Frequent flyers, that is AVgeeks, are a unique, and yet wonderful, breed of people. I met blog reader Graydon a number of years ago. He reached out to join me on a 1st class run from MCI and, well, it did not go so well but we had a good time. Since then, we have bumped into each other in England as well as a number of frequent flyer events and we always have a great time.
So when I found (and posted) a run out of MCO, near where Graydon lives, I decided to ring him up and see if the was game for near 4 CPM. One of the reasons I jumped on it was the long MCO-SEA legs and I wanted to take the time to revisit the AMEX Centurion in SEA to see if my first impression was wrong of that mini-C club (readers have said my review was too harsh but I still feel it was spot on).
Anyway, Delta dumped that route on us (at least for our day). So, thanks to the mighty schedule change rule coming into play, I spent my time searching for how we could get to SAN for the most MQMs or flight miles for elite status and yet also as many full flat Delta One flights as well and lastly leave us enough time for a relaxing dinner in San Diego. After all, flying to SAN for dinner is what most folks do for fun right?
The run started near perfect. My flight from SBN was oversold. Oh, it got better as the flight before mine was VERY delayed but I had a long layover in DTW. So, they bumped me, sent my flight on it’s way, and then I was able to get on the other flight and still make my original flight down to MCO. I love starting a run with a voucher large enough to pay for both my positioning flights and the run itself!
Now I opened this post with what many folks tell me, that is: “I could never, would never do a mileage run“. Well, if you are doing it all in coach and just turning and burning I can maybe see your point. But I decided to burn a few regional upgrades for us both, clearly, with the many Delta One flights, this worked out very well. Beyond that, my other flights to and from MCO all cleared at the Diamond window resulting in a refurbished 757 for the flight down and a VERY good steak dinner (well it was small but delicious).
Then Graydon, his wife and I went to a spot I have never been but apparently everyone knows about, that is, Hash House A Go Go. The meal you see above was massive with a ton of chicken and bacon inside the waffles. I had a pork tenderloin sandwich and could only eat part of it. You will go home with a doggie bag from this place!
The next day we started our 24 hours of mostly nonstop flying. No need for de-icing here in MCO as the airport tweeted out. But gosh, we must have been on one of Delta’s oldest jets ever and cleaning (since it had been parked overnight) apparently was not important. It was nasty!
The hop up to ATL from MCO was quick. I had checked the Fly Delta App and the inbound flight was coming into F and we were coming into A. Maybe a Porsche ride was in store? Nope, they moved the jet from F where it arrived from the international flight over just 3 gates from ours. 🙂
I don’t think I have ever been on this 767 Skyteam painted livery and the interior was still branded with Business Elite and was showing it’s age. Still, who am I to complain about Delta One seats on a wide body jet on a domestic route.
Service was typical Delta folks that is outstanding in every respect. Delta FAs are just crushing it on taking care of us in the air. Oh and the Delta burger is always a good choice (I just wish the bun was not sometimes perfect, sometimes a bit dried out).
Then after a short visit to the XpresSpa and SLC Sky Club it was time for our 3rd flight of the day down to SAN and a refreshing drink before dinner at 500 MPH (IMO the best way to enjoy a cocktail).
I had reached out on twitter for suggestions on where we should go for dinner and reader John suggested Coasterra and I am so happy he did. It was just a short UBER ride away and what a great place and I just cannot say enough good about this restaurant. Everything was just about perfect. The service outstanding, the food very good and the views, well, insane.
From my side of the table I got to see the city, the harbor and more. From Graydon’s side he could see the airport and flights coming in. Again, it was so much Avgeek “eye candy” I could hardly contain myself (see why a “fun run” can be just that).
As we were geeking out about all things aviation I mentioned that I wish Android had the feature that iPhones have about asking it what is over your head right now and it shows jets above your head (Android just searches the web). But when we both tested our phones I found a new app I am in love with called Plane Finder. The free version is interesting but the $2.99 one for either Android or iPhones is travel geek overload (yeah I paid for the app). So, we spent the time plane spotting and data mining. Good times!
The marine layer started to roll in and we started to get afraid it would make it to SAN before our departure but we need not have worried. The sunset on the quick UBER ride back to the airport was just stunning. To collect points and have this much fun is just amazing.
We decided to pop into the Airspace lounge in SAN (review on the way later) and were really happy we did. Not to say the SAN Sky Club is not a nice place to visit but this lounge had some nice perks that were far better than the Delta club.
I have promised myself I will no longer do any more redeye flights. At almost 50 years of age they are just not for me. This one was not “that bad” since we had, again, Delta One full flat seats both from LAX-ATL as well as from ATL-MCO (I know crazy right). Even so, departing at 3AM ET and only getting 3-4 hours of sleep is no longer for me even in a great seat.
The weather coming into Atlanta was interesting and a rather bumpy ride but not as bad as I expected from the warnings from the cockpit. After a quick shower in the F Sky Club it was time for our 6th flight inside of 24hrs back to MCO.
I must say I am still a Delta fan. I love to “fly Delta jets”. I love the people. I like the products (most times) and the food and service are just tops. They fly on time and they tend to fly full and “bumpertunities” with Delta I find are ready to be had if you volunteer and know how to be first on the list.
Is it all worth it, that is, chasing status (we ended up earning over 5600MQMs at just over 5CPM)? Having flown without status I think so. Oh, and not just that, if you can do all of the above along the way while you chase your status, you can see why a “fun run” makes the points just a side perk of an AVgeek “day”! – René