Saturday, November 9, 2013

[Retro Report] From Jackson to Washington....

It's weekend again already!  This week just flew past (with no actual flying done this time).  However, I thought it was a good time to post a trip report I didn't get around to finishing up and formatting for quite awhile.  What would that be called?  Retro review....?

Anyhow, without any more delay, I take you back to early Sept, 2013.  The setting- a freshly painted 737, Seat 6A.  We see a somewhat tired-looking, yet content, frequent flyer pull out her iPad after crossing 10,000ft and start to write....

Fresh paint on my 737- View from DCA Admiral's Club

It's been a long week of work and travel,  and now it's finally wrapping up with flight 245 back home to LAX from DCA direct.  Given that my day started off at 4:45 to get to my first flight out of Jackson Medgar-Evars, and it's a good two segments later, even I'm okay with that.  I've done my miles-earning duty more than adequately.

It also helps that The flight's off to a good start- upgrade confirmed yesterday, on a nice 737 with the new lights and modern cabin. The friendly flight crew is serving EFBO, we've got a favorable tailwind, and they've got some Glenlevet on board (a limited quantity now that they're discontinuing the singles AA's been serving).  Plus the hot towels didn't even smell like 'eu de old coffee pot,' so consider me a happy flyer.

RJ from DFW-JAN.
Don't call her small, she prefers 'sporty'
This week's trip consisted of flights LAX-DFW-JAN to start off.  My upgrade cleared at the gate for the first segment, and the  later Eagle flight had a great flight attendant who said I was her only EXP and then almost aggressively offered me everything on the cart, even trying to get me to take some wine 'for later' when I declined the first time (I was on the clock...).  Once again, no complaints.
JAN 'Work Station'- no lounge, no problem ;)

However, my complaints did start once I left AA's control.  At National, I just got beat by a few steps to the only premium car in the aisle (a new-looking Genesis) and ended up with a Fusion with 8k on it.  Okay, okay, I've had worse....Ford's been doing some good tech upgrades and the XM Radio was still active, but I've had better.  Overall, the car is fine and responsive at low speeds, but painfully underpowered.  Merging on highways was dicey at times.

I stayed, for the second time this year, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Ridgeland, and was significantly underwhelmed this time.  Had I gotten myself together (as I still might) to do a trip report for my first stay here, they would have gotten a much better review.  I know, I know, my lowly 'Blue' level with Hilton entitled me to nothing....but after my year of SPG Platinum treatment, I have a hard time not complaining about a 2nd floor room next to the laundry room with a view of a brick wall.  Seriously, just a brick wall. Oh, and my TV didn't work in the bedroom.
Kitchen and work space-ES Jackson Ridgeland

Bedroom- ES

Before I pan the stay entirely, I will say that the property has some features that made me a repeat customer-Open bar happy hour nightly from 5:30-7:30, free hot breakfast, free parking, Internet, and plenty of space to work.  All room types really are suites, and are 2 rooms, with a sitting area, kitchenette with sink, microwave and mini fridge, and work space.  Plus, it's in an area of town I was advised would be conducive to the out of towner, safety-wise.

Lobby and entry- Embassy Suites
(Quick Glenlevet after is hard)

In short- National at JAN: 4/10 (had a better car last time).  Embassy Suites: 6/10 (one good stay, one not so great).  So that's that then....

Anyhow, even with the early start, today's been fun.  My layover in DCA was about 5 hours, which was a little long even for me to stick around in the airport.  Though it is a beautiful airport all things considered- architecture, water views, and GREAT staff at the (small but big-hearted) Admiral's Club.  They held my bags and sent me off to take the train into town.

DCA Terminal
I love, love, love airports that have quick access to their metro areas, a lot.  It's too bad they're so few and far between.  Of my regular stops, only BOS, DCA, and if you have a little more time, MIA and SEA are doable.  Besides great views on final approach, it makes long layovers so much better.  As much as I love planes and airports, there's something fun about going to a city 'for a few hours.'  Today I walked down the National Mall, visited some monuments, and took a look at the air & space museum (had to). Plus, it felt great to stretch between flights.
AA Flagship- Air & Space Museum

All in all, it's been a successful trip- work went well, as have my 5,600 miles.  Adding them to the 'bank' on the way to 100k this year.  There's plenty more to share, but it'll have to wait until the next segment.  Until then, fly safe, and take time to explore along the way!

On short final into DCA
P.S.- I have some pretty impressive mileage runs coming up, if I do say so myself.  YOU JUST WAIT for this year's mileage season trip reports....

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