If you’ve ever flown with Southwest Airlines you’ll know the slightly panic-inducing moment when you realize online check-in for your flight has opened and every second counts if you want to snag yourself a spot in the coveted A group. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Southwest Airlines has no seat assignments and instead assigns boarding positions by group and number- groups A, B, and C, so if your boarding position is A9, you’re going to get a much better seat on the plane than somebody who is C36.)
I was on my way to work yesterday and watching the clock in my car like a hawk so I could pull over at the precise moment online check-in opened (24 hours before the flight). When the clock struck 7:20am, I immediately pulled over and logged on to Southwest.com on my phone to secure good boarding positions for my husband and myself. A26 and A27, not bad. A 1-15 go to people who paid extra, so I would say I did pretty well for myself.
Feeling relieved, I continued on my way to work where I printed my boarding passes and proudly sent a photo of the boarding passes to my husband to show him that we got into the coveted A group. “Haha, nice,” was his reply. He knows how obsessed I am with getting a good boarding position.
With that taken care of, I got to work, getting all those last minute tasks and out of office preparations completed. It was a pretty hectic day as there were still a lot of things that needed to be wrapped up and preparations to make ahead of time to make sure things went smoothly while I was out, but somehow I completed everything in time. Phew!
The one thing I’m not good at, no matter how hard I try, is packing ahead of time. I always have the best of intentions but seemingly always end up shoving a bunch of stuff in a bag at the last moment, hoping I didn’t forget anything important. That was how my evening was spent. I frantically ran around the house as well as out to my car about 7 times making sure I hadn’t forgotten anything. I kept seeing things at the last minute that I just had to pack and re-opening my overstuffed suitcase to shove just one more item inside.
As is usual for me the night before a trip, I ended up going to bed way too late.
In the morning, a Super Shuttle van arrived at my apartment at an absurdly early hour of the morning to pick us up and transport us to the airport. We always take the Super Shuttle because it’s much cheaper than paying for parking at the airport and much more convenient than taking the train and connecting with the bus to get there, and it’s a bit much to ask of any of our friends to get out of their warm beds at 4:00 in the morning to take us to the airport, so Super Shuttle is the perfect compromise.
The fellow driving us had clearly had more coffee than we had and I struggled to keep up with his conversation and questions on every topic from where we were planning on going to our opinions on obscure sporting events from around the world. Mostly I stared ahead, bleary eyed and mumbling grunts of “mmmhmmm” and “oh, that’s interesting.”
We arrived at the airport and had a fairly smooth check-in and security process. Once past the TSA checkpoint, we picked up a breakfast of “protein packs” that consisted of grapes, a hard boiled egg, cheese, and an almost comically large number of raw almonds. At some point I gave up on the almonds, but Norwood was determined to finish his since the protein packs hadn’t exactly been inexpensive.
A woman traveling to Baltimore with her French Bulldog sat next to us at the gate for a while, and I was delighted by it’s adorable face staring at me expectantly as I gnawed on my raw almonds.
Eventually boarding was called and I got to feel like a baller being in the first group to get called.
We boarded the plane and found some great emergency exit seats with extra legroom, which I was pretty happy about. Unfortunately, that happiness was a little short-lived as they halted all boarding shortly after we got on. Our fellow passengers started mumbling that something was “up”.
After a little while, they announced that there was too much fuel on the plane and we could leave our things on, but we all had to get off the plane. Those of us with sweet exit row seats put our bags and jackets on our seats to ensure we still had them upon re-boarding, and off we went.
About 50 of us got to hang out for about 10 minutes in the big tube thing you walk through (what are those called, anyway?). After a while we were allowed to re-board and things went fairly smoothly from there.
It’s a relatively short 2.5 hour flight from San Diego to Seattle so after what seemed like no time we found ourselves landing in Seattle. It couldn’t come soon enough for Norwood, who had to pee and had failed to use the lavatory before they stopped letting people as we descended.
After landing and using the restrooms, we headed over to Enterprise rental car where we had reserved an economy car. They were out of economy cars, however, so we ended up getting a free upgrade to a pretty sweet Fiat with leather seats and California license plates (I suspect to make us feel at home).
Exhausted, but with several hours left before we could check in at our Airbnb, we drove around, figured out where the Airbnb was located, then went out for some lunch and large coffees, which helped a lot. We thought about exploring a bit but we were too tired so we just ended up chilling at a park that is next to the house we’re staying in until it was time to check in. After that, I showered and took an epic nap.
Tonight I’m meeting my friend and former college roommate at Schilling Cider (her place of work) for a Cider luau party. Should be fun. Catch up with you all later!
Next post in this series: https://arttraveleatrepeat.com/2016/08/12/pacific-northwest-adventure-day-2-playing-tourists-in-seattle/