This started out as a nonrev long weekend trip to go someplace new to me. Every winter, the flights to Europe are wide open. Therefore, it is nice to get a chance to go somewhere far away, even if for a short time.
DL 584 DFW-JFK
I made it to DFW in good time and was checked in by a good friend at the ticket counter. This flight was not full at all, and I easily made it into the first class cabin. Lunch consisted of chicken pasta, salad, and a brownie cake dessert. The route took us over the Southern states to the Atlanta area before heading up the coast over Norfolk and its large naval base. The plane began the descent near Cape May, NJ and arrived to JFK on time. The connecting gate to Madrid was close and in the same terminal.
DL 126 JFK-MAD
It is always nice to get Business Elite class, especially on the overnight flights. Pushback was on time, and we took the runway within half an hour. For dinner, I chose the beef portion. The appetizer consisted of tuna and a piece of shrimp. There was also a salad served with the meal. Dessert was the hot fudge sundea, which always seems to be the popular choice. For the IFE, I watched the animated Atlantis movie, which was interesting. Once I got a couple hours of sleep, it was time for a breakfast that consisted of bread, fruit, and a crepe. The plane made landfall near Porto, Portugul and continued towards the heart of Spain, which is the location of Madrid. We descended and arrived in the dark at 6:30AM. It was tempting to continue on to Barcelona. Maybe, that will be on the next visit to Spain. There were many people in the passport control line, and it took a little while to get through. Customs was virtually nonexistant and I had to walk a long way to get to the Metro station that would lead to the heart of the city.
The Madrid Visit January 30, 2002
Since this is an aviation site, I will keep this part brief. The first place to visit was the royal palace (Palacio Real). It was nice and full of history. Across the street from the palace was the main cathedral--Almudena. It was a very nice gothic type structure. Plaza Mayor was next, and I found it appealing for just taking in the surroundings and reading about its history such as the bullfighting and the Spanish Inquisition. I walked through Sol, which is a busy hub of the city. Next on my walk was Plaza Colon(Christopher Columbus) and finally Retiro park. It was a whirlwind tour of some of the city, but worth the effort (at least in my perspective). After dinner, it was time to go to the cheap hotel near Gran Via and try and get some sleep for the trip back.
DL 127 MAD-JFK
For less than 1 Euro, I rode the subway from Gran Via back to Barajas Airport. Again, I was fortunate to be assigned in Business-Elite. However, we experienced an indicator problem upon pushback. That led to a battery change on the ramp. This would delay us by 2 hours. Before takeoff, I studied the flight schedule to find a backup plan to get to DFW since I would likely miss the connection. The flight back to JFK was nice and this time I chose a chicken and pasta dish. The appetizer was salmon and another salad was served. For dessert, I opted for the ice cream again. For IFE, this time I saw the movie Sixth Sense. This ride across the Atlantic was rather turbulent. We touched down at JFK at about 5:30PM. Then, we waited for an a gate to open. Once the plane pulled in, I quickly grabbed my bag intending to get through customs ASAP. I made it through passport control and customs in record time. At baggage recheck, the agents told me the grim news about missing DFW and a whole host of other cities. However, there was a glimmer of hope. The Seattle flight was delayed because of a mechanical issue. By making this flight, I could avoid spending the night in any airports and connect on an overnighter back to DFW. There was little time, so I ran across 2 concourses to the gate and presented myself to the agents. They let me on because I had no checked luggage. Thus, the bag matching program would not apply to me. The agent told me to take any open Business-Elite seat and that I would need to get on the plane immediately.
DL 99 JFK-SEA
5:30PM-8:45PM(scheduled) Actual pushback was at 6:30PM
My poor wife would be worrying about me since there was no time to call her with the update. The good news was that I had stumbled upon domestic Business Elite. This meant a nice beef/salad/ice cream dinner and some rest in a nice recline position. This would be my first transcontinental flight ever. The plane took a northerly route across upstate New York, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, and Washington State. It was a nice flight, and I got some sleep on this one. 5 hours later, we were descending into SeaTac. The first thing I did upon arrival was call my wife and inform her of my strategy to get back to DFW. She also received an apology for not being able to call between Spain and Seattle. After a couple hours in Seattle, it was time for the final flight.
My final seat would be in first class. After being in B-E for the last 3 flights, it was harder to sleep, yet I was glad to be there. We took off towards the south in the customary Seattle light rain. Everyone basically slept on and off and the flight seemed quick. At one point, the lights of Denver and the white peaks of the Rockies were visible. The plane arrived on time and DFW and I made it home to get some more sleep before having to work in the afternoon.
Was it worth it? Yes.