Hi, I’m Chuck Brackett and this is my first ever blog post. I spent over 21 years in the Navy and I’ve spent the last 8 as a Navy spouse so I’ve seen a good bit of the world. Much of it from the deck of a warship, but I’ve also been flying for a lot of years and I stumbled across/started following travel blogs several years ago.
I have found a lot of value in reading what folks such as Glenn (thanks for the guest blogger opportunity!), Rene, Lucky, Ed, and many others on Boarding Area too numerous to mention (but check HERE for a complete list of BA bloggers) have shared. I think Glenn’s post from August 2013 was when my wife and I learned about AMEX waiving annual fees for military folks and that really got me paying attention. What a great introduction – now if only Chase was so generous. But I digress.
Sooo, after reading these folks for a few years I finally decided to stick my toe in the water and give it a try. I mean, how hard can it be, right? Right??? We’ll see.
My first trip that I want to write about has gotten off to a really rocky start. Back a couple of months ago I saw a cheap, ~$760, flight from New York to Bali via Shanghai (JFK-DPS via PVG) on China Eastern (MU). As you’ll see in a bit, I unfortunately caused myself a problem by buying that ticket directly with MU, then I took a Delta positioning flight from IAD. If there’s a next time I’ll probably buy from Delta even if it costs a bit more.
I’d already made Delta Platinum for 2018 by May courtesy of some heavy work travel between the US and Africa, and I figured I might as well shoot for Diamond since I needed “only” another 40K MQM and I want those Global Upgrades. This trip today plus another one to Singapore coming up in Nov will put me over the top. I wouldn’t need this trip for MQM – though I’d still be making the trip for other business purposes – except that I allowed my Flying Blue account number to get tagged on one of my flights to Africa and didn’t notice it until it was too late, so here I am sitting in the food court at JFK Terminal 1 on a Sunday afternoon.
And that’s the first problem. I’ve been in the food court since about 9AM and it looks like I’ll be here till 9PM or so waiting to check in for my 145AM flight tomorrow morning. Turns out that you can’t get to JFK Terminal 1 from the other terminals inside security. You have to exit, walk down the road, and then clear TSA again. Except, you can’t clear TSA without a boarding pass, and you can’t get a boarding pass from China Eastern until 3 hours before your flight is due to board, as I learned when they opened their check in counter to begin servicing a flight departing at 1645. And Delta can’t give me one because it’s not their ticket.
All that information is probably available online if you search for it, but I didn’t and I stupidly left the Delta Sky Club in Terminal 2 staffed by the nice lady at the front desk without asking, after spending less than 30 mins in there to have a cup of coffee and get a paper. Grrrr, rookie mistakes, but in my defense I’ve never split tickets between airlines before. You can bet this fiasco won’t happen again.
So far I’d say I’m batting about .200 on this trip, and only because I got to IAD in plenty of time (thanks for the early morning shuttle, honey!) and didn’t have to rush through the airport, and my Delta Connection flight was smooth and uneventful.
Update, I went back to the MU check in counter after the crush of the flight they serviced when they first opened the counter and a very nice and friendly MU supervisor at the check in desk over ruled the ‘no boarding passes more than 3 hours before your flight’ rule, partially due to my Elite Plus status, so I only spent 6 hours in the food court. Nice! But I won’t rely on it happening again.
I’ve read reports of MU flight crew smoking in flight HERE, HERE, and a response to a previous blog HERE promising to look into the issue. I’m hoping they’ve successfully snuffed out this problem more than a year later. We’ll see how the China Southern flight works out in the back of the plane, and I’ll send that trip report out as soon as I hit Shanghai.
You’ll remember I need both of these flights to make Diamond because of my carelessness with Flying Blue, I’ll be happy and eternally grateful to hear if anyone has a trick for getting FB to push miles to Delta several months after a flight has completed. I like AF and look forward to flying them again but Skymiles is my program, at least for now.
Thanks for reading!