I’m writing this as I fly home from a quick week in Portland Oregon. Unlike most weeks, I left on a Tuesday, and with the all day travel Tuesday and today (Friday) I really had a quick workweek. Since Steve (DOS) leaves to go to his house in Sarasota on Monday, and usually drops me off at Orlando Airport on his way, I didn’t ride with him this week. Instead I took Uber to the airport, but still stayed at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport on Monday night, as I had a semi-early flight on Tuesday. I don’t like being rushed in the mornings, and you never know with traffic, road construction etc, if you will miss your flight. Anyway it was a good excuse to stay at the Hyatt and have dinner there, although I did miss not having DOS there.
I had a really long travel day on Wednesday, with three different flights. Fortunately I got upgraded for all three, and they all had a meal on the flight, as each was over 1,000 miles. My first flight was Orlando to Chicago on a Boeing 737, leaving at 9am. I had a couple hours layover in Chicago, so briefly stopped by the ‘H’ concourse Admiral’s Club. I always enjoy walking down this concourse at Chicago Ohare.
This Club (like other AA Clubs) is going under a major renovation, so I took a suggestion from my seat mate flying up to ORD to go to the brand new ‘L’ club Admiral’s Club, which is a bit out of the way, (and still unknown to many such as myself) so was not very crowded. The ‘L’ Club was indeed very nice, as I’m sure the ‘H’ Club will be when they finish renovating it. Although from the pics below it looks small, it is actually a decent sized club; I just found a quiet spot in the back corner behind the bar – not the most scenic view, but nice and quiet.
My next flight was from Chicago to Phoenix; a bit longer at 1,405 miles. This was a lunch flight, and I had one of the best ever Flight Attendants I had ever had. While I didn’t get take her picture, I did write a very complimentary email to AA while inflight regarding her outstanding service. I knew she was going to be great when before the flight even left she introduced herself and said ‘Unlike some Flight Attendant’s you may have had – I’m different. I LOVE my job, and I’m happy to make you a specialized drink; i.e. Long Island iced tea etc, but even if you don’t have that, you have to have Mary’s special cake dessert, which is iced over with my special ingredients of Baily’s and Grand Marnier! What a start to a flight! And Mary didn’t disappoint While I didn’t have any of her specialty drinks, her dessert was every bit as good as she said it was, no doubt enhanced by the warm Baileys and Grand Mariner. Here are a couple pics departing Chicago.
Once in Phoenix, I had another hour layover before my last flight of the day to Portland, Oregon. I went to the Admiral’s Club in the low ‘tens’ concourse after first going to the horrible (but closer) club in the 20’s concourse. I say this every time I go thru Phoenix, but I honestly can’t believe how horrible the PHX 20’s gate club is – it’s minuscule for a major hub airport, old furniture and a tiny restroom for the volume of people using the club. It’s also located in the busiest concourse in Phoenix.
By contrast, the newly renovated Admiral’s Club ’10 concourse’ gates are very modern and much more spacious, with plenty of charging outlets for your accessories. They even have the fancy soda machines where you can mix and match your beverage choices, which the club in Orlando has as well.
My last flight of the day to Portland was on an Airbus 321, and also over a 1,000 miles, for a flight time of 2 1/2 hours. I arrived into Portland, Oregon around 7:30pm PDT, which was 10:30pm back home in Orlando – quite a long day, but actually fun flying to different cities with no worries of missed meetings.
Once in Portland, I gathered my luggage, and took the hotel shuttle to the Hyatt Place Portland Airport – Cascade Station. This Hyatt Place Cascades Station was large and probably the nicest one I’ve stayed at; great staff, comfy rooms, and great location to both the airport and the nearby shops and restaurants just outside the entrance.
The first night I was quite tired from the trip, so just had a flatbread pizza at the hotel. Hyatt Place Hotels all offer a similar menu, and have a small bar in the lobby area as well.
The next night I walked next door to Buffalo Wild Wings, an ok, but probably quickly forgettable experience. While it was fine for drinks and watching sports, the food was only so-so, and the menu (unless you love wings – I know that’s the name of the restaurant), is pretty mediocre.
I had full day meetings on Thursday, which last until 5:30pm I went back to the hotel and changed clothes before walking across the tree-lined street to Dave’s Famous Barbecue – a much better choice than Buffalo Wild Wings. I had an outstanding server who had just finished school studying graphic and web page design. One thing I immediately liked about Dave’s was the hostess sat me at a nice table – way bigger than I needed (probably sat six people) but that was nice as I like to spread out with my iPad, phones etc. I had a very leisurely meal at my request, starting with a beer sampler of six choices. Portland is renowned for it’s micro brews, and although I didn’t know any of them, I asked the server to surprise me, knowing I like both Pale Ale and IPA’s. I really had a nice evening even dining alone, thanks to the wonderful and leisurely service.
Today (Friday) I had an 8:40am flight, so headed to the airport and relaxed for a bit before boarding my first flight to Phoenix. I had contemplated taking the 5:50am flight as I got back to Orlando at 4:30pm, but decided I could sleep in a bit, even though I don’t get in to Orlando until 7:30pm. DOS is picking me up when I get in, and we’ve texted (via Wifi on this flight a bit).
I honestly wish I could have stayed the weekend in Portland as it’s a wonderful city, and has much to offer – everything from hiking, to Mount Hood, to wineries, to lots of microbreweries for starters. I’ve been here several times over the years, and hope I can come back later in the year on this project. For now, DOS and I only have this and next weekend though before we go away on our African safari trip this month, and need to prepare for that.
I took a few pics in the Portland Airport, and was amazed how orderly it was, and like an oasis of calm. The TSA recheck was super quick, polite, and efficient, and I made a point to let a TSA supervisor know that – even mentioning I wish their crew was in Orlando Airport!
Once past the security checkpoint, there was live and soothing piano music, followed by a guitarist further down the terminal. With lots of restaurants, shops, and a high ceiling terminal, it was quite a peaceful place to relax before my flight.
But as I had had enough microbrews for the week, I just settled for my coffee at 8am before my flight home.
Now I’m only about a half hour from landing on my flight from Phoenix to Orlando. I’ve had great First Class service from Monique, whom I also wrote an inflight letter to AA, complimenting her service. So before we hit 10,000 feet, and I’m cut off, I’ll wrap up this quick post.
‘Twas a fun and quick work week in Portland’! Welcome home!