Posts tagged Mileage Run
It’s Saturday morning and I’m looking forward to Sunday and my first mileage run of the year: Austin to DFW to San Francisco (SFO) to Los Angeles (LAX) and back to Austin. Everything was good with that trip until my phone rang. It’s 9:45 a.m. on Saturday and I’m getting a call from American Airlines Flight Status about my Sunday trip? This can’t be good.
I answered the call and heard the computer tell me that my flight from DFW to SFO has been cancelled and they are working to rebook me. Darn!
Nine minutes later my phone rang again and it was the computer with good news and bad news for me. The good news was that they had rebooked me; the bad news was that they had moved my flights from Sunday to Monday. Not good!
The computer asked if I would accept that itinerary, I said no, and was connected to customer service. I explained to the customer service representative that I was not able to fly on Monday and wanted to know what other options there were. He asked if I could fly tonight, I told him I could not.
He offered an American Eagle flight tomorrow to Chicago O’Hare, then American to SFO, but I would not be able to come back that night, so that did not work for me. He looked some more and offered me a non-stop flight on Jet Blue to SFO, leaving Austin at 8 a.m. From a schedule standpoint that worked, but what about my miles? I asked if I would still get credit for the original AA flight that I had booked and he said no.
Let me say that I am pretty sure he is wrong and that I would get my original mileage. In the past AA has always given me credit for an involuntary reroute, so I would expect to get it this time. However, just because I got that credit in the past does not mean I’d get it in the future.
Since he said no to me getting the miles for the Jet Blue segment, I asked if he could give me a new itinerary, Austin to DFW to LAX to DFW to Austin. I even gave him the proposed flight numbers. He put me on hold for a while, then came back and told me that they could do it, but I would have to pay the rebooking penalty ($150.00) for changing my flight. I asked why I had to pay a penalty when it was AA that had cancelled my original flight and the answer was that I was no longer going to San Francisco, so this was now a voluntary change on my part.
I did not want to pay the penalty so I told him to book me on Jet Blue. He came back a few moments later and said I was confirmed on Jet Blue. When I asked for the flight number the line went dead. I’ll give the benefit of the doubt and say the call was dropped and he did not hang up on me.
Fortunately I was able to look at my itinerary on AA.com to see my Jet Blue flight number. I called Jet Blue to get a seat assignment. The customer service representative explained that they did not have first class but they did offer premium seats that were on the aisle or near the front of the plane for $45 more. I declined that offer. She offered a standard coach seat with a choice of middle row or window seat and I chose the window. She asked if I preferred an aisle seat and I said yes.
She put me on hold then came back to tell me that she had spoken to the supervisor and explained my situation and they had agreed to waive the $45 fee and allow me to have one of the superior seats near the front of the plane. That was very nice of them, I accepted and was booked into an aisle seat in row 6.
I am not a Jet Blue customer, I have no elite status with them and have never flown with them, yet they were willing to go the extra step to take care of me while American Airlines, where I have elite status, was not. It’s pretty obvious which airline gave me better customer service.
As I sit back and look at this I can’t understand what American Airlines did. They had the chance to keep me on their aircraft and keep me happy by putting me on the flight to LAX. Instead,they decided that they would rather lose revenue by paying Jet Blue to fly me to SFO. That makes no sense, particularly when AA’s parent company, AMR, has filed for bankruptcy protection — why spend money if there is a way to solve the situation at no cost by putting me on the LAX flight?
One of the first rules of business is that you do everything you can to stop your customer from going to your competitor. I gave AA the chance to keep me on American Airlines metal, but since I did not want to pay the $150 fee, they decided they would rather put me on another airline after they were the ones who cancelled my original flight, rather than try to keep me on their system. I assume they could look at my record and see that I have 1 million mile status and Platinum status, why not try to help me out? (Once before I had to change my destination from SFO to LAX, and AA did it without any problem.)
So, I ‘m looking forward to my Jet Blue flight tomorrow. I’m non-stop instead of going through DFW, I leave two hours later so I will get some extra sleep, According to the Jet Blue website I’ll have unlimited snacks and beverages, DIRECTV®, and SiriusXM Radio®; American Airlines. offers none of those benefits. It should be a fun day, thank-you AA for letting me see what Jet Blue service is like!
