A Man, A Plan, a Canal: Panama! DCA-MIA-PTY on American
AA Flt. 1297 Dep. DCA 6:05 AM; Arr. MIA 9:00 AM
Boeing 737; Coach
AA Flt. 1532, Dep. MIA 12:30PM; Arr. PTY 3:25PM
Boeing 737; Main Cabin Extra
Since moving to DC, I have been thinking of changing my allegiance from Delta to either American or United. Delta and Sky Team do not have huge coverage out of DC. And Delta’s massive devaluation of its award redemption prices, on top of its elite spending requirement that requires spending a ton of money on Delta, and not any of its partners, convinced me I needed to make a switch.
From the time of my move, I made the assumption that the US Airways/American merger would go through, and that meant the new American would be the largest carrier at National, my airport of choice- easily accessible by cab or Metro from my apartment. For international travel, though, I’d still have to route through a hub (any of the combined airline’s hubs could make sense depending on the final destination). There is a tiny Oneworld presence out of Dulles right now, with just LAX, MIA,and DFW on American, one flight on British Airways to Heathrow, and Qatar Airways to Doha, but perhaps that will change due to the high concentration of US Airways loyalists- with maybe an Air Berlin, Iberia, or Finnair flight being added. US Airways has also indicated it will be keeping relationships with some of its current Star Alliance partners, many of whom fly out of Dulles, even after it leaves the Alliance. United, on the other hand, has a wide international network out of Dulles, both on its own flight and on partners. But its losing its biggest partner out of DCA, and getting to Dulles is just a pain in the butt.
I was leaning towards American/US Airways since I’d rather fly out of DCA and connect on international flights than have to fly out of Dulles and route through Newark, Cleveland, Chicago, Houston, or San Francisco on domestic flights. So when American offered a promo in August offering elite status with reduced mileage requirements, it was an easy decision to make. I had to fly from DC to LA for work, and American is the only legacy with a nonstop on that route, so that got me almost all the way to the 6,000 miles required for Gold status. I was thinking I might get to the 30,000required for Executive Platinum, but due to some goings on, that isn’t in the cards. I was in need of a little R&R vacation, though, so when a fare on American for $330 to Panama popped up, I grabbed it.
I decided to book the option that...Read More