Early this afternoon, our BLACKLANE driver showed up at our home about 10 minutes early for our private transfer to DFW airport. Amin greeted us with a smile and quickly loaded our luggage into the back of his black Ford Expedition. This was our first experience using BLACKLANE, and I have to say, we were impressed. Not only did the driver show up early, he called to let us know he was in front of the house. And, BLACKLANE sent an email earlier that morning with the driver’s name and phone number.
Amin was very friendly and we appreciated the cleanliness of his vehicle. Complimentary bottled water was also provided for us. In less than 15 minutes, Amin was dropping us off at Terminal D for our 3:45 flight to London.
After checking in at the Priority Desk and learning that our chances of getting an upgrade to Business Class were slim to none, we wrestled our way through TSA PreCheck security, where I had to surrender another nice Swiss Army Knife. Damn! I never learn. I think this is the third pocket knife I have had confiscated by TSA. By the way, TSA PreCheck is a God-send. If you do not have Global Entry, you should if you fly more than twice a year. It is well worth it.
Once through security, we found our way to Gate 17 and the American Express Centurion Lounge. The Centurion Lounge is complimentary for American Express Platinum Members and I have been a member since 1987. The Centurion Lounge has some advantages over the Admiral's Club (American Airlines' lounge). First, drinks are free and they have a substantial complimentary buffet. Add comfortable seating and free WiFi and you can see why this is a popular place. They even offer complimentary massage and manicures!
Soon we were heading to our departure gate and boarding AA Flight 50 to London Heathrow. We were fortunate enough to get confirmed seats in Main Cabin Extra, American's version of "Premium Economy". Basically, it's an economy seat with a little extra legroom. But, on a ten-hour flight, even a little extra room can make a big difference. We were in 18B and 18C, the very back row in Main Cabin Extra. These are great seats because they recline, but there is nobody sitting behind you to inconvenience. Fortunately, American has updated the entertainment systems on the 777-300ER used for this flight. There is a good selection of movies and TV shows on demand.
And, the 777-300 now has international WiFi service...finally! I did not get a chance to try out the service on this flight, but plan to on the flight back to DFW.
Tomorrow morning we will arrive at London Heathrow where we have a very short connection to Basel, Switzerland.