A great day on the road


Forgetting for a minute that travel today was dictated by work (only the second time this year!) and that I was actually busy the entire day, it really was a great day to be out and about.  Today’s trip was a quick one – a day trip from New York City to Washington, DC – but it was also two great travel experiences wrapped around a relatively normal work day.

IMG00005-20090825-0803The day started on the train out to JFK and a quick(-ish) flight down to Washington.  Yeah, I flew out of JFK.  LaGuardia has the shuttle flights, and I intended to fly US Airways to extend the expiration date on my miles there, but I put off booking the flights and by the time I got around to actually doing it the appropriately timed flights from LaGuardia were way too expensive.  So I booked out of JFK instead.  I was somewhat hoping to fly on American Airlines and catch a new airplane type, the ERJ-135 or –140, but again the fares were too expensive.  So I booked on Delta and a CRJ-900 and accepted the relatively crappy seat 16-A that I was able to get during the booking and check-in process (one in the same since I was within 24 hours of the flight time).

The plane turned out to be pretty much empty – I think only one of the pairs of seats had two people in it – so I was able to self upgrade to the exit row seat 13-D.  The seat is pretty much the same as the first class seats on that flight in terms of legroom, and I don’t really need the extra width, so as far as I’m concerned I got the good seat on the cheap.  The in-flight “service” was questionable – the thought that a 40 minute flight is too short for beverage service is rather laughable considering that from LaGuardia I can have two drinks in that time and that half the plane was asleep – but I was (eventually) able to get a cup of water to enjoy with the yogurt that I liberated from the SkyClub at JFK so it wasn’t all bad, just mostly.  But I was flying, and that makes up for a myriad of sins.

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The flight was a first for me: my first JFK-DCA segment.  Sure, it isn’t particularly exotic like the random flights to Korea and back that I’ll get next week, but it is still a new line of my version of a map of the world and that is always a good thing.  Plus it meant getting to watch the climb-out from JFK which is one of my favorites.

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IMG00017-20090825-0953And then, about 40 minutes later, I was on the ground at Washington National Airport.  Another 20 minutes on the Metro and I was in the office putting out fires and smacking vendors around which is always a good time.  Eight hours later and I was headed out of the office and over to Union Station to catch a train back up to NYC.  Always a train in the evening.  The actual time in transit when using public transportation to and from the stations is the same and the train back to NYC is WAY more reliable in terms of timing.  Plus it means a few hours of open bar when sitting up front rather than racing to down two beers on the Shuttle flights.  And I’ve done my best to ensure that I drink my fill.  It is a bit annoying that the Amtrak lounges have no booze available – even if I wanted to pay for it – but such is life.  The fact that the attendant just offered me a double so I’d stop asking for refills is a win in my book.

At the end of the day (which is rapidly approaching, as the sky grows dark outside the train windows) I’m reasonably convinced that pretty much everything went right today.  I was out traveling, I wasn’t particularly delayed at either end of my trip and my total travel time round trip was about as good as it could be.  Oh, and I had plenty of vodka on the ride home.  All in all, a good day.  These are the type of business travel days that I remember fondly when I think back to my days as a road warrior travel guy.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
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