Yes, it’s true. I suppose I shouldn’t be totally shocked given that my flights were mostly off-peak, and it’s after Labor Day, but I’ve had a good week travelwise.
Beginning with Northwest Airlines, and a day trip to Fort Wayne, Indiana, I departed Washington National at “O Dark Thirty” in the morning with a connection in Detroit. This was my first transit of Northwest’s newish Detroit terminal, and I have to say that I was impressed. The Northwest flights were all on time, and the terminal in Detroit is a breeze to connect through. I was seated in First Class due to my Continental Silver Elite status. Service was pleasantly delivered, if not over abundant in amenities. This was my first flight in the forward cabin on NW. My evening return from Fort Wayne was equally pleasant, and the leg between Fort Wayne and Detroit was operated with a Saab 340 turboprop…..awfully reminiscent of my younger days as a dashing young aviator! I was upgraded at the gate for the uneventful flight home to DCA. Service was again pleasantly delivered.
My next round of flights were on Delta Air Lines to Sun Valley, Idaho (SUN). This was a one night trip and part of the same project that took me to Fort Wayne. Flying on off-peak days (Tuesday and Wednesday) saved me again as my Delta Silver Medallion upgrades cleared at the window in both directions. The only way to get to SUN on Delta is through Delta’s Salt Lake City hub. Flights were on time, and service was friendly, which I’ve come to expect from Delta. Breakfast was served on my outbound flight to SLC. I connected to a Delta Connection/SkyWest EMB 120 turboprop for the flight to SUN. SkyWest runs a fairly decent airline in my experience, and this was no exception. I departed and arrived right on time in Sun Valley.
The hotel for this trip was the Clarion in Ketchum, Idaho, about 12 miles from the Sun Valley Airport. (Ketchum warrants it’s own blog post, which I’ll take care of soon enough. Suffice it to say that my list of favorite spots now includes Ketchum.) The Clarion wasn’t luxurious, but it was clean, equipped with free wi-fi, and was centrally located to Ketchum’s many restaurants and pubs. It was also the cheapest hotel I could find ($119) as there were none available at the US Government authorized per diem of $71 dollars per night in the area. That’s the first time in nearly 4 years of government work that I’ve exceeded the authorized per diem for a hotel. Frankly, I think $71 dollars is low for an area like Sun Valley, but I digress. Amex couldn’t find anything near per diem, so the boss had no issues authorizing the extra $48 dollars for 1 night.
After our work was completed on Wednesday afternoon, I blasted off for the airport. I’d already checked in on Delta.com, so there was no need to stop by the counter. SUN is one of those airports where security doesn’t open until flight time, so my fellow passengers and I camped out in the terminal until TSA opened the single metal detector. SkyWest runs 2 flights simultaneously around 3pm…. 1 at 2:49, and the other at 3:00, and I was on the first flight. After the masses queued up to pass security, SkyWest made an announcement to allow the passengers on the first flight to pass first. Didn’t quite get why they didn’t do this at the initial call to line up….but life goes on. After strapping 4 valet check bags in passenger seats for weight and balance purposes, we blasted off. The flight is just shy of an hour and is a really nice ride with views of the surrounding mountains, and the Great Salt Lake as you approach SLC.
The connection was short (40 minutes) in SLC, but I made it in plenty of time. Dinner was served by a really great Delta crew on the way back. It wasn’t great, but I didn’t send it back either. And hey…the upgrade was free, so who am I to complain?! My wine glass was never empty, and the service was Delta friendly all the way. On the days of my flights, Delta was still serving First Class with plastic silverware and cups/glasses, but I understand they switched back to real glass and real cutlery in the forward cabin the day after my flight. I’ve got more Delta flights coming up soon, so I’ll be able to verify this if my upgrades clear.
So…all in all….. a really nice batch of flying considering how hellish this past summer was reported to be. Thankfully, I didn’t experience any real issues with my 15 or so flights in the past 2 or 3 months. Maybe I’m just lucky……but I really think I’m just good. HA!