We had an overnight stay was at the LAX Hilton. On previous stays at LAX we went to Courtyard by Marriott but this time the lure of the Hilton Executive Lounge overwhelmed us. We should have stuck with the Courtyard.
Although the room was large and the bed was comfortable we had a view of a carpark. The room did not even have a fridge. The Lounge was so noisy from other guests we were unable to hold a conversation. We lost it when The Navigatrix was unable to find tea and the surly and insouciant server would not help.
Frankly, the Homewood Suites in Orlando (a lower category of hotel in the Hilton hierarchy) did a better job. There is plenty of choice for hotels at LAX so we will not return to the Hilton. This is really disappointing because all our previous Hilton experiences this trip have been excellent.
Things only went further downhill at LAX. We checked in without problem but at security The Navigator forgot to take out his wallet which meant being pulled over for a body search and drug/explosive residue test. He only has himself to blame for that.
Then we were refused entry at the AA lounge.
"But we're flying first class," we insisted.
"Only international or between LAX and JFK."
"But that doesn't make sense. How did we get access to the lounge previously?"
"Sir, madam - I can't explain that. Are you Qantas Club members?"
"Yes. But we didn't bring our cards because we're flying business and first and didn't think we would need them. After all, doesn't flying business or first automatically get access to the airline's lounge?"
"Well... usually yes but that is not American's policy."
After making enough of a scene at the doorway they eventually let us in. Just another reason not to fly AA.
Airbus A321S. The 'S' designation is for standard. There is a 'T' version of this plane for transcontinental flights which has true first class and business class seats which lie-flat.
Oneworld. This is the continuation of the fourth leg of our itinerary. In theory this leg is MCO-HNL with a transfer in LAX.
Business - seat 2A (window) and 2C (aisle). Every plane is different and we are the second row as the numbering suggests.
Flying time is 4 hours and 50 minutes. We push back 5 minutes early and pick up time along the way to land about 20 minutes early.
The seat has 21 inches of width, so is just slightly wider than the B737. Strange how that 1 extra inch is noticeable. There is no leg rest or foot rest, although there is a little more padding in the cushion so the seat is definitely more comfortable.
There is an 11 inch touchscreen screen in the back of the seat and a controller mounted into the armrest. There is well over 100 (we lost count) new release and catalogue movies across 20 categories.
There 30 different offerings in the TV section including complete seasons, documentaries and concerts.
In the music section there are 16 different audio channels, as well as 14 different music genres with up to 50 albums in each. There is also a large selection of interactive games.
In short there is plenty of entertainment and is a vast step up from the streaming app (which is not available on this plane).
The Navigator watched 'Incredibles 2' and The Navigatrix watched 'Finding your Feet' and 'The Little Pink House'.
Unfortunately we were unable to have our baggage checked all the way through to Honolulu, as it cannot be left overnight on the airside at LAX . However, this allowed us to properly pack our purchases from the outlet mall. Our 4 bags are now either at, or slightly over, 23kgs but they are all checked without question.
On par with our flight from yesterday. It is a little frustrating to have to go up to the galley for a drink or a snack as the staff do not come through the cabin.
However, we are greeted and welcomed in the Hawaiian language which is nice and puts everyone in a vacation mood. The chief steward also gives a running commentary of sights to see out of the window on approach to landing.
A drink is offered after take-off and then we are straight into brunch which is either banana bread pudding with grilled pineapple or pork enchiladas. We have the enchiladas which are fresh and tasty. Finally some nice food on AA!
Better even from yesterday, despite the terrible experience at the lounge. For (allegedly) the largest airline in the world, it is particularly frustrating there is no consistency across the brand in terms of entertainment, food and service on the land and in the air.
In the continuing race to the bottom for most American and some global airlines, the pursuit of profit means that service is being discarded and loyalty is ignored unless one has status. Next time we will find alternate ways to travel across the USA.
7 out of 10.