Posts tagged Seattle
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!
It was time for me to take my final mileage run of the year, another trip to Seattle. Why so many trips to SEA? Simple, SEA is the longest non-stop flight that American Airlines offers from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. If I want to go any farther than SEA I need to go beyond the lower 48 states.
I got to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport before 5 a.m, and quickly cleared security. I went to the Admirals Club and prepared for my 6 a.m. flight to DFW. But then, to my embarrassment discovered one problem; my flight was not until 7:05! I’ve always flown out at 6 a.m. and just took it for granted that I’d do it again this day and failed to look closely at my itinerary. I was surprised when the AAngel behind the counter told me “We haven’t had a Saturday 6 a.m. to DFW for more than two months.” Oops! So I had an extra hour to sit in the club.
I eventually got my flight to DFW, and was then pleased to find out that I had received an upgrade to First Class for my flight to Seattle. This meant a more comfortable seat and a meal; at least I would not be hungry once I arrived at SEA.
We departed DFW on time and soon after that it was time for breakfast. I ordered the cheese omelet, which came with potatoes, a roll, and fruit.
After the meal I slept for a an hour or so, then prepared for our arrival in Seattle. I’ve made several trips to Seattle and had great weather on some, poor weather on others. This was going to be a poor weather trip.
We landed at Sea-Tac International Airport in rain, wind, and overcast skies.
I left the terminal and took light rail to Pioneer Square, home of the Underground Seattle tour.
I took the train downtown and walked a few blocks to Pioneer Square, home of the Underground Seattle tour. I had a great time on this tour and highly recommend it. Basically, it tells the story of the founding of Seattle, the construction of buildings downtown that were flooded on a regular basis when the tide came in, and the eventual construction of retaining walls to keep the mud out, but the walls left the first floor of most buildings below ground level. You’ll get a more detailed explanation by visiting their website.
One of the more unique items we saw was one of the first toilets in Seattle.
The tour took 90 minutes and was a lot of fun. Seattle has a colorful history and the tour guides (many of whom seem to have some experience doing stand-up comedy) brought that history to life with their humor and enthusiasm. Be sure to visit Underground Seattle on your next trip to the Emerald City.
Once the tour was over I set out towards my next destination, the Flagship Store of REI. I had seen a story about this unique store on a travel show and decided it was worth visiting. I pulled out my trusty Seattle street map to get directions and quickly realized this is 2010 and it made more sense to use the GPS on my cell phone.
It took almost 30 minutes for me to walk there, not the most fun I have ever had considering the rain and the cold, but what the heck, I always try to do something unusual during a mileage run, so this was part of that.
If you are a person who loves the outdoors, a visit to this store will be like a trip to heaven. Although the store is located in town it does not feel that way; REI did a beautiful job of landscaping the property by planting trees, putting in a creek and waterfall,
The store is amazing! It’s much larger than any other REI store and obviously has a wider selection of products. They’ve installed a mountain-bike trail outside the store where you can test our your new bike, there’s a 65-foot (19.8 meter) climbing wall, and many ways for an outdoors person to get ready for their next adventure.
My next stop was Pike Place Market; I’ve stopped there on every Seattle trip I have done! After a 20-minute walk I arrived; I was cold, wet, and hungry and looked forward to sitting down, warming up, and eating. I walked past the Pike Place Fish Company: they may have fresh fish, they may have friendly staff, but they are most famous for tossing fish.
I found a French restaurant and ate crepes for dinner, then visited a brew pub and sampled some of Seattle’s freshest beers. By then I was relaxed, warm, and ready to call it a day.
I walked back to the light rail station and took the train to Sea-Tac. My flight to DFW was on one of American Airlines’ new 737s. These are really nice planes and still have that “new-plane-smell” and feel. The flight was like every other flight I have been on lately, filled to capacity.
I slept most of the way to DFW. After landing I ate breakfast at McDonalds, the only food place open at DFW at 5 a.m. When the Admirals Club opened I stopped there, took a quick shower, and relaxed, with a coffee and muffin.