I flew on Sunday and the miles from my AA flights posted Monday morning. Monday afternoon I called AA Platinum customer service and requested credit for the miles I had lost due to an “involuntary reroute” (that is the magic phrase). They not only agreed to give me the miles but also told me why the flight to SFO had been cancelled: the aircraft had been damaged in a bird strike and they apparently did not have another one they could use to replace it. The gentleman I spoke to was much more knowledgeable and helpful than the person I spoke to on Saturday.
In just a few short days it will be January 1. On that day my Elite Qualifying Mileage for the year will drop to zero. But it won’t stay there long!
American Airlines is running two promotions at this time: double Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) on all flights until January 31, and double EQMs and double Redeemable Miles (RDMs) on flights between DFW and San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) through March 31.
The important thing for me is that these promotions will piggy-back on each other, giving me the chance to earn triple EQMs and triple RDMs on some of my flights — that is too good a deal to pass up! So, to take advantage of these promotions I have booked five mileage runs in January and two in February. Here is how those will work for me.
January: four flights AUS-DFW-SFO-DFW-AUS
Base mileage is 3,928. I’ll get double EQMs for the entire flight, giving me 7,856. I’ll then get double mileage again for the DFW-SFO flights. That’s 1,464 each way, giving me an additional 2,928 EQMs. Add that up and I’ll earn 10,784 EQMs for each flight. I already earn double RDMs for my Platinum status, so that gives me 7,856 plus double for the DFW-SFO flights, giving me the same total of 10,784. So, with these four flights I will earn 43,136 EQMs and RDMs.
January: one flight AUS-DFW-SFO-LAX-AUS
I was a little bit too quick with the purchase button on this one, buying it before I realized that the return flight went through LAX instead of DFW, which means I won’t earn as many miles on this flight as I did on the others. Base mileage is 3,706 times 2 gives me 7,412 EQMs. I’ll get double miles for the DFW-SFO flight, so that is an additional 1,464 EQMs for a total of 8,876. Again, I already earn double RDMs for my Platinum status, so that gives me the same 7,412 plus 1,464 for the same total of 8,876.
Total mileage at the end of January: 52,012 EQMs and RDMs
February: one flight AUS-DFW-SFO-DFW-AUS
Only one promotion is in effect in February, so I will not earn as many miles as I did in January. Base mileage for this trip is 3,928 plus the DFW-SFO bonus of 1,464×2 = 2,928 + 3,928 for a total of 6,856 EQMs. I earn double RDMS for my Platinum status so I’ll have 7,856 miles plus 2,928 for a total of 10,784.
February: one flight AUS-DFW-LAX-DFW-AUS
Base mileage is 3,470, plus double for the DFW-LAX segments gives me another 2,470 for a total of 5,940 EQMs. My Platinum status gives me double RDMs 6,940 plus the extra mileage to/from LAX of 2,470 for a total of 9,410 RDMs
Total for February: 12,796 EQMs and 20,194 RDMs.
My year to date totals after these 7 flights: 64,808 EQMs and 72,206 RDMs.*
That total will put me closer to Executive Platinum in February 2012 than I was to Platinum in February 2011. I may never have this chance again to go for EXP, so that will be my goal for the year. I’ll need another 35,192 EQMs to make it.
But that isn’t all that will happen for me in January and February. I signed up for a Hilton promotion that will give me 40,000 bonus points for 4 stays before March 31. Then I saw a note on Twitter about a mistaken room rate at the Hilton at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport of $20 per night. I actually waited a day before I booked this, but finally did and ended up with 4 one-night stays for a total of $93. For that price I’ll earn almost 45,000 Hilton points.
When I spend another $1,000 on my new Chase Sapphire Card I’ll earn 50,000 Ultimate Reward points than can transfer into Hyatt points at a 1:1 ratio. Given what I already have, I’ll soon have almost 60,000 Hyatt points.
All of these miles and all of these points at two different hotel programs (in addition to the 47K Starwood points I already have) give me great flexibility on arranging our next vacation. Once the miles/points have all gone into my accounts, I’ll be able to start the search.
Where will we go? Bali, Fiji, Maui are a few locations that quickly come to mind. Once I have the points in hand I’ll be able to see what is available and what we can afford. I do know one thing for certain: the search will be fun!
