Mark (mhaithaca) wrote,


For a while, it looked as though Tropical Storm Lee was going to keep me from getting home tonight. It created lots of flight delays and cancellations out of Atlanta yesterday, and messy driving, but this morning just looked rainy, so I figured we were in the clear. Of course not -- Lee had headed northeast, and was interfering with air travel up and down the eastern seaboard! My flight to Newark had been delayed two and a half hours by the time I got to my gate, because the plane couldn't leave Newark for Atlanta.

So, for most of the afternoon, I figured I'd be stranded in Newark, if I even made it there. It wasn't until shortly before my first flight that the second started showing as delayed, too. The first flight took off a half hour earlier than the original delay time, and we made it to Newark in plenty of time for me to walk across the hallway -- from gate C97 to gate C96 -- and wait for my second flight to start boarding.

One of the tarmac crew smiled when a passenger commented that he must hate the rain. He said no, he loves his job, which pays well to begin with even though he gets to sit around half the time waiting for the next thing to do. Even better, when it's raining, he gets paid time-and-a-half to sit around half the time! When he's not sitting around, it's hard work, but hey, he likes it. I like his attitude.

Even though I'd used's auto-check-in feature when I checked in for the trip down, so my trip back would be automatically set, I took a look at their web site this morning to see if I could pick better seats. While last week I'd laughed at the offer of a first-class upgrade for $768 for my two-hour Newark to Atlanta flight, today's offer of a $79 upgrade didn't sound so bad -- especially since it meant I wouldn't have to pay $25/bag to check my luggage! Even better, it showed that dinner would be served, so I wouldn't have to spend money in the airport for food. (Never mind that the delays meant I wouldn't have time at Newark to eat; I didn't know that yet.) Free luggage, free meal, free drinks, and a comfy seat seemed worth the $79, so I went with it.

Surprisingly, there were two empty first-class seats for the whole flight, even after they called a couple of folks from coach up with upgrades. Could there just not have been any other OnePass premium members eligible for upgrades? Could I be the only one who saw and took them up on the $79 upgrade? US Airways always seems to have a long list of people eligible for upgrades hoping there's room for them at the last minute.

Normally, I scoff at the idea of paying first-class fares, or paying for an upgrade, but that's because they're usually $200 and up, and it just doesn't seem worth it, especially for a relatively short flight like this. But this felt totally worth it, especially with the baggage fees covered. The food was even quite good.

More tomorrow! It's bedtime.

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