“I could never, would never do a mileage run” (some folks just don’t get it)! A Delta “Fun Run” review by Renes Points

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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?

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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!

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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).

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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!

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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!

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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. 🙂

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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).

plane finder android app

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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22 comments

  1. “I have promised myself I will no longer do any more redeye flights.”

    Is that after the red-eye on the Boneyard run? 🙂

  2. oh, so Graydon got your RUs … AND you are so spoiled at 50yrs old and just cannot do a redeye …

  3. Well, yesterday I finally cut the cord and [said goodbye] to Mr. Anderson’s airline. I’ve been a NWA and then Delta loyal customer for the last 10 years, more for the convenience of being a hub hostage than for liking them. Before I moved to MSP I was a million miler with AA and got my lifetime Gold status with over 3MM miles flown in AA planes. As I mentioned in a post earlier this year I am tired of the way Delta has been treating loyal customers. I spend over $50K per year on Delta (business and personal travel) but still that is not enough for them to treat me well. I flew several flights so far this year with Delta and strangely enough as a PM I was upgraded 100% of the times flying out of MSP but NEVER flying into MSP. Yesterday flying MCO to MSP on a 767 with several business class seats Delta never upgraded me but asked if I wanted to buy a first class seat for an extra $169 at the time I checked in. Last night when I got home my wife asked if I had looked for flights to our yearly Tksgiving trip down to South America to visit family. Immediately I looked at Google flights and for my surprise the cheapest flight with Delta for 4 people in my family was $1,200 per person with connections in DCA and ATL before getting into my destination. AA had amazing availability with just a connection at DFW for $600 per person. Yes, 50% less per person for a way better flight. Well, for more that I prefer to fly Delta for the convenience and to get more MQM there was nothing that could justify me paying an extra $2,400 for my family to fly to the same place and adding a connection. Thus, after 10 years of flying Delta I finally decided to take my business elsewhere. As a lifetime Gold with AA I still get most of the same perks like free baggage, etc.. so bye bye Delta. I will still fly Delta where they offer non stop flights from MSP but for the rest they won’t see my money.

  4. @Santastico – thanks for this and other comments on the blog and I hope you keep reading the blog even if you don’t fly Delta anymore :-)!
    .
    You are not the only one at the breaking point. I have a blogger friend who has refused to spend 1 dime on Delta anymore and he flies a TON and often and has been Delta Diamond for YEARS!
    .
    Delta for now is still making money. Maybe, if enough like my friend and you vote with their wallets Delta will listen and stop crushing us and making changes and not telling us and on and on.. we will see!

  5. @rene: I will still fly Delta (only when it is convenient) and will keep reading your blog 🙂 What I wanted to say is that I always paid more just to fly Delta since I used to get something in return for my loyalty. After them not upgrading me on a domestic 767 from MCO to MSP (how many DM fly out from Disney on a Wednesday 7:30AM flight???) and after seeing they were charging me twice the price of AA for worst flights I decided to not be loyal anymore.

  6. @Santastico – Yep. I am seeing the same out of SBN. DL is much more than UA. Ugg. Sad times when less loyal and more $$$

  7. @rene: For some reason Delta is “forcing” passengers from MSP to fly to DCA. I have looked at several routes I will need to fly in the near future and almost always the cheapest option on Delta includes a MSP-DCA flight. The worst was to fly MSP to GRU the cheapest option was MSP-DCA-MIA-MCO-GRU. Are you kidding me? Any thoughts on why Delta is doing that?

  8. @Santastico – Simple fix, use Kayak.com always to search for flights. Works so much better (better prices too) then dumps to whatever airline 🙂 #TravelTip

  9. Santastico – I am also an MSP hostage and find that the flights I need to Central and South America are often cheaper on other carriers or alliances. Difficult to remain on DL all the time and since I made status already for 2017 I am going to test a few other options, but know that I will always be on DL due to convenience and the most flights. Note my wife who is PM and kids who are SM just booked some flights and had to pay for C+ seats and she was frustrated but part of the changes. What was it Rene, keep descending?

