Sunday, April 22, 2007

On the Road Again

Now that I'm a telecommuter, I travel a lot. I like to go back to my office in North Carolina every three or so months, just to refresh the bonds I have with my co-workers. This week, I set off on my eighth trip since moving to Vegas (four trips for business, four trips for pleasure). I left LV on Wednesday morning for Washington DC to attend a conference on Thursday. In LV on Wednesday we had very high winds (gusts to 50+ MPH), so I was really dreading the take-off. The initial ascent was no problem, but as soon as we got up to a good altitude and started making the controversial right-hand turn, the plane started shaking like it was a prop duster going through a hurricane. I have never felt turbulence like that before, and especially on a plane so big. Thankfully, it didn't last long, and I enjoyed the flight to Chicago without anyone sitting next to me.

In Chicago, I had a layover long enough to grab dinner, and then I switched from Southwest to their partner ATA. Now, I love Southwest. They are very laid back, and I like to call them a frat party in the sky (examples of that another time). But they get their stuff done efficiently, they are generous with their snacks and drinks, and I prefer them because free flights are fast through their frequent flier program. I bought my flight through Southwest, but they don't go to Washington National, so I had to use ATA to get there. ATA is definitely a no-frills airline. There were no snacks, but they did have several for purchase. Not even free peanuts. And they actually charge for pillows and blankets. I'm sure many airlines have resorted to this approach, but it makes me appreciate Southwest all the more. Once I finally got to DC, it was a full half hour after I got off the plane before our baggage started coming around the belt. Southwest and ATA are both discount carriers, but with ATA you can really tell it.

I stayed in the Hyatt in DC, right next to the Capitol Building. I can't get over how expensive hotels are in this city. My room was $400 a night, and the room was nothing special. They charged $3.75 for bottled water in the room (my crappy Radisson in NC gives free bottled water - I am a bottled water fiend), and they didn't even have free internet! For $400, I expect to be able to check my email.

I like DC so much. It is such a pretty city with so much going on. I wish I had stayed an extra day to explore the city. I enjoyed seeing the capitol from the hotel, and flying out was neat because we took off right over the city and I could see every monument. DC seems to be a popular location for these meetings of the minds in my field, so I'm sure I'll be back again soon.

Me in front of the capitol...

The capitol glowing at night...
The Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial taken from the airport. I didn't get to explore the city during this trip, but at least I got to enjoy its view from the airport!

No comments: