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Christmas in Chicago

Christmas in Chicago

Old Dec 27, 99, 11:55 am
  #1  
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Christmas in Chicago

MSY-ATL-ORD

Pixie and I drive to the airport and park at Park N' Fly. The attendant at the gate tells me they're double parking (which I don't like to do particularly since you leave your keys in the car), and I say that I saw some empty spots against the fence, and she asks if I park there regularly, and I tell her I do and she says they're saving them for "regulars" and to go ahead and park there then.

We ride over to the airport, check in is quick, we were both upgraded easily using segment upgrades (757's on all four flights didn't hurt either).

We hang out at the CRC for a bit then head to the plane and board. The flight to ATL is on time and everything smooth.

When we get to ATL I look at the departure board and see that everything to Chicago is delayed (why didn't they tell me that when I checked in ...). We go over to T-concourse (it's nice that all the flights to ORD and BOS leave out of T (and all the flights to DCA now leave out of the same couple of gates at A instead of T), so standing by for another flight is pretty easy. I stop at the first gate with a Chicago flight. I ask if the one leaving in a few minutes has seats ... only four in the back (middles for sure I bet) and no FC, I ask about the flight leaving from their gate ... no problem, but we'll have to stand-by. We go to the CRC and have a few drinks (they've replaced the old trail mix with new trail mix containing red and green M&M's, but a much better tasting mixture overall IMO).

We head down to the gate and I wait anxiously. Bit of a side note here: I'm Gold Medallion, Pixie is Silver Medallion ... it's a big pain in the butt since I get higher priority for upgrades than her, so it is very likely that in some instances I'll get upgraded and she won't (didn't happen this trip though). They finally call our names and we're both in FC (It was an MD-80, so I was definitely worried about not getting the upgrades, or even worse, me getting upgraded and Pixie not). We do some musical chairs once aboard the plane so us and another couple get to sit together.

The one advantage to getting on this "earlier" flight (that left late, but was supposed to leave earlier than our original flight) was that we would now get Dinner instead of just a snack. The food was a chicken and rice, roll, and cheesecake ... pretty good.

When we get to O'Hare we wait for our bags ... but it looks like DL was not following their usual policy of placing bags on the first available flight (there were probably too many) and there were no bags at all from the flight we were scheduled to be on (probably because there were way too many to even think about trying to put aboard an MD-80 since the next flight was a 757. Our original flight actually got moved up a bit and was scheduled to arrive in about 40 minutes, so I figure we could kill some time by picking up our rental car and coming back and Pixie could run in and grab the bags ...

We head to the Avis lot and when we get there a nice Pontiac Grand Prix was waiting for us, already turned on with the snow cleaned off and ready to go (I love Preferred service). Interesting that the car was really nice, leather interior, CD player, big engine, not the usual Grand Prix rental (Avis had those too), this was the same car basically we had gotten in California in January, and at that time they were booked in a completely different class than the standard Grand Prix ... really nice anyway.

We head back to the terminal and traffic is a nightmare ... took twenty minutes to get from the Rental Car lot back to the arrivals area, and there was no way I was dropping Pixie off and waiting ... cops every 25 feet to keep people moving, so we decide to park it in short term parking and go in and get the bags. Our two bags were among the first dozen off the belt ... the "First Class" notation on the baggage check might actually work (Note: I don't recall having seen the orange "Priority" tags recently ... I think DL may be doing away with them).

We boogie out of the airport and head down to the Oak Brook Hyatt. I check in (I was already checked in actually through 1-800-CHECK-IN). I usually stay here, but this time I had a Regency Club upgrade that was about to expire that I used, my first time in RC at this hotel. They actually didn't want the coupon because they said the lounge wouldn't be open, but I told them to take it since it would expire anyway. They did give me coupons for continental breakfast in the cafe though (the one time I used one they let me have the full breakfast buffet using the coupon, so that turned out to be pretty good). The main difference between RC and Gold Passport in this hotel was that the RC room had a trouser press in the room and the room was equipped with WebTV and Playstation (unless they had put it in all the rooms since my last stay a few months ago, which is possible). The WebTV was $9.95/24 hour period to use and claimed to have a high speed connection, which I didn't try, and according to the TV, the Playstation was $0/Hour (free?), but I didn't try it out either.

