A strange beginning to the Mileage Run

Every trip is an adventure. There is always something a bit strange or exciting that happens along the way. Those are often moments of panic or disbelief at the time and are great stories later on. For this week’s mileage run I managed to have the first of what I imagine will be several of such events well before I even started the trip. Twenty-two hours prior, to be precise.

Early Thursday afternoon I started thinking about packing for the trip. Not actually packing – that would wait for the morning of departure – but at least I was thinking about it, mostly because i received the email from Midwest reminding me to check in online for my flights. So I clicked the link and dutifully filled out all the information: name, reservation number and departure city. The system spit back an error indicating that the reservation didn’t exist.

Ruh roh.

So I went back and made sure that I hadn’t misspelled my name and that I hadn’t made an error on the reservation number. Both were correct, but still no love from the website. No way I messed up the date of the reservation, right? After all, I di get the Online Check-in email and that only comes at 24 hours out. Something must not be right.

And something was very wrong. Me. I had the wrong departure airport in the form. I had no idea that I was flying from Newark rather than LaGuardia. At least I figured it out well before my initial departure time and was able to plan appropriately.

Coincidentally enough, riding on NJ Transit out to the airport this morning I was sitting next to a couple who were flying on Continental from New York City to Houston. We were just pulIMG00288-20100409-1136ling in to the station at Newark when they realized that their flight was actually booked from LaGuardia. Apparently it was not just me having troubles with that.

All in all, not a terrible way to start the run. The flight was on-time getting out of Newark and karma managed to get me a decent seat on the plane in the end. I was originally assigned 6D – a window – on the Embraer ERJ-145 for the flight to Milwaukee. The mother/son pair boarding behind me asked the flight attendant if it was possible to move seats around so they could sit together. One of them had 6C. So I gave them my 6D and took 16C, way in the back and on the aisle. Not my ideal seat assignment but the family together is a good thing and no real trouble sitting back there for the couple hours in the air. I also happened to notice that 12D, the exit row, was still empty. Midwest charges extra for that seat and I’m not going to pay extra for it, but if I can convince the flight attendant that my trading seats at boarding is worth the “upgrade” then why not? She had, unfortunately, already promised the seat to someone else. Bummer. And then, just before closing the door, she came back to let me know that 4A was open and waiting for me. Aisle and window and up near the front of the plane. That’s about as close as one can get to an upgrade on the ERJ-145 once row 12 is gone so I’m calling it a win.

Oh, and cookies on the flight, too.


Overall, the initial experience on Midwest was about what I expected. Nothing special in Newark and just another flight on the ERJ, but the flight attendant is friendly enough and I got a cookie and a full can of soda just for asking. Not much to complain about there. There are cameras in the plane cabin. I don’t think I mind that too much, but it is strange to see them mounted on the bulkhead walls pointing back at the passengers.

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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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