xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2496 posts, RR: 47 Posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 5018 times:
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of a trip, when you take a look at your itineraries, shake your head, and wonder what the heck you were thinking.
Nah, me either.
I have to say that there are plenty of reasons why my eyes turn skyward, but nothing tops wishing I was in the pointy end of whatever bird is flying overhead. Due to a job change and my free time being cut like crazy, I haven't been flying as frequently as I have been. Don't get me wrong, I've already managed to top 63,000 miles this year, but this time two years ago, I was encroaching on the 150,000 mile mark.
Now, even though I've gone from my previous job working for an airline, I was lucky enough to find the love of my life. It just so happens that she works for the same airline I previously vacated. I swear it's because I love her dearly and nothing to do with the flight bennies.
The problem is that I have become slightly addicted to collecting miles and points for flights as opposed to flying for free. It's a bad habbit, and an expensive one. At least it's not crack or heroine. It's at least somewhat healthy for me. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I wouldn't call myself a travel expert by any stretch of the imagination. If there was a test, I could pass it easily, but only because I've been on both sides of the counter. Quite literally. I know what to expect, how to react, and what to ask for in exactly the right tone of voice and the right verbage in order to get what I'm looking for, no matter what it entails.
Actually scratch that, I hate tests. I have spent way too many waking hours studying, typing, reading, typing and drinking. Probably not in that order. I've done enough school for a long time, and while I may eventually entertain the thought of starting my PhD, it won't happen for a long time.
So, as my company is shifting with personnel, as of the 5th, it will leave me to endure 10-15 straight working days at 12 hours a day. Some people may think that there's some great money making there. However, no matter how many times you multiply 1.5 into what I make, 0 x 1.5 is still 0. I only kid. Kind of.
That left me with 5 days off. Sadly, it's the week of the 4th of July holiday here in the states. I have no qualms about finding a great destination to get the heck out of dodge, but it would be tricky finding flights with seats as I would be flying out of North Carolina, which, for those following the weather, may or may not be under water and cities floating by in Noah's Ark type boats. The entire time I was at my destination, my phone was going off every 10 mins with weather warnings and watches for both my hometown as well as my destination. Severe Weather Warning, Flash Flood Watch. Flash Flood Warning. Heat Advisory. Extreme Heat Warning. Tornado Watch. Tornado Warning. Frogs Falling from the Sky Warning.
Or something like that.
Heck, give me anything. I just want out of here. Just my luck that multiple flights on Friday were delayed due to the northeast getting hammered from the weather. Coupled with ATL and DTW getting severe weather, my open seats on Saturday were diminishing by the minute. It just so happened that one flight was going to be a close one, but I found my routing. At least out of NC.
I was a tad late for my tastes, as I like to get a little bit of lounge time in prior to boarding the flight. However, I left my place later than I wanted and arrived at the airport exactly 45 mins prior to schedule departure time. Not a huge deal as I made my way around the airport saying hello to the folks I used to work with, which is always a nice thing for me as I miss working with those folks.
As per my usual, I waited to board until the final boarding call. No matter where I sit, I like to be one of the last few to board as I don't like sitting longer than I have to, especially when I would have a window seat for the 2 hour and 9 minute flight to the Twin Cities.
As I settled into my seat the F/A working up front offered me a pre departure beverage, but I declined as I knew we were about to push back and they would be taking my cup anyways. As far as the DL Connection brand, I absolutely enjoy the heck out of the E175s. They are comfortable, quick and I would take them any day over a 737 in F on DL.
After a quick taxi, we lined up on 5L and a quick and powerful takeoff threw us into the friendly skies and on our way to MSP.
We alighted to 10,000 feet and the seatbelt sign was extinguished the F/As ended up in the aisle working on taking our post departure drink orders and if we would want a Asian Sesame Chicken and cold Asian pasta for lunch. No other choice was given for food, but honestly it sounded quite good and as it turned out, it was delish.
After my tray was cleared, I requested a woodford and coke to keep me company for the rest of the flight up to MSP.
We landed about 15 mins early into G1 and now it was a waiting game for my 1945 departure to LAS.
With all of my travels, I have seen a lot of places, especially in the USA. My next goal/vision was to try something new. Having been to MSP countless times, especially near the Nicolette Mall area (Brit's anyone?), I decided to head south this time towards the MOA. And what a heck of a mall it is.
Coming up next: My quick trip to the Mall of America and MSP-LAS.
xjramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 2496 posts, RR: 47
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 4332 times:
Before I go any further. Has anyone in the states noticed how tremendously terrible (ha! a two T adjective) the weather has been since Sandy struck the NE?
Well unless you don't have access to the outside world, and heck, can't walk or see outside, you've probably decided as much. Whether or not it's been the torrential, monsoon-like rains on the Eastern Seaboard to the terrible heat hitting the SW, it's been a horrendous spring and start to the summer. And for those who travel for a living, you know how terribly bad it's been affecting flights out of all but two of the major US Airline Hubs, LAX and SEA. In fact, as I write this, I am sitting in one of the Board Rooms in SEA and for the first time ever, I am actually seeing clear blue skies. Sorry, I'll give you lot who know SEA's weather a second to wipe whatever you spit onto your screen to wipe it off.
Clear, blue skies. Never have I ever. Oh wait, wrong game.
Anywho, back to the story. Huzzah!
After a fairly lenghty walk to the baggage claim area, I quickly learned that, yes MSP has lockers. And no there weren't any on this side of security. No way was I going to check my bag and no way was i going to drag it down to the largest mall in the country.
Drats. Yes I actually said drats. So I started begging the baggage folks, the info desk people, the strange man sitting in the corner rocking and talking to himself. No luck. Finally I found the baggage delivery folks who agreed for a small fortune and promised me in return for safe keeping my luggage in their storage area and finally made my way down to the Blue Line/Light Rail. Normally I hop on the Northbound train from the airport stop, but as my luck would have it (this time for the better) I was heading south. Apparently Minneapolis/St. Paul has a baseball team? Must be a AA team or something.
Anyways with every rail stop down to the mall, my side had little to no people waiting to alight, but the southbound platforms were absolutely packed. After making a few twists and turns inside this parking garage that would probably make OSHA cringe, I finally exited out and made my way towards the mall.
Just an aside, I find it really strange that the entire time I was outside the mall, whether it was to or from the light rail stop or even taking off, I didn't see any large sineage that stated that there was a mall there. Granted you could guess from the two enormous parking garages flanking either side of it, and that it probably stretched a good three blocks worth of ground. But I would assume that someone would have posted a sign that said "Mall" or "Hey you. We've got shops" or "America's big old %*#($)# mall".
I wandered around for a good two or three hours just to realize that there were exactly four floors, instead of the three that I traversed. Ironically, they really didn't have much in the way of stores, which I know sounds odd. But I would have expected more tech stores other than just Best Buy. They had food aplenty. The teenage girls were obviously in heaven. And heck, remember me mentioning my S/O from earlier? She could literally be there all day. Maybe two.
But what struck me as odd was the water ride. I knew to expect the massive roller coaster in the middle atrium. But why in the world would you put a water ride in a mall. Sure it's hot out. I loved water rides when I was a kid. But that was outside and on a hot summer day, just hit the spot. Idk. Maybe the Minnesotans and Wisconsiners are just plain weird.
I headed back to the airport around 1700 and picked up my bag. I grabbed my new seat request card and made my way back through security.