Life

SJC to SAN: One Last Hurrah

san_diego_hurrah-1Hehe… I didn’t think I’d spend New Years Eve at my third office: The Sky Club at LAX.  I somewhat like it here.  It’s open and airy like home.  You have a good view of the tarmac.  It’s got a Aeron chair and enough food to just keep ya alive.  The Australians have better beer tho.  Hell, I may just have to get some of the same plastic greenery to spice my office up back home.

san_diego_hurrah-2Ever since Delta made the change to bring the day pass for the Sky Club down to $25, I’ve been here on a much more regular basis.  The airlines, for as much grief as they get know how motivate and get the most out of people.  I don’t say this in a condescending way either. It’s actually pretty ingenious.

I’ve always flown Delta.  As a kid, I don’t think my parents ever really flew anything else.  I do remember Eastern going out of business. Two of my parents’ friends were Delta pilots. Times were good for Delta then.  In college my Dad suggested I start building credit and lauded American Express to start accruing miles.  AMEX was good to him so he suggested I start there.  So, I took the Kool-Aid and started earning miles for places I’ve yet to travel too.  SkyMiles was I thing I always did, but never really was invested in it.  I’d get a free ticket every few years from mileage and credit card accruals.

Biscoff: Made in Belgium, imported in SF (United's hub) and the official food of an Atlanta Airline.

Biscoff: Made in Belgium, imported in SF (United’s hub) and the official food of an Atlanta airline.

Once bag fees started to become the norm, the AMEX card saved me $50 each flight. AMEX and Delta benefitted from that one and I used it to stave off getting less from the airline.  The card builds loyalty and is another entanglement with the airline.

This year has been a huge travel year: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Sydney… Here I sit with 74,200 miles for the year.  I need 800 more to get Platinum.  I get the “buy your miles” email but the smallest increment is 2500 miles for $700.  There had to be a better option.  I needed to find a flight that had a connection that was cheaper than a flight that was 800 miles away.  Each leg of a flight on Delta is at least 500 miles, regardless of distance.

The fog is starting to roll in.  The airport is barely visible.

The fog is starting to roll in. The airport is barely visible.

I took the bait.  I needed to find a cheap flight where I knew someone at the destination.  Seattle, Denver, Salt Lake, and Portland were all too expensive.  Los Angeles, Fresno, and Eureka weren’t far enough.  San Diego via Los Angeles hit the bill.  It was half the price of buying the miles and I got to see a great friend of mine as well.  I was to fly out at 6:20 am and then come back just 36 hours later.

san_diego_hurrah-5As luck would have it…. I slept through the flight. I woke up and instantly thought “It’s way too light!  Damnit!”  I call the airline and all they have open for me is a 5pm flight getting in at 10:20.  I take it.  I spent the money and need the miles.  I later find out that they won’t give me the 2pm as it’s a different fare class (even though I was upgraded to first class and nearly Platinum – grr).

I went early to see if I could get on the 2pm flight.  It turns out there was plenty of space.  I even got first class on the new flight.  Why couldn’t they just upgrade me back then?  A short 75 minutes later I’m in LA and having a glass of wine at the Sky Club bar. I hop on the plane to go to San Diego, a 22 minute flight, simple enough right?  As luck would have it San Diego was cloaked in fog and only high priority flights would get in.  We were a low priority commuter plane.  Thus we had to go back to the gate as San Diego is smothered in fog.

So here I sit in my home away from home office amongst travelers.  Some are going to see loved ones. Some have a fun celebration tonight.  Some are going crazy places just to rack up miles.  The guy next to me flew from San Diego to the bay area via Salt Lake to do the same thing as I.  After a long clusterf*ck in Los Angeles we all get on the plane.  The flight attendant lets us know they are taking on extra gas to hover over San Diego, divert us to Palm Springs, fly back to LA, or actually land in San Diego.

Travel has done some pretty extraordinary things for me this year.  2013 has been a a rollercoaster year with it’s highs and lows.  I’m blessed it’s been one filled with new horizons.

To all my readers: Happy New Year!

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