde Breakfast Room
-BA First Class Lounge at LGW
-Priority Lounge at LGW
-British Airways Business Class London LGW to Catania
-San Domenico Palace Hotel (Taormina, Sicily)
-Taormina and Sicily
-Sala Lounge at CTA
-Alitalia Economy Catania to Florence
-Castiglione del Bosco (Montalcino, Tuscany)
-Exploring Tuscany
-Sala Lounge at FLR
-Air France CityJet Economy Florence to London City LCY
-Le Meridien Picadilly London
-Brasserie Zédel and Ghost: The Musical
-British Airways Concorde Room at LHR
-British Airwarys First Class London to Chicago
-American First Class Chicago to Denver
AA DEN check-in and Admirals Club Denver

Mrs. SFO has turned into a wonderful traveler... from multiple bag checker a few years ago to carry-ons on most trips (except today), and amazingly on time. No longer do I have to lie about our departure time. When I say 10:45, she is ready at 10:30. Our new DEN driver Joe dropped us off at DEN at 11:15A.

There was no line at the Priority ticket counter as we stopped to check one bag all the way to LHR. CLEAR is great way to bypass the ID checker when PreCheck is not available. Although DEN needs to learn from the T-3 CLEAR team at SFO, that cuts the line and gets you to the front of the conveyor line!! Arrived at the AC at about T-60. The new DEN AC is conveniently located (once you get the lay of the land) on level 4, a quick elevator ride from the exit at the rear of the gate bound trains. Pleasant AAngel welcomed us in and confirmed that we were #1 and #2 on the upgrade standby list. Unfortunately, all but 3 F seats on the CR7 had been sold for 6 months. Our flight today was now showing only F1 after someone used miles or an SWU earlier this morning. The DEN AC is new, spacious, attractive and with a great staff of AAngels.

All morning, Mrs. SFO insisted that we decline the upgrade so we could sit together. After the fourth or fifth try, I convinced her to take the F seat so at least we both won't be cramped in 6CD. We arrived at the gate at T-30 and the one that wanted to decline the upgrade, has now become very possessive. When do I get my new Boarding Pass? What are they going to serve for lunch? How about I send it back to you? Since the Upgrade List was not scrolling on the monitor, I waited at the podium while GA was checking with the crew as to when to start boarding. When our GA returned, she agreed I was a wise husband by giving my upgrade to Mrs. SFO. She also blocked her just vacated window seat. "Oh now I get it" says Mrs. SFO, "you get two seats to yourself"

AA 3765 (American Eagle) DEN-ORD and psycho FA

We boarded together as GA called F and EXPs, etc... Once on board, Mrs. SFO looks at her 1C and sees the teenie seats in Y and uttered those words I love to hear, "OK, you were right." See you in Chicago. Although considering the megaphone voice of the psycho FA in First, I'm not sure who had the better deal today. Even with my Bose NCH, I could still hear her back in row 6. "Let's get the hell outta here" was apparently her favorite line, screamed at the top of her lungs both in DEN and ORD, where it was accompanied by her dancing and running up the jetway as we all were waiting for our gate check bags. Today's F options were the chicken salad or 3 mini cold cut sandwich. Mrs. SFO declined both figuring she'd eat in Chicago.

My EXP coach lunch. I'll eat in Chicago as well.

Up Next: AA Flagship Lounge at ORD.