My flight back to Austin was uneventful, other than the fact that we arrived 15 minutes early and the gate was not yet ready for us. After a short wait we were able to put up to the terminal and deplane. I was home by 9 a.m.
It had been another long weekend, but a fun one. I earned over 8,600 AAdvantage miles and got home safely on time. That’s all I can ask for!
I’ve booked my last mileage run of the year: no surprise, it’s another trip to Seattle. I’ve lost track of how many trips I have made to the Pacific Northwest, but it is the longest non-stop flight that American Airlines (AA) offers from DFW in the lower 48, so it gives me the chance to earn the largest number of miles.
AA is running a sale that ends tonight, August 26, and I took advantage of it. Austin to DFW to Seattle and back for $251. That’s 2.91 cents per mile, not great, but these days I am thrilled to find any fare below 3 cents.
It’s a November 6 trip, I’ll fly out at 7 a.m., get to Seattle at 11:25 a.m., then fly out on the red-eye to DFW at 11:55 p.m., arriving back in Austin at 8 Sunday morning. Another long day, but a good close to the year.
People have recommended the Seattle Underground tour, I may take advantage of it on this trip. I’d love to do the tour of the Boeing plant, but since it is in Mukilteo, 25 miles northwest of Seattle, there is no easy way to get there without renting a car.
November in Seattle can be cold, particularly when compared to Central Texas, but I look forward to it nonetheless.
The mileage run to Seattle had a great start: smooth and on-time flights, great visit to the Museum of Flight, great food for dinner, and great conversation with my mileage run friend. After dinner he and I parted company: he stayed downtown, while I went to Safeco Field to see the Mariners play Detroit.
I was pretty excited about this, I had not been to a major league baseball game in more than ten years. I’d been to a lot of minor league games in that time, the AAA Round Rock Express (Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Houston Astros) stadium is less than three miles from my house, but no major league games.
Very heavy rain was falling as I left the restaurant, I was thankful that the stadium was covered when we flew over it that morning.
Seattle has a new light-rail system: I took it from the downtown station to the”Stadium” stop.
This stop serves both Safeco Field and Qwest Stadium, home of the Seattle Seahawks, located near Safeco. The area is also home to an event center and concert hall (WaMu Theater).
Thankfully the rain had stopped as I walked from the light rail station to the field.
I had bought my ticket online several weeks earlier and had a seat in the upper deck near home plate, The Mariners were playing the Detroit Tigers that night, but it was also a special event, Salute to the Military night. As a veteran, I looked forward to that.
I thought Safeco Field had a dome, but I was wrong. Instead, it has a roof. The difference is that a domed stadium closes completely and must be air-conditioned. At Safeco a roof simply rolls over the top of the stadium, offering protection from the rain, but not closing it completely, allowing fresh air to circulate.
The game was fun. Seattle took a 2-0 lead, Detroit tied the score at 2-2, then Seattle scored twice to win the game 4-2. One future Hall of Fame player (Ken Griffey Jr.) played in the game, but did not get a hit. It was a different story for a probable Hall of Fame player, Ichiro Suzuki. The Seattle fans cheered Griffey, but roared for Ichiro. He did not let them down. In his first three at-bats he had a single, double, and triple. Maybe he could hit for the cycle!
He came to the plate in the 8th inning, the fans were all on their feet cheering “I-chi-ro! I-chi-ro!” We were all hoping he would get the home run. Instead, the Tigers walked him on five pitches. Let’s just say the crowd was not happy with that; the booing went on for quite a while.
At the end of the game I took light rail to the airport where I met my friend. Our flight to Chicago was scheduled to leave at midnight. By this time, both of us were beat, and I realized the mistake I had made with our itinerary. I had a 6 a.m. flight that morning from Austin, and had to get up at 3:30 to be at the airport on time. My flight from Seattle would leave at midnight local time, 2 a.m. Austin time. So, by the time I got on the plane, I had been up for 22 hours, and it had been a busy 22 hours. If I had to do it over again, I would have tried to get an earlier flight home, but now there was nothing more I could do about it.
