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Archive for the category “Trip Report”

DC for 4 Days: Delta Airlines First Class Detroit (DTW) to Washington Reagan National (DCA)

Introduction, PSC-SLC, SLC-DTW, DTW-DCA, Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Review, Exploring Washington, DC-Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4; DCA-ATL, ATL-MSP, MSP-PSC, Conclusion

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DL1042/Boeing (Douglas) MD-88

Detroit, MI (DTW)-Washington Reagan National Airport

Depart:  2:59 PM          Arrive: 4:31 PM, EST [1 Hours, 32 Minutes]

Seat: 3C (First)

Upon landing in Detroit, I hurried off of the plane as I only had about 25 minutes to catch my flight to DC.  I started heading down the never-ending McNamara terminal.  With the distance between gates that I needed to go, it seemed like I was well on my way to walking to Washington, DC.

Following my frantic frolic through the airport, I was a little bit relieved to find out that departure had been delayed by the late arrival of our aircraft.

I waited at the gate area, and became educated on the sorts of (strange) things people try to smuggle into this country:

Buyer Beware - Your souvenir may go on display in the Detroit Airport

While waiting I started talking to a lady, and experienced a little bit of the “young elite” treatment” as Ben from One Mile At A Time calls it, despite being in my usual business casual attire for flying.  We talked for a few minutes, and before boarding was called I had noticed that she was seated in First Class.  When First Class boarding was called she said “nice talking to you” as if she did not expect to see me again.  My point is, considering I am still ID’d alot, she probably didn’t expect me to be in First Class.  Much to our surprise, she was seated next to me on the flight.

I was promptly offered a beverage and enjoyed a Corona—not the greatest, but still refreshing after my gallop through DTW.  Being a on a smaller aircraft than my previous flight, boarding went fairly quick and we were up off the air in no time.

Once we got up in the air, I enjoyed my Granatos sandwich that I had picked up in Salt Lake as a snack, considering this one-hour flight only had “refreshments.”

About 20 minutes after finishing my sandwich, we began our descent into the Washington DC Area, and arrived on the gate about 10 minutes ahead of schedule.

On final note witnessed something upon my arrival that I observed throughout the course of the weekend there.  I saw more police officers than I have ever seen in my entire life, and no I am not on the run! 🙂

Police officer greeting families

P!mp My Cruiser

As I found it, was the start of National Police Week in DC, honoring officers who have been killed in the line of duty.  Dozens of police officers were standing around to greet and escort arriving families at the airport.  It was rather interesting to compare the various arrays of police uniforms and vehicles while I was there.

DC for 4 Days: Delta Airlines First Class Salt Lake City (SLC) to Detroit DTW (DTW)

Introduction, PSC-SLC, SLC-DTW, DTW-DCA, Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Review, Exploring Washington, DC-Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4; DCA-ATL, ATL-MSP, MSP-PSC, Conclusion

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DL 2223

SLC-DTW

Salt Lake City, UT (SLC)-Detroit, MI (DTW)/Aircraft: BOEING 757-200

Depart:  8:50 AM          Arrive: 2:28 PM, EST [3 Hours, 38 Minutes]

Seat: 4C (First)

When I arrived at the gate, it was First Class boarding only so I got on to the plane (a 757-200) right away despite a full First Class cabin.  On a Regional Jet or even a 737-800 boarding is from the very front of the plane, which means that all passengers walk through the First Class cabin of the aircraft, whether or not they are seated there.

On flights with a 757-200 however, boarding is from just behind First Class, which keeps the two cabins separate during boarding.  While I enjoy the added privacy upon boarding, I love people watching as they enter an aircraft and this is something I miss when flying on a 757.  Besides all the other perks of sitting at the front of the plane, I love being able to sit and watch people as they walk by me–it’s like a parade of travelers and luggage.  I’m not sure how true it is, but I think you can tell a lot about a person and how their life is going simply by observing them as they walk towards their seats and are nearly forced to be patient while fellow passengers get settled in.

Delta 757-200 First Class, Courtesy of seatmaestro.com

Maybe it was that I smack dab in the middle of a 24-person First Class cabin and wasn’t actively watching people board, that the plane holds 300 passengers, or just me, but it seemed like 5 minutes before the purser offered me a pre-departure beverage.  While this may seem unbearable to some, I didn’t really mind since boarding continued for another 15 minutes afterward.  I went with a coffee with Baileys, which inspired a gentleman in the row behind me to do the same.  I love being a trendsetter!

I ended up having a refill (call me a Kettle Medallion) and by then we were ready for takeoff.  A little bit after we had leveled off in the air, the purser and two other flight attendants set to work taking drink orders again, then brought around hot towels. (I have never figured out it it acceptable to also wipe my face with it or not, but I do it anyway)

Soon after I was offered my choice of cereal, cereal, or…..nothing.  I was hoping for an omelet since I know that some Delta flights serve them, but I shouldn’t be picky since I would be eating a meal at 30,000 feet for crying out loud!

The cereal and milk came along with a bowl of fruit, yogurt, and a rather delicious croissant.

Breakfast!

Following breakfast, I watched a little bit of The Traveler with Johnny Depp on the AVOD (Audio/Video On Demand) which is fitting for a vacation trip, but with a rather strange ending.  I hadn’t slept much the night before, so I ended up playing some light music and resting.

The only other noteworthy part of the trip is a comment another passenger made to me.  After I had gotten up to use the lavatory a few times (too much coffee) he told me that he was trying to rest and asked that I not hold on to the back of his seat when getting up.  I have probably done this dozens of times to steady myself as I get up from my seat without realizing.  I apologized profusely both then and at the end of the flight, as I realized it was an invasion of personal space.  Ever since this experience, I have worked hard at catching myself if I am about to grab the back of someone’s seat while standing up on an airplane or bus.