*Mileage figures come from the Flying Fish application. American Airlines measurement of the miles will be approximately the same, but no more than 20 miles difference for each flight.
Last night, November 22, ABC news ran a story on Nightline about frequent flyers, mileage runs, credit card bonuses, etc. The story was recorded at a seminar that I attended in Chicago in late October.
I was one of the small group of people they interviewed, and I am glad to say I ended up in the story: you’ll see me just after the 3 minute mark talking about a mileage run to Frankfurt.
I am very happy with the way they prepared the story. I’ve found that when it comes to explaining mileage runs to people, they either get it or they don’t. Some people think it is an ingenious idea, while some, on the other hand, think we are our of our minds. I’m happy to say the folks at ABC News who did this story are in the first category.
The segment features Rick Ingersoll, the man behind The Frugal Travel Guy blog. Take time to visit his site, there is a lot of good information there. I hope to be as good at this as Rick is!
In case you missed the story or want to see it again, here it is.
This has been a good year for me. After flying less than 25,000 miles last year and losing Platinum status with American Airlines, I am in very good shape to requalify for it this year. Why is that important to me? With Platinum status I’ll earn double AAdvantage miles on all of my trips through February 2013 rather than the 25% bonus I have been earning while Gold.
I need to earn 50,000 Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs) to become Platinum again; I am currently at 41,174 EQMs, leaving me 8,826 miles short of my goal. My next two mileage runs, both scheduled for September, will put me over that line.
The first trip is Austin to DFW to Portland to Seattle to Chicago to Austin. I’ll fly out early Saturday morning and return late that evening. I’ll spend the whole day in the air or in a terminal, there will not be enough time for me to go into town at any of these locations. I’ll earn 5,315 EQMs, leaving me 3,511 short of my goal. Since I have Gold status for this trip, I’ll only earn 25% bonus miles for a total of 6,643. The ticket cost $264, so I am paying 3.97 cents per mile. That’s not bad for a Gold flight. If I was Platinum I’d earn 10,630 miles at 2.48 cents per mile.
There is an interesting story to how I found that route. I used AA.com to look for a round trip flight to Portland. This was one of the itineraries that came up. According to the AAdvantage computer this is a round trip flight to Portland, coming home via Seattle and Chicago.
My second mileage run is Austin to Chicago to Seattle to Chicago and back to Austin. Once again, I’ll spend the entire day in a terminal or in the air. I’ll leave early Saturday morning and be back that evening. I’ll earn 5,398 EQMs for this trip, giving me 51,187 miles for the year and Platinum status. My cost for this ticket is a bit higher, $280.80. I’ll earn 25% bonus miles for the flights to Chicago and Seattle, but will pass the 50,000 EQM mark on the flight between Seattle and Chicago, so I will earn double miles for those two flights. So, I’ll earn a total of 8,771 miles at a cost of 3.19 cents per mile. If I was Platinum for the entire flight I’d pay 2.6 cents per mile.
I’ll pay more than three cents per mile on both of these trips. Normally I’d say that is not a great deal. But by investing that money now I’ll have Platinum status and earn double miles on all flights through February 2013. Given that, I’m happy with what I am paying for these trips.
This is my third consecutive Saturday doing a mileage run. This one will take me to Seattle, with enough time on the ground to leave the airport and go into town.
The routing on this run is unusual: Austin to Los Angeles to Seattle to Chicago to Austin. I’d leave Austin at 7:50 a.m. on Saturday and return at 10:40 Sunday morning. I’ve been to Seattle so many times that I feel like I know the city by heart, but this trip would be different; I planned to take the ferry to Bainbridge Island for dinner.
I arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport with time to spare and was able to spend a little while at the Admirals Club. The Austin club has a wonderful staff, the club was voted the best in the country a few years back. This recognition did not come because of the facilities, it was because of the AAngels behind the counter and how warm and friendly they are. Every time I walk in I am greeted like a long lost friend and I feel truly welcome.
While I was at the club I went online and checked the weather for Seattle for that day; the forecast was not good. It called for an 80% chance of rain during the day, and a 90% chance during the evening. I wasn’t happy to see this, I hoped to get some good photos while on the ferry — rain would not help.