We boarded the plane; I was surprised that a midnight flight to Chicago was completely sold out! I don’t remember much of the flight, I fell asleep as soon as we took off.
We got to Chicago at 5:30 Sunday morning. I was very hungry, the only place open at O’Hare that early is McDonald’s. So, I had an Egg McMuffin with coffee,that hit the spot. After McDonald’s we went to the Admiral’s Club where we each took a shower; that helped to refresh us after the long day.
We left Chicago at 8:30, arriving in Austin at 11:15.
It had been a very long mileage run, a tiring trip, but also fun. I finally got to the Museum of Flight, I ate great food, saw a baseball game, and enjoyed the company of my friend from FlyerTalk. I earned almost 10,000 AAdvantage miles, almost 5,000 EQMs. My first mileage run of the year was a success.
It took a while, but the time had finally come for me to do my first mileage run of 2010! I’d fly out of Austin on Saturday morning to Dallas/Fort Worth and then to Seattle. I’d spend all day in Seattle, then come home via Chicago, getting home Sunday morning. One of the special things about this trip was that I would not be traveling alone. A fellow Austinite and mileage runner had seen my posts on the Mileage Run area at FlyerTalk, thought my trip was a good deal, and also booked it.
I arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport at 4:45 on Saturday morning. Shortly after that I met my new friend from FlyerTalk and we boarded the MD-80 for the short flight to DFW. After a short layover, we boarded another MD-80 for the flight to Seattle. Both flights were on time and otherwise uneventful, although I did enjoy some of the scenery on the second flight.
As we made our approach to SeaTac we flew over downtown Seattle and Safeco Field: I had a ticket for the Mariners game that night and was concerned that the game might be rained out: I was glad to see they had moved the roof over the field.
We left the terminal: the weather was cloudy, a light rain was falling, and the temperatures were in the mid 50s. Amazingly, that was the same weather as Austin was having! We made the short walk to International Boulevard were we took the first of two buses to the Museum of Flight.
The Museum is located at the south end of Boeing Field; it was home to the original Boeing plant, but is now used for 737 aircraft flight-test program, along with other Boeing operations.
The exhibits at the Museum tell the story of aviation, from the Wright Brothers first flight to the Apollo moon landings and new trends in aviation. Both civilian and military aircraft are on display.
The SR-71 was designed in the early 1960s to replace the U-2 as a high-altitude reconnaissance aircraft. The one thing the SR-71 had that the U-2 lacked was brute speed. While many aircraft can fly at the speed of sound, or even twice the speed of sound for a short period, the SR-71 could cruise at Mach 3, three times the speed of sound at an altitude of 85,000 feet. That enabled it to over-fly an area secure in the knowledge that nothing could shoot it down.
While its reconnaissance missions were classified and we may never know much about them, we do know of the numerous speed records it set. These include:
- New York to London — 1 hr., 54 min., 56.4 sec.
- London to Los Angeles — 3 hrs., 47 min., 35.8 sec.
- Los Angeles to Washington D.C. — 1 hr., 4 min., 20 sec.
- West Coast to East Coast U.S.A. — 1 hr., 7 min., 54 sec.
- St. Louis to Cincinnati — 8 min.
- Kansas City to Washington D.C. — 26 min
And those records were set with technology designed almost 50 years ago. Amazing!
And here I was, looking at an SR-71. But wait, there is a third engine above the fuselage at the rear of the plane; the SR-71 had two giant engines on the wing, but did not have a third. What am I looking at? Thankfully, the museum had an explanation.
The first aircraft of the Blackbird series was the A-12. The aircraft in front of me is the M-21, a variant of the A-12. It was designed to be used as a “mother ship” that would launch unmanned drones for intelligence gathering. Only two M-21s were ever built: the other one was destroyed in a crash that helped cause officials to cancel the program. See this page for more information about the M-21.
Nazi Germany used the V-1 “Buzz Bomb” against the Allies during WWII, launching it against Belgium, England, and France. It was later replaced by the V-2.
