How NOT to return from the U.S. in style

So in my last post we changed our return tickets from the US to the UK to include a stopover in NYC to visit family. All was set and ready to go until, at lunchtime the day before our flight, we get a notification that our flight from Omaha to Chicago had been cancelled.

We were still in Minneapolis at the time and about to set off on a 6h drive back to Omaha for the flight the next morning. We thought we’d try and turn lemons into lemonade and since all the flights from Omaha were going to be full the next morning, American switched our tickets over to depart from Minneapolis at 4pm that same day.

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Flying from MSP instead of OMA

And we were fairly fortunate – firstly, it’s much easier if you have NOT approved the new itinerary that the airline usually notifies you of automatically by voicemail / email. We had hung up mid call since the itinerary didn’t suit. The second thing that worked in our favour was the geography – they can change airports but only up to 300 miles away. OMA-MSP is just a little over 280 miles.

So our flight to La Guardia worked out fine and we had an extra morning in NYC than we would have. After a great few fall days in New York, we repacked our bags for home. Before factoring in the journey to NYC, our original itinerary had been OMA-ORD-LHR-GLA. The transatlantic crossing was going to be a BA 747. The queen of the skies, indeed.

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Although they’re old, I find the sheer size of the cabin (and a decent chance of scoring some well placed seating) make the 747 a decent choice. And the iconic jumbo jet is not going to be around for ever.

But when we changed our flights to include the NYC stopover, beggars can’t be choosers and we ended up with this itinerary:

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La Guardia to Philadelphia? Really? Why in the world there isn’t a OneWorld flight from NYC to Scotland is beyond me. United has GLA-EWR. LGA-PHL is 95 miles as the crow flies. And the equipment reflects it well. It’s operated by either an E90 or an old Wisconsin-Air operated CRJ-200. We were on the latter. All 12 rows. They encouraged all hand held baggage to be gate checked since the overhead bins are barely big enough for a slim backpack.

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CRJ-200

Things went from bad to worse when they called forward all Exec Platinums/Platinums and nobody came forward. No elites travelling on this segment. A bad omen…

In any case, we made it to Philadelphia for a 2h layover. We used our lounge passes from the United Mileage Plus card to use the Star Alliance lounge in Philadelphia.

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Star Alliance Lounge, Terminal D
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View across tarmac from lounge

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The lounge is pretty small. Selection of beers/wines at bar, some cheap coffee and lots of cheese and crackers. A few cookies and other nibbles. Kept us entertained until we needed to make our way back towards Terminal A for our final leg.

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So of all the One World routes to return from the US to Scotland, PHL-GLA has to be about the least glamorous. But it is consistent, you can give it that! It is operated by an old US Airways 757. Like no TVs old. Shocking, I know.

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US 757 interior
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Legroom
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Pushing back at PHL

The meal was nothing out of the ordinary.

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Dinner
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Breakfast – with ‘pomegranate flavoured cranberries’. 

The flight arrives in Glasgow just shy of 7am giving you a long day ahead. A screen was waiting for us with a live feed to the arrivals hall. Needless to say we didn’t have a whole lot of people waiting for us at 6.45am…

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Welcome to Glasgow!

Thoughts on Landing

It’s high time American launched a non-stop from NYC to either GLA/EDI. But in the meantime, I suggest you’re better off taking BA JFK-LHR-GLA over LGA-PHL-GLA any day.

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