After my normal morning cup of coffee I went to the gate and boarded the 737-800 for the flight to Los Angeles. I had an aisle seat, a father and his young son were in the middle and window seats. His wife and daughters were in the three seats on the other side of the aisle. I had a long day ahead of me and looked forward to sleeping for an hour or two on the flight. At least that was the plan. Unfortunately, it did not work out that way.
Every time I dozed off the young boy needed to go to the bathroom. Or, his little sister across the aisle needed to go and mommy could not help so daddy had to take her. And that was the flight for me, doze off, then feel someone poking me on the shoulder to wake up. Given how long a day I was going to have I could have used the sleep, but that’s life.
We arrived in Los Angeles on time and I got off, getting quite a shock as a gust of cold air came into the jetway as I left the plane; I thought Southern California had nice weather! Normally, but not on this day
If the weather was this bad in Los Angeles, how much worse would it be in Seattle?
American Airlines flies into LAX Terminal 4, my Alaska Airlines flight would depart from Terminal 3. I’ve made this change in the past and never liked it; it’s a long walk and I would have to clear security again. Given my displeasure with that possibility I was very happy to find that they offer shuttle bus service to the other terminal and I would not need to go through screening again.
I boarded the bus and took out my camera. This was not going to be a normal bus ride on the roads at LAX. Have you ever looked out the window of an airport terminal and seen trucks and tractors driving around near the planes? That’s where my bus would go, around the terminals, past taxiways and runways. We might even have to stop to let a plan go by; this gave me the chance to get some shots that I would normally not see.
After a few moments we arrived at Terminal 3 and I went to the boarding area for my flight. I quickly found it and wished I could have been in the Admirals Club instead. I can only describe this terminal as airport hell.
This wing of the terminal was round, with 6 gates all opening into a common area. It seemed like flights were leaving from all 6 gates at once, the boarding announcements never seemed to stop. It was loud and crowded. l needed to charge my phone: I eventually found one of the 2 kiosks that Samsung had set up for people to use as a charging station, Each one had 4 outlets, so there were only 8 outlets for the entire area. I had to wait, eventually someone finished charging and I was able to plug in for a short while.
I did have one special treat though while I was there, a Qantas Airbus A-380 arrived at the terminal across from us; this was my first opportunity to see this leviathan of the air.
When I heard the boarding announcement for my flight to Seattle, I could hardly wait to board, at least the plane would be relatively quiet.
I was able to get some sleep on this flight and I needed it. My flight from Seattle wouldn’t leave until midnight local time, that’s 2 o’clock in the morning to my body and way past my bed time.
We arrived in Seattle on time, coming in to the North Terminal that I had flown out of a few weeks earlier. At least this time I knew what to do, taking the subway to the main terminal and than boarding the Light Rail to go downtown.
The weatherman had predicted an 80% chance of rain during the day. Thankfully he was completely wrong, This was the kind of day the Seattle Chamber of Commerce brags about — no rain, clear skies and mild temperatures.
I took the Light Rail to the Pioneer Square station, then had a 10 minute walk to the ferry terminal. Round trip fare to Bainbridge Island was $7.10. They have an interesting way of charging for the ferry: passengers only pay when leaving Seattle, there are no ticket windows at any of the many locations the ferry goes to.
I bought my ticket, boarded the ferry, and went outside to enjoy the glorious view.
It was a windy day, the seagulls were flying around the ferry looking for food. The wind was so strong I had a hard time standing still. We did have one treat though, the 100th anniversary of the Seattle Maritime Festival was taking place. The main event in the afternoon was the tugboat races, you can see some of the tugs in the middle of the video.
We pulled out into the harbor, the gulls followed us all the way, always looking for food.
The ferry ride was wonderful! It was a beautiful day, the views were spectacular, and it was one of those “I can’t do this at home” experiences that made the long flight to Seattle seem worthwhile.
All too soon though, the ferry started to slow down as we approached Bainbridge Island. I had the chance to see some of the homes along the shoreline.
The ferry entered Eagle Harbor, then docked at the ferry terminal. As I went ashore I was happy to find that the weatherman was still off target, it was a lovely day. I followed the crowd and made my way to the “downtown” area to see the shops and have dinner.
I had a ten minute walk to the city center. I’m sure it is a beautiful area, but major road construction on the main street took off some of the glow.
