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Point Me to the Miles

Navigating the Path to Great Travel

Archive for the category “Delta”

500 FREE MILES from Le Club Accorhotels!

I’ve been asked a number of times how one can rack up so many miles.  My best answer is start with this post, but it can also be useful to get in on a miles/points giveway.

Le Club Accorhotels is currently offering 500 miles for signing up for their loyalty program, via Air Canada and Delta.

If you already have a Le Club Accor account, you are still eligible for this bonus.  You will just need either switch your earning to Aeroplan or Delta, or create an entirely new Le Club Accor account.

To take advantage of this great offer, follow these easy steps between now and August 31st:

FOR AEROPLAN MILES:
1. Sign up to become a Le Club Accorhotels member by clicking this link to join, or here for existing members.
2. In your Le Club Accorhotels membership profile, select “Aeroplan” as your preferred loyalty program.
3. Enter your Aeroplan number.

FOR DELTA MILES:
1. Sign up to become a Le Club Accorhotels member by clicking this link to join, or here for existing members.
2. In your Le Club Accorhotels membership profile, select “SkyMiles” as your preferred loyalty program.
3. Enter your SkyMiles number.

Enjoy!

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Surf & Sun Tampa Style: New York to Pasco, WA

Introduction
Pasco to Salt Lake City (SLC)
SLC to Los Angeles (LAX)
LAX, “The Bump,” and Torrance Marriott
LAX to Atlanta
Atlanta to Tampa
Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites Tampa Bay
Exploring Tampa Part 1: Honeymoon Island
Hotel Review: Tampa Marriott Waterside
Bern’s Steak House Tampa
Exploring Tampa Part 2: Cigar City Brewery and Clearwater Beach
Hotel Review: Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
Exploring Tampa Part 3: Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and Ybor City
Tampa to New York (LGA)
New York to Minneapolis (MSP)/Minneapolis to Pasco, WA (PSC)

I checked in at the SkyClub, and it wasn’t crowded wall-to-wall like it was the first time I had visited, and I snagged a desk to catch up on some emails.

The cool thing is that they had the IPads on display, which impressed me.  Then again, it doesn’t take much.

IPad in the SkyClub

Unfortunately there are very few windows in that particular SkyClub, and I didn’t feel like transferring terminals to go to a different lounge that did.  After about 2-2 and a half hours, I headed out to the gate for my next flight.  I noticed that the gate area had some signage for Delta’s upcoming upgrade of LaGuardia:

Delta LaGuardia Upgrade Ad

Anyway, boarding was just about to get under way.  Unlike my outbound journey, I would have no luck getting a “bump” today.

Delta 1619
New York LaGuardia – Minneapolis/St. Paul
Monday, April 2
, 2012
Depart: 4:05 PM
Arrive: 6:25 PM
Duration: 2 Hours 20 Minutes
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 10C (Economy–Exit Row)

Unlike my previous flight, I did not end up getting upgraded and the service was well… serviceable, but not out of this world.

We managed to take off on time, and I managed to snap a pretty good photo of the New York area as we were departing:

Taking Off from New York

After we hit our cruising altitude, a drink and snack selection was offered as usual.

Again, not too much was interesting about this flight–or my next flight for that matter, save an entire group of high school students on a field trip just behind me.  They actually were fairly well, behaved for high schoolers, then again they came from Montana, so maybe not all THAT interesting.

Once we landed in Minneapolis I headed over to Axel’s Bonfire Grill since I wanted some more substantive fare than just a SkyClub could offer.  I ended up having a MEGA  burrito which left me utterly and helplessly stuffed.  I am not a huge fun of the Minneapolis dining options, but Axel’s is a pretty good place to grab some food.

I walked off my gluttony, then hung out in the SkyClub for a little bit.  For some reason, I did not think of taking any pictures, sorry.

I headed out after about an hour for my final flight of the night.  In fact, I was approaching the gate and about to take a picture of it when I was suddenly bull-rushed by a friend headed to Pasco on the same flight.

It was fine and I enjoyed catching up with him.  But things got a little awkward for me when he asked where I was sitting.  I had been upgraded about 2 days out, but didn’t want to look like a First Class snob, so I just said “3A.”  He immediately responded “Oh, you’re in First Class.”  Crap.