Visitors are allowed aboard the Concorde. What struck me about it was how narrow the cabin was; two seats on each side of the aisle. The cabin was so narrow that it reminded me of a commuter plane that American Eagle would use. The big difference of course is that the Concorde flew at twice the speed of sound at an altitude of 60,000 feet.
British Airways and Air France were the only airlines to operate the Concorde. It was a fine aircraft for trans-oceanic flights, but its sonic boom made it impractical to use on flights over land.
The Concorde was in service from 1976 to 2000. It had a solic safety record until a crash in Paris killed all on board. The Concorde has been grounded since then. However, British Airways is now trying to bring the Concorde out of retirement; this site provides an excellent history of the plane and the status of its return to service.
Air Force One is the name given to any Air Force aircraft that is carrying the President of the United States. The President has flown in a 747 since 1990, but before then, he flew in a 707.
The interior of this aircraft seemed cramped when compared to today’s Presidential 747, but it did the job well for almost 20 years.
After several enjoyable hours at the museum, we took the bus to Pike Place Market – it had already been a long day and we needed to eat! As the bus went by the north end of Boeing Field we saw dozens of aircraft waiting for delivery to the airlines. In the middle of the group were three 787 Dreamliners — I wish I could have gotten a photo of them, but we drove by too quickly. We continued on and went to the Pike Place Bar and Grill where we each ordered seafood. I had “fusion” crab cakes. These were your standard Baltimore type crab cakes, but they were breaded with Japanese Panko breadcrumbs and served in a Wasabi sauce. It was delicious. As we ate we looked outside, saw that it was raining heavily, and decided to just stay where we were.
We spent the next two hours relaxing, sampling some of the beers from the bar’s micro-brewery, talking about mileage runs we had done, and solving all the problems of the world. We did that until 4:30 when I said I had to leave — I had tickets to the Seattle Mariners – Detroit Tigers game that night starting at 6:05, and I needed to get on my way to the stadium. My friend said he would stay downtown and check out the clubs and restaurants, and then meet me at SeaTac for our midnight flight to Chicago.
We said good-bye, and I headed to the light rail station to get the train to Safeco Field.
I’ll cover that and the rest of the trip in my next post.
I’ve mentioned in the past that mileage runs to Seattle earned me the largest number of miles that I can get when flying from Austin; in fact, I am doing a mileage run to Seattle in April.
I was looking at the Mileage Run area on Flyertalk and saw that American Airlines was offering a special sale on flights from New York (Kennedy) to Seattle.
So, I went to aa.com and, using the multi-city option, entered AUS-JFK-SEA-AUS as my itinerary. I must say I was pretty pleased with what I got.
It created a trip that will have me fly from Austin to Dallas (DFW), then Dallas to Baltimore (BWI). At Baltimore I’ll change to American Eagle for the short trip to JFK. From there I’ll take one of those flights that I am rarely able to take, a non-stop transcon from JFK to SEA. After a two hour layover in SEA, I’ll fly to Chicago (ORD) and then back to Austin.
I’ll do this mileage run in May, leaving AUS at 6 a.m. on Saturday, returning at 11 a.m. on Sunday. I’ll earn almost 15,000 miles, more than 7,300 EQMs, at less than 2.2 cents per mile.
This mileage run is different from my the one I am doing in April. I’ll actually leave the airport and go into town in April. This mileage run is airports only. It’s also a lot of time in the air, so I’ll bring the laptop, some DVDs, the iPod, and a good book.
On a positive note, there is another mileage runner in Austin who saw my post on Flyertalk mentioning this trip; he thought it was such a good deal that he booked it for himself, so, at least I’ll have some company! He is Executive Platinum, so he will probably be sitting in First Class for most of the flights, but at least I’ll have someone to talk to during the layovers!
After these first two mileage runs, I’ll have over 11,500 EQMs, and more than 23,000 total miles. That leaves me 38,500 EQMs short of Platinum, which is a lot for the end of May! Hopefully, I will find some additional good deals as the year goes on. If not, I should, at the minimum, be able to make Gold for next year.