I took my time, looking in many of the shop windows while enjoying the splendid weather. Since this is the Seattle area, I stopped at a coffee house, ordered a latte, and sat outside reading and enjoying my time.
I had a recommendation to visit the Café Nola — it would not open until 5 p.m. so I took my time and walked down to the marina.
After the noise and crowds of the airline terminals, trains, and downtown Seattle, the marina was an oasis of tranquility and I sat for a several minutes, enjoying it. But then something (my stomach!) told me to get up and go to the restaurant. So, I walked the few short blocks to Café Nola, stopping along the way at Bon Bon Confections to buy some chocolate for my wife.
The restaurant opened at 5, I arrived there a few moments after they opened and was the first customer. They quickly sat me at a table by the window.
As you look at their menu, you can see the wonderful selection of food they offer. But as I looked at it and contemplated my choice of starter, all I could think of was my trip to Seattle a few weeks earlier, and how miserable I felt after I ate far too much food for dinner. I was not going to make that mistake a second time.
I decided to skip the starter and just eat an entreé. Several of them looked good, I decided on the Dungeness Crab with macaroni.
After a short wait they brought it out to me, it was still very hot from the oven. I let it cool and then took a taste; it was wonderful. The plate featured a serving of crab surrounded by macaroni and cheese that had pieces of fish in it, covered with shredded white cheese. I had never had mac-and-cheese like this before; they had taken it from a comfort food to a gourmet taste delight. I took my time eating it, savoring every bite, using slices of sourdough bread to get any sauce that I missed.
I ate as much as I could, but did not finish the serving. I enjoyed the meal, but I also enjoyed not feeling miserable when it was over. I paid the bill and left. I do want to comment on how friendly the manager was; I needed to charge my cell phone but couldn’t find an outlet in the dining area. She took the phone into the office and let it charge while I was eating. Thank you!
By now it was shortly after 6 p.m. and I decided it was time to walk back to the ferry terminal. A light rain started to fall and the temperature began to drop as I arrived at the dock. No need to get wet, I went inside and stood in the line waiting for the next ferry back to Seattle. I was talking with the people behind me; they were all going to see the Seattle Sounders, Seattle’s soccer team, play that night, and then my phone rang.
I instantly recognized the ring, it was the American Airlines flight status number. That wasn’t good, I normally get those calls 2 hours before a flight departs to tell me it is on time — my flight would not leave for another five-and-a-half-hours, something was wrong. I answered the phone and listened to the bad news as the computer told me that my flight, scheduled to depart at midnight, would not depart until 1 a.m.
I stood there and ran the numbers in my head. The plane would leave at 1 a.m. which was 3 a.m. in Texas; when the plane took off I would have been up for 23 hours! That may have been a normal Saturday night when I was in college, but those days are long past. I wasn’t happy about this news.
The ferry soon arrived, we boarded and almost everyone stayed inside, trying to avoid the rain and the wind.
When we arrived in Seattle I made my way to Pike Place Market. It was warm, it was dry, and would be a perfect place to spend the next few hours, sipping some fresh beer at a local brewpub. But then I stopped and thought for a while. If I spent a few hours at the Market and did not get back to the airport until 10:30 or later, there was no chance of getting an earlier flight home. However, if I got to the airport early enough they might be able to get me a seat on an earlier flight. The choice was obvious.
I went to the light rail station and took the train back to the airport. I went to the American Airlines ticket counter to check in and see if I could get an earlier flight. But first the agent needed to pull up my itinerary. She did that, stared at the screen for a while and then asked, “Did you start today in Austin, Texas?”
“Yes, I did.”
“Are you crazy?”
It had been a while since I had to answer that one and I wasn’t in the mood to explain mileage running to her, so I just smiled and asked if there were any other options. She didn’t even look at the screen, she simply said “no.”
I asked about the 11:30 flight to DFW that I had taken before. No luck, it doesn’t fly on Saturday during May. What about the 9 o’clock flight on Alaska Airlines to Los Angeles? Again, no luck, their last flight had already departed. The only good news she had for me was that my upgrade to First Class had gone through for the Chicago-Austin flight, and I was number one on the list to get an upgrade on the flight from Seattle. She issued my boarding passes and wished me luck.
