|How it ended- Sunset flight DFW-LAX|
I'm currently on the last leg of the flight and I concur with the pilot's recent PA announcement- it is 'a beautiful night to fly.' We've got calm skies and a beautiful red and orange sunset to fly off toward. The flight was delayed a few minutes due to some weather from the Midwest that kept the equipment (an endangered 757) from getting to DFW on time. I've decided not to let it bother me, all in all the trip has been successful thus far and I don't have a connecting flight to worry about.
HOWEVER, they took orders for dinner correctly- this is an odd numbered flight, and they started at the back, but they're serving from the front. I'm in 6F and hungry for my chicken and....whatever else it was she said. Yes, this would be the best example ever of 'First World Problems.'
Back to the topic at hand. As far as frequent traveler perks go, I'm feeling fairly solid on this trip- 4 for 4 on the upgraded flights, 1.5 for 2 on the hotel rooms, and a definite (at least two category) upgrade on the car. Oh, and the actual reason for the travel went well also...
It started off with a surprise gate upgrade for the overnight LAX-MIA, which was more than welcome. 4 of us on the standby upgrade list cleared on a sold out cabin. Thank...somebody....for minor miracles. The flight was even at the gate twenty minutes early, giving me time for a shower and a few of those little muffins in the MIA Admiral's club. That is, of course, once I found it. I spent a good five minutes walking in small, pathetic circles in Terminal D, dragging my carry-on behind me before realizing the sign was right there all along.
The shower rooms were nice, though I had to wait a few minutes for one to free up. Like in LAX they have great amenities.
|Shower suite-MIA Terminal|
It was my first time in Philly in recent memory, and I wish I'd had more free time to see something other than my hotel rooms. I mean, running to and from the car I did notice some lovely cobblestone streets and cherry blossoms.... But this is a frequent flyer blog....so the hotel rooms are a major feature, aren't they?
Before I get to that though, this was my first rental from National at PHL. I'll start off by saying the prices were outrageous. This seems to have been a City-wide supply and demand issue. When I boarded the shuttle (Monday morning) the driver was telling inquiring customers that they were reservation only, as were Hertz and Alamo.
Now, here's the thing about National- its my new love car-rental wise with the executive membership though AmEx. I love picking out my own car, and the row tends to have some fun finds.....but when you get off that packed bus and head toward the ES row it's suddenly like Lord Of The Flies, but everyone is tastefully business casual and towing a rollaboard. For my part, I go in with a plan- I know the high end options- Genesis, 300c, Buick, Camaro, Maxima, Avalon, higher end SUVs and certain trim options....but...
....I'm also not proud. This time I threw my bag in a Lacrosse (with 16k on the ODO) took the keys, and went to check the mileage on the Enclave parked behind it. The Enclave won- less than 300 miles, working XM, and all the options. I did feel silly with just my one suitcase and myself in it, but the seats were heated and PHL was a whole lot colder than LA.
|2013 Enclave from National|
|Sheraton Society Hill lobby from the Club Floor|
|Sheraton Society Hill|
The hotel itself is on the small side, but well kept up. Staff were pleasant, but I didn't get the 'going above and beyond' feeling from them. My one real complaint was that my room was so far from the only elevator it took forever to get downstairs.
The second night, as I couldn't get a room in Philly to save my life (some major convention no one seemed to know the name of was in town) I got a room at a great rate on our company's SET at the Sheraton Wilmington South. Now, while this location lacks the charm of Society Hill, it was the clear winner for me in amenities and service.
For the business traveler passing through, it's easy to find. It's right off the highway, but asking for a room on the far side will take away any noise issues. Overall, the entire staff, from the check in desk to the bartender had a serious case of 'trying too hard.' This is literally the best compliment I can give. Even though they too were fully sold out for the night, I was already double upgraded to a deluxe suite- three rooms, kitchenette, jacuzzi tub, on the top floor. The property was clean and modern, club lounge was well stocked for both evening and breakfast, if lacking in square footage.
|Deluxe Suite Bedroom|
|Sheraton Wilmington Deluxe Suite|
As for the return trip, I have some unsolicited opinions about the PHL airport, both good and bad. However, the sunset has faded out in front of us and it's about time for dinner. I don't want to risk getting whatever it is tonight all over my keyboard, so my feelings about Philly's security lines (NO pre-check!!) will have to wait.
Until the next segment....