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After signing up for the new “unlimited flying” service, OneGo, TPG Associate Editor Emily McNutt recently flew around the East region over the course of two days. Read on for her experiences in the air and at each airport’s Admirals Club.
Earlier this month, we heard about a new service called OneGo, which is marketed as an “unlimited flying” tool with a flat monthly fee. So, we decided to test it out. And after some time researching and planning, we came to the conclusion that it was, in fact, too good to be true. However, that didn’t stop me from going through with the month-long flying journey. So, a couple of weeks ago, I took off on my first of — what I thought was going to be — four weeks with the service.
I signed up for a Platinum challenge with American Airlines before I started the journey with OneGo because I knew I would be flying a lot and it was an easy way to earn status. Knowing that and given the fact that I was going to be traveling through AA terminals for a while, I decided to make use of my Citi / AAdvantage Executive World Elite MasterCard. In December, when the card changed its rules to allow authorized users access to Admirals Club lounges, TPG added the team as authorized users on his account.
For my first week, I flew from New York to St. Louis, St. Louis to Miami, Miami to Chicago O’Hare and Chicago O’Hare back to New York over the course of two days. My overnight in Miami was spent at the Aloft South Beach (full review coming soon!). The total cost of the four one-way flights OneGo paid was $948, and upon completion of the trip I earned a total of 3,886 EQMs — more than halfway to Gold status with American thanks to the challenge.
Determined to maximize OneGo to its fullest, I took off for my first four-flight adventure, checking out the Admirals Clubs available along the way. Below, you’ll find my experience at each Admirals Club location and a flight breakdown, including departure and arrival times, the aircraft, total cash price of the ticket (what OneGo paid), total EQMs earned and a flight rating on a 1-5 scale (1 being bad, 3 being average and 5 being the best possible).
The Admirals Club at New York’s LaGuardia was my first stop on this week-one OneGo adventure — and I chose the location at Terminal B because my flight was leaving from just down the hall. There are two Admirals Clubs at LaGuardia — this one at Terminal B and another, smaller lounge at Terminal C. As former TPG intern Kevin Song pointed out in his review of both of LGA’s Admirals Clubs, the latter of the two is a former US Airways lounge. The lounge at Terminal B is located right past security and is very elegant looking when you enter through the sliding doors and take the elevator up to the lounge.
The decor inside the lounge is chic and modern — I would say it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing of the four I visited on this trip (along with MIA). The chairs were very comfortable and there seemed to be an outlet for nearly every seat. I was there early, so the standard Admirals Club breakfast options were out — muffins, pastries, yogurt, among a few other items. It was very quiet during my time here — both in terms of traffic and the noise, which could have been because of the time of day, but it was relaxing overall.
Flight #1 — New York to St. Louis
Aircraft: Embraer 175
Departure Time: 9:10am
Arrival Time: 11:15am
Total EQMs: 888
Cash Price: $253
Flight Rating: 2 — This flight was just slightly below average. It would have been better if there had not been a liquid dripping from the air vent right above my head. Every five minutes or so — or every time we hit a bit of turbulence — a drop would fall. Although it was inconvenient, it was still a fairly enjoyable flight. It’s also worth noting that this flight had terrible Wi-Fi — a funny coincidence, as I was trying to write about how AA was considering replacing Gogo with ViaSat because its current system is too slow.
My time at the Admirals Club in St. Louis was much longer than I had anticipated. My flight from LGA arrived at STL about 15 minutes early and I headed straight for the Admirals Club, which is located just past security and behind a wall. It was a bit difficult to find, especially coming from within the terminal. As planned, I left the airport to meet a friend for lunch before returning in time to catch my next flight to Miami. However, when I returned, I saw that my flight was delayed — great.
I was scheduled to leave at 5:01pm but was delayed until 7:17pm, an extra two hours in the Admirals Club. Much of my time there was spent catching up on work, and this was a great lounge for that. There are plenty of outlets — about four for every seat or every two seats — and it was very quiet the whole time I was there, even when it got busy. There’s one big window with a view of the runway, but that’s the only source of natural light in the lounge. The bar and food is in the back, and there were the basic Admirals Club snack options — nothing too special.
