I arrived to CLT early around noon, parked in long term lot 2, rode the shuttle bus, reprinted my boarding pass, and passed through security, all in about 40 minutes. The one thing I noticed on my way in is that about one half the shuttle bus got off at the stop for the other airlines. It used to be that almost everyone would be US Airways, but that is no longer the case.
I was able to buy a quick lunch and head to Starbucks. I sat at a table surfing the Internet and doing e-mail on CLTNet until I went to my gate. We boarded on time. This was an old US A319, