Today I have boarded a flight to Chicago, Illinois on my way to the AAAI-08 conference. As usual, instead of flying direct, I have connected through Minneapolis in order to fly Northwest and get a First-Class upgrade. This time I left my passport home intentionally, as this is a purely domestic itinerary.
Some of you may recall my car accident. That led to me leaving my car at a garage for repair and renting a replacement car a few days ago. I have returned the rental car at the airport and thus saved the time and hassle of an airport shuttle.
As this is a short trip and the weather is warm, I packed almost nothing and did not check any bags, so I could proceed directly to the gate with my pre-printed boarding pass (as this is a domestic flight, I get no lounge access). My first class flight went smoothly, arriving on time at Minneapolis.
Upon arrivial, I checked the screens for my connection info and noticed that there was an earlier Northwest flight to Chicago Midway* airport. I decided to head directly to that gate and try to standby for the earlier flight. The gate agent told me that he could put me on standby, but the flight is likely to be full and I am not guaranteed a seat, and even if I get one, it would probably be in economy. I told the agent I don't mind (I prefer spending an hour and a half on the plane in economy than in the terminal), and then I had to wait and see if there would be room for me.
The flight turned out to be fully booked, and all 12 first class seats were full. However, since I had Platinum status I got one of those! The flight did depart late, but I ended up arriving more than an hour before my original schedule. Another plus is that a nice girl sat next to me on the flight and we chatted all the way. She was flying from San Jose (SJO), Costa Rica and was on her final leg back home to Wisconsin. I had fun.
After arriving I checked in at my hotel and took a taxi to dinner with my advisor and some more Stanford folk at a Chicago restaurant. I just now returned to the hotel. Updates to come.
*Midway airport (MDW), is named such not because of its location, but as a reference to the Battle of Midway.