It was 8:45, my flight would not leave for another 4+ hours. I looked at the departure board hoping I would see a flight that the agent had missed, but there weren’t any. The only remaining flights from Seattle were going to the Detroit, Minneapolis, or the East Coast. I thought for a moment that I had plenty of time to take the train from the airport and go back into town, but it was cold, it was raining, and I was tired. I decided to stay at Sea-Tac.
I cleared security and went to the food court. I bought some ice cream and sat, watching planes land and take off, and reading from my Kindle.
The time passed slowly, but eventually the plane to Chicago arrived at midnight. I was upgraded to First Class, boarded, and quickly fell asleep. First class seating was so much better than coach and the problems I had on my flight a few weeks earlier when the gentleman in the seat next to me kept tossing and turning, waking me every time he bumped into me.
We landed at O’Hare at 7 o’clock Sunday morning; as you can see in this video it was very hazy and we experienced a lot of turbulence as we made our final approach.
It was shortly after 7 by the time I got off the plane, my Austin flight would leave at 8 a.m., that meant I did not have enough time to take a shower at the Admirals Club. Disappointing. I did have enough time though to grab a glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee, then make my way to the gate for my Austin flight.
I boarded the plane and, with a First Class seat, looked forward to having a good meal on the flight home. I had an omelet the last time I took this flight and it hit the spot.
We departed on time and once we reached cruising altitude the flight attendant announced that she would serve our continental breakfast. Continental breakfast? I wanted an omelet. I asked the FA why I had a full breakfast the last time I flew this flight, but she had no answer. Oh well, I was thankful for what I was getting, it was a lot better than I would have had in coach.
After I finished the meal I fell back to sleep, waking up shortly before our on-time arrival in Austin. I was home by 11:30 a.m.
It had been a very long weekend, but a fun one. I enjoyed riding the ferry, I enjoyed my visit to Bainbridge Island, I enjoyed my meal at Café Nola and strange as this may sound, I actually enjoyed the quiet time sitting in the airport Saturday night reading. I flew from Seattle to Chicago to Austin in First Class, and got home on time. I picked up 4,888 EQMs, and 6,106 total miles. I have almost 38,000 EQMs, which means I only need another 12,000 to earn Platinum status. And I have 996,000 lifetime miles in my account: the next time I fly I’ll cross the 1 million mile mark and earn life time Gold status.
All in all, it was a great weekend!
For the second consecutive Saturday I’m mileage run, this time to an airport that I have never visited: Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR). It’s a quick trip, Austin to DFW to Newark and back, depart at 7 a.m. and be back by 8:20 that evening.
I visited AA.com before I left the house to find out if I would have internet access on either of the long flights between DFW and Newark; the website said I would not, so I left my laptop at home.
This trip began like all of my others, arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, short visit to the Admirals Club, and then boarded the plane for a quick flight to DFW. That part of the trip went normally. The unexpected happened later.
Here is our landing at DFW; the plane and its shadow lined up perfectly, it looked like the shadow was trying to catch up with us which it finally did when we landed.
We arrived at DFW Terminal D. My Newark flight would leave from Terminal C, gate 4, so I took the SkyLink people mover to Terminal C. The Skylink is one of the nicest things about DFW; even though it is a massive airport the size of Manhattan with five terminals, the Skylink will get you from one gate to another in any terminal in less than 10 minutes. When I watch this video it seems like we are moving very fast, but we’re not, it’s a reasonable speed.
Once I got to Terminal C I went to the Admirals Club for a cup of coffee, called my wife, and relaxed for a while. Then it was time for the long walk from the Admirals Club at gate 20 to gate 4.
I left the Admirals Club and had gotten to gate 18 when my phone rang; it was an American Airlines flight status update telling me that the gate had been changed from 4 to 24. So, I turned around and had the short walk to gate 24.
I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. If you are going to fly on American Airlines, sign up for the free flight status update service. I knew about the gate change before it was even announced in the terminal. This is one of the best services American Airlines offers, you should take advantage of it.
I got to gate 24 and saw a huge crowd milling about. Had that many people already walked from gate 4? No, this was something else. A flight to Los Angeles had been canceled and the gate agents at gates 24, 25, and 26 were trying to rebook those passengers to later flights. A few years ago that would have been easy, but with the airlines cutting back on the number of flights most planes are at or near capacity with very few open seats. I don’t know how they could find seats for so many people.