ORD-ATL-MSY

We drop off the car at Avis and hop on the bus to the terminal. DL is the last stop of course, but it wasn't too busy so didn't take too long. We check in (Pixie and I both upgraded ahead of time with no problem again). We watch some TV in the CRC before heading out to the gate. I passed the new Fox Sports SkyBox on the way to the gate, and I should have went there instead of the CRC ... they had a bunch of NFL games on instead of just the one at the CRC.

This flight was a snack flight ... we got a very good Greek Chicken Salad. The one interesting thing about this flight: 21 FC passenges, 6 GM's, 2 FO's (Silver Medallions, AND I KNOW THIS FOR SURE NOW, because that's what Pixie was listed as and I know she's a Silver Medallion and only Silver Medallion), and 13 Non-revs!!! There were three GM's in coach (must have been traveling with their families or on L-fares or just not upgraded for some reason!).

The next flight was a little more "exciting". There was an older gentleman sitting across and in front of us who was babbling all through the flight to the FA's and the person across from him. The person across from him just kept his answers as short as possible and tried to ignore him. Finally at the end of the flight we're all getting up and the guy in front of me who had been tortured by the old man gets up and grabs his bag (Delta Crew luggage tag ... another non-rev), but I hear him say outloud about the old man "obnoxious ...". I wouldn't even say that aloud (even if that's what I was thinking, which I really wasn't at this point), but for a DL employee to say that about any passenger is totally out of line I think.

Anyway, we wait for our bags ... the First Class notation on our baggage checks did not work this time, they come off pretty close to the end and we finally get to head to home.
Beckles is offline  
Old Dec 27, 99, 1:14 pm
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Beckles, nice report...

A couple things: DL did away with the orange Priority tags earlier this year. The only tags available now are the white laminated PRIORITY ones used for Intl. flights.

If you & Pixie were on the same record traveling together, she should have had the same status as you for upgrades. When Jackie & I went to the PIP, my Gold got her upgrades that she wouldn't have gotten with her Silver. I confirmed that when I booked the tickets.

Anyway, welcome back & Happy New Year!
shadow is offline  
Old Dec 28, 99, 9:31 pm
  #3  
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shadow ~ I'll look into it further, but I don't think that's the case for segment upgrades, that would probably only work for mileage upgrades.
Beckles is offline  
Old Dec 29, 99, 2:26 am
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at least with UA it would be shadow's upgrade way - even when using 500 miles-vouchers your partner has the same status as you.
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Old Dec 29, 99, 11:02 am
  #5  
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There is a definite logic to having ORD flights leave from T. Since that is the concourse where AA and UA (the primary non-DL carriers on that route) operate, it makes it easier for a passenger knocked off one airline to go to another. However, ATL-BOS flights on DL may wind up leaving from E! (For DCA, that logic would have the flights leave from D, where US operates...)
silverpie is offline  
Old Dec 29, 99, 4:13 pm
  #6  
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silverpie ~ I think the fact that AA and UA leave out of T is a happy coincidence. DL used to have all of their hourly service from ATL leave out of T, because it was frequented by business travelers on day-trips and they wanted them to avoid the people-mover, but that seems not to be possible now because of the expansion of their hourly flights (City Pass service as they call it now).

I was surprised when they moved DCA to A concourse, but they do seem to keep them at the same gates (A-24 and 26 I think) now, which are close so the CRC and middle of the concurse at least.

BTW, they added these huge flat panel monitors to the T-concourse that show all sorts of info about the flight at the gate like seating chart, boarding times, and conneccting flights ... pretty interesting, but those flat panels can't be cheap and they sure did add a lot of them ...
Beckles is offline  

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