Chicago XV – Tiers and Dreams
American Airlines AA1618 Dallas Fort Worth to St Louis International, A quick STL Stop, American Airlines AA1186 St Louis to Chicago

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AA flight 1618 Dallas Fort Worth International to Lambert–St. Louis International Airport
American Airlines, McDonnell Douglas MD-80, First Class, 3F
550 miles flown, 60TP 550 Base Avios, 550 Gold Bonus, 275 Cabin Bonus Avios Earned

The pictures:

I was welcomed aboard, and headed to my now familiar seat of 3F. Boarding continued a brisk as there seemed to be a delay on departure as the ground crew were still trying for volunteers.


Eventually, the pushback was completed, and it was time to go. The safety demo was performed by hand, and with that done, there was a short taxi around Dallas Fort Worth, before the two engines powered up for take off.

Lining up

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With a quick climb, the MD-80 headed in the sky and we begun the short trip to St Louis

With the climb in progress, I settled down and caught up on some more Pokémon. Well. I had other content loaded… but Pokémon seemed more interesting than most

Who’s that Pokémon? (It’s Eevee! From Pokémon Origins…)

The flight attendant was pretty quick off the mark, offering snacks for the short hop.


Meanwhile, nature and the outside world were continuing their display.

Yes. I hog the window.

Drinks were forthcoming, so I went for my normal in-flight beverage of vodka and diet cola.

Oh yes – my passport is within sight. I’m not having a repeat of last time.

After clearing a couple of episodes of Pokemon Origins I kept my eyes on the changing colours, with sunset soon coming. The crew were friendly enough without being overbearing or intrusive, doing the required service

The cabin was cleared as decent begun back into St Louis.

Our flight path took us over Central St Louis, taking in a view of the Arch too – an unexpected bonus.

With the city past us, the plane begun its final turns for St Louis Airport

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The plane landed with a reasonably spirited touch down, and soon enough, we were taxing off the runway to the terminal

With a spritely taxi, we were at the gate at no time at all, and soon enough I was disembarking the plane.

Overall: Nothing special at all here – a pretty regular flight with the same service as the STL-DFW segment. At least the crew were nice – always a good thing to see.

With a very short connection at St Louis, there was time to visit the small room, and queue up for the next flight. And that was my plan… except that a delay was posted of 20 minutes.


That was acceptable, so I hung around the gate area. Except the delay kept stacking, and there was a call volunteers. I was almost tempted, but I actually wanted to be in Chicago for 8pm. A 10pm arrival would had blown what remaining I had plans out of the water, so I hung around for that flight that would probably get in about 8:30, and to the hotel for 9pm.

Eventually, the arriving plane pulled in, and was turned around quickly. With a 100% load, plus 1 extra in the jump seat, there was a lot of pre-bag tagging, as well as a lot of working out if connections were going to be made that night.

Where the call for boarding came, I headed aboard the waiting plane.

AA flight 1186 Lambert–St. Louis International Airport to Chicago O’Hare International
American Airlines, McDonnell Douglas MD-80, First Class, 5F
550 miles flown, 60TP 550 Base Avios, 550 Gold Bonus, 275 Cabin Bonus Avios Earned

With everyone on tight deadlines, the plane was loaded in double-quick time, and soon enough the MD-80 was packed and ready to go.



I wonder if anyone has actually pulled the cable to drop the cone off an MD-80?

Luggage loading

With the loads complete, our plane pushed back and with 40 minutes down begun a quick taxi to the runway

As there was no traffic, our plane line up with the runway, and headed off into the evening sky.

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With a quick climb into the air, the night skies were giving off visual feasts.

Before service began, the flight attendant made announcements that were a lot of people on the flight on very tight connections – and 16 of those had sub 30 minute connections at Chicago. Those who had longer connections were asked to hang fire before leaving the plane.

Service begun. I went for cola as I needed to be awake for the next part of the trip

Snack mix was also served too

The 46-minute flight did its job, with the crew cleaning down the plane quickly, and announcements for connections with gates at Chicago.

Soon enough, the big grid of Chicago came into view

Approaching the Lake, and beginning our turn, note the Sears tower in the bottom right corner 

The North Shore

The Kennedy Expressway.

With the Kennedy expressway in-sight, the plane completed its descent into Chicago O’Hare airport

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Down and beginning taxi

As the plane touched down, the purser was on the PA quickly, welcoming us all to Chicago, and to ask for those with time-critical connections to get ready to get up to the front door once the seatbelts sign was off. Those with non-critical connections were asked to wait until the critical passengers had cleared, and those who were ending their trips in Chicago asked to stay in their seats.

And when we docked, I was actually surprised with the compliance. The 16 with critical connection were up and out, ready to go, with another 30 people up behind them.

I took my time as I was a terminating customer, and thanked the purser, and the captain for the great approach over Chicago. That was met with a get back to the cockpit please sir!

I followed the command and thanked the captain and first officer again. The Captain also noticed that I had a camera around my neck – and so I ticked off another achievement: Sitting in the cockpit of an MD-80.

And Well.


Yours truly in an MD-80 captains chair.

The crew were talkative, and loved their MD-80 – and it showed. Again, I thanked the captain and first officer as the plane had emptied and it was time to go.

Overall: Probably the best AA Crew I ran into this trip, friendly and customer oriented, and going that extra mile for those who wanted to get home. That and the invite up front is never a bad thing.

Next up: Hyatt Regency O’Hare … or how Hyatt went down more than a few notches in my book.

Posted by Kevin M GhettoIFE | 4 Comments

4 Responses to “Tiers and Dreams American Airlines AA1618 Dallas Fort Worth to St Louis International, A quick STL Stop, AA1186 St Louis to Chicago”

  1. Xander says:

    for some reason the cockpit image isn’t loading on my end. Strange.

    • Kevincm says:

      Should be fixed now. It’s my Twitter Icon, so maybe Twitter is in a bad mood with me (or it’s was a HTTPS image). Anyhoo. On my site now!

      • Xander says:

        Yup, it’s fixed now, and I’ll be honest, I am quite jealous of that. I’d love to get a flight on an MD-80 (quite hard if all your budget allows is European flying), nevermind getting a seat in the left hand seat up front.

  2. Jon says:

    Greetings from a reader in Saint Louis! I’m glad AA’s MD-80′s treated you well enough, and that you didn’t have too many troubles for your travels through my fair city. It’s always fun to read trip reports of US domestic service from flyers coming from a different background

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