To begin with, this is my first trip report so bear with me!
First off, even though I am a very frequent flyer, I had never heard of a "mileage run" until reading through posts on this site. So, with my frequent flyer status on US about to go from Platinum to Gold (after years of being Chairman's Preferred) I thought it might not be a bad idea to lock in some bonus miles and rack up a few extra segments. Knowing I'd be in Raleigh for a meeting, I decided to see what might be available. Luckily, a $118 USD fare popped up for RDU-PHL-ORD-CLT-RDU. So, I booked it and decided to enjoy a day of flying.
The day began VERY early with the hotel alarm clock going off at 3:10am. Not knowing how security would be for a 5:30am departure, I allotted plenty of extra time. (In Nashville, I once had a 6:30am departure, got to the airport before 5am and almost missed the flight because security was so slow and there are a number of early morning departures). Was in the terminal by 4:20am and although I had checked in via the web, I decided to stop by the US Airways counter to see about a change to my seat assignment on the ORD-CLT segment. Unfortunately, the agent couldn't have cared any less about even checking availability and kept saying how people trying to use the kiosks keep thinking he can handle everyone at once. (There were two people at the counter and two employees - not exactly a crush of people). Maybe it was just the early hour.
Headed on up to security only to find 7 TSA employees standing around talking and no screening lanes open. After about 10 minutes, one was opened and I moved though quickly, having only a laptop for getting some work done in flight.
As you can see, it is very empty at RDU at 4:50am!
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The dark and quiet US ramp. This 737-300 would head to Charlotte shortly.
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Date: 30 Jan 2007
Route: RDU - PHL
Flight: US Express 3850
Aircraft: CRJ 200
Seat: 8F (Coach) Exit Row
Departure time: 5:30am Actual 5:25am