On my return trip from Panama City on Wednesday, I was scheduled to fly on American Airlines from Panama City’s Tocumen International Airport to Miami (PTY-MIA) at 12:50pm. The flight from Panama City was scheduled to get into Miami at 4:50pm. My flight from Miami to Los Angeles (MIA-LAX) was scheduled to depart at 8:30pm and arrive at 11:05pm local time. That leaves me with a 3 and a half hour layover in Miami. After spending 24 hours in Panama City and paying off a bribe to a Panamanian police officer, the only thing I wanted to do is get home to Los Angeles as fast as possible.
I was already confirmed for a First Class upgrade on my American Airlines flight from Miami to Los Angeles and I found an earlier flight which departed at 6pm and would get me into Los Angeles at 8:30pm which is much better than 11:05pm. I wasn’t able to same day confirm change my flight to the 6pm flight because it was an illegal connection since it violated the minimum international connection times. With Global Entry, I knew I could be out of the customs hall in 5 minutes and still make the 6pm flight. In my mind, I was prepared to same day standby for the 6pm flight even if I had endure 5 hours in economy class coach from Miami to Los Angeles. It’s free to standby for an earlier flight for American Airlines Executive Platinum members.
My flight from Panama City to Miami departed 15 minutes early since the flight was half empty and the plane arrived at Miami International Airport 30 minutes ahead of the scheduled arrival time. I quickly made a dash to the Global Entry kiosk and made my way to the US Customs exit. I went to the American Airlines first class check-in counter and asked to be put on the standby list for the 6pm flight. The agent gladly added me to the standby list and I was on my way to the TSA Pre Check lane at Checkpoint 2 in MIA airport.
The TSA Pre-Check lane was empty and I breezed right through security. I headed towards Gate D32 at 4:50pm and found out from the TV monitors that I was #5 on the standby list. I’m usually #1 on the standby list because I’m an American Airlines EXP (Executive Platinum) member and I thought to myself, wow 4 Executive Platinums standing by as well? At this point, I asked the gate agent on what my chances were on making this flight. The gate agent replied, “The flight is completely full, but they’re still selling seats.” That’s definitely a grim outlook for me since I’m number 5 on the standby list.
I went to the nearby American Airlines Admiral’s Club near Gate D30 to double check the loads with an AAngel. I was admitted to the Admirals Club for free since I am an American EXP elite member (oneworld Emerald) traveling on an international itinerary. The Admirals Club AAngel checked the loads on the 6pm flight from Miami to Los Angeles and told me that I would make it. I asked her about First Class and she said it was full. I was prepared to pay $75 to confirm my change to the 6pm flight (instead of standing by), so I could be added to the upgrade list. There was no point because First Class was full and it would be a waste of $75 since I would end up clearing on standby for free anyway. Before leaving the Admirals Club, I used my two drink chits for two bottles of water.
I went back to the gate and boarding began with First Class and Uniformed military personnel. Boarding continued with Executive Platinums and PriorityAAccess. At this point, no one had been cleared yet on the standby list. As the gate agent called for Group 1 boarding, the other gate agent called out four names. It turns out that a family of four was IRROP’d which made them placed higher than me on the standby list. #firstworldproblems right? Boarding for Group numbers 2, 3, and 4 was called and I still haven’t cleared the standby list.
After the gate agent called for Boarding Groups 1-4, my name was finally announced on the PA and I was given seat 36C which is the last row in economy class.
I’ve never ever sat in the last row of economy class coach in my life and thankfully I was given an aisle seat. I almost had the worst seat in the house which is the last row in economy coach with a middle seat and no recline. As an American Airlines Executive Platinum member, I would never have imagined to be assigned a seat in the last row of coach.
Have you ever sat in the last row of coach?