You see, maybe it is just me, but in these situations, I am afraid someone will either think A) I’m an elitist (no pun intended) and that I think I’m better than them, B) I am unwise with my money and actually pay for First Class, or C) Both.  So I always get hesitant when I see someone I know and I have been upgraded.

Delta 3435
Minneapolis – Pasco, WA (PSC)
Monday, April 2, 2012
Depart: 9:50 PM
Arrive: 11:16 PM
Duration: 3 Hr 26 Min
Aircraft: CRJ-900
Seat: 3A (First Class)

Anyway, I boarded and I was able to people watch as they came on.  At first I thought it was cliche, but the more I sit at the front of aircraft and watch people board, the more I believe their demeanor says a lot about them.

Anyway, my friend boarded and as he passed by I handed him the (unopened) bottle of water that had been placed in my seat.  Hopefully he appreciated this gesture, but perhaps I should have done more and offered to switch seats.

I texted him after he sat down, and asked if he would like any “free libations” or wanted to trade seats, and he simply responded “not at this point.”   I felt bad when he said “at this point,” like I had failed him.  I don’t try to be a jerk, sometimes things just don’t even cross my mind.

Anyway, I was blessed with a lead flight from Mississippi–accent and all, who promised that there “would be no movie, but it would be the most entertaining flight I had been on.”  She was a character for sure, and received a few chuckles.

After about 15 minutes or so, the door was closed, and take-off commenced.

Delta Flights longer than 2 hours usually include a meal service, but since this one left after 9 PM, it only included a “snack” service.  All it really is a choice of chips, candy bars, peanuts, and pretzels, so I wish they would have some more appetizing options available.

I don’t know if it’s me, but the flights where I have been upgraded seem to pass by faster than the ones where I am sitting in coach.  It’s a shame really.

Once we landed and I was getting off the plane, I thanked Ms. Mississippi, and informed her of the following:

“Of all the flights I have ever been on, this by far….
Was the most recent.”

Really, she did pretty good, I just couldn’t resist.

Surf & Sun Tampa Style: Tampa to New York (LGA)

Introduction
Pasco to Salt Lake City (SLC)
SLC to Los Angeles (LAX)
LAX, “The Bump,” and Torrance Marriott
LAX to Atlanta
Atlanta to Tampa
Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites Tampa Bay
Exploring Tampa Part 1: Honeymoon Island
Hotel Review: Tampa Marriott Waterside
Bern’s Steak House Tampa
Exploring Tampa Part 2: Cigar City Brewery and Clearwater Beach
Hotel Review: Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
Exploring Tampa Part 3: Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and Ybor City
Tampa to New York (LGA)
New York to Minneapolis (MSP) to Pasco, WA (PSC)

I got up around 7, since my flight didn’t leave until about 10.  This gave me plenty of time to enjoy breakfast in the Club Lounge of the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel.  I ended up having to wait about 10 minutes, but after checking out I hopped on the shuttle to the airport.

Delta 2280
Tampa (TPA) – New York LaGuardia (LGA)
Monday, April 2, 2012
Depart: 10:05 AM
Arrive: 12:44 PM
Duration: 2 hr 39 min
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 1A (First Class)

Hotel Shuttle

I thought I had way more than enough time for checking in and making it through security at this point, but I soon would realize how horrifically wrong I was.

Sky Priority Check-in

Anyway, check in end up being a breeze as there was absolutely no wait in the Sky Priority queue.  As I was heading to security, I began to panic.  I went into to my wallet to retrieve my ID, and that is when I noticed it:  My credit card was missing.  And not just any card, that special American Express “get me into the SkyClub free” Platinum card.

My initial re-action was that I had left it in the the pocket of the shorts I had packed away in my suitcase.  So the gal at the check-in to see me again when I came back to inquire about recalling my suitcase.

I frantically when back downstairs to the baggage claim area, and was soon able to retrieve my bag.  I searched frantically through my bag from pocket to pocket, multiple times even.  No sign of my wonderful card.  RATS!

