So I was pretty stoked to get out of the office Friday and head to the airport. I was taking the redeye and flying to Chattanooga (on the front end of a business trip) to finally get fit on my new Q-Roo CD.01! Things had such high potential, the short itinerary called for my arrival in Chattanooga around 1PM, get down to the shop and get fit, then hit up this local killer beer dirt party. Little did I know I was in for quite a treat!
I was slated to fly from Seattle to LA then LA to Memphis, and from there make the 5 hr drive to Chattanooga. Not the most ideal way to structure the trip, but since I had to be in Memphis all week for business, I was willing to get a near free trip out of it, just having to pay for a couple tanks of gas.
I get to the SeaTac airport about an hour before my flight, sat at the gate and waited for the boarding call. Within 5 mins of sitting down the agent behind the counter at our gate calls out “anyone on the flight going to LA, there are multiple First Class Seats available for upgrade.” I had never sat first class before so I was intrigued. I went up to the counter and “pretending like I didn't know the upgrade rule” asked her if I could get a first class seat. She explained to me that upgrading to first class still requires you to pay a difference…I played dumb and asked her if there was anything she could do, and that I didn't have any $$ etc. She was very nice, but unfortunately my tactics didn't amount to success.
I went back to my seat still trying to devise a clever plan to come out on top. I decided that I would wait till the majority of the plane had boarded, then go back to ask her if there were still any available. As they were announcing last boarding call for the flight to LA, I walked back up to the counter and tried to sweet talk this friendly old lady one more time. I asked her if there were any available seats left, and sure enough there were! I told her how I had never sat first class before, and this is the perfect opportunity yada yada. And I even put the “but ma’am if there are going to be open first class seats on the flight, it doesn't hurt to give one away.”
Sure enough, after all my hard persuasion, she finally gave in and gave me a free first class seat! How could this trip get any better?!? First class seat, going to get fit on a sick bike, going to drink local brews at a festival. Come on, is this real life?
After arriving in LA, (bare in mind it is about 12:00 AM and my “redeye” flight from LA to Memphis leaves at 1:35 AM), I realized why the upgrade list is always off the charts for every flight. First class is SICK! After immersing myself in the luxury of first class, I decided it was time to get some shut eye before my next flight. I mean I do have a 5 hour drive ahead of me after a redeye flight…I needed all the rest I could get.
I posted up just across the walkway from my gate, put my head on my bag and I was out! Tick Tock, Tick Tock…While I was out I had these mysterious dreams of panic, rushing to my gate to catch my flight...OH $H!T.
I woke up, looked at my phone and it read 1:41 AM. I jumped up off the ground, grabbed my bags, and just like my dream, ran up to the counter, and the lady asked “Are you Mr. Inch?”
I answered her, and asked if the Memphis flight was still here and if I got lucky…none such luck on this one. I had missed my flight. After a few choice words, I asked the agent what my options were. She started looking up flights, and found out that she could get me to Memphis at 4:30PM. The only positive that came from this was that she assumed that I had missed my connection because of a previous flight. Never inquired about it, never looked at my itinerary, just found me a flight and printed it out. Little did she know the idiot across the walkway curled up in the fetal position on the ground was me…hahaha.
After all that chaos, I managed to get 3 more hours of sleep, and jump on a 5:40 AM flight that hit up Detroit before finally docking in Memphis. What an unexpected start to my adventure! Next up, a 5 hour and change drive through good ole Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia.
Google maps had 2 possible routes to get me to Chattanooga. First was to drive all the way to Nashville, before dropping down to Chattanooga. This route had the use of highways the entire way, but took me way out of line, projected 375 miles 5hr 59mins. The second route was much more direct, however the drawback to that route was that it was on local highways that went through towns and had lots of lights, projected 309 miles 6hr 9mins. I decided to go with the shorter more direct route and see if I could press the pace.
After renting the car, I was on the road around 5:20PM. Chattanooga is right on the border of the Central/Eastern Time zone, so my eta was something like 12:20 AM local time. At this point im feeling bad for Andy and Heather for being so kind and letting me stay at their house, let alone get in after midnight on the eve of Mother’s Day. What a NOOB!