SFO777 The First Class Travel Blog

The First Class Travel Blog

From Flyertalk's Most Popular Trip Reporter

A Few Hours in Bermuda

A Few Hours in Bermuda
A Few Hours in Bermuda
via American Flagship First and Delta One
August 2019

Tonight I'm off on a fun 48 hour solo trip to JFK, Montréal and Bermuda.  This trip started as a way to use my last 2018 AA EXP Systemwide Upgrade.   Just before that last SWU expired in January, I booked a cheap LAX-JFK-Bermuda Business Class ticket and then used that SWU to upgrade LAX-JFK to First.  I looked for something after July, which would be the start of my 2020 BA Executive Club qualification year.  With a 12 hour JFK connection, I figured that I had time for a quick up and back to Montreal to squeeze in a NEXUS interview and requalify.  Delta offers cheap First Class fares from NYC-Montréal so I would also be earning 30XP points and help me requalify for my 2020 AF Flying Blue Silver status.  On the return, a cheap Bermuda-BOS-LAX flight gives me another 21XP and chance to sample Delta One's transcon service.

• American Flagship First Dining at LAX
• American Flagship First Class to JFK
• Delta First Class LaGuardia to Montréal YUL
• Delta First Class YUL to LGA
• American Flagship First Dining at JFK
• American Business Class to Bermuda
• 16 hours in Bermuda
• Delta First Class Bermuda to Boston
• Delta One Boston to LAX

 

Miserable rush hour traffic tonight on the 405 around Long Beach and it took 90 minutes.  I parked in the T2 garage and walked the back alleys over to T4.

To private Flagship First Check-in...

... and then up the elevator to Pre-Check, where amazingly I was the only passenger.  

After checking at the front desk, I received my First Dining invitation.  Upstairs, I was personally escorted back to First Dining.  

Pics from a previous visit.

Tonight's menu...

... and wine list.

A glass of Krug Grande Cuvée to start...

Tonight's starters...

Chilled Maine Lobster... poached lobster tail, fresh burrata, local cherry tomatoes and basil three ways.  This was very good although the burrata was a meh.

And the Avocado Tuna Tartare, sashimi yellow fin tuna, avocado, cucumber, tempura with grated hard boiled egg.

The ahi was very nice.

For my main, the Cabernet Braised Short Rib with Bordelaise sauce, pearl onions and glazed root vegetable.

This dish was excellent, even more so with a glass or two of the fabulous Pagodes de Cos d'Estournel Bordeaux.

For dessert, the House-made Banana Bread was tasty although a little dry.  With vanilla bean ice cream and Nutella. 

And a little more Krug and Cos... way better than Ambien for the flight to JFK.

Los Angeles LAX to New York JFK
American AA 10
A321T
9:45p-6:22a +1 (sked)
9:41p-5:56a +1 (actual)
August 5, 2019
First Class 3F

 

I headed down to nearby Gate 45 where boarding had already started.  AA, a 5 star Global Airline??  ROTFLMAO. Proof positive that airline award are totally meaningless. 

After take-off, a quick refreshment...

... and snack, mostly for the photo op.  I pre-ordered the Mezze Plate, which was simply dreadful.  The hummus was fine, but the rest? Yuk.

I hit the recline and slept like a baby for nearly 3 hours.   Warm scone prior to landing.

And then there was seat 3A across from me. I gather that at some point while I was sleeping, 3A dropped something and this was result of the crew's attempt to find it.

We pulled into Gate 33, which is just about the farthest gate from the terminal.  

Fortunately, we arrived 25 minutes early, and I even had time to visit the Flagship Lounge, stop in the lav and pick up my First Dining invitation for later in the day.  Then order my UberX for this morning's 25 minutes ride to Laguardia and my Delta flight to Montréal.

When I originally booked my AA flight, AA10 had a 9pm departure and 5:45am arrival, giving me a comfortable 2h15m hour connection to Delta's 8am LGA-YUL flight.   Unfortunately, AA retimed AA10 to depart and arrive 45 minutes later.  Fortunately, we arrived JFK 25 minutes early and I wound up with plenty of time.  Indeed, my UberX dropped me off at LGA's Terminal C at 6:40am, less than 45 minutes after pulling into Gate 33 at JFK.

Since I had enough time, I headed for the LGA Delta SkyClub, which is really in Terminal D.  

After freshening up and changing clothes in the SkyClub lav, I headed back to Terminal C...