As I shared at the time, this led to a funny moment.  I woman walked by and saw me rummaging through my suitcase furiously, and exclaimed “Oh gosh!  Is that what I have to go through!”

I re-checked my bag, and remembered the last time I remembered holding my card was the night before, in the midst of my car rental fiasco there at the airport.  (As a side note, I contacted National some time back and the “sneaky” charges I referred to were re-funded).

I went back to the National rental office, and asked about my card.  The agent at the desk was extremely professional and helpful, and he said they had locked it away earlier that morning.  Fortunately, a manager had seen it laying in the ground outside of the office, and she collected it.  My ID was checked, and was returned my missing credit card.  SWEET SUCCESS!!

I walked in, went through security (hardly wait in either the regular or Priority lien) then hopped on the shuttle to the terminal.  By the time I made it to the gate, boarding had just begun.  After a slightly stressful experience, it was nice to know that my upgrade had already cleared and I would be in First Class.

Delta 2280
Tampa (TPA) – New York LaGurdia (LGA)
Monday, April 2, 2012
Depart: 10:05 AM
Arrive: 12:44 PM
Duration: 2 hr 39 min
Aircraft: Airbus A320
Seat: 1B (First Class)

Ironically, my upgrade had cleared right as I was landing in Tampa, which was both good and bad.  Don’t get me wrong, I love every complimentary upgrade I can get, especially as an elite-staus passenger.  I just didn’t like the fact that it made me start to look forward to the end of my trip. 🙂

I arrived on the aircraft, came to my seat in 1A which had a small bottle of water, a pillow, and a blanked waiting for me.

 

I placed my bag in the overhead since I was in the very first row, and was soon offered a pre-departure beverage.

I was in for quite the experience, as this was the kindest and  most courteous Delta flight crew I have encountered, as I will get to.

Boarding took about 10-15 minutes with little issues (other than freaking out and thinking I forgot my laptop at security) and we were off.

Once we made it to 10,000 feet, the lead flight attendant took drink orders.  One nice feature Delta has added in the last year or so, which I don’t think I have actually mentioned, is the addition of a table cloth and ACTUAL silverware on board.  It’s a nice touch, and  makes dining in the sky a bit more “classy.”

Being in 1A, I was offered my choice of salad or a sandwich.  I had read somewhere (and it makes sense) that flight attendants love it if you just take what is left.  So I offered to do that, and the flight attendant thanked me for doing so.

In the end, it worked out because I preferred the sandwich option, and it is what I ended up with.  It came with a dish a fruit, Potato chips, and a brownie.  A decent sandwich with roast beef, lettuce and tomato but a little dry.  I asked for mayo, and they even were gracious enough to check the snack packs, and there was none to be found.  Oh well!  #FirstClassProblems

Throughout the whole flight the crew, especially the lead flight attendant working First Class, were very attentive with drinks and food, and extremely helpful about meeting passenger needs. For example, some would complain about a flight attendant not asking “Can I offer you another drink,” but mine simply said “More?”  Straightforward and to the point, which doesn’t bother me.  And she was actually be pro-active.

Even more important, they acted very professionally and acted with a genuine passion and enthusiasm that cannot be faked.

I was sincerely thankful for the EXCEPTIONAL service I was receiving, so I decided to make sure it didn’t go unnoticed.  I understand that Platinum and Diamond Medallions are given “A Job Well Done” certificates, which the attendants can turn in to receive points which are exchanged for various rewards, such as electronic gadgets.  Even though I am a “lowly” Gold Medallion, and I wasn’t going to let that get in the way of presenting a gesture of my gratitude, and  making sure their management recognized the great service that they were providing.

So I drafted it up a note with my reformed chicken scratch elegant writing, than re-wrote it to make it look nicer.  Unfortunately, I lost the draft version I wrote, other wise I would share it with you here.  I did mention how thankful I was, and how kind, professional, and courteous the flight crew was.

I handed it over to her, and here face lit up.  She seemed very appreciative, and even shared it with the other flight attendant who thought it was great.

I had no problems getting my copious refills, and the flight from heaven ended far too soon, before I entered the you-know-what that is New York LaGuardia.