Are there any sub-conscious behaviors you have to prevent yourself from doing while flying?

To be continued…..

DC for 4 Days: Pasco, WA (PSC) to Salt Lake City (SLC)

Introduction, PSC-SLC, SLC-DTW, DTW-DCA, Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Review, Exploring Washington, DC-Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4; DCA-ATL, ATL-MSP, MSP-PSC, Conclusion

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PSC-SLC

Pasco, WA (PSC) – Salt Lake City (SLC)

Depart:  5:15 AM          Arrive: 7:53 AM, MTN Time [1 Hour, 38 Minutes]

Seat: 2D (Economy)

Despite the early hours, I awoke with no problem as I eagerly anticipated the trip, and knew that I had been upgraded on two of my three flights.  I showered then finished packing.

I worked hard at making everything fit inside a single duffle bag, as I would only be gone a few days.  I realized however, that if I bought anything on my trip (which I did) I might not have any room in my duffle bag when I returned, so I packed the Bertha suitcase instead to err on the side of caution.

I was dropped off at the quaint Pasco airport and checked-in only took a few minutes.  I could have waited in the First Class check-in line, but no one was there and only one or two others were waiting in the normal line so I took the less awkward of the two.

Within 5 minutes I had received my boarding pass, and was headed through security.  I don’t think there is a pat-down section at this particular airport, but I have never tried which probably makes me unique among most travel bloggers.  Given the choice between an X-ray scanner and a frisking, I will take the X-ray every time.  In my opinion, if I am groped every time I pass through security, that is when the terrorists have one.

I grabbed some coffee and a muffin as there would be no First Class cabin on this flight.  Soon after this, boarding was called, and I made my way onto the plane and to seat 2D.

Looking out on the PSC Airport

My usual modus operandi on planes is to sit down, buckle myself and allow my seatmates to do the same before trying to be social.  A gentleman about the same age as me he sat down in the aisle seat next then we started chatting for a little by.  He travels a fair amount for business and mentioned how he loves having status on Delta.  Naturally, I inquired about what level of Medallion he had made it.  I was appalled to find out that he travelled 49,000 miles last year the previous year, when Gold Medallion requires 50,000 miles.  Furthermore, Delta did not even consider bumping him up to Gold despite being so close to the threshold!

Aside from my seatmate’s agonizing tell of low-level elite airline status, the flight was uneventful, considering it is only an hour and a half.  I should also apologize here.  I was still in the early stages of being a points junkie when I took this trip back in May.  That said, I took some pictures but not very many.

Once we landed, I had only a 40 minute layover before my connection to Detroit departed—just enough time to grab a Granatos.

For non-Salt Lakers or anyone who doesn’t know, Granatos is a local authentic Italian-style deli that seems to have remained a hidden gem of the Salt Lake City Airport.  I discovered it earlier in the year when searching for new places to try in an airport I have found myself in all too often.  Anyway, while my flight to Detroit would have serve breakfast, I would need more than just “refreshments” to tide me over on my flight to Washington National.

Granatos Sandwich, Courtesy of UrbanSpoon

So I booked it from Concourse D to the Ground Level Food Court in Concourse B and back to Concourse C for my flight.  By the time I made it to the gate, boarding was being called and I got into First Class on a 757-200 immediately.

To be continued…

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Trip Report: DC For 4 Days Introduction

Introduction, PSC-SLC, SLC-DTW, DTW-DCA, Ritz Carlton Pentagon City Review, Exploring Washington, DC-Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4; DCA-ATL, ATL-MSP, MSP-PSC, Conclusion

Introduction

Washington, DC has become one of my favorite places to visit since my first visit there almost two years ago.  I know alot of travel hackers tend to focus mostly on international destinations, but as I have discovered, this great gigantic country has a lot to see for travelers too.  The things I love about the city are its vibe, how commuter friendly it is, the great architecture and ton of great museums–especially if you are a history buff, like me.

On the fly last spring, I decided to depart the Pacific Northwest (the PacNor as I call it) for a mini-vacay/mileage run in DC.

My father was going to be there in May, and I was getting every other Friday off at work, making a perfect opportunity for a short jaunt.  That said with another trip on the horizon, I was on the fence about whether or not to go.  Ultimately, though I knew if I wanted to make Medallion status, I would need to plan more travel.

For a long time I debated where to stay, as I thought my dad would be  at a separate hotel while on business.  I figured I would stay at Marriott as I was trying to re-qualify for status for this year but was indecisive for a while about where exactly to stay.

I should mention that I booked the entire trip two weeks before departure, driving the cost a little higher than it probably should have been.  I figured I could rely on the Metro and save a little bit of money by staying a little ways out, I found a great rate for a suite out in Bethesda but debated if I really wanted to stay there 20 minutes outside of town, especially during such a short trip.

As it turned out, my dad ended up not being able to go.  I told him that although I had booked a room, I was deliberating about where exactly to stay.  Feeling sorry that he could not make it, he decided to use 120,000 Marriott Rewards to book me a room out at the Ritz Carlton Pentagon City.  While actually across the Potomac from Washington DC, there is a Metro station literally right outside the door.  While I wanted to make headway on my Marriott status, I was very happy to enjoy a free stay at a nice hotel like the Ritz Carlton.

So please sit back and take time to enjoy the report.  Expect about one report per day.  I’ll be picking up on my flights to DC in Delta Domestic First class soon..

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