... and down the escalator to the DL bus gates.

New York LGA to Montréal YUL
Delta DL 5466
CR900
8:00am-9:35am (sked)
8:00am-9:15am (actual)
August 6, 2019
First Class 3A

 

Tarmac views of the ongoing new terminal construction.

A quick 35 minutes later, we are in descent to Montréal where the weather is decidely nicer.

Cool views of my old home town.

And Olympic Stadium as we head east before turning back to land.

More construction on the US/Transborder wing.

The long, long trek to customs.

With an unscheduled stop at baggage claim to retrieve gate check bags, as the gate check elevator at Gate 84 was not working.

The usual mass of homeless bags.

Just outside of customs is the NEXUS/CANPASS office.  

I arrived a good 25 minutes before my scheduled 10:30am appointment.

The process was very efficient and I was fingerprinted, approved and on my way before 10:45am.  Then back upstairs to US/transborder departures.

Since I had plenty of time, I decided to head upstairs to Marriott...

... which is far nicer than waiting in the concourse.  I used the lobby Business Centre for a half hour before heading back downstairs to security and CBP PreClearance.

After US customs, thru the Duty Free shop...

... and into the departures concourse.

Time for lunch.  And a genuine Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich from Lester's.

Yum-yum.

Montréal YUL to New York LGA
Delta DL 5467
CR900
1:00pm-2:32pm (sked)
2:00pm-3:05pm (actual)
August 6, 2019
First Class 3A

 

With nasty summer weather moving into New York, we were subjected to a minor ground delay which delayed our departure by an hour.  But since DL pads their schedule, we made up a lot of the difference.

Well it wasn't a bus gate but apparently D5 was not built for CR9s.   More excercise as I'm getting close to my daily 10,000 Fitbit step goal.  LOL.

By 3:20pm or so I was in the terminal and heading to Ground Transportation and a ride to JFK.

With LGA's ongoing construction, ground transportation is a mess.  Since you needed to shuttle to get to taxi stands, I opted for Uber.  My driver was waiting in the nearby shared ride lot, but it took 30 minutes just to get onto Grand Central Parkway.  Another 30 minutes later and we're at JFK.

I was able to use Flagship First check-in for a direct path to PreCheck, where amazingly I was the only passenger at PreCheck security.

Upstairs in the Flagship Lounge to the First Dining...

... which was surprisingly crowded with all 4 booths and 5 of the window tables occupied.

Since I had two hours to kill before my flight, I decided to sample the menu, three starters.  After a slow start, this turned out to be one of the best FFD meals I've enjoyed.   I started light with the Spring Pea Salad, sugar snap peas, English peas, pea shoots, lemon, mint, parsnip-cauliflower purée, toasted macadamia nuts.  This dish just didn't do anything for me.  Very bland with inedible snap peas. 

But after that disappointment, a big wow.  The Korean-style Beef Carpaccio was sensational.  Creekstone Farms beef tenderloin with with sweet soy, Asian pear, French radish, baby fennel pickle, ke2pie furikake.

Next up was the ChimichurriRock Shrimp Arepa.  Another wow, with marinated rock shrmip, white corn arepa, red cabbage slaw, aji amarillo crfema, soft herbs.  Amazing.

After the crowd left, I moved over to a booth.

For my main, the Lamb Porterhouse with chickpeas, fava beans, Persian cucumbers, herloon cherry tomatoes, ricotta salata, herbed goay cheese.

The lamb was spectacular. Perfectly prepared dish with an amazing combination of wonderful flavors.

I had intended on having dessert but AA revised the departure time from an earlier delayed 7:10pm to 6:50pm.   So I rushed out for the long trek back to Gate 33, the furthest gate from the Lounge.

New York JFK to Bermuda BDA
American AA 1416
737-800
6:29pm-10:00pm (sked)
6:50pm-9:55pm (actual)
August 6, 2019
First Class 4B

 

For the 1h45m flight, snack options of protein plate or cheese and fruit.

Despite the late departure, we made up time and arrived a few minutes early... to a very dated airport terminal.   

Customs was easy although the agent had a little trouble understand why I would only come for 16 hours. LOL.

Since this was a mileage run, I wasn't looking for fancy.  Just a cheap and comfy place to overnight.  I chose Aunt Nea's Inn, a quaint B&B in nearby St. George.  

Much better pics of Aunt Nea's the next morning.

