A Hawaiian Adventure - Nonrev Style

Hi y’all, I’m here again with another trip worthy enough for a trip report.

As some of you might be aware, I now work for American Airlines doing back office IT work. As such, I have flight benefits which are fun (but I don’t always recommend them, I’ll discuss this further later.) I recently took a day trip to Maui from PHX where I’m based, since I had an appointment to renew my TSA PreCheck at PHX that morning anyway. Now, a bit about nonrev travel. It’s terrible if you actually need to get somewhere, since it’s all standby travel, so there’s a chance you might not go anywhere at all. However, our travel site lists the flights with the most empty seats from a particular airport, and there were 50 open seats on PHX-OGG and the return on this particular day, so I had a high chance of making there and back. Additionally, the flight was operated by a 787-9, a pretty rare sight for PHX and a new aircraft type for me, so I decided to list myself for the flights and spend a day in Maui. American also allows us to list for first class, which we get if there are empty first class seats after paying customers and revenue upgrades. I was lucky enough to get a first class seat in seat 4L on the outbound flight, pictured here. This is AA’s business class product on international routes, and my first time flying first class on a widebody flight for any length of time, as I previously flew first on a United 767-300ER from IAH to ORD back in 2020.

The seat was of course very spacious, and I admittedly fell out of place taking a lie-flat seat for a relatively short 6 hour flight. It’s easily the best airplane seat I’ve ever flown in, but I haven’t flown any competing products.

On the taxi out, we passed the “Stand Up To Cancer” livery A321 parked at the maintenance hangar.

About 45 minutes or maybe an hour after takeoff, they started a meal service in our cabin, starting with some warm nuts.

There were two choices of food available, with a chicken dish and cheese tortellini, I went with the latter. This was the best food I’ve ever had on a plane by far, but again I don’t have much to compare it to.

Then I just sat back and enjoyed the rest of the flight, explained in pictures.

The 787 wing is a thing of beauty.

Clouds forming around mountains around the California/Arizona border.

Soon I got my first glimpses of Maui.

After we landed, I got a decent picture of my ride over to OGG, N838AA, a 3 year-old 787-9.

I walked 15 minutes to a beach next to the airport, and saw some sea turtles just vibin’.

I spent about half the day in Kahului before taking an Uber over to Lahaina, and got a pretty picture of the sunset.

And of course finished off the day with some Hawaiian shaved ice.

I spent the rest of the time just wandering around Lahaina before Uber-ing back to OGG for the return flight, operated by the same aircraft. The return wasn’t special and I didn’t take any photos since I was just in a standard economy class seat and it was an overnight flight so I just tried to sleep for most of it. But, now I can say I travelled 5500 miles roundtrip for a day trip, lol.

Hope y’all enjoyed, and feel free to leave any feedback or ask any questions about nonrev travel, I’ll do my best to answer them.


Food certainly looks better than the experimental food I was handed on a
CLT-LAX flight. Glad AA brought back hot food.



I think hot food is only available for flights over 2 hours now, but I would say 80% of the time when I nonrev I just get an economy seat so no food. It was easier to get first back in the summer whenever that COVID variant was around, omicron I think? There’s been too many for me to remember lol