It all began with my first true Mileage Run.
A few months ago, I saw a crazy sale on flights on Delta Airlines between San Francisco, California (SFO) and Baltimore, Maryland (BWI). Knowing that I still had to book transportation to the Washington, D.C. area for the Marine Corps Marathon on October 28th, I came up with this
insane brilliant idea: Why not go to Washington, DC via SFO? I priced this out. I could leave at 4 pm on Friday, fly non-stop from JFK to SFO. Arrive SFO at 7:30 pm. Take a red-eye back to JFK at 11:15 pm, arriving JFK at 7:45 am Saturday morning, and connect to an 8:30 flight to BWI, and voila, arrive Baltimore at 9:45 am. The price: $200 (for over 5,000 Delta MQMs).
The plan from there, was to go to Washington D.C., meet up with friends, go to the “expo” at the D.C. Armory, check into the Radisson Reagan Airport, eat dinner, go to sleep, wake up, go to the start of the marathon near the Pentagon, run 26.2 miles, get back to hotel, shower and check out, go to Reagan Airport for a 7:30 flight on American Airlines to JFK.
Easy, right? No, not really. Plus, nothing really ever goes as planned, especially crazy plans.
On Friday, April 26th, there was already buzzing of an impending “frankenstorm” aka Hurricane Sandy hitting the East Coast that weekend. The original news called for the hurricane to hit mid-day on Sunday, with substantial wind and storming predicted for the marathon. Even as the forecast timing changed, it appeared that, even if the weather for the marathon would not be awful, the storm was going to start hitting later in the day. So, even if the weather would be OK for the marathon, I might have difficulty getting back to New York after the marathon. But forecasts always change, and all I heard from the runners I know was a lot of OORA I’M TOUGH LIKE THE MARINES – I’M GOING TO RUN A MARATHON EVEN IN A HURRICANE. I was torn. I simply couldn’t decide what to do.
Both my flight to SFO and the return red-eye to JFK were fully booked. I was not to be upgraded on either flight. The flight to SFO was without incident. I signed onto GoGo, and the time flew by. Literally.
When I arrived in SFO, I walked 10 minutes to a neighboring Terminal to go to the United Airlines Lounge (I had a pass). A highlight was a Hindu Art Exhibit at SFO.
At the United lounge, I had a drink or two, ate some snacks, and struggled, as always, to get the plastic wrapping off the cheese.
I headed back to the Delta terminal for the red-eye flight. I still couldn’t figure out what to do about the trip to DC. Would I be overcautious, and therefore sorry, if I never went on the connecting flight to BWI and stayed in New York to “weather the storm here” or would I be making a “wise decision”? I didn’t sleep much on the flight. When I got to JFK, I had to make a decision. I anguished over it, but finally decided not to go.
In hindsight, I made the right choice. Although I missed a nice marathon, I would have been stranded in DC for days. It would not have been fun.
I wish to thank Radisson Hotels, American Airlines and Delta Airlines, including their customer service reps on Twitter for helping me with my cancellations.
Radisson Hotels: I called Radisson on Saturday Morning to cancel my reservations. I was informed that the hotel has a 24-hour cancellation policy, but the clerk at the front desk said he would speak to the manager over whether that could be waived. The hotel accommodated me and allowed me to cancel without penalty.
American Airlines: as I mentioned above, my return fight to JFK for after the marathon on Sunday evening was on American Airlines. I tweeted to American Airlines and asked whether I could change this flight to a time earlier than 7:30 pm. American Airlines quickly responded yes – I could change my flight and the rebooking fee would be waived. However, I was told that, if I chose to skip my DC trip, the fare would be refunded only if the flight itself was canceled. As it turned out, American Airlines did cancel the flight, so I am entitled to a refund of the amount I paid for the ticket.
Delta Airlines: I assumed that I was merely “blowing off” the last leg of my JFK-SFO-BWI trip and that I would not receive any reimbursement or compensation for this intentionally “missed” leg. However, after the hurricane unfolded, I decided to pursue this issue since I had chosen not to take this flight because of the hurricane. I tweeted to @DeltaAssist, and they took my information. Apparently, I am entitled to “something” though I don’t know the amount. When I book my next trip, I am to mention my ticket number, and some amount will be applied to my next purchase. I do not know if this is $20 or $50, but whatever it is, it is more than I expected in the first place.
And there you have it. My first Mileage Run.
I forgot to mention that, while I was at the SFO gate ready to board my red-eye flight back to JFK, a familiar face approached me. It was John, a man I know from the Milepoint/Flyertalk world who was in the midst of his own Mileage Run, about to board a flight to Detroit, Michigan (DTW). The next morning, Rene (DeltaPoints on Boarding Area) mentioned me in a tweet, with a photo attached, saying “Guess who I ran into at the Delta Lounge at DTW?” I looked at the photo and laughed. It was John and Rene.
I smiled. The perfect ending.