American Airlines Austin to Portland, ME

This post is written by Katie about her trip on American Airlines to Portland, ME for the 2016 RoboCup US Open.

We woke at 3:30am and I finished packing while JT finished writing an article.

We left our apartment at 4:30am and arrived at AUS just before 5am. I quickly checked my bags and got through a long TSA Pre line with no issues (despite carrying the robot heads).

I met up with Sanmit, Josiah, and Jake at the gate – they ended up having the same outbound itinerary as me.

I had received an upgrade to First using 3 500-mile upgrades. However, the first class product on this plane was rather sad. The seat-back pocket in front of me would not completely attach to the seat and was very droopy. The overhead compartments were small and had to be slammed particularly hard in order to latch.

My AA domestic first seat was not in good shape – unable to recline and the seat back pocket would not stay connected

Shortly after take-off, breakfast orders were taken. Breakfast was a choice of muesli or granola cereal as the older US-Airways ERJ-190 aircraft did not seem to have heating capabilities.

Breakfast in AA domestic first between Austin and Philly

I chose the muesli, which came with a fruit dish and a raisin roll. The fruit dish was fresh, but the roll was cold and hard. The muesli was enjoyably creamy and slightly sweet.

It seemed like the granola cereal option came with a cinnamon roll that looked pre-packaged – most people on this flight seemed to choose the muesli.

I attempted to sleep after breakfast, but found my seat would not recline. It seemed to be stuck (as there was room to recline and other seats reclined), but even with some jostling it would not budge.

After resting for a bit, I reviewed the SPL rulebook in preparation for the RoboCup US Open.

Just before final approach, the flight attendant offered first warm lemon towels and then mints to the first class cabin.  This was a nice touch that I haven’t seen much in domestic first on American.

After deplaning, I waited for my teammates and then we undertook the long walk from Philadelphia terminal A to terminal F. There was a shuttle, but I figured walking would be good for us.

Terminal F was a big regional terminal with limited seating. We only had to wait about 20 minutes for boarding to begin though.

Little AA CL-65 in Philadelphia

The Canadair CL-65 had no first class or real MCE, so I sat in bulkhead 1F. This plane was so small that the robot head bag had no chance of fitting overhead and my backpack barely fit sideways!

Boarding was not explained, so people were confused about what could fit overhead. This led to many people having to back out of the plane to gate check bags.

The seats on this old US Airways plane were tight. With a bulkhead seat but a sizable neighbor, this flight was uncomfortable.

The sole flight attendant on this flight really did not seem to care about anything. She allowed passengers at the other bulkhead to keep loose baggage at their feet during take-off and later spilled hot coffee on a woman and barely apologized.

Upon arriving in Portland, ME, I was surprised by how quickly our baggage arrived on the baggage belt.  We quickly made our way to the rental car desk, and then into Portland for a nice lobster lunch.

Everything barely fit after we used the front passenger seat of the car for storage.

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