Miami, FL – Washington, DC (IAD) | United 7506 | #8A connecting to IAD – Albany, NY | United 7950 | #18B

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Felix was nice enough to run my last two sessions at WOMM-U today so I could leave early and get home before Maddie was out of school for the weekend. I’m glad I could do this given I’ve been on the road for 12 days.

The day started uneventfully enough, I got up, showered, and got myself to the airport without incident. Then the fun started when I learned that my changed ticket hadn’t actually been ticketed. So, between negotiating with the ticketing agent and the corporate travel office, I lost about 45 minutes. Luckily the flight was delayed by 45 minutes or I wouldn’t have made it. I have to give a special thanks to Jorge Maldonado, the Miami-based gate agent who was very helpful, had a great sense of humor, and went above and beyond the call of duty.

I wish the airlines realized how much the experience in the airport influences a consumer’s choice of airline (at least this consumer anyway.) United is in the new J terminal at the Miami airport and let me tell you, it is a ghost town over there. There is a randomly placed food court with crappy coffee that took a while to find. And, don’t even try to find a healthy option for breakfast. Does anyone really eat those greasy pre-packaged muffins? I couldn’t find cereal other than Apple Jacks, and there wasn’t a piece of fresh fruit to be found. Of course, had I wanted a tuna on rye at 8am I would have been good to go.

The flight itself was fine. I like the Embraer 170 regional aircraft as there are no middle seats and there is more legroom than on a 737, for example. They even have 6 seats in first, but they aren’t worth the cost / miles for an upgrade. Five thousand miles for an extra package of pretzels, and coffee before we take off.  No thanks. The landing was interesting on this flight – DC was highly cloudy with a lot of rain. It was one of those landings that you are in the middle of the clouds one moment, and then because of how low the clouds are, you are practically on the ground as soon as you come out of them. I always find that jarring, but the pilots did a great job of landing the plan safely.

I landed in the D terminal and had to cut across to the C terminal at Dulles which is an easy trek. Despite my plane being late I had time for a cup of java at Starbucks and a magazine at Borders. The airport experience in Dulles was much better than Miami.

The connecting flight from Dulles to Albany was fine. I got in on time, baggage claim was quick, and I was on my way.

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