Itinerary Fail

I checked my itinerary for a flight today, and this is what I found:

Oops…

Let’s hope Delta can fly better than they can add time!

Surf & Sun Tampa Style: Atlanta to Tampa

Introduction
Pasco to Salt Lake City (SLC)
SLC to Los Angeles (LAX)
LAX, “The Bump,” and Torrance Marriott
LAX to Atlanta
Atlanta to Tampa
Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites Tampa Bay
Exploring Tampa Part 1: Honeymoon Island
Hotel Review: Tampa Marriott Waterside
Bern’s Steak House Tampa
Exploring Tampa Part 2: Cigar City Brewery and Clearwater Beach
Hotel Review: Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
Exploring Tampa Part 3: Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and Ybor City
Tampa to New York (LGA)
New York to Minneapolis (MSP) to Pasco, WA (PSC)

Unfortunately being in the back on my flight to Atlanta meant that it took 20 minutes to get off the plane once we arrived at the gate…grr.

One of my favorite things about the Atlanta airport is Krystal’s.  As luck would have it, both my arrival and departure gates would be in the A terminal.  Just enough time to grab a Krystal’s!

Krystal’s–My Favorite Fast Food Dive!

Are there any other airports that have a Krystal?

Some don’t like it because they find it overly greasy and gluttonous.  I don’t blame them, I just blissfully enjoy.  I ordered a sackful, and used the two vouchers as payment–and the gal at the cash register said “You have $12 dollars–you want to get a few more?”  I said “Sure, why not!  I’ll help feed the plane!”  View from the Wing has his Five Guys fix, I have my Krystal’s.

Delta 2376
Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson (ATL) – Tampa International (TPA)
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Depart: 5:22 PM
Arrive: 6:55 PM
Duration: 1 hr 33 min
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Seat: 19A (Coach)

I had to run down to one end of the terminal and back to get my fix, and made it on to the plane toward the end of the boarding process.

The service was slightly better than my previous flight. It did include a drink and snack selection–which is ok for a short flight, especially after stuffing myself with Krystal’s.

I was a little disgruntled that I was stuck by the window in coach, but guess sometimes that is the price of taking a bump–your chance at an upgrade goes down, especially if you are just a mid-tier elite like me.

In the end, though I did have a pretty good view of Tampa Bay as we were landing:

Tampa Bay

Ironically, as we were landing, (my phone turned itself on, I promise!) I got an email from Delta that my upgrade on the return had cleared!

I headed head to grab a drink and a snack, and catch up on a few e-mails in the SkyClub, which despite looking toward a parking garage, I think has a neat view:

I noticed that this particular SkyClub was equipped with the new-fandangled battery charger strips, where you can charge your phone just by inserting an adapter and placing it on the map, so I had to try one out for myself. Go ahead, call me a Kettle Medallion.

Also of note, the one time on my entire trip that I was ever ID’d was when I ordered a drink in the club.  Does Florida really not care about checking IDs?  I’m 25 and still get ID’d most of the time elsewhere.

Surf & Sun Tampa Style: LAX to Atlanta

Introduction
Pasco to Salt Lake City (SLC)
SLC to Los Angeles (LAX)
LAX, “The Bump,” and Torrance Marriott
LAX to Atlanta
Atlanta to Tampa
Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites Tampa Bay
Exploring Tampa Part 1: Honeymoon Island
Hotel Review: Tampa Marriott Waterside
Bern’s Steak House Tampa
Exploring Tampa Part 2: Cigar City Brewery and Clearwater Beach
Hotel Review: Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
Exploring Tampa Part 3: Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and Ybor City
Tampa to New York (LGA)
New York to Minneapolis (MSP) to Pasco, WA (PSC)

The trip to the airport, despite the early hours and the delay in my itinerary, was an exciting adventure.  I probably could have easily slept the entire 45-minute ride to the airport, but I realized I would have missed seeing a fair amount.  I mean when I planned this trip, I never thought my experience would include a venture through the streets of Los Angeles.

It’s part of who I am.  I am always fascinated by taking in vistas that are a little different out of the ordinary for me, even if it involves frequent stops in residential and commercial areas along the way.  I guess that is part of what I love about traveling.

