What the hell was I thinking? Sure the allure of cheap PQMs and low fares got to me but I should have known that trying to cram nearly 15,000 flight miles – with the longest segment just below 2,500 – into just over 60 hours was a bad idea. I have flown similar trips before but none of them involved three consecutive nights on domestic redeye flights. That was just stupid.
The fun all started when a crop of $140-ish round-trip fares popped up between Philadelphia and San Diego. I bought a lot of them. That’s a pretty solid price for elite qualifying and the award points are always good to have, too. Plus I figured that a few hours of quiet time to read, write and nap would be useful. I made sure that I didn’t have to start too early from Philadelphia and even managed to work in some variety in my routings so I wouldn’t see the same airports over and over again. Some of that fell apart due to delays and sometimes because I chose to change some of flights. And the flying was, overall, really quite reasonable. I met some nice people along the way and did, in fact, get most of the reading and writing I wanted to do in. But those silly domestic redeye flights.
I slept pretty much wheels up to down on all three flights. Strangely the third – when I was the most tired – is the one where I slept the least. Part of that may have been that the FAs chose to make the full set of announcements about snack boxes for sale and the pilots gave a detailed briefing of the weather at Newark, both well after takeoff. Part of it may have been that I was just exhausted. Even if I did sleep the entire flight that was roughly 4 hours each night. And it was sleeping on an airplane, not the most comfortable option out there. I did sleep more on some of the other flights, which certainly helped. And I managed to get a shower in the Lufthansa lounge in Dulles on both Sunday and Monday; that was huge for me. But by the time I got to my apartment around 6:30 this morning I was pretty much beat. Even a couple short naps today haven’t fully reset my body clock.
As for the trip, here are the final stats…
Routing as flown (it was initially booked rather differently): EWR-SAN-IAD-PHL-IAD-SAN-IAD-PHL-IAD-SAN-EWR for 14,401 flight miles on 10 segments. There was also a train ride from Philly to Newark at either end of the reservation.
PQMs earned: With 500 mile minimums I should net 15,862 PQMs from the trip. At least one and possibly two of the rebookings along the way were into Y or B fares meaning the PQM earning may reach as high as 18,500ish.
RDMs earned: Similar to above, I should be somewhere between 31,500 and 35,000 RDMs for the trip. That’s taking in to account the Y/B bonus and 1K bonus earning.
Upgrades: I was upgraded on only 3 of the 6 transcon flights, two redeyes and one westbound. Considering the last minute changes to the reservations I’m not all that surprised. The PHL-IAD flights didn’t offer upgrades (ERJ-145) but I was in row 12 on all of them, two had 12C with 12B empty next to me.
I only left the airport once, for dinner in San Diego. I was outside of security for less than 3 hours in total during the 60 hours of travel (and really the 60 is longer given that I was inside ~3 hours before I left Newark on the first flight). I visited lounges in Philly (AA/BA, US A West and US B/C) and Dulles (Lufthansa 2x) during the trip.
The good news is that I got most of what I needed to do today done anyways and I should be able to sleep a full night tonight, hopefully resetting my internal clock completely. The bad news is that I have two more similar trips planned. Apparently the siren call of the miles is one I have trouble ignoring.
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