My Snowy Seattle Mileage Run

After a long time out, I’m back in the running game.

Until last year, I had been without Delta (my preferred airline, deal with it) status of any kind since 2010. Starting a business hadn’t left me with much time, or money, to pursue my flying passion, so I’d pushed mileage runs and status-searching to the back-burner. Let me tell you, it was a trying time. Boarding with commoners? Limited amounts of Biscoff cookies and no at-my-demand (free) Woodford Reserve? Elbowing for overhead bin space? I would spend weeks with the shakes after simple shuttle flights from NYC to DCA.

Last year though, I was able to get back to what I love, and at least registered on the board as a Silver Medallion. At year’s end, I was within striking distance of Gold (<5K MQM), but decided to hold off. While that did mean a few extra months of lowly Silver status, knowing what my schedule looked like, I knew I would be making a play for a higher tier within just the first quarter of 2016. Waiting meant enjoying the status longer, and achieve it faster, with my rollover MQMs (for more on the pros/cons of rollover MQMs and EoY status runs, see this great series of posts from my friend Rene).

With my hefty rollover balance, a bit of scheduled travel, and sign-up for a Delta Reserve Card, I was up to Gold by January 19, and on Delta’s radar. Laying out my schedule, I would be Platinum by May or so, and that was just with the travel I had scheduled thus far. However, I wanted more. To take full advantage of PM, I wanted it sooner, so I scheduled a pair of mileage runs to help me get there.

The crowning achievement and subject of today’s post? A scheduled run on Friday February 5: JFK-SEA-SAN-LAX-JFK. I’d depart at 7AM and return at 7:30AM Saturday. Working from the road, it would be an easy day.

Getting to Seattle

I’ve never been to Seattle before, so I was excited to fly through, even if it was just to visit the airport, Centurion Studio (post to come), and see the skyline. Delta flies a 757 on this route, and for all intents and purposes, it’s Delta One (in fact, it actually was for a time). The lie flat seat is a real plus on this 5hr flight, especially at 7AM on a Friday.

Nice about this route is that you CAN get a complimentary Medallion upgrade. As a GM, I started the list about 27/45, but that wasn’t dissuading me from some #TeamBoardLast. Funnily enough, the gate agent remembered me from earlier in the week, when I’d done the very same on a flight to SLC! 

The wait was long and stressful, compounded by snow outside, but soon the flight was all but fully boarded, with 1 seat in first un-boarded and me sitting 1/1 on the upgrade list. Could it be? YUP, I NABBED A LIE-FLAT WITH #TEAMBOARDLAST.  Should be obvious I was pretty excited. The best part was the DM seated in Economy Comfort who raised a stink that his RUC should have been honored even though he boarded. Silly Medallion.

The product was really great, and I REALLY got to enjoy it thanks to a long (3+ hours) tarmac delay. Shoutout to the Delta app for letting me rebook my first connection! The breakfast was the standard Delta omelette for me, which I’ve really come to appreciate lately. In addition to a nap, I watched Our Brand is Crisis, which was just okay.

Getting to San Diego

Or am I?

Arriving in Seattle, I had two hours to kill before jumping down to SAN. After spending some time at Centurion Studio, I moved toward the gate, when my phone lit up with some “exciting” news: my flight was delayed. Normally, this was not an issue at all. Normally, I also wouldn’t have a connection to LAX and a flight back to New York. Oy vey.

Weighing the options, I decided that since I’d never been to Seattle before, I'd claim a hotel voucher so I could make my way back Saturday. I also was NOT going to fly direct home. MQMs people! Delta gave me accommodations at the Red Lion Inn in Renton, which I wish on no man. It was fine for a night, but in addition to a grimy towel on the bathroom floor, the thermostat was ripped off the wall, so there was no temperature control. 

Seattle was great though, and I’m excited to head back. In my few hours there, I was able to check out the first Starbucks, Space Needle, and had an incredible dinner at The Walrus and The Carpenter.


Getting Home

The return journey also had 3 legs to it, and brought me in at just a few MQMs less than my original routing. Great, because I also got to skip the red eye!

The first flight of the day was a hopper down to LAX, but it was a packed flight. No upgrades to be had, but was in an aisle Economy Comfort that did the job.

The new routing home was going to take me through MSP en route to LGA, and I was fortunate enough to nab upgrades on both. I rarely fly direct to LA anyway so this is a regular routing for me, and one I really enjoy. I get two comfortable seats, and two great meals!

Our MSP flight was during lunch, and I was aching for the Delta burger. Unfortunately not to be had. Instead, I entered the Calzone zone and was NOT disappointed. More carbs than I like, but really delicious! Much recommended if you ever have the chance, and don’t skip on the chocolate cake. It taste a bit like a Yodel and was worth every morsel. For in-flight entertainment, I re-watched Straight Outta Compton. Delta nailed it with movies this month. I’m excited to see what March has! 

  You are now entering the Calzone Zone.

You are now entering the Calzone Zone.

Without much time to transfer in MSP, I went straight to my gate, which had already begun boarding. Shot at this point, I slept through most of the flight, but did find time for dinner, a just okay turkey salad. The other option was fish with rice, which I’ve been hearing mixed reviews of lately. Satisfied, I fell asleep to Jurassic Park on Delta Studio on my iPhone. One of my favorite films.

  I've had better, I've had worse.

I've had better, I've had worse.

All in all, a great run I don’t regret a moment of! Fantastic crews and assistance all around, and I’m satisfied knowing it sped up the Medallion process. Next run? I’m heading to Dallas for a 1-dayer via SLC in March. Let’s cross some fingers for a lie-flat on the way home (or I’m using a RUC. I need some sleep!). 

By The Numbers

MQM: 5,931

Cost: $280

CPM: 4.7