Thursday, January 31, 2019

Seattle Sunset

Landing at SEA...

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Same Airline DRO-DEN

Thankfully, a different Trans States Airlines plane than the one we flew DEN-DRO a few days ago.

Breakfast in Durango at Cj’s


Stacked Breakfast Burrito...


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Downtown in Durango

It’s always a nostalgic visit for Kathy, who grew up here. We wandered along Main Street for a few blocks from the old post office down to the train depot.

A work train steamed back to the depot as we watched.

There are many more restaurants, bars, and coffee places fighting for tourist dollars than when Kathy lived here.

T-shirt shops too...

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Durango Homewood Suites

We stayed in the Durango Hampton Inn last night, a perfectly decent property that’s familiar to us.

Today, adding to our Hilton stays, we moved to the fairly new Homewood Suites, south of town.

It’s quite the property with a living room and adjacent kitchenette.

The bedroom looks comfortable and the bathroom features a tub (in fairness, so does the Hampton Inn).

All in all, an attractive property.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

DEN: Our Trans States Airlines Sky Chariot Awaits

DBA United Express, Trans States Airlines is new to us.

From the downstairs express gate B87 we catch a glimpse and conclude they don’t worry too much about the paint job.

Apparently mechanics are trying to change a pump in the lavatory. The gate agent said “down in the bowels of the plane - no pun intended.”

Good one.

And we’re aboard.

Connecting at DEN

Nice flight - haven’t been in the Denver Airport in years...

Quiet Saturday at SEA

We’re off for a quick trip to Durango, Kathy’s home town, and it’s a calm start at Seattle International Airport, including no wait at the TSA PreCheck line.

We seldom fly United these days, but we are this morning and this part of the terminal, all the way to the end of the A Gates past the United Club, feels almost like visiting a new airport.

We’re flying RJs (small regional jets) on both legs, SEA-DEN-DRO, and strangely looking forward to it.

The early morning fog has just about lifted, and it seems it’ll be a sunny day in Seattle as we depart.

With the latest UA boarding revision,  we’re back in Group 1. Heh...

7A-C are the best economy seats on the plane...

Friday, January 18, 2019

Home Sweet Sehome

The good news is that we're home safely after flying from Newark to Seattle and onward to Bellingham, picking up our car, driving to Blaine and picking up our mail, buying milk, and navigating home.

The bad news is... actually, there's no bad news. Our SEA-BLI flight ended up not being oversold, giving us time to do everything outlined above.

It's nice to be home again.

One Overnight in Newark

The answer is “Two nights in Newark,” but we’ll leave  the question to the imagination.

We should have booked a hotel with a day rate but we didn’t.

We called the Doubletree and the first clerk told us the hotel had been full overnight but that he’d leave our request for the morning staff.

We called the morning staff twice. They had our name and said they didn’t know when a room would be available.

We eventually made our way over to the hotel via Airtrain and hotel shuttle. 

By 11:30 AM we decided to walk over to the nearby Ruby Tuesday’s for a long lunch. When we returned we’ll after 1:00 PM a room was ready.

We understand the property had no obligation whatsoever to provide us a room before 3:00PM. Let’s just say it reminds us how kind many properties have been to offer early check-in after redeye flights.

Dinner proved to be a fiasco in the hotel’s Liberty Grille. A waitress invited us in as we sat nursing the one free beer allowed under New Jersey law at the chaotic “Manager’s Reception.”

In the restaurant we ordered a burger and a glass of wine. An hour later, unnoticed, we did something we’ve never done before - we walked out. Nobody noticed that either.

We slept well, woke up early, and decided to have a bit of Embassy Suites breakfast before heading to our 9:00 AM flight. Oops, they don’t open until 6:30 AM.

We took the 6:00 AM shuttle to Terminal A, zipped through TSA PreCheck, and enjoyed a pleasing breakfast here.

We’re now sitting in this crowded area waiting to board AS 791 to SEA, fortunately in F, as snow falls lightly.

It appears from the weather forecast that we’re leaving just in time.

We’re now on board and settled in. There’ll be delays as we deice but we have a multi-hour layover at SEA, and even a chance of a bump on the oversold flight.

We’ll see what the day brings.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Dismal Priority Pass “Art & Lounge” Lounge at Newark Airport (EWR)

SQ landed shortly after 5:00 AM and we hadn’t gotten a day rate hotel. 

We first ate breakfast at a Wendy’s near International Arrivals.

Once it was 7 AM we burned a couple of our credit card Priority to kill some time here. The none-too-friendly attendant didn’t want to let us in without a boarding pass, but relented when we explained we’d just landed.

It’s also a contract lounge for El Al and the first lounge we've visited with bilingual English and Hebrew signs.

We wouldn’t go out of our way to visit again.

Our Impressions of SQ 22

The Airbus 350 ULR (Ultra Long Range) makes for a very pleasant flying experience, all 17 hours and 20 minutes of it on our flight from Singapore to Newark.

Our seats were significantly better than critics had led us to believe. There are various levels of recline available when it’s not folding into a bed, and there’s more room for the legs than we’d feared, although you do have to angle them into the “cubby” area while it’s in the seat position , unless you snag a bulkhead seat.

Our seats...

The spot for the legs is below the monitor and to the left. One of the three pillows provided is stuffed into m there post-sleep. We found the space more comfortable than it looks but understand why some people don’t like the setup.

Middle and window bulkhead seats...

The Singapore flight attendants are terrific, calling us by name from beginning to end and providing friendly and attentive service.

They convert the seat into a bed and back again on demand. With a little more observation and practice, we could learn to do that for ourselves. The seating pod contains at least three storage areas useful for glasses, cell phone, and even travel T-shirts. They offer some privacy between passengers as well.

We even enjoyed the final twinkly approach into Newark.

This was overall one of our favorite flights ever, and we’ll hop on it again in a minute if the price is right.

Dining on the World’s Longest Flight - SQ 22

A fairly light meal after we’re in the air and a a longer service close to halfway through the flight...

We start with a Singapore Sling...


A flight attendant tells us the traditional way is to mix the three sauces, ginger garlic, soy, and hot chili into the rice.

The dinner service includes a chicken satay appetizer...