Well, I got back late last night from another mileage run to Dallas. Once the elite qualifying miles for these flights post, I will have qualified for Alaska Airlines MVP Gold, which gets you some awesome benefits, as I have talked about numerous times on the blog. For a basic rundown of the benefits, see here.
This roundtrip to Dallas from San Diego cost all of 64 dollars. That’s right: 64 dollars. Fares between SAN and DFW are remarkably cheap in spring (the fares have gone up now that we’re approaching summer), so it seemed like a good way to qualify for MVP Gold.
We arrived at SAN 1.5 hours before our flight and headed through the empty security line and on to the Airspace Lounge/Admirals Club. It was a pleasant stay, as always, and I enjoyed the big windows out of which one could take pictures. As it turned out, the Planespotting Gods smiled on me, and the daily Japan Airlines 787 to Tokyo was delayed, giving me an opportunity to photograph it as it took off. I used Flight Radar 24, an app which an AvGeek friend of mine told me about, to see where the plane was around the airport and whether or not it had begun its takeoff roll. Using this tool, I was able to see when it was taking off and then get some pretty good pictures of the Dreamliner as it lifted off from Runway 27.
We left the Airspace Lounge and, using our group one boarding privileges, boarded quickly. I took my seat in the first row of economy plus and just sat back and enjoyed the flight. The trip over to DFW was mostly uneventful, except for a few entertaining incidents on landing. On approach, the plane suddenly violently jerked to one side, then to the other, despite the fact that we had pretty clear air at that time. Weird.
When we landed and arrived at our gate, a man from the back of economy rushed towards the front of the plane, pushing people to get past. One of the first class passengers was in his way, but, instead of forcing past him, he asked if he could go past. When the first class passenger asked where he was going, the man said, “To the front of the plane.” The first class passenger said something along the lines of, “we’re all going to the same place,” after which the man just stood there in the back of first class on his phone trying to pretend he didn’t just get rekt (for those of you who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, see here).
After we deplaned, I was very excited to take the DFW SkyLink, the train which connects all the terminals, to the D Gates to get to the Centurion Lounge. It was still light out in Dallas, which meant there would be some awesome aviation photography opportunities as we took the train around DFW. The SkyLink on top of the terminals basically, so you can get photos of everything docked below. This meant I managed to take photos of everything from A321’s to 787’s to MD-80’s. I’ll be sure the share those photos in a future post!
After we got of the SkyLink, we made our way down to the Centurion Lounge. Once there, we had dinner, stayed for a while, and then got back to the A Gates for our flight back to SAN.
And on the return flight is where the fun began!
When we arrived at the gate, boarding still hadn’t begun, even though we were set to depart in 20 minutes. Everything went kind of nuts, with the agents seeming kind of disengaged and leaving other people to fill the void, sorting out those peasants who don’t have ‘priority’ stamped on their boarding passes (I’m kidding, of course).
There was this one complete DYKWIA guy in the boarding line. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, a DYKWIA (an abbreviation for Do You Know Who I Am) is a self important, superior person who often thinks that they are so important that the rules don’t apply to them.
So this DYKWIA, who appeared to be a first class passenger, was standing in the line when the agents called for first class. A very petite woman was standing in line behind him. Just on a whim he turned around and demanded of her, “First class?” She shook her head no, and he gestured off to the back of the line. He then invited his girlfriend to stand in the woman’s place.
Look, sometimes people stand in the wrong lines, and that is the agent’s problem. It isn’t the problem of some douchebag who bought his ticket for 500 dollars on Orbitz because he wanted to treat himself and his girlfriend in celebration of their one-week-aversary.
When the agents called for various American and Oneworld elites, we joined the boarding line, even though Alaska MVP’s weren’t specifically listed. However, the Alaska Airlines website clearly states that MVP’s get priority boarding when flying on American. Because of this, we made our way to the front, with our boarding passes in hand, which clearly said priority. Before we could reach the counter, the gate agent stated that, if you had a boarding group number on you’re boarding pass, you weren’t allowed to board yet. Since we didn’t have a group number printed on our boarding passes (it read ‘Priority’ in the place where the group number would be), we continued up towards the counter.
The agent told us we couldn’t board yet. When we asked why, she didn’t give a reason and just mumbled something about having not gotten there yet. Well, quite clearly you have, our else you wouldn’t have called for everyone who didn’t have a boarding group number to board. She then mumbled something along the lines of, “well, I can’t send you back now” and grudgingly scanned our boarding passes.
Look, it’s pretty unprofessional to just mumble and mumble and mumble in a kind of subtly judgmental way when we clearly were allowed to board. She said everyone without boarding group numbers printed could board. We didn’t have boarding group numbers printed. And I’m not even sure she bothered to look before pretending like she was doing us a favor by letting board when we did.
After the agent let us through, we headed down the jetway, where a line had built up for some reason or another. However, we were soon enough on board.
An older male flight attendant was just standing in the galley looking somewhat annoyed as everyone boarded. No “welcome aboard” or “hello,” which is a courtesy even the most standoffish flight attendants will engage in. This guy must have been uber-standoffish.
During boarding, a number of nutty things went down. A woman seated way back in the back of the plane held up the line, trying to force her bag into Economy Plus’ overhead bin space. When she realized it was too big, she was actually taking other people’s bags out of the overhead bins. A flight attendant intervened and told her to go back to her seat, though I think the bag was left there. I think the FA managed to get everyone else’s bags in, though.
A few minutes later, with boarding slowing down to a trickle, the standoffish FA who had greeted us at the door got on the PA, basically shouting, “Will the man in the orange shirt please sit down NOW!” Everyone turned their heads. A man in an orange jacket was walking to his seat in the back of the plane. From what I could see, other people were still not in their seats, so I don’t know why the FA decided to pick on that guy.
A few minutes later, the FA who had yelled at the poor guy to sit down got on the PA. “Thanks for boarding so quickly. You guys were great.” he said. I could hear the sarcasm in his voice.
The flight after that was pretty uneventful and we arrived at SAN on time, but the bad FA’s and gate agents made that particular flight memorable.
The joys of mileage running!