I couldn’t manage to get a good picture of it, but I was impressed by the tall neon pylons illuminated across the rising sun outside of LAX.

LAX, Courtesy of LAWA.org

I arrived at the airport, and was quite relieved to be able to take advantage of the Sky Priority area, considering the normal line was a bit backed up.

Please excuse my humor, but Mario is alive and well in the 21st century.

Super Mario Business

I breezed through security using the Priority security line, and headed to the SkyClub to get a little bit of work done.

I grabbed some Oatmeal and coffee, then walked all the way to the back, to find an area labeled the “Quiet Area” which was almost eerily silent.  It was very welcome, but definitely hard to believe you could still be in an airport, especially one as busy as LAX.  If you need a nice quiet place where you can hear yourself think, I highly recommend it.

After about an hour, I headed out to the gate just as boarding was beginning.

Delta 16
Los Angeles International (LAX)Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson
Thursday, March 29, 2012
Depart: 8:55 AM
Arrive: 3:53 PM
Duration: 3 hr 58 min
Aircraft: Boeing 767-300
Seat: 34A (Coach)

My upgrade had no chance of clearing, and I knew it–especially when being re-booked onto the flight about 9 hours beforehand.  Supposedly LAX has more Delta Medallions than any other market.  Thus, I would argue LAX to Atlanta is probably the most medal-heavy route you can find on Delta.

All that to say, I was crammed way into the back in 34A, which is a bit too far back for my liking, but wasn’t too bad:

34A, My home for 4 long hours

As you may notice, all seats on this aircraft featured a personal TV screen with Delta-on-Demand programming.  While working I attempted to use it to listen to music, and my audio did not work.  Soon after mentioning it, one of the flight attendants offered to reset it for me.  To be honest, I was a little disappointed–I wanted to be able to ask for miles as compensation.

Overall, the flight was mediocre.  Maybe having flown in First has made me spoiled, but it did seem like it took the Flight Attendants AWHILE to get to me when I needed something, (like working audio) even when using the call button.  Maybe I am crazy for expecting flight attendants to care about about my total well-being, not just my safety…

The one really good thing about my seat is that I was treated to a spectacular view when we finally started our approach into Atlanta:

View from the Wing

When the plane landed, I felt ashamed that I had sat through the entire flight without realizing that behind me was a uniformed military member.  I made sure to thank him for his service, to which he seemed very appreciative.  I am very appreciative of their sacrifice, and always thank uniformed military members for their service wherever I am.

Surf and Sun Tampa Style: LAX, “The Bump,” and Torrance Marriott

Introduction
Pasco to Salt Lake City (SLC)
SLC to Los Angeles (LAX)
LAX, “The Bump,” and Torrance Marriott
LAX to Atlanta
Atlanta to Tampa
Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites Tampa Bay
Exploring Tampa Part 1: Honeymoon Island
Hotel Review: Tampa Marriott Waterside
Bern’s Steak House Tampa
Exploring Tampa Part 2: Cigar City Brewery and Clearwater Beach
Hotel Review: Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
Exploring Tampa Part 3: Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and Ybor City
Tampa to New York (LGA)
New York to Minneapolis (MSP) to Pasco, WA (PSC)

As I noted at the time, I had a pretty good flight from Salt Lake to LAX.  Especially considering it was my first complimentary upgrade as a Medallion, to Delta’s internationally-configured Business Elite product on a Boeing 737-800.

For whatever reason we landed at Terminal 6, instead of Terminal 5 which I suppose is Delta’s main terminal.  Maybe I am crazy, but it didn’t bother me.  I had about an hour to make my connection, and it just meant more for me to explore.

When I arrived into the crazy world of LAX, everything seemed to be in a haze, but maybe that was because my weary eyes were futilely attempting to adjust to the bright signage at 11 PM.

I followed the signs toward Terminal 5 and felt a little like I was walking through a dilapidated high school:

I headed into the SkyClub, and I received an unusual comment.  The lounge dragon checking my credentials remarked “I remember you!”  The only problem is I had never been to LAX before.  Maybe she had worked at another Sky Club that I had visited last year, but I didn’t ask.  Perhaps it was her way of being courteous image, as I heard the same remark made to another passenger.

