Gosh, I miss traveling the way it used to be – ya know – like a year ago. I found myself the other day looking over some videos I made from ski trips out west. Normally, I would be getting my skis ready about this time of the year but – yeah – the bug so…
Anyway, today I thought I would walk you all through some of my favorite travel shots and memories from almost 10 years of blogging and some of the fun backstories behind the photos. Like the top featured shot. That is me in South Carolina waiting to see my first ever eclipse. I booked it because I had points to cover the air, the hotel, and the car rental. I am so happy I did and that I listened to my wife and we stayed put at the park we found near the beach vs. going inland (those inland missed it while we got to see it as the clouds opened up just before totality)! Amazing.
Have you ever been on a floatplane? I had never been until a cheap and fun mileage run to Alaska. The planes Delta flew were ridiculously old over Canada there was no wifi most of the way and some of my upgrades did not clear but the result was the above. The weather kept us out of the mountains (the planned flight) but we still got to take off, fly around, and land on water. I get goosebumps still just thinking about it. Folks, you gotta do this one day – what a thrill.
This guy. What a guy. The first time I met Dave he picked me up at the Austin airport (with another runner) and had a basket that included all the things Delta had in their 1st class basket at the time. Oh and he drove me to a number of BBQ spots and back to the airport before the flight home. Again, this was the 1st time I ever met the guy! Kindness, real kindness, that is Dave. Since that day we have been to a few spots on the planet — including my first and only visit to Hong Kong. The flood of memories during these few days included my first Tesla ride, amazing and crazy food and so much more.
Speaking of Dave… This story is great. On another trip, our next flight looked oversold and we were eager to get to the gate to volunteer. But we were on a domestic 767 and upgrades did not clear so I picked the best seat on the jet the rear window exit row with unlimited legroom. The result was it took time to deplane. Dave was in a hurry and was ahead of me by a number of people. He was so in a hurry he missed the nice Delta person with the sign for him and I that we were going to get a gate-2-gate Porsche ride. I had to YELL to get him to stop from leaving the jet bridge and come back and walk down to the tarmac.
There really is nothing good that can ever be said about COVID. The same goes for the CRJ200 (btw I think this is one of my favorite posts I have ever penned). What a horrid bird. This shot, on one of my endless number of hops from South Bend to Delta hubs, exemplifies my feeling about this craft. COVID may hasten their end and that, along with the end to COVID, is something we all long for. And along with that:
This is me, sipping Woodford Reserve, preflight on the 1st ever CRJ700 regularly scheduled service from South Bend. I burned 50,000 SkyMiles just to fly this and took a day trip to somewhere just to fly it. It was worth every SkyMile spent for the feeling that at long last I could book flights from home on something other than a CRJ200. But, Delta ended the service a few months later. Waaa waa waaa!
Speaking of waaaa 🙂 how about this one. I get the last gate upgrade and one with limited reline but at least I have 1st class for a mid-con flight (DTW to the West Coast) and then… It was an interesting flight with Mom and kids in front and Dad in back and the two of them back and forth for hours. Honestly, the flight was fine but the photo is still a good one IMO. (And sparked a post about why I use a privacy filter on my laptop.)
How about some non-Delta ones? You bet.
Back in “the day,” i.e. a few years ago, you could use United points at a great value to fly Lufthansa 1st class. Real 1st class — not the stuff Delta offers us. This was my Lisa, upstairs on a 747, with two seats, on our first ever Lufthansa 1st class ride. Oh, and we got the points from opening a bunch of Chase checking accounts if I remember from way back then (read about our epic trip here). There were more amazing Lufthansa 1st class moments like:
I have never wanted to be rich, as I have modest needs and wants. But if I were rich, I would never, ever get sick of the above. Private car service from gate to gate or gate to terminal or terminal to gate never ever gets old. Nor does this:
The rose at your seat. The quality everything. The entire experience and being in the nose of a 747 almost able to look straight ahead – oh my. This is the way to fly. The loss of the 747s in the sky (for passengers anyway) really makes me sad. But not when they take you to this:
I have been twice to the Frankfurt Lufthansa 1st class terminal/lounge/building. There really is nothing to compare this to (other than maybe the Air France 1st I have not experienced – yet)! This is pampered travel to the extreme. To have the attendant, when it is time for you to fly, come to get you and take you down to passport control and drive you to your next flight – sigh – it is so nice. Funny side story, we were waiting for our flight to Sweden and there was a flight departing just about an hour after we got to the club. The attendant asked if we want to take this one vs. wait for 3 hours for the next one – I said we were fine with what we had booked! 🙂
Two more 747 moments I will never forget (see a pattern here and why I will miss the Queen so much). I have no idea if Delta has removed the 747 simulators from Atlanta but my guess is they have since all their 747s are now being sold for parts on eBay! 🙁 I owe Capt. Hank a bunch for moments like this, that is, a chance to fly a real 747 simulator (it was at the end of his shift training other pilots btw). Along with that, how many folks have this shot?
You only cross million miler once. I did it on a 747 on my way back from Japan. In Japan, I got to wave hello from the escape hatch of the Queen! Funny side story, one of the other officers flying the jet said he did not have this shot and asked the officer taking the shots to get one of him as well. Fun to see even the fly boys and girls are AVgeeks as well.
In my lifetime I have taken so many NWA / Delta bumps it is hard to keep track. I have had a number of the elusive double bumps i.e. bump off flights back to back, but the one largest score ever was the above. Fun side story was the bump itself. I did not ask if oversold for some reason and the gate agent came to the door asking for volunteers but only from business class as it was oversold. I shot up so fast when I hear the 3k number and my wife just started gathering our things. Folks around us seemed so sad for us we were having to get off – clearly, we were not sad at all! How about a few events that stand out.
Other than Dave, when you think of simply amazing people, this guy, Graydon has to be runner up. We met on a 1st class mileage run. We had only talked but never met and we were to meet up in MCI but things went wrong and his jet, mid-flight, turned back to Atlanta (the bird we were to fly to Atlanta to start our run to San Francisco). While he was in the air I rebooked both his and my flights. Long story short we never got to SFO but had a fun adventure and Delta did give us credit for the flights – even the ones we did not take.
One more “fun run” we took with all 1st class fights was to the boneyard in Tucson. We landed in Phoenix and rented a few Silver Cars for the drive over. Man, that was a fun day including clearing out a ton of Visa Gift cards from a Simon mall along the way! Speaking of fun…
Over the years I have organized a bunch of reader events. This “meat” up was so much fun. I lost track of how many local Austin BBQ spots we hit but it was a lot. I look forward to more such events but am happy to let someone else do the planning next time!
Literally a “blast” for those fence surfing while jets take off from SXM. There is something amazing about folks flying in from all over the world to join up for a day at the airport. Now yes we did adventure out beyond the beach but made sure we were there for the arrivals of a number of big birds! You must, at least once in your life, visit this spot on the planet. Amazing. Time for a few more.
I miss the thrill of waking up to see what new fun thing Rick Ingersoll had posted on his little blog. I miss seeing him here and there in the frequent flyer world at events like the Chicago Seminars. But I owe him a debt of gratitude beyond words for him suggesting I, as a dyslexic, write a blog about Delta. And introducing me to:
Randy Petersen. Randy is BEYOND kindness. He is simply one of a kind. If you have ever had the privilege of meeting him you know this. (Read about my trip to Boarding Area’s HOM office.) It has been such an honor to have his mentoring and help over these last 10 years of blogging.
Once COVID is gone – anyone up for creating some new memories? Where shall we go next? – René
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