It is now Saturday morning, five days prior to Thanksgiving, and I believe I’ve finalized my itinerary for the holiday. Most folks (self included) say you should plan major holiday travel reasonably far in advance. And I think they’re mostly right. Alas, this would seem to be a “do as I say, not as I do” sort of learning moment.
My original hope was to celebrate Thanksgivakkuah in Florida, sitting on the beach with my family. That option fell apart for a few reasons, among them the timing of obligations in NYC both before and after the actual holiday and also the possibility that I wouldn’t even be in the country.
I had flights booked to the Middle East on Thanksgiving. Some months ago I booked the seats to Abu Dhabi with a couple nights on the ground there before continuing on to Dhaka, Bangladesh on the last scheduled DC-10 commercial flight. Not too surprisingly, however, Biman Airlines changed their plans and that is now no longer the final flight. The good news is that the carrier is working on a special party flight in February, one I hope to be on. In the interim, however, I was back to not really having much in the way of Thanksgiving plans.
Plan C was to head up to the Finger Lakes region with my in-laws, and I am going to get there eventually, but even that was a bit more challenging than it probably should have been. The bus schedules were tight and the desired trips sold out well in advance. I was waitlisted on a couple but they still haven’t come through. I could get there and back but on separate schedules from my wife and not all that great an experience for the ride.
Plan D arose when it became clear that my sister-in-law would be working at the hospital on Thursday and Friday, meaning that the upstate celebration wouldn’t actually happen until Saturday. All of a sudden I had some flexibility and my mind started to wander as it often does, scheming to mix a number of flights, rental cars and who knows what else to put it all together. I will now get to celebrate with both my family in Florida and my in-laws upstate, and the overall times and budget ended up not being all that horrible considering I booked everything less than a week out. Here’s what I ended up with:
I’m flying south to Orlando on Monday evening with JetBlue. From there I’ll drive up to Gainesville to spend time with my family during the week, including Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Friday morning I fly out on a combination of Silver Air and United Airlines to make my way back up to Ithaca where I should arrive just in time for dinner once again and to spend time with the other half of my family for the rest of the week before ultimately returning to New York City on Sunday morning.
The CPM numbers on the trip aren’t pretty at all, but that’s not really what the trip is for. I used JetBlue points for the outbound (got a decent CPM on them but not the best I’ve ever seen) and a $150 TCV on the return half made it a quite reasonable total out-of-pocket expense.
I get to fly on a couple prop planes, a new route (GNV-MCO) and a couple jets. There are two different one-way car rentals and plenty of opportunities for things like a missed connection to significantly alter the outcome of the week. In other words, really just a typical trip for me.
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