  10. @Kevin – sorry your comment got dumped into spam. found it. yes #KeepDescending is the word for 2016 and Delta. They say GO! We say just STOP cutting!

  11. @rene: I played with Kayak. Every flight from MSP-GRU on AA on the dates I need is $607 with 1 connection. The cheapest on Delta is $1,107 with 2 connections. Disgusting!!!!!

  12. @Santastico – Don’t forget about multi-leg route checking via other airports. I have found that can save big $$$ at times. Between ITA Matrix and Kayak you can score some nice savings.

  13. @kevin: I am already Gold with Delta for 2017 so I will only fly them where they have non stop flights from MSP. If I have to connect anyway I will gladly fly another airline. I fly paid business class anyway when flying for work so even if I don’t have any status in the airline the things I get flying Delta will be covered by paying business class. BTW, I used to be a AA loyal and when I moved to MSP I still flew to Asia on Asian carriers. I would fly Delta to LAX or SFO and from there take CX or SQ to Asia. It was always cheaper to fly business class on those carriers than to take the MSP-NRT old 747 and then connect in Asia. It was not the most convenient way but flying business in CX or SQ is way better than in Delta.

  14. Yes Bob I got his RUs LOL. Don’t worry though I am sure I will return the favor at some point – and thanks again Rene! What a fun run, 5 airports in one day, several lounges, dinner and all that lay flat time. But next time I am packing my own blanket and pillow.

    Looking forward to the next run except for that red-eye. Seriously if it’s a fun run I’m going to get a room with some MS points and have fun!

  15. I agree the SEA amex centurion lounge is not really a “real” one!! it was a sad experience .. not worth it at all!!

  16. Am I the only one interested in the story behind the $1000 voucher?!!?! ON A REGIONAL FLIGHT? That’s almost jackpot!

  17. 5 CPM is EXPENSIVE. And you burnt a bunch of RPU’s, so this trip cost you a lot more than you gained status wise. You’d do better just going where you enjoy and forgetting about the milage earning aspect, being as this is a bit of a joke on that end. My last DL MR was pretty brutal, I have to admit, but it got gold status for a few hundred bucks. I could have used some upgrades to make it more comfortable, but it sorta would’ve killed the point for me. I almost never travel revenue anyways when traveling for pleasure, I think I do better on premium cabins with award tickets. Need just enough status to make that aspect bearable. No loyalty to any program from me. If they offer the most compelling product, routing, and cost, I’ll take it. Not flying anything just because I like the airline or feel indebted to them. They have to work for my business each time. The purpose of loyalty programs and status is to get people to fly them at times when they logically shouldn’t, because they want to earn miles and status with them. I get that out of the way with a couple of MRs if I feel the need to have status with anyone. This way, the rest of the year, I’m free to make my own choices who and how to fly.

  18. @Gary – I see you don’t get it. I had a much lower CPM but changed it for the chance to a run almost all full flats and longer time in SAN. I got to spend some time with a great friend and enjoy flying (something I just always love to do). Plus, 5CPM is not expensive. I have a goal on the mileage run blog of sub 4CPM on weekdays but most readers tell me from hubs or for perfect weekend runs 5CPM is a tolerable price.

    I got great value from my run and had a blast. Oh, and with my bump, Delta paid me for the entire adventure. #Winning 😉

  19. Your statements about Hash House A Go Go made me smile.
    We’ve (we being me and my +1) been at one just two or three times (in Las Vegas at the one inside the Rio hotel). Once we were there together with my sister and my niece.
    While studying the menu my niece asked me a few questions as usual (it was her first trip to the US). Besides some other questions she asked me what a flap jack was (I think that was the other word for pancake they used ;-)). The interesting thing then was, it was used in the singular form on the menu. No mention of a stack of two, three, or four … just a single one? For about $10?
    Well, she decided to order that one, luckily not something else because she didn’t finish it 😉
    My niece is no big eater, so a pancake almost the size of a medium pizza was quite enough for her.
    Somewhat unfortunately I am a ‘good’ eater, so the burger was no problem for me. Their food might be a problem for a scale squeezing under me when I step onto it … though, in general I am able to control myself quite good. But sometimes … I like such places 😉

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