Monday, June 11, 2018

Preparations to Leave

I got the car sold easily, got a little more than I expected for it.  Without a car though, that means no roadtrip.  No roadtrip means I need a flight to Atlanta.  Not really a big deal, but certainly a change in plans.

My dad, who travels a lot and so has a gazillion miles, got me the tickets for my flight from Seattle to Atlanta.  Now, usually Dad just gets me regular tickets, which is fine.  They're his miles, and I feel guilty that he's spending some of his gazillion miles on me.  I'm just grateful for the tickets.

For those who haven't tried Southwest, here's how it works.  They give you a flat rate, no fees, two free checked bags, two carry-on.  When you check in, you get what they call a "boarding position".  This can be A, B, or C, followed by a number.  You board in groups A, B, then C, in numerical order, so an A6 will get to board before a B1.  You're able to check in 24 hours before it's time to fly, the earlier you check in, the better your number for your boarding group.  When you board, you get to pick any seat you want that's available on the airplane.  It's best to be in the early groups.

If you purchase Business or add on Early Bird, you get an A or a B group, respectively.  You are also auto-checked in 36 hours in advance, so you get a better number too.

So, when Dad sends me a Southwest reservation, the first thing I do is log in to their site to add Early Bird, since it's only $15 and takes away some of the stress.  This time, however, there was no option for Early Bird.  I looked around the site in confusion before I noticed it - Dad had given me Business class tickets. I immediately called him to let him know about what I assumed was a mistake in the reservation.

Nope!  Dad had sprung for Business, which gives me a free drink on each flight segment, and Group A boarding.  Awesome!  He felt I'd need the drink with all the stress.  He was probably right.

Dad had also placed the hotel reservation for me at Hampton Inn in Seattle.  Now, the reason we do this, is the flight is out early, but getting down there is a 4 hour drive.  This is assuming no big hiccups or snags at the border.  Knowing my luck, if I only planned on the 4 hour drive, there would be a big hiccup at the border, or a crash on the highway, or a blown out tire, or... something.  Those things always seem to happen at the most inopportune times.  This means as a standard practice, just to cover this eventuality, I have always gone down the day before and stayed at the hotel.

It's a rather nice hotel, as hotels go, and the staff is always super friendly.  It's kind of amusing when I check in, because I've usually been in a car travelling, so I'm in standard jeans-and-a-t-shirt.  Every time they pull up the reservation through Dad's account though, they become extremely helpful and eager to assist with anything I may need.  I'm assuming this is because he's a lifetime whatever-whatever millions of points member.  You can almost see the staff snap to attention and visibly brighten behind the desk though.

So.  Hotel taken care of.  Flight taken care of.  Bus scheduling incoming!

I spent quite a bit of time on this, and settled on Greyhound, because on their website, the ticket includes two free checked bags.  I checked the weights on both my checked bags, and the dimensions for both of my checked bags to be super-sure they'd fit in the overhead.  I checked again, and a third time to be absolutely sure.  Everything was good to go.

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