I’ve had a few recent comments on here on the blog suggesting that I’m out of touch from my readers, that all I do is flying international premium cabins. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most of my travels are really quite mundane, average experiences – not average for the leisure traveler flying once a year with family perhaps, but average for the frequent flyer
I turn up for my domestic flight about an hour before departure. I pass through security like everyone else, though I certainly have my routines. Maybe there’s an elite line, maybe not, but lines are rarely bad when.I fly.
If I’m not wearing a jacket I don’t even use a bin. I use a checkpoint flyer laptop bag, so I unclip it so it lays flat. Laptop doesn’t come out of the case. Keys and blackberry go in the laptop bag, I never set off alarms. Black rollaboard goes on the belt, I leave my 3-1-1 Freedom Baggie in it. And I always wear slip-on shoes for travel.
Up to the club lounge, grab something cold to drink and maybe some small snacks — if it’s like this morning as I write, it’s the AAdmiral’s Club at DCA, there’s just 2 stale-looking mini donuts and a couple pieces of fruit. I pass.
I avail myself of the facilities, odds on they’re cleaner than in the terminal or plane. And then assuming I’m upgraded I head to the gate about 20 minutes out (give or take based on distance of lounge to gate). If I’m in coach I head over 35 minutes out, have to board first to safely secure overhead space.
I rarely check a bag, I need to be gone about a week before I do. Earlier in the year I did six days on a 20 inch carryon (yes 20-inch, not 22). Granted the trip was to a beach destination. Four nights in Paris in Winter in the same 20-inch.
Two week Asia trip? I will check one bag.
Packing only takes me about 10 minutes. I have a shelf for the electronics I pack – headset, power strip, kensington power adapter, cell phone and laptop cords, noise cancelling headset. Right beside it are my freedom baggies, a stack of plastic bags for dirty laundry, and travel-sized items like deoderant and tooth paste, and my travel razor. Then toss in the likely number of slacks, jeans, shirts, a second pair of shoes to go with the one I’m wearing, and the relevant undershirts, socks, and I’m good to go.
The 20 inch carryon has a suiter section, it’s not great actually because of its compact size but I don’t really want to lug a bigger bag. This one will fit easily wheels first into an MD80 or 737 overhead. But it protects the suit well enough that a quick steam in the hotel bathroom will straighten it out.
Sitting onboard watching the people stroll past with their pillows and ‘European Hostel’ backpacks that would never fit in the overhead (let alone the sizer), I know we’ll be pushing back late as we wait for the last folks boarding the plane to gate check their life’s belongings.
I’m connecting but that’s alright. I never book 30 or 40 minute connections even when they’re legal, and I try my darnedest to avoid last flight of the night.
On the one hand I believe that if you’ve never missed a flight you’re wasting too much time in airports. And I know if I misconnect I’m at least top of the standby list for the next flight. But I plan methodically so that I can move stress-free through Airworld. No escorts for me or super-personalized service when I’m not on a first class award redemption with a better international carrier. I spend my share on tickets but will never be the sort of high spender that’s invited to American Concierge Key or United Global Services.
Lunch isn’t caviar. It’s this…
… or this:
Today I am surprised by how nice the American club on the A Concourse in Dallas is, I’m not an AA regular so don’t pass through here all that often. Most of my American flying, rare as it is, is just down to Miami. The club is nicely renovated and a bartender came around taking (and delivering!) drink orders.
My first flight today had no pre-departure beverage, instead the flight attendant took pre-departure orders for post-takeoff service.. which took a full 45 minutes to deliver. The second flight offered a tray of pre-poured water, juice, and soda. And the snack was enchiladas… with hummus. Really?
Touch down on time, over to the car rental lot, I could be in any city.