Happy May Day!
Yet another Sunday night, and Steve and I are staying at the Hyatt Regency Orlando Airport. I have a 7am flight to LAX, and Steve (DOS) is doing another mileage run to San Juan and Honolulu for the week.
I’m actually working in Calistoga, CA this week which is in the midst of wine country, so I’m really looking forward to it. I’m flying to LAX on American, and then have a flight on Alaska Airlines to Santa Rosa, a small airport in wine country I’ve never flown into before.
After we checked into the Hyatt, we went downstairs and re-enrolled in CLEAR. CLEAR is available at a dozen airports or so around the US and as it’s a paid service provides a premium shortcut of the busy security lines. You still go thru security of course, but there is a dedicated line to have your credentials check via fingerprints so it drastically speeds up the trip thru security. We both used to have it until a couple years ago, but stopped using it when TSA Pre-check came out as at the time, it was quicker and you didn’t have to take your shoes off or laptop etc. From the looks of the crowded Orlando Airport security lines this evening, I think we made a smart choice re-enrolling in CLEAR. This ‘Delta’/Hyatt Hotel side of the airport is actually more sane and better setup than the AA/United side we go out of on the opposite end of the terminal.
Flash-forward the last month or so, and the Pre-Check has become a joke; at least in busy Orlando. It seems like everyone gets it now, and the lines are much longer, sometimes longer than the regular security lines. Orlando Airport seems to change their security line flow almost weekly with the whole AA/United side of the lobby roped off back and forth for ‘line control’, that does nothing but confuse everyone; myself included and I fly out of there nearly every week. It’s apparent from their lack of understanding what to do, that many people in the Pre-Check line got it randomly as opposed to paid Pre-Check/Global entry which requires a background check. It drives me nuts seeing families with kids, strollers, packages all clueless as to a quick security line, thus slowing it down for everyone. It used to be so quick, and mostly only business people who knew what they were doing could use it. Now it’s a free-for-all.
So back to CLEAR, Steve (DOS) and I had enough with this line mess, so we re-enrolled for $179 a year, small price to pay when you fly out of MCO as often as we do, and the unpredictability of the crowds. The CLEAR staff were courteous, and as they had our information on file from years ago, it was quite quick and best of all we can use it in the morning.
Changing the subject . . . We had a good weekend at home for a change, which was nice to catch up on a few things around the house. I did some yard work trimming, and pressure washed the pool deck area. Meanwhile DOS, ever the travel-searching guru, researched alternative trips for us for Memorial Day weekend. We have a flight booked to Rio for the Memorial Day weekend, plus a couple days, however lately with all the unrest in the country and economic stability, we don’t feel like it’s the right time to go. Also our Brazilian visas have still not been processed, and it’s been several weeks now, not a good sign. While I’d like to be there in the year of the 2016 Olympics, we both decided we would do something else instead.
So Honolulu bound for Memorial Day weekend instead! While we had to pay a penalty to change our Business Class tickets to Rio, we were able to apply the $$$ to the Honolulu flights in First Class for a reasonable amount more. I actually am looking forward to Honolulu as I haven’t been there in 12 years, and DOS is as well as he used to fly there regularly for work.
Saturday night we went out with several of our neighborhood couples to a local Italian restaurant we hadn’t been before. While not fancy, it was fun and it was great to see everyone. We have a fairly close neighborhood of friends, all about the same age group; i.e. early 50s and as we’ve all been there for many years, we literally have seen their children grow, and now go off to college. So the Steve’s are amongst a group of neighborhood ‘Empty Nesters’ all enjoying life!
Now it’s Sunday night around 9pm, and I’m having a nightcap in the lobby lounge here at the Hyatt Orlando Airport. DOS has already headed up to bed, full after our dinner in the adjacent restaurant McCoys. We really love staying here; the staff remembers us, and we normally get our favorite upgraded room on the 10th floor with a balcony and runway view – as always watching the planes take and off and land; especially the Jumbo Jets heading to Europe.