Mileage Running – A Play by Play

1 Nov

The day has arrived! I will be live-blogging and tweeting the following mess:

Miles. I must have them.

MCI-CLE-SFO-LAS[19hr layover]-SFO-CLE-MCI

The Las Vegas layover is sponsored by a sweet deal found on Travelocity. Night at a non-Strip (but within 2 blocks) all-suites property and (full size) car rental for less than $65 hours total.

Check back starting at 11:30am CT and keep an eye out on Twitter for up to the minute hilarity events!

11:30am CT:

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All checked in, ready to go. Wondering how come Cleveland always gets ignored in all weather maps? I’d be reading the cities and it’s usually Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh. No love for Cleveland.

Maybe Chicago Bulls’ superstar Joakim Noah was right?

3:10pm ET:

Arrived safely at CLE. Joakim was right, I’m afraid. Nothing but factories out here. Gloomy weather as well. Not a pretty picture.

Currently in the United Club trying to not eat over 1,000 calories worth of trail mix and Milano cookies. Maybe this United Club has a signature Cleveland beer?

3:14pm ET

No local beers. Only 50mins until boarding to SFO starts. Can’t wait.

4:45pm ET

What I have access to for being Star Alliance Gold.

Could be worse, I guess?

On an Airbus 320. May be the first time all year. Noticed a sticker that said this plane has been “air worthy since 2000.”

Didn’t see an expiration date.

8:15pm PT

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Aboard CLE-SFO. The Colorado Rockies around sunset.

Flight arrived 25mins early. Everything is going flawless so far! I’m almost tempted to bet in Vegas (but I won’t).

Visited a couple United Club lounges and almost made it to the Singapore Business Class Kris Lounge but they weren’t open yet. Bastards.

Looking forward to going in tomorrow night before the red eye back to CLE.

How awesome is the SFO airport, by the way? Haven’t been here in 3 years but it sure is an automatic favorite. Up there with JFK’s Terminal 8 and Miami’s Terminal D. LAX sucks all over and ORD is too cramped.

I guess IAH/DFW are also cool in their everything-is-bigger-in-Texas way.

Taking off to LAS at 8:35pm PT.

8:33pm PT

Near full flights all day and 3 for 3 on empty middle seats! I really have to gamble now.

11:10pmPT

This is my 6th (or 7th) visit to Las Vegas since 2008 and the airport is now a completely different beast. Or at least Terminal 3 is. With direct routes to Seoul (Korean Air), London (British Airways), Dusseldorf (Air Berlin) and even Panama City (Copa Airline) LAS is now a major US player. 

The rental car shuttle was a quick 10-min ride away and once I a vehicle was secured immediately headed over to some truly local fare, courtesy of Yelp:

Not your typical Taco Bell visit.

I was like, “Carnal! Dame cuatro tacos diferentes! De lo que sea!” and they delivered. Above you have, pork, beef, tongue and brains. Plus a bunch of other stuff. Best (most authentic) tacos I ever had.

3:52am PT

After some Vegas-ing made it to the room before dawn. The 65$ spent on Travelocity (including car) where now looking better than ever.

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Adding a resort fee ($15) and $8 spent in gas the Travelocity deal of room + car ends up at $87. Still a pretty, pretty good deal.

November 2nd

8:07am PT

One of the perks of traveling west is your body is still running on CT/ET time. Waking up mildly refreshed after ~4hrs of sleep is something you get used to real quick in Las Vegas.

One of my Mileage Run rituals  is getting a workout at the final destination. In part to check out the local Gold’s Gym, in part to meet locals. Let’s see if I can pull it today.

12:51pm PT

No visit to Gold’s Gym but did manage to get a quick full body workout in preparation to a visit to The Strips’ newest buffet. The Bacchanal at Caesars Palace.

Good food but nothing you couldn’t have at the Bellagio, Wynn or any of the better buffets on the Strip.

3pmPT

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Bodies. Permanent exhibition at The Luxor.

With a couple of hours to kill before the airport, I finally got a chance to visit Bodies, The Exhibition. Always wanted to check it out but time never permitted it. Pretty fascinating stuff to see. It used to go around cities but now has been banned in several states and countries. If you get a chance to see it in Vegas or otherwise, I highly recommend it.

5:30pm PT

Let’s do this again.

On Friday afternoon folks are usually arriving  to Vegas so security was very quick. There were also no less than 8 lanes in this new terminal!  I’m confident even on a busy Sunday night things should move along relatively fast. Considering size and time spent, this may currently be the best airport experience in the US.

The inbound flight was slightly delayed so I made the 2-mile trek to The Club at LAS.

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Located by gate E2. AKA the furthest gate you can walk to.

I’m a fan of The Club at DFW and this is a bigger, upgraded version. Also offering premium drinks and made-to-order sandwiches.

We may have to thank Korean Air for getting this one done?

8:48pmPT

Arrived in SFO where I walked  another mile to the International Terminal just to be denied entry at the Singapore Silver Kris Lounge. I get access to it as a Star Alliance Gold member but only when flying internationally. Major letdown.

Off to the United Club and more crackers and trail mix.

10:48pm PT

Full flight to CLE. Crap. Bring on the redeye pain. At least I have Channel 9.  THE ABSOLUTE BEST THING ABOUT FLYING UNITED. Hands down.

November 3rd

6:22am ET

I’m back at Cleveland.  I feel like I’ve been in planes for a week. But it’s only three two days. I have to go from concourse F to concourse D and this is what I have in front of me. Of course.

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10:33amCT

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Perpetuating the Kansas stereotype. Landing at MCI. (Missouri)

48 hours later, another mileage run adventure ends successfully. Very impressed with the United operations. 5 of 6 flights departed but better yet all arrived as scheduled or earlier. And again, channel 9 is just too awesome for any aviation geek. 

Need some miles for travel or status? Go ahead, give it a run.

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