I left about 30 minutes before boarding to began to inquire if they needed any volunteers to take a later flight, as I had checked the loads (see Lucky’s advice) and the flight seemed quite full.  Worse yet, I knew my upgrade about 0 chance of clearing, so I would be a bit relieved to not have to put up with an uncomfortable red-eye, even if I would have been in the Exit Row.

LAX Sky Club

I managed to be first on the list, and was glad to hear that they would provide $400 in Delta vouchers, plus breakfast, lunch, AND dinner vouchers.  Last time I took a bump, I only received $200, perhaps I should have asked for more…

I checked back in about 30-40 minutes later, when most of the boarding process was complete.  “Unfortunately,” at this point, the ticket agent scarily informed me, “we still need you.”  Pfheeww.  I thought she would announce they weren’t going to need me.

Immediately the agent went to working on printing my vouchers and new boarding pass for the following morning, then began trying to find hotel rooms for the 4 of us who had been bumped off the flight.  She mentioned that there were no rooms in The Hacienda close by (which didn’t seem too bad when passing by it), so they had found a room out at the Torrance Marriott South Bay.  As a newly-minted Marriott Rewards Gold Member I jumped for joy at my luck.

The Torrance Marriott that where Delta had reserved a room for me was about 20 minutes away, and I was given Shuttle vouchers for both the trip there and the return.  Needless to say, not only did I have a hard time finding the shuttle, and then wait for a while, when I finally contacted them by phone they told me they wouldn’t be able to give me a ride. GRR.  Long story short, don’t go with Prime Time Shuttle.

Despite not wanting to pay for a 20-minute taxi ride, I did desire to actually get some sleep that night, so fed up, I finally rationalized paying for a cab.  After about 15-20 minutes, I finally arrived at the Marriott Torrance South Bay.

Torrance Marriott Exterior (Courtesy of Marriott.com)

As a side note, I have contacted Delta about having to pay for a cab, and hope they will reimburse me since the transportation they provided the voucher for, simply was  NOT AVAILABLE.  We shall see.

I proceeded to check-in, and unfortunately no King beds were available.  Oh well, it was a practically free stay, who am I to complain?  And the front desk representative was courteous enough to call the shuttle company for me, and arrange for the shuttle to pick me up in the morning.  He agreed to put me on the Club Lounge floor, but unfortunately my shuttle left before the lounge opened.

Anyway, I guess I gave up on the shuttle idea at the right time, because just as I was leaving the front desk, the other distressed passengers arrived, having also decided to take a taxi.

I decided to take a picture of the room, which by no means was extravagant, but did the trick:

My Double Twin Room

For some reason (maybe weariness) I didn’t take pictures of the bathroom, but while it was serviceable, it wasn’t a whole lot more than that.

The following morning the shuttle called my cell phone 15 minutes before arrival–nice  After a quick shower, I dragged (emphasis on DRAGGED) myself down to the lobby to check out and meet my ride.

Surf and Sun Tampa Style: Pasco, WA (PSC) to Salt Lake City (SLC)

Introduction
Pasco to Salt Lake City (SLC)
SLC to Los Angeles (LAX)
LAX, “The Bump,” and Torrance Marriott
LAX to Atlanta
Atlanta to Tampa
Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites Tampa Bay
Exploring Tampa Part 1: Honeymoon Island
Hotel Review: Tampa Marriott Waterside
Bern’s Steak House Tampa
Exploring Tampa Part 2:
Cigar City Brewery and Clearwater Beach
Hotel Review: Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
Exploring Tampa Part 3: Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and Ybor City
Tampa to New York (LGA)
New York to Minneapolis (MSP) to Pasco, WA (PSC)

I arrived at the Pasco airport close to 5 PM, around an hour and a half ahead of our scheduled arrival time of 6:20 PM.  I headed straight to the Sky Priority lane, but unfortunately one or two passengers from the main line were helped before I was.  Finally the ticket agent inquired if I was a Medallion member before helping me.

