Sunday, September 4, 2022

The Further Joys of Labor Day Weekend Travel

Joys? They ain’t hardly any.

No, that’s unfair. We’re currently inflight, ensconced in First Class on AS 738, SEA-ABQ. It wasn’t even that much of an ordeal, other than a couple of moments.

The fun started at the 24-hour checkin window for this flight, just as our neighbor Carmen was about to drive us to the airport for the BLI-SEA hop.

We had been 1-2 on the upgrade list, and Kathy noticed we’d  suddenly… disappeared!

A phone call to Alaska ensued. When Kathy explained, the rep put her on hold for at least 20 minutes. She returned to confirm we were back on the list, that the problem was at Alaska’s end, due to a “hiccup” that affected “several of you.”

At some point later we were both upgraded, even though we were utilizing our annual credit card Companion Fare and thus could not split our itineraries. Kathy is in 1C and Brian in 2D, perfectly fine for a 3-hour flight.

The dry ice son David provided last night held up very well overnight, confirming that blocks are preferable to pellets / cubes.

We used our Diamond credits to order a very light breakfast in the Doubletree restaurant. Then came one of those moments. Kathy went upstairs to pack while Brian stood in line to check out and to retrieve the two cold packs the hotel had stored in a freezer for us.

There was one desk clerk on duty. Yes, this 850-room airport and conference hotel, stretched over 14 floors and apparently filled to capacity, had one clerk on duty. That’s a good example of the current state of travel. Expect delays! She was efficient, unflappable, friendly and apologetic, but we very nearly left the cold packs behind.

She called a bellman to retrieve them from a freezer, but bellmen (bell people?) were in short supply.

Brian finally abandoned his cold pack quest, asked the clerk to try to have them ready for us, and rushed up to the room.

Kathy by now had everything packed up and ready to go.We made the five-minute trek back to the lobby, where our cold packs were now awaiting us, complete with the clerk’s unnecessary apologies. She was doing her best.

This gave us five minutes leeway to catch the 10:00 am airport shuttle. It was a good day to have status when arriving 90 minutes before a flight and needing to (ugh) check luggage.The airport was absolutely packed with passengers. Why couldn’t all these people stay put on Labor Day Sunday and give us some space to travel?

Fortunately, Alaska was staffed more fully than the Doubletree. We checked in our two food containers at Alaska’s  elite counter, we utilized the TSA PRECHECK line, which stretched out a bit,  and we sailed through the line today without any extra inspection of our carry-on insulated bag and its suspicious cold packs.

We had to take the train to the North Satellite, and arrived at our gate a comfortable 20 minutes before boarding. Whew!

We have the usual great AS flight attendant who makes a mean Bloody Mary, and all is well.

 And lunch too…

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