I had 3 hours before heading to the airport, so I headed out to explore as much of Bermuda as I could.   With a great map, I walked a few blocks from the inn to Duke of York street, where I planned to rent a scooter. 

With no rental cars permitted in Bermuda, my scooter was the only option.  With perfect weather, this was a great and fun way to get around and see the island.

Past the new airport terminal, supposed opening next year.

The Rosewood Bermuda.

Into Hamilton.

Heading back to St. George.

Just before noon, I arrived back at Aunt Nea's after a fun morning on my scooter.

 

The taxi from St. George's to the airport was all of 12 minutes, and I arrived at the terminal some two hours prior to departure. 

Model of the new terminal, scheduled to open some time next year.

The departures concourse is old and dated.  The new terminal can't come soon enough.

At the far end of the concourse is the Executive Lounge, a Priority Pass lounge.

NYC weather delayed the JFK flight so both JFK and BOS were now scheduled to depart around the same time.  With only one gate, the BDA agents did an impressive job in managing the boarding.

Bermuda BDA to Boston BOS
Delta DL 328
A319
2:20pm-3:50pm (sked)
2:20pm-4:50pm (actual)
August 7, 2019
First Class Seat 2B
 
From the gate, we walked down a flight of stairs to the lower level and the long walk to our "gate". 
 

Despite the 90 degree temps outside, the cabin was nice and cold.  

The new terminal looks very nice.

Beautiful scenery as we departed Bermuda.

With a flight time of only 1h45m, service was the basic snack basket selection.  Excellent service by a wonderful senior DL flight attendant who served doubles from the outset snd made sure everyone's drinks were topped up.

On approach to Logan.

The good news today was that we landed nearly 20 minutes early.   The bad news today is that severe summer weather from New York down the east coast meant ground stops at many airports.  With the ground stops, all the Delta gates were occupied and we were banished to the penalty box, for well over an hour.   AA also waiting.

Waiting patiently...

 

And finally, 75 minutes later we starting taxiing to the gate.

Delta's Terminal A at BOS is bad to begin with.  Add in dozens of delayed flights and this was positively chaotic.

That's the line just to get a seat in the restaurant.  Yikes.

Although we arrived at A2 and my LAX flight was scheduled to depart from adjacent A3, there was no sign of my plane as the BOS-MCO flight was still at the gate, 90 minutes after scheduled departure.  I decided to head for the SkyClub and wait there for a while.

Not surprisingly, it was pretty packed.

At around T-30, I headed back to Gate A3 where the MCO plane was still there.

They finally got it out of there just before our scheduled 6pm departure time, so that the inbound LAX-BOS flight could pull in.

Boston BOS to Los Angeles LAX
Delta DL 2531
757-200 Delta One
6:00pm-9:20pm (sked)
7:00pm-11:45pm (actual)
Departed gate 7:00pm, wheels up 8:01pm
August 7, 2019
Delta One Seat 3D

Delta international 757 is 16 seats, 4 row of 2-2 lie flat seats.  While the lie flat is nice, the seats are really tiny and the space very confining.  IMO, AA and UA transcon Business Class seats are far more comfortable.

Although we pushed back at 7pm, our taxi was painfully slow.  It took us 40 minutes to get from #5 for takeoff to actual takeoff as the planes on front of us were being held.  Here's an idea. how about get them out of way for the planes that aren't being held.  With the delays, plenty of time to look at the menu.

And the wine list, some nice... like the Robert Hall Cab, others not so nice... like the horrid Au Contraire Chard.

Excellent service tonight by a great cabin crew.   And relatively young unlike the senior citizens that tend to work AA transcons.  Unlike AA and their weird "let's try to be creative and put fancy names on the crAAp we serve" menu options, Delta wisely sticks to the basics... shrimp cocktail, caesar salad and three normal main choices.  I opted for the BBQ seasoned chicken.  

Caesar was pretty good.

And the chicken was excellent, moist and flavorful.

And dessert...

After dinner and a movie, I reclined and slept for a solid 2 hours.   A little while later, descending towards LAX.

I lucked out tonight on arrival as we pulled into close in Gate 21.  Using the nearby walkway to the garage, I was in my car 5 minutes later.  And with no traffic on the 405 and everyone averaging 80 mph, I was home 60 miles south of LAX less than an hour after we pulled into the gate.  Thanks for following along this report on a fun 48 hours.