Too long for my liking, but still a bit better than the regular line:

Sky Priority Lane

It was a good thing I checked, because I noticed I had Pasco to Salt Lake and LAX to Tampa tickets, but none for  the Salt Lake to Tampa segment.  It was probably from being wait-listed for the upgrade, but after some typing and muttering some  programming lingo (anyone know what system they use to validate fares?) the agent was able to issue my remaining ticket.

I headed through the x-ray security area, and got through without much trouble.  There was some announcement for a passenger on the telecom, but since my flight was still an hour away from departure, I tuned them out.  The TSA officer checking my ticket asked if that was me, and I said I hadn’t been paying attention.  She told me I would perfect for working TSA!  Lovely knowing that working for the TSA means you don’t notice anything…

While the Pasco airport is fairly small and may suffer from a lack of venders, a big plus for it is that it features FREE Wi-Fi internet access, unlike most other airports.  After sitting for a little bit, they announced that they would need a volunteer (I’ll be a “Tennessee” Volunteer!) to take a later flight.  Unfortunately, by the time I stashed away my computer and ran to the desk, they had their supposed volunteer.  Drat.  I don’t think it would have really mattered in the end, because the passenger that I thought received it, boarded anyway.

In retrospect, even if it was possible, it’s probably better that I didn’t get it.  I would have missed out on BOTH an upgrade and another bump later in the evening.  But I am jumping a little bit ahead of myself.

Soon boarding got underway, and I was able to board in zone “Sky Priority,” the new number 1.

Delta 4778
Pasco, WA (PSC) – Salt Lake City (SLC)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Depart: 6:20 PM
Arrive: 8:56 PM
Duration: 1 hr 26 min
Aircraft: CRJ-200
Seat: 1B (Economy)

Upon boarding I noted that the overhead bins really didn’t seem all that big, (something about INCREASED overhead bin space?) but I managed to fit my backpack in since I was sitting in the bulkhead of this one-cabin aircraft.

The flight really wasn’t all that interesting, as it was a fairly short with barely enough time for much of a snack and drink service.

And aside from a very erm.. unique  seat mate, the only other thing to note was my flight attendant, who looked likely to win a John Locke look-alike contest, in a very freaky way:

Flight Attendant John Locke

By the way, I asked him if he ever got comments about looking like John Locke of the TV show Lost, and though he had never seen it, he did mention that he had been told that plenty of times.

We landed right on time, which was good because I only had about 30 minutes to make my connection.

A Decent Flight (Salt Lake City to Los Angeles)

Introduction
Pasco to Salt Lake City (SLC)
SLC to Los Angeles (LAX)
LAX, “The Bump,” and Torrance Marriott
LAX to Atlanta
Atlanta to Tampa
Hotel Review: DoubleTree Suites Tampa Bay
Exploring Tampa Part 1: Honeymoon Island
Hotel Review: Tampa Marriott Waterside
Bern’s Steak House Tampa
Exploring Tampa Part 2: Cigar City Brewery and Clearwater Beach
Hotel Review: Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel
Exploring Tampa Part 3: Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center and Ybor City
Tampa to New York (LGA)
New York to Minneapolis (MSP) to Pasco, WA (PSC)

Delta 635
Salt Lake City (SLC) – Los Angeles International (LAX)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Depart: 9:30 PM
Arrive: 10:37 PM
Duration: 2 hr 17 min
Aircraft: Boeing 737-800
Seat: 4A (Business Elite)

As I mentioned earlier in the week, I am now off on my way to (hopefully) sunny Florida for a break for a few days (can I say spring break if I am no longer in school?), and thankful to all of your suggestions.  I am honestly quite eager to try them out.

At the moment I am cruising at 30,000 feet between Salt Lake and Los Angeles.  My night has certainly been intriguing (in a good way) starting when checked the upgrade list for my current flight after checking in:

I held the number two spot—even as a “lowly” Gold Medallion (mid-week flights, what canya say?).  Judging from my status when I got to the gate in Salt Lake, I decided to boarded with First Class.

