A Whirlwind Trip

I’m back already (barely).

We missed our flight.

That’s right, three travel agents traveling with six other travel agents, myself and two others scheduled to depart first missed the flight. And I’m not saying we didn’t try.

I ran down the Terminal K concord with my boots unzipped. I ran (well scuffled with my boots unzipped). I heaved my heavy jacket, my ziplock baggie of liquids (didn’t have time to put it back), and my suitcase down O’Hare’s crazy LONG terminals dodging the masses of travelers, gasping for air and looking like a crazy person (which I was am).

I was that desperate. Why? Because earlier in the week I had looked at the flight schedules for later in the day, in case I wanted to explore Chicago and stay a bit longer. Yeah. They were FULL.

So missing a flight? Not good. And we did – by mere minutes.

Timing is everything. Luckily an earlier flight had been delayed. A lot of people moved to a different flight (probably the one we missed!). It was delayed long enough for us to jump right on and get home only an hour later than we would have.

Thank-you American Airlines for not blinking an eyelash and getting a sweaty, disheveled traveler on your next flight. I am still a little crazy-eyed from the whole thing.

I just uploaded my pictures, and you know? Apparently, when it’s cold, I don’t take very many (ha).

But I will give you a few to sum up the highlights.

Airport corridor from the back of a fast-moving golf cart. We got to tour two planes, the Admirals Club, Executive Center, Flagship lounge, and flight tower.
This was plane #2 that we saw. I actually can't remember what the equipment was, all I know....it was nowhere near as cool as 777. You have to fly on one of those in your lifetime..soooo awesome.
AA's traffic tower for runways H & K. We are IN the tower.
A live picture representing all the planes in the air at that moment. It details where they are, their path, speed, and distance. Pretty amazing.
Kimpton Hotel Room at the Hotel Allegro. It had a reflective desk. The hotel was very boutique(y) and art deco. I had a two-room suite in the corner with a jacuzzi tub and a spa kit (complete with leopard print robe). Heaven!
The shiny lamp gave me a great perspective on my living area of the suite with Sally standing by the TV in front of the mirror desk. She and I have worked together and been friends 15 years. She works for the same company as I do and went on the trip as well.
Chicago Theatre off State Street.
The beautiful Methodist Church in downtown Chicago by our hotel. I took it this morning walking to our last hotel tour before we left.

We packed a lot of things into this short trip. The airport tour, and the blue line train to downtown. A great experience for me since my city has zero public transportation (Arlington). We got to see four hotels and hear the story of their original buildings. They were all very quirky. I was impressed with the history of Chicago. I really would have liked to tour more sites (and take more pictures). It was cold, but I think I would have gotten more used to it. This morning I was too “hot” to wear my gloves. See? My blood turning bluer by the minute (ha).

I do have more pictures, and more stories, but I am two-seconds away from jabbering nonsense. An adrenalin-rushed-miss-your-plane-kind-of-day will do that to you.

Plus, I have to work tomorrow.

Did anyone get the day off? Have you ever missed your plane?

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Ready to fly.

Remember about a month ago when I said I was preparing to fly to Chicago and go through the lovely x-ray machines? Remember that?

Well, it didn’t happen. Chicago got its first snow of the year and although my flight from DFW would have been fine (although late). Several other parties were completely canceled and there was not another option until the next day. Which is fine if you are going to Chicago for more than 24hrs, but sadly we were not. Therefore, they rescheduled the group and tomorrow is the BIG day!

This trip is work-related, but not working…….not exactly (?) working….

You see, long ago, in a far away land, travel agents used to go on what they call familiarization trips. A tour company would pay for your air, hotel, meals, transportation, and tours, on trip to wherever they service, to get you familiar with the place and the hotels, tours, and services. They paid for IT ALL. Then you knew what they offered. You knew the set-up and you could send clients that way because of your familiarization. Brilliant, right?

Well, they don’t do that anymore. Not free any way and certainly not for business travel agents. BUT this Chicago trip is as close as it gets.

We will be visiting American Airlines at O’Hare airport. We will be touring a few planes, and the American Executive Center. Then we will get to visit several hotels in downtown Chicago that are part of the Kimpton Brands.

And all set up (for free) to stay in one.

Image by Google

Free air on American Airlines, free hotel room stay, meals, and airport tour. It’s a fam trip! I get to see Chicago (which I’ve never seen) and learn about the products I sell. It’s a win-win. Except, it’s only for a night, and not a whole week. Not to mention bitterly cold, but I will probably get to see snow, and it might be the only snow I see all year.

Soooooooo…… I am excited! I am packed. I am ready to go.

The only bad thing (the worst thing!) is my flight at 525am. LEAVES the airport at 525am. Yeah, 3am is going to come awfully early. But hey, I can sleep on the airplane, riiiiiight?

Be sure to follow my Tweets for all the exciting details. I am going to go all Wil Wheaton when I get there – CHICAGO I AM IN YOU. I just love him.