The shuttle was so full this morning with flight crew the hotel put me in a cab to the airport. Maybe it was because I was on a reward stay from a SPG Platinum member. The junior suite was nice last night, but midnight to 4:45 AM doesn’t give one much time to enjoy the little pleasures of somebody else’s status. The boarding lines in Providence were long this morning and I picked the line where the crews cut through. It looked like the shortest line, but did not end up that way. Crews get cuts, and as I found out today, so do off duty police officers. They showed their badges and saved 20 minutes.
Why so early you may be thinking. The answer is simple. You can only cram so many segments, and so many miles in a day east coast to west and still catch the redeye back the same night. We are sneaking in San Francisco to Phoenix and back to San Francisco all in the same day before the red-eye. The miles add up. The fare only changes a few dollars for the added segments so why not. I won’t ever add Denver to the mix as it is just on the way anywhere west and doesn’t boost the mileage count significantly. It appears we’re off on time and I’m sure breakfast will be served in First.
I am using electronic 500 mile upgrades for first class. I have the lowest elite status with United and upgrades don’t happen very often. That is another reason I switched my miles crediting to BMI. What good are the upgrades if you can’t use them. You earn 4-500 mile upgrades for every 10,000 flight miles when you hold elite status with United. So at best you’ll get bumped up 20% of the time. I like the confirmed regional upgrade region 1 better as they cover the entire itin one way and can be applied at the time of purchase. I can’t earn them as I don’t have super duper elite status with United, but Tony does and he is donating a few for our second go around. He has so many upgrade instruments he trades them very reasonably to other flyers for electronis crdit vouchers, which are pretty close to the same as cash when you want to buy a ticket.
I boarded the flight to O’hare as scheduled. No sign of Tony, but he makes it with minutes to spare and is seated behind me. There was no chatter or catching up as I fell asleep at takeoff and didn’t wake until just east of Lake Michigan. It was so calm this morning I thought it may have been frozen with clear ice. The attendant brought me the first class meal of omellette, sausage and potatoes. I don’t eat things I don’t understand and the inside of the omellette was one of those things.
Our flight was only a few minutes late getting in, but we had to truck from B3 to C-16 so movement was encouraged. Tony spotted a pair of flyertalk bag tags and he hailed them down. They were on there way back to Dallas after completing the trip to Honolulu for just over $200. That fare war was months ago. You have to act quickly, but can usually take the trip when you want, if you can make up your mind.
We got to C-16 and it was packed. Tony had been upgraded. I was in the back of the bus, or as I affectionitely call it “Seat # Lavatory 2″ The flight had about 120 people booked as of last night, but this morning they were looking for volunteers. We tried but were late getting our name on the list. There must be bad weather somewhere to have this big 777 fill up overnight. Cancelled flight is my guess.
Slept again, for an hour or so on takeoff to San Francisco and things are progressing normally. I’m onboard now and can’t remember if we go straight to Phoenix from SFO or down to LAX first? I’m so crammed in here I can’t reach in my pocket to get my boarding pass without waking my sleeping neighbor. Tony sent back his first class meal as he eats low fat only. The fruit was good, but yogurt is not my thing. Time to finish my movie on the built in DVD player. Wherever we are stopping next is another short layover, but I know we have 4 hours somewhere today.
We’re going to Phoenix next for all of 4 hours. Catch a cab to the local BBQ joint for a southwest meal and then back to SFO for the redeye. No upgrades yet so back of the bus again. The weather out west is beautiful with not a cloud in the sky ad very little haze. San Francisco Bay was as calm as Lake Michigan. We are flying TED to Phoenix which is nothing more than a normal A320 with no First Class Seats. Six Across, row after row, but this flight is only about 50% sold, so row 2 with and empty seat between us. Tomorrow is LAX and I get to experience a frequent flyer first:
In and Out Hamburgs by the Red Spot Parking lot is a tradition in LA. How have I made it so long without? I’ll take another thing off my “bucket list”.
With so much sleep the last two flights, I’m wide awake and itching like the dickens. I’m allergic to something as my hands are all red and swollen. Katy told me to bring something along, but oh no, the male ego says I can handle it. NOT so folks. The benadryl seems to help and the lotion does too, but if I’m awake, I’m scratching.
We’re talking about another swap. Tony wants to go to Singapore this month and his area of frugal travel is airline tickets. He has no expertise I guess is the right word in obtaining free hotels. A swap looks in order as I’ll fix him up and he’ll get Katy the upgrades she so admires. We arrive at 4PM and leave again at 8:30PM. It will be the 1/4 way done mark and no complaints. I finally finished my first movie and have two more loaded for tonight and tomorrow. Battery dying. Til later.
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