Before I go any further I should correct myself and mention that with some aspects, I’ve lucked out.  The aircraft is an internationally configured Boeing 737-800, making it’s way to Haneda with a brief stop at LAX.  Thus, as opposed to their usual domestic “First Class” product, it is instead their international “Business Elite” product.  On a flight of less than 2 hours, not much of a big deal, but I am glad to be upgraded on something that is considered “international.”

I handed my boarding pass over and told the agent, “I think I’ve cleared,” to which she exclaimed “We have a winner!” after scanning it.  I was quite elated and shared it, as this was my very first complimentary upgrade as a Medallion member!  To temper my enthusiasm, I am in the very last row of the cabin, and in a window seat win I usually prefer an aisle seat.  Oh well, #BusinessClassProblems.  There isn’t much of a problem in getting the seat to recline a bit, as some would suggest.

I had to go as soon as I boarded, and rather than my plopping my stuff down on my seat and fight like a fish upstream to get to the First Class lav.  So I hurried to the back of the plane, and was somewhat to manage getting my way back up to the front.  After I politely asked to excuse myself to get into Business, one passenger was appalled that she had allowed herself to get in the way of such an important Business Class passenger as myself, and profusely apologized.  I just chuckled a little and told her it was no problem.  Some people seem to equate sitting in the front of the plane for wealth, despite the fact that in most cases it is just people that travel a lot.  Ehhh.

Then when the Flight Attendant came around with the snack basket and ask if I wanted anything to drink, I barely had time to snatch a small bag of peanuts (with no dinner, mind you) before she headed off to get my drink.  When she came back with it, I asked for some Sun chips as well, and she snarkily replied “I just brought the basket around.”  Not sure if she was joking, but if she wasn’t a little rude.  I apologized for being slow on the draw, and she didn’t seem bothered in the end.

Both her and one of the Flight attendants working coach did a fantastic job checking on drinks and such, and seemed to be on the scene immediately if anything needed to be taken care of.

A pretty good flight, in my book, despite a minor “bump” along the way.

Delta 4778
Pasco, WA (PSC) – Salt Lake City (SLC)
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Depart: 6:20 PM
Arrive: 8:56 PM
Duration: 1 hr 26 min
Aircraft: CRJ-200
Seat: 1B (Economy)

Be Nice: Delta May Prevent the Rules From Over-Ruling Common Sense

A while back I wrote about Delta’s new TV ad, despite frequent criticism about their loyalty program.  I especially liked the tagline “Predict the unpredictable, anticipate the unexpected, and never let the rules overrule common sense,” because from my experience with them, they do a fantastic job of living up to this creed.  And the other day was no exception.

I had received a mileage award, but felt that Delta hadn’t really honored their side of the deal in exchange for my hard-earned SkyPesos, and what I was getting was screwed.

So I called about an award re-deposit as I felt like Delta was slightly to blame, and the Delta agent simply told me there may be a change fee, before putting me on hold for a minute or two.  She then came back and asked about my credit card.

Now, if push came to shove I would have paid the $150 (as a Gold Medallion–maybe next year I should go for Platinum) in order to get my miles back at a very favorable rate.  But I figured I would at least plead my case and ask for a fee waiver.  I summarized that I wasn’t getting what I thought I would be, and was turned over to a supervisor.  I explained to him my full situation, and despite stating Delta’s award redeposit policy and a little bit of its rationale (being able to sell those seats), he granted a one-time exception.

Why do I share this tale of near-missed ticket changes?  I think the thing that helped most was just being nice and polite.

I’m a firm believer in the old adage that “You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar.”  So I was very courteous and polite in explaining the situation and my side, despite the fact that I felt like Delta wasn’t living up to it’s side of the bargain.

I mean if you are a corporation or supervisor, who are you more likely to grant exceptions to:  Customers who are reasonable and polite, or someone who lambasts them with vile words and foul language?  I know some people that fall into the latter category, and it usually doesn’t work in their favor.  And so I think if I had tried a much “harder” approach and yelled and screamed, he wouldn’t have been all that motivated to help me out, let alone even desire to cut me a break or help me out.

So while it never hurts to ask, may you please do so ever politely-

http://fieldofburch.com/2012/03/07/a-tale-of-two-delta-videos/

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