Flight #2 — St. Louis to Miami
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Departure Time: 5:01pm (actual 7:17pm)
Arrival Time: 8:48pm (actual 10:31pm)
Total EQMs: 1,068
Cash Price: $327
Flight Rating: 4 — This flight was very enjoyable — mostly because it was nearly empty. The entire rear of the aircraft was almost completely empty, giving everyone plenty of space to themselves. This flight was also rather enjoyable because of the updated interior, complete with a touchscreen seat-back in-flight entertainment system. I ended up sleeping most of the flight, since I was tired after spending much of my day in the STL Admirals Club.
The Admirals Club in Miami was my favorite of the four I visited on this trip. MIA has two Admirals Clubs — both in the D Concourse (D15 and D30). I arrived at the airport fairly early and had plenty of time to explore the D30 lounge. The D15 lounge is under renovation — and the AA website says D30 is as well, but I didn’t see any evidence of construction. Inside, it looks newly renovated — there are plenty of seats, both comfortable seats and tables, as well as a large bar area.
There are also showers, which, when I looked inside one of them, looked fairly decent — a nice, refreshing break after someone has been traveling for an extended period. There’s plenty of space in the lounge to roam and it didn’t feel too overcrowded, even when the volume picked up. The entire lounge was clean and the staff was very attentive — I didn’t see a glass or plate sitting on a table longer than a few minutes before it was picked up. The snack options were pretty standard — albeit in a small area. During the busier times while I was there, there seemed to be some overcrowding as people congregated by the small snack area.
Flight #3 — Miami to Chicago
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Departure Time: 3:20pm
Arrival Time: 5:47pm
Total EQMs: 1,197
Cash Price: $214
Flight Rating: 3 — This was an average flight — nothing special. The Boeing 737 had an older version of AA’s livery (and was the only of the four I flew with the old paint job). The seats were outdated but weren’t too uncomfortable. Unfortunately, American’s new snacks for economy passengers weren’t available on any of my flights, as they’re not expected to make an appearance on all aircraft until April.
After reading former TPG intern Kevin Song’s review of the ORD Admirals Clubs and because of its proximity to my arrival gate and departure gate, I decided to head to to the Admirals Club in Concourse H. This lounge is one of the largest in AA’s network, but it still didn’t seem big enough when I first got there. I arrived around 6pm and it was so crowded that I had trouble finding a seat. After a couple minutes of searching, I found a table against a wall and next to an outlet — perfect, because I needed to charge my computer. It’s worth noting that although there are plenty of tables in the middle of the room, there aren’t outlets nearby, so that’s not an option if you need to charge a device.
I didn’t order food off the menu, opting instead to check out the snack bar options. Of the four lounges I visited, ORD had the most choices by far, but this could have been because of the time of day. There was the standard fare like vegetables and cookies, as well as hummus with pita chips and a few other dips — I was a fan of the hummus. After about 45 minutes in the lounge, traffic really started to die down, and I was one of only a few people left when I headed for my gate. I wandered around to the back parts of the lounge and saw how big the space really is — and almost no seats were filled by the time I left.
Flight #4 – Chicago to New York
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Departure Time: 7:50pm
Arrival Time: 10:50pm
Total EQMs: 733
Cash Price: $154
Flight Rating: 4 — This flight was rather enjoyable. I was pretty tired from my previous flights, as this was the last one for the week, so I was able to get some good sleep on board. The seats were newer and comfortable, and the in-flight entertainment system was great — I loved being able to track where we were throughout the flight. In addition, this flight was pretty empty — I had a whole row to myself until someone (who was sitting in a row with three people) moved to the aisle seat, which was fine. There was still plenty of room with the empty middle seat.
Although it was a lot of flying, I have to say that I really enjoyed my first week with OneGo. The flight-booking process went super smooth for each flight and the app itself is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. I was really looking forward to trying out the service for the rest of the month, so I was disappointed when OneGo canceled my subscription prematurely because of technical issues.
That being said, I’m looking forward to finishing up my month when OneGo’s servers are back up and running with American. When I do have the chance to use it again, I’m looking at planning enough to get me to Platinum status with American — I have until May to do so.
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