Another airborne update

Another airborne update

I’m now flying my third 8,100 mile trip of the week, after having two days “off.” By now it’s all merely a routine. Get up at 3:45AM, shower, drive to the airport, go to the counter to negotiate my upgraded ticket, go past security, board at 5:30AM, and so on. It’s almost identical to my trip exactly a week ago, last Saturday, including the same airport employees, gates, etc.

Both of my upgrades, IAD-SFO and SFO-LAX, cleared overnight. Since I checked in yesterday they had to uncheck me in at the airport this morning and re-check me in to reflect the upgrade, which seemed like the biggest challenge the agent had ever undertaken at TPA. Instead of asking her supervisor for help from the beginning she first spent 10 minutes trying, and despite me explaining exactly what she had to do she continued to do nothing but put me in different seats, still in coach.

I had great service on my TPA-IAD flight today, and for the first time that I can remember, there wasn’t a single uniformed employee commuting, meaning the exit rows were wide open. Sadly Channel 9 wasn’t on, but what else is new nowadays…

Service IAD-SFO was equally good, and Channel 9 was on too. We had a little bit of excitement on this flight, if that’s what you’d like to call it. I was in row two and sitting in front of me was a 60ish year old man with his mother, who must have been approaching 90, if not older, along with the man’s wife. During boarding the wife was explaining that she had a device on which you can read books, and the mother didn’t understand the concept. She was then explaining that she had a book in there about Donald Rumsfeld, and they were ripping on him for a good few minutes, which make me chuckle a bit. “Yes mom, this book is about Donald Rumsfeld, the man that sucked up to Bush and started a war.” Then the mother says something like “Yeah, and he steals our taxpayer dollars too.” Heh…

The old lady was fine until landing, at which point the cabin pressure seemed to be getting to her. Out of nowhere she loudly yells “Help, I’m upside down” and “I’m spinning, I can’t see anything.” She yelled this over and over, and the flight attendants were starting to panic a little bit. They kept saying “Do you want me to do anything?” and “Does she need oxygen?” because she was literally just leaning down as if she were unconscious. During landing she threw up a little bit into the barf bag, which wasn’t a very pleasant sight.

Upon landing I headed to the RCC, where I saw a few of the SFO RCC’s best agents. I checked in for my flight from LAX (I was already checked in for my SFO-LAX flight and needed to check in for my LAX-SFO-EWR-IAD-TPA flights).

The SFO-LAX flight was quite uneventful, but an entertaining episode of “Ma and Pa Kettle.” There was an older couple that seemed like they had never been in first class before, which I always enjoy seeing since many of us essentially take it for granted thanks to the liberal upgrade programs with US carriers. During boarding the wife was pointing to the door and said “Hi, stewardess, I was just pointing out the emergency exit to my husband. What’s your name?” In my opinion that’s the most dead end, awkward question someone can ask. Her response was Diana, and the lady replied “Oh, one of my step-daughters is named Diane.” How the heck do you respond to that?

As the FA got the safety demo equipment out the husband said “get your phony seatbelt and airbag out.” During the safety demo the husband and wife shared the safety card and studied it as if they were about to be tested on it. They also inquired about what Economy Plus was, and seemed enlightened by the explanation. I’m not trying to portray them in a negative way, just in case that’s how it comes off. It’s always refreshing to see people so enthusiastic, and as someone that flies frequently it can be downright entertaining at times, which is almost a sad reflection on how much some of us fly.

At the same time I had a seatmate that had a mechanical delay and missed his original flight. He was on the phone with the 1K Desk for a good 20 minutes during boarding, and was somewhat belligerent. He didn’t like the fact that they didn’t want to put him on a different carrier, and I don’t know what the agent was saying, but he repeated several times “please don’t say that again.”

I’m usually in an aisle seats so something I really have been missing out on is the view on the short 52 minute SFO to LAX flight. First during taxi we were following United, Lufthansa, and Cathay Pacific 747’s. Watching them take off never ceases to amaze me. The views of the coast, especially on departure, are breathtaking as well. It seems like I need to get back to my window habit since I’m missing out.

I have a turnaround to SFO shortly at which point I’ll be having dinner with some FlyerTalkers before my redeye to EWR, continuing to IAD and finally TPA. I’m looking forward to getting back home tomorrow and spending some time with my mom (it’s Mothers Day after all), not to mention getting some sleep. Next weekend it’s off to Hawaii (I know, poor me), and then off to SFO for Memorial Day weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Filed Under: Mileage Runs, United
  1. So, why do you have to travel 8100 miles three times a week? It doesn’t make sense to me. If it were business, you’d simply stay on the west coast for the week. If it’s for miles, clearly your time isn’t worth much at all. Just curious.

  2. As I’ve referenced many times in past posts, these are mileage runs, whereby I’m flying for the sole purpose of accumulating airline miles. I don’t think it’s fair to say it makes my time worthless, because it’s a hobby of mine, just like you might like golfing, biking, or whatever.

    Mileage runs, as I’ve explained in several previous posts, allow me to see places of the world I otherwise couldn’t otherwise afford to visit and widen my horizons. A few years ago I would have never thought I’d be able to visit places like Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Japan, Malta, Seoul, Singapore, and many more, all for very little.

    Usually I wouldn’t fly this much in a week, but in this case I had my final exams two weeks ago and I’m taking summer classes which start this week, so this past week has been my one “free” week.

    Thanks for reading.

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