There aren’t many times when one gets the chance to see the Great Lakes, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean on the same day. My latest mileage run gave me that opportunity!

A few months ago I had made a reservation for what seemed to be a great mileage run: Austin to New York (JFK) then a long transcontinental flight to Seattle. I was excited by this, it’s not easy to get a transcon when you live in the middle of the United States. From Seattle I’d fly home via Chicago. Great! I was looking forward to it!  And then American Airlines ruined my mileage run.

I came up with a new itinerary and tried to make the reservation.  Fortunately, I found a friendly supervisor at American Airlines customer service and was able to rebuild it into a six-segment trip around and across this great land, and get virtually the same miles as the original trip. My new itinerary: Austin to Chicago to Boston to Dallas/Fort Worth to Seattle to Dallas/Fort Worth to Austin. Leave AUS at 6:10 a.m. on Saturday, return at 8:30 on Sunday morning. There are many opportunities for things to go wrong when a trip has six segments — as the day approached I was glad to see that American did not change the schedule of any of my flights. Most of my layovers were relatively short, only an hour or so, but as long as there were no weather problems, it should work out great!

I arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 5 a.m. on Saturday. Since I have Platinum status with American, I can use the First Class check-in. I showed my identification to the agent behind the counter; she pulled up my itinerary and said, “Oh, you must be doing this for the miles.”  Good guess. Thankfully, she did not offer to book me on a more direct route, which has happened before.

I cleared security and went to the Admirals Club and gave the lady my ID card. She entered my number in the computer, looked at my itinerary, and said, “Oh my, you must be doing this for the miles.” Bingo!

A short while later I boarded my 6:10 a.m. flight to Chicago O’Hare. I was surprised that the plane was packed, almost completely full. I didn’t expect that on such an early Saturday flight. Once we took off, I watched the sunrise, then fell asleep.

Under cloudy skies, we landed on time in Chicago. I had enough time to visit the Admirals Club, have a cup of coffee, call home to my wife, and take a few photos.

American Airlines operataions at Chicago O'Hare. In the distance you can see the skyline of Chicago. I fouind that to be pretty impressive, especially because the buildings are 18 miles (29 km) away.

It was a short layover in Chicago, so I was soon on my way to the gate for my flight to Boston.

Virtually all of the American Airlines flights into Austin use the MD-80, so that is the aircraft I am most familiar with. I had special treat for my Boston flight, I was on one of AA’s new 737-800s. AA received the first of these aircraft last year and plans to replace the MD-80 with these planes that are quieter, more fuel-efficient, and much nicer for the passenger. For me, the MD-80s feel old, not too surprising since they are old! This plane felt brand new, The seats were more comfortable and the power port under the seat was 110 volt instead of 12 volt! That was a nice change!

We departed Chicago on time and had a smooth flight to Boston. In fact, we arrived a bit early, but as happened to me every time I have flown in to Boston, we had to sit and wait for several minutes before we could go to the gate. In the end, we arrived exactly on time.

Chicago's cloudy skies apparently followed me to Boston. One of the gate attendants said we were lucky, we missed the thunderstorm that had come through earlier.

Boston would be my longest layover of the trip, a little bit more than two hours. As I entered the terminal I looked at the departures screen and saw that the flights to London and Paris had been canceled, Once again, the Icelandic volcano with the name no one can pronounce (Eyjafjallajokull ) was acting up.

The main thing I wanted to do in Boston was eat lunch: it was almost 8 hours since I had eaten breakfast and I was hungry! I looked at the restaurants near the American Airlines’ gates, and decided upon the Cisco Brew Pub. Cisco Brewers is a local brewery located on Nantucket Island, so it seemed like a good choice. Whenever I travel I try to sample local fare as opposed to eating at a national chain.

I was in the mood for seafood, so I ordered shrimp on rice with mangoes and peppers.

Dinner at the Cisco Brew Pub at Logan Airport

The food was excellent, and the large mug of wheat beer was an outstanding companion. If I had more time, there would have been more wheat beers at my table.

Once I finished eating I made a quick trip into the Admirals Club, refilled my water bottle, and went to the gate.

I boarded the MD-80; the flight was completely full, just as my other flights had been. After take-off I set up my laptop and watched a DVD. Once it ended I took a short nap, waking just as we started our approach to DFW.

I was seated in the exit row, and got a beautiful view of the late afternoon sky as we approached DFW.

We flew over this highway intersection while on final approach to DFW.

Happily, the flight to DFW arrived on time. As I walked through the terminal I looked at the departure boards and saw that the flight from Dallas to London, Paris, and Frankfurt had not been canceled. Either Eyjafjallajokull had quieted down, or flights from DFW could easily avoid the ash cloud, while those flying from Boston could not,

My next flight would depart from Terminal D, the newest terminal at DFW. I took the Skylink train from Terminal A and got some nice views of aircraft near the terminals.

The evening sun reflected off this American Eagle ATR-72 at DFW's Terminal B.

I grabbed a quick bite to eat once I got to Terminal D, then went to the departure gate. I have a FlyerTalk luggage tag on my bag, these tags are bright yellow and hard to miss.  As I waited to board, a lady came up to talk to me, she was also a member of FlyerTalk, was from Austin, and was also doing a Seattle mileage run. She has already flown from Austin to Chicago to Seattle to DFW, and would now be on my flight to Seattle, We chatted for a while, then boarded the plane: she was in first class while I was in coach.

We departed on time and had a smooth flight to Seattle; I spent most of the flight reading. We arrived SEA on time at 10 p.m.; my previous flights into SEA have always arrived at the main terminal. This time we arrived at the satellite terminal and had to take a short train ride to the main terminal. This was new to me, I did not know they had a train at SEA. Once I arrived at my gate I had a relatively short wait until we took off for DFW. I took a few moments to refill my water bottle, then boarded.

Again, the plane was completely full. Shortly after take-off the pilot dimmed the lights and I was able to sleep all the way to DFW.  The good news is that we arrived 35 minutes early; the bad news is that we arrived 35 minutes early. Almost nothing is open at 4:30 on a Sunday morning at DFW. The Admirals Club in Terminal A would not open until 5:30, and the only option for breakfast was McDonald’s.

That did not hold much appeal to me so I walked through the terminal; the more I walked the more hungry I became. I was looking for food, but it was so early that the newsstands had not yet even opened. Finally, I gave up and went back to McDonald’s. The breakfast of pancakes, sausage, hash browns and coffee was better than expected. And, by the time I finished it, the Admirals Club had opened.

I had enough time to take a shower: the showers at the Terminal A Admirals Club are known as the car-wash showers. The water not only comes down from above, you can even set it to spray you from the sides, hence the car-wash name. I was completely refreshed after the shower, I got some coffee, read the morning paper, and then made my way to the departure gate.

My 7:30 a.m. flight for Austin left on time and was less than half-full, this was the first flight of the trip where I had the entire exit row to myself. We landed at Austin at 8:25, and I was home by 9:30.

I had been gone 26 hours, flew 7,537 miles, earned 7,578 EQMs and a total of 14,440 miles. I also read 365 pages of the new book I had bought two days earlier. I had 6 flights: 5 were on time, and one was early. I had a good meal in Boston, and did not arrive home exhausted as I did after my previous trip. All in all, it was a very good weekend!