Morning Flight to a Beach Holiday on AA: ORD-FLL in First

AA568 Chicago ORD – Fort Lauderdale FLL
22 Mar 2011
Scheduled ETD/ETA: 0700-1100
Actual Time of Departure/Arrival: 0714-1045
McDonnell-Douglas MD80
Seat No: 3A

American Airline Terminal in ORD

My connecting flight was due to depart at gate H11B and this meant I had to trek past the K concourse into the H concourse, passing Starbucks, McDonalds and Hudson News along the way as they started to open for the day. I didn’t want to try my luck at the Admirals Club again and decided to just spend the time at the empty waiting lounge, and continue watching some TV shows on my MacBook.

McDonnell Douglas MD-80

Boarding started at 06:30am and again it seems to be a full flight though I noticed breakfast will be served in first and that seems to be something worth looking forward to. Just like my previous flight, I was seated in the first cabin in the MD80 at the bulkhead seats of 3A. Blankets were placed by the seats and I noticed the older seats had much thicker cushioning compared to the newer ones in the 737-800. It was upon getting seated that I found the legroom to be much less than the 738 first class. Oh well, I doubt I would be sleeping in this short flight anyway.

Onboard AA First Class

Started pullback at 06:58am while the cabin crew went to conduct a safety briefing and it was off to the skies shortly afterwards at 07:14am. Being on the window seat, I was able to get a beautiful sunrise view upon reaching cruising altitude. Soon thereafter, orders were once again taken for drinks and I went with orange juice. There was a hot towel service and my orange juice was even refilled when I finished it.

Sunrise over the Midwest
Inflight Magazine and orange juice

Breakfast was a choice of cheese omelette or hot oatmeal. I chose the former since I am not a big fan of oatmeal. There was also a choice of bagel or biscuits to go along with it and I picked the latter this time. The cheese omelette was warm and tasty, though the biscuit seemed like a wrong choice since it was dry and not that good. I should have went with bagels and butter. Anyway the breakfast also came with a nice plate of cut fruits, so all in all it was good enough for me.

Breakfast set of cheese omelette with biscuit and a fruit platter
View upon descent into Fort Lauderdale

It was a clear day in FLL during landing and this gave me a nice view of the beach as we flew in from the coast. As we approached the airport, I was treated to a nice skyline of downtown Hollywood, FL before the plane made a quick landing into the smallest airport of my US trip. Unlike SFO which seems quiet on arrival though, there was a hive of activity in the early morning and the airport is packed. It seems like Spring Break makes FLL a popular holiday destination. There was also a lot of JetBlue presence in the terminal which makes me wonder if JetBlue targets the leisure market more than the business market.

Downtown Hollywood skyline

Baggage claim was fast as I spotted one of my luggage and was waiting for the other one only to find it appeared soon enough. Guess the priority tags worked! Upon exiting the terminal, I was offered with a 25 bucks ride into W Fort Lauderdale on a Cadillac SUV and since it was just slightly more expensive than a taxi, I took the offer, and was treated to a nice ride into the W at Fort Lauderdale.

JetBlue Airbus A320 at FLL

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