By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 12/13/2019
Occurred: 11/16/2008 10:30:00 PM
Topics/Keywords: #BestWestern #Virginia #KarenHopeCilwa #UnitedAirlines Page Views: 2560
Blog Entry posted November 16, 2008

Our short, low-cost mini-vacation in Virginia was about to come to a close.

The original plan was for us to have dinner with Frankie's parents, Joe and Kathy Kinder, and then to run back to the airport in time for our 5:30 flight back to Phoenix. But two things happened: First, yesterday Joe came down with a nasty infection that sent him to the emergency room. Although he was now back home, of course neither he nor Kathy, who'd sat with him all though hours in the ER, was quite up to entertaining. Besides, the doctors wanted him back in the ER to check how his antibiotic was working. Second, a change in Karen's schedule placed her unexpectedly in Dulles Airport for about three hours prior to our departure. So we would be able to visit her, after all!

Dorothy was wiped out after yesterday's trek back and forth across the Mall, so Frankie came alone to pick us up and to get Karen's shoes which was one of the main reasons for our trip. Without them in our suitcases, the bags were much lighter to carry.

Before Frankie came I got online and printed (in the Best Western's data center) our reservation slips. (What do parents who are not computer savvy do?) There was a minor glitch when I discovered the laser printer toner cartridge was empty, but the desk clerk quickly and cheerfully replaced it—another checkmark in the hotel's favor. (Breakfast wasn't quite as good as yesterday's, but still awesome, with some kind of sausage slices and French toast strips.)

I also discovered that United does not charge parents of flight attendants to check their baggage—at least, not up to two bags apiece. So I happily checked my empty and lightweight, but still enormous, suitcase.

We had a lovely visit with Karen, who looked so prim and professional in her uniform (and, darn it, I completely forgot to take her picture). The three of us had lunch at a Wendy's in the terminal, then made our way to our gate, C-9. All too soon it was over; Karen had to meet her crew for their flight, and Mary and I had to board our plane.

This was the final test of the experiment: Would we be able to fly this plane home? It had been my original choice. An electronic sign revealed there were 32 empty seats, 2 in first class. However, as the time for boarding approached, those numbers dropped. The two first class seats disappeared almost immediately. However, by the time everyone was aboard, the gate agent was able to place Mary and me in the first row of Economy Plus, which meant the rows were far enough apart for the circulation in our legs to continue to function.

This was a straight-through flight from Dulles to Phoenix, which was good. Economy Plus class did not get a dinner, which was bad. We were permitted to buy a $6 box of snacks, basically bags of granola and a tiny container of diced apples, which had the dual effect of not satisfying my hunger and making me feel annoyed for having spent $6 on it.

But we were flying free, so I could hardly complain! I'll just have to be certain next time to bring adequate food supplies.

Our arrival in Phoenix was early, a little after 8 pm. My checked suitcase was one of the last to come out, but it did come out. Michael picked us up at the door, and our test vacation was over.

Where to next? Alaska to see the Northern Lights? Oregon for the hot springs? Florida to visit my sisters?

Heh heh…why not all the above!