January 15, time for my first mileage run of the year.

This would be a pure mileage run — no going into town this day, I’d spend all my time in the air or at an airport.

I’ll leave Austin at 6 a.m. then fly to Dallas/Fort Worth, New York LaGuardia, Boston, Chicago, and then return to Austin, landing at 10:45 p.m. My biggest concern on this trip was the weather; mid-January is not the best time to fly to the Northeast or Chicago, heavy snowstorms had disrupted travel during the Christmas holiday season and a blizzard had hit Boston earlier in the week. Fortunately, the forecast called for good weather on the day of my flights, and all airports were operating normally.

I woke up early and drove to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, arriving at 4:45 a.m. It had been raining all night and the rain continued on my drive to the airport. I parked in the lot and took the bus to the terminal; normally there are other people on the bus with me but not this morning. The driver remarked that it had been a very slow morning for him. When we got to the terminal I saw that he was right, almost no lines the counters and a very short line for the security check-in.

I got my boarding passes, cleared security, spent some time at the Admirals Club and then went down to board my first flight of the day. This was a bad news – good news – bad news flight.

Bad news: American Airlines flight 708 would take me from Austin to DFW to New York LaGuardia (LGA). If I had one flight take me to DFW and then another to LGA I’d get bonus miles for the AUS-DFW segment (fly 183 miles but earn 500). Since it was one flight number all the way to LGA AA would give me credit for a direct AUS-LGA flight and I’d loose those bonus miles.

Good news: I’d be able to relax on the flight,  taking one plane all the way to New York without having to change planes at DFW.

Bad news: No I wouldn’t.  Instead of taking one plane to LGA I’d have to change planes and terminals at DFW. To me, that makes it two different flights and not one, but I guess the airline looks at it differently.

We took off on time and had a smooth flight to DFW, arriving at terminal A.

It was a rainy day in Austin and at DFW (above.)

I took the SklyLink shuttle to Terminal C and had a very short wait before we took off for LGA on a new plane, but with the same crew. Almost all of my flights last year were very crowded but that was not the case today; both flights were less than half full and I had a row all to myself. I had a window seat and hoped for good weather and good photo opportunities in New York.

After a smooth flight we made our approach into New York. If you are ever on a flight from the south to LGA be sure to sit on the left side of the plane, the view is worth it as the plane flies over New York Harbor and then up the East River, providing a wonderful view of lower Manhattan.

New York has one of the busiest harbors in the country; many barges and container ships were anchored in the harbor.

Although it was a hazy day we had a good view of the lower Manhattan financial district (foreground) and the Hudson River and New Jersey in the distance. Snow still covers Battery Park, a reminder of the blizzard that hit the Northeast a few days earlier.

We flew past LaGuardia before turning to make our final approach, coming in over the water and landing on the runway at the upper right. The terminal is visible on the right; the island in the center is Riker's Island, home of New York City's main jail complex.

The iconic tower at La Guardia. The ariport was dedicated in 1939. A new taller control tower has since been built.

We landed a few minutes early and I had time to go to the Admirals Club and call home to let my wife know I had arrived safely.

After a short rest I went to board my Boston flight. During my first flight they had announced that the Boston flight would depart from Gate C-1 so I headed that way. And that is when the silliness started.

I had arrived at gate D-1. My flight to Boston would be on American Eagle which departs from the C terminal. Unfortunately, that meant I would have to leave one terminal and then clear security again to reach my gate at the next terminal.

So, I walked down to the C terminal; just before I got to the check-in I put my keys, cell phone, pocket change, etc in my carry-on bag, and then cleared security without any problem.

I got to gate C-1 for my 1:45 departure and saw that they were waiting to board a flight to Montreal with a 1:25 departure. Twenty minutes would not normally be enough time for one plane to leave the gate and another to arrive so I asked the gate attendant. He told me that I was at the right place.

Then I remembered to get my cell phone out of my carry-on; I looked and saw I had missed a call from the American Airlines flight update service. I listened to their message, it said my flight would depart from gate D-0. That wasn’t good, I’d have to go back to the D terminal and clear security if that was correct. I found a monitor that listed departures and sure enough, it said D-0 was my gate.

I went back to C-1 and told this to the attendant, he again told me that the Boston flight would be at that gate.

Then my phone rang. It was American Airlines calling again to say the flight was at D-0.  I ended that call and my phone rang again, American Airlines calling to tell me my flight would depart from gate C-1A. C-A? Where was that? I started to look and my phone rang again, this time to say that my flight would depart from C-1. Three calls in less than three minutes, but it appeared that they finally got it right.

I looked out the window at the tarmac and saw the American Eagle plane at C-1, then I saw a bus pull up next to it. Once it arrived they announced the departure of the Montreal flight. Instead of going down the jetway to the plane, those passengers went down a stairway and boarded the bus. Once it departed they announced the Boston flight (with the sign at the gate still listing Montreal as the destination) and we boarded.

Our aircraft was an Embraer ERJ-135 (ER3), a small plane with two seats on one side of the aisle and one on the other. The good news was that it was a jet and would get us to Boston quickly. We departed on time and had a smooth 34 minute flight to Boston. I had an 85 minute layover in Boston and looked forward to being able to eat for the first time since I left home.

To be continued