As I was watching this my phone rang again, letting me know that the departure would be delayed by 25 minutes; again. I got this message before it was announced in the terminal. I later found out the delay was due to an equipment change as they got us a different aircraft. So, I’d have even less time on the ground at Newark. Eventually we boarded and the flight was like so many others I have recently been on, almost completely full.
I got a nice view of the winglets on a 737 at the gate next to us. More and more planes have them, Air and Space Smithsonian Magazine explains why.
We backed away from the terminal, got to the end of the runway and then started to taxi but I immediately noticed that we were not going nearly fast enough to take off. We went a very short distance then turned off the runway back onto the taxiway. Very odd. Then the pilot announced that there was a minor problem with their computer, they needed to finish loading data onto it which would only take a few moments; then he added that they had some dogs in the cargo hold. Was this why they needed to put data in the computer? I don’t know, I never found out what the dogs had to do with it.
It didn’t take long to load the data into their computer. In fact. we simply went back to the end of the runway and immediately took off.
Speaking of computers, with the equipment change we ended up with an aircraft that had internet service and I could have used my laptop; unfortunately it was at home.
One of the odd things about the flight was the route we took from DFW to EWR. Looking at a map, I assumed we’d take a straight line path flying over Little Rock and Nashville, but we didn’t. Instead we went east, flying directly over Atlanta, and then followed the coastline north to the New York area. Maybe this winds made this the most fuel-efficient route? I don’t know.
I spent a lot of time talking with the gentleman in the seat next to me as we traded stories of all our travels. After a while the flight attendants came through the cabin with beverages and selling the lunch packs. I said hello to one of the flight attendants, she had also worked my flight from AUS to DFW.
I wasn’t hungry but the man next to me was and ordered a sandwich. The attendant replied, “I’m sorry sir, we’re sold out, we only had 5 sandwiches on this flight.” WTH? A plane with over 100 passengers and they only had 5 sandwiches? I could understand that if the flight had originated in Austin where they don’t have a food supply facility, but this flight came from DFW, their largest hub where the aircraft could have been stocked properly. This one makes no sense to me, they should have done better. The only thing I can think of to explain it was they may not have been stocked properly because of the equipment change.
We flew on towards Newark and started our approach. Since we were in the New York area I hoped for a great view like I had when I flew into LaGuardia earlier this year, but we did not get that. In fact, the view as we came in was rather dull. We landed, almost 30 minutes late. I looked and saw that I would be flying back to DFW on the same plane, that was good, at least I would not have to rush to change terminals.
I hadn’t eaten since early that morning and I was hungry. I had 15-20 minutes before I needed to get back on the plane for the flight to DFW, so I started to look for some food I could bring on the plane. But first I decided to take out my phone and check my email. Great news, I had gotten an upgrade to First Class for the flight back to DFW! I’d not only have a more comfortable seat, I’d get a meal too.
I lived in New York many years ago: at that time Newark airport was the least busy of the three New York airports and only handled domestic flights. Now it is a full-fledged international airport with flights to destinations around the world
We boarded the plane, the same one that i had arrived on. Everything seemed to be going well until the end of the boarding process when the pilot announced that we would be delayed; there was a leak in our fresh water system and they had to fix that before we could fly.
This was not a big deal to me but it was to the lady in the seat next to me. She let the flight attendant know that they needed to do something for her because she was going to miss her connection. The flight attendant said she’d speak to a supervisor. Less than five minutes later the supervisor was on the plane to tell her that they had booked her to her destination First Class on Delta, and they would get her luggage from the cargo hold on our plane to the correct Delta flight.
I have to give a lot of credit to the people who handled this situation, they could not have done a better job.
After 25 minutes had gone by the pilot finally announced that the leak had been fixed and we took off. The flight attendant in First Class asked if we wanted any refreshments — it was the same FA who had been on my two previous flights! I smiled and said it was good to see her again, but I don’t think she had any idea who I was.
It was a smooth flight to DFW. I had a good meal (pasta) and managed to doze off for a little while. We got into DFW and I had just enough time to change terminals and get my flight back to Austin. I was home shortly after 9 p.m.
This was a good day. I got home at a reasonable hour, earned 3,752 EQMs and 4,690 total miles. Not bad for 45 minutes in Newark!