The Traveling Steve's

Last Business trip of 2016

Oh the joy of travel delays! What started off as a good business trip (and the last one for work this year), was tarnished by a lengthy delay in DFW Airport. I’m writing this from the plane, where I’ve been sitting for nearly two hours, waiting on yet another maintenance item for this ancient MD 80 American Airlines plane to arrive. This is on top of waiting in the terminal over two and a half hours to board the plane. It’s 5pm as I’m writing this, and my connecting flight to San Antonio was supposed to leave at 12:35pm – over four and a half hours late and counting. The door to the aircraft is still open, and over a third of the passengers have gotten off to seek other arrangements. A quick check of flights showed everything full later today, but considering it’s only a five hour drive, I would nearly be there by now if I drove!  This airplane is the old MD 80, once the workhorse of American, and now an old and decrepit relic, soon to be discontinued by AA.

My first flight was on a Boeing 757 configured for international seating in First Class, with the lie-flat, angular seats. I actually rested most of the flight after breakfast was served on this 9:35am departure from Orlando to Dallas.

Today was ‘dog day’ at the airports it seemed. I counted over 20 dogs of all shapes and sizes being walked on their leashes, (out of their carriers) throughout the airports and a couple on the plane. I don’t think any of them were true service dogs, judging by their lack of signage and manners. (Service dogs don’t normally jump up on others, bark, etc and act like they’re walking in a park instead of an airport terminal.)

Yes, passengers today buy those $35 lanyards on the internet that say ‘service dog’ and the airline has to accept them. Don’t get me wrong – I love dogs, but people do this so they don’t have to pay to check them, and they aren’t trained like true service dogs to ‘behave’ in public. Not to mention they take up other passengers space and/or people may be allergic to them. Normally true service dogs aren’t on a leash either, rather a special dog suit with a handle for the owner to stay close to them, so people walking in the airport don’t get tangled up in their leash, or worse yet trip.

On a merrier note, I saw Santa Clause while I was in Dallas! He was walking thru the terminal while flanked by ‘elves’ and followed by a courtesy golf cart all decked out for Christmas, with the driver handing out candy canes to passers-by.

Looking back now over last weekend; DOS and I had a fun pre-Christmas weekend. We were home in Orlando for the whole weekend which was nice. We had our neighbors Kenny and Mary over on Friday evening for drinks, and later went to their place on Sunday to exchange Christmas gifts.

On Saturday evening we went to our friends Ben and Tom for dinner.  They had the house nicely decorated both outside as well as inside.  

The table was festively decorated, and we had a nice pre-Christmas meal together.

We later exchanged gifts, before having dessert, and heading home.

On Sunday we had a nice Christmas service at Church with both traditional and contemporary Christmas music.  

Now fast forward a few days, and its now Thursday and I’m on an American Airlines A321 flying from DFW home to Orlando.  Where did the week go, and how did my flight to San Antonio turn out you might be wondering?

Well I got to San Antonio eventually, some five hours late.  Once we boarded the delayed flight, we ended up sitting for two hours waiting on a seat cushion!  Yes, one freaking seat cushion for one of the back rows of the plane!  As the male Flight Attendant said with his finest southern drawl accent to an older lady asking why it was taking so long “Honey, this relic of a plane is over a 100 years old, and they don’t make parts like this no more, so it’s being custom made at the maintenance shop – that’s all I can figure!”  At least he had a sense of humor, and it really did lighten the mood for us delayed passengers.Apparently it’s a safety issue, although I don’t understand why one cushion mattered since so many people had departed the plane.  And also why it took two hours to find a spare seat cushion at the DFW headquarters airport, and why it wasn’t noticed earlier during the earlier 3 hour pre-boarding maintenance delay? The maintenance man came aboard with the cushion and left so quickly I didn’t get to snap his photo, although the whole plane erupted in clapping!

Anyway, I got to San Antonio eventually, and had a two night stay at the Homewood Suites North.   I didn’t venture out while I was there, other than going next door to a barbecue restaurant for dinner.  As it was a slow night and I was by myself, I sat at the bar, and was the only person sitting there.

I chatted with the bartender a bit while I ate, and he showed me his big tip of the day – a lady had made a little Christmas elf out of the red napkin, and folded the dollar bills up to resemble it’s feet and inserted money on and inside it!  Quite cute, and the bartender displayed it on the countertop.

I had a quick two day work week due to the Christmas holiday on Friday, and a travel day on Thursday.  I stayed at the Hyatt Place by San Antonio Airport last night.

Now cruising along at 35,000 feet, awaiting my meal service here in First Class seat 4C.  I can tell this is a former US Airway’s flight crew by their service, as they do it ‘differently’ (i.e not as good)) as American’s.  I asked one Flight Attendant about the differences in inflight meal service, and she said they had not been cross trained on American’s service yet.  American normally has two FA’s in First for the meal service, while US Air only had one, making for a slower and more hectic meal service for the single Flight Attendant.

Anyway, it’s all good – so glad to be flying home on this last business trip of the year!  DOS is picking me up at the airport when we land around 2:45pm, and then we are heading to Roanoke in the morning for Christmas.

Merry Christmas to all!

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