Flight Review: American Airlines A319 Business Class | Providenciales to Charlotte

American Airlines offered me a 3-month trial of their Gold status, during which time I was treated like a Gold member, and could achieve Gold status for next year by flying a certain amount of miles in those 3 months (I think it was around 7,000).

I tried using my 500-mile credits on American to get upgrades for all legs of the trip (American’s 500-mile program is a bit confusing, which I will describe in later posts). For my flight there – from San Francisco to Charlotte to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, as an American Gold member  none of my 500-mile Upgrades were accept, but I was able to move into Main Cabin Extra seats for free for both flights home (PLS to CLT and CLT to SFO) at check in.

On the way back, though. The angels opened the sky and behold the e-mail that I received telling me I was upgraded to Business class for my flight from Providenciales to Charlotte.

Unfortunately, I took this flight before I decided to start blogging, so I don’t have many photos, but I do have some impressions of the trip.

On a more broad perspective, if I can’t have both, I would always prefer to have my business/first class flight heading home, so that I can look forward to that flight, rather than dreading leaving. So, being upgraded almost a day in advance made me feel a little less bad about leaving the gorgeous paradise of Grace Bay.

The service was decent. The seats in business are set up in a 2-2 configuration that gives you extra space and slightly increased recline. That said, I was in a window seat and passenger sat next to me passed out, and I awkwardly had to climb over him to go to the bathroom. So, keep in mind that if you’re in the passenger seat, you’ll likely need your neighbor’s help in getting out.

I was welcomed with a Bloody Mary that didn’t taste amazing (they were out of Worcestershire sauce), but it was good enough for me. The crew was super friendly and there was a talkative woman in the front row who had injured her leg, and I think they gave the empty Business class seat because she had a connection she would have missed otherwise because of her injury. I have to say, she was hilarious, and I normally don’t enjoy talkative people on my flights.

The flight was less than 3 hours and I would recommend getting a window seat so that you can see the beautiful Turks & Caicos while leaving. The meal service was decent (I got some kind of pasta dish), but what was really worth it was the priority seating – if I wasn’t seated towards the front of the plane, it would have been hard for me to make my connection to San Francisco.

Arriving into Charlotte, North Carolina

I would definitely use my American Airlines 500-mile Upgrades for this flight again, as the extra comfort made leaving the island a little more bearable.



Working remotely from the Turks & Caicos

I was lucky enough to land a $271.76 round-trip ticket from SFO to the Turks & Caicos on American.  The trip was in mid-October, and, having spent 2 weeks in Turkey and Greece in September,  I knew I would have to work remotely for the entire trip.

I work remotely during most of my trips. My day job is as a freelance attorney, and I work with startups, companies, individuals, and other clients, with the majority of them on the West Coast. All of my projects allow me to work from wherever, which gave me the perfect availability to book this incredible deal.

Landing in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos

At the time, my sister Allie, who also worked remotely, was free, so I invited her to come along from the northeast. We made our plans and I booked a hotel on Grace Bay, The Sands at Grace Bay.

As a remote worker, you look for slightly different criteria when selecting a destination for travel than someone going just for fun. Important qualities of a destination include great WiFi, cell coverage, air-conditioning/heating, and time zones that work with your clients.

Turks & Caicos nailed it for each of these categories. WiFi was strong (even on the beach), I never had an issue calling clients, although it was hot, there were ample places with great air-conditioning, and Turks & Caicos is on Eastern Standard Time, which is perfect for my work. Grace Bay has great infrastructure, leading to absolutely no connectivity issues.

Remote work view from The Sands at Grace Bay

Visiting the Turks & Caicos in October is a bit of a gamble, as it’s hurricane season in the Caribbean and Atlantic. For the first day or two, a tropical depression was off the coast of the island, which caused massive rain showers, lightening, and storms. I liked this, though, since I love storms and it also gave me an excuse to be inside working, rather than on the beach. After the storm passed, the weather was perfect.

An advantage to visiting in October is that it’s just before peak season, so you can get a place for cheaper and the island isn’t incredibly busy. I never had an issue getting a seat at a restaurant or finding a chair by the beach or pool, but could see how this might be a problem in the winter months.

Working from the Turks & Caicos was a real treat where the biggest struggle was getting work done while visiting such a gorgeous island.

My Favorite Travel Deal of 2016

In 2016, my goal was to travel at least once per month.  As a freelancer, I had to make sure I found amazing flight, hotel, and other deals to achieve this (although ultimately, I decided to spend December at home, focusing on my health and fitness).

These deals included a $471.25 round-trip ticket to Turkey and a $554.66 round-trip, direct ticket to Hong Kong, both from San Francisco.

But if I had to pick my favorite travel deal in 2016, it would be the $271.76 flight I landed from SFO to the Turks and Caicos on American Airlines. Check out the itinerary below.


One thing that stood out about this trip, aside from the great price to an amazing location (and getting to work remotely with my sister!), was that it was my first trip on American with Gold status. I was able to move to a Main Cabin Extra seat for the SFO to CLT to PLS leg, and was upgraded to Business for the PLS to CLT leg on the way home. The flight wasn’t easy, but the added status definitely made it more enjoyable.

And did I mention those views?


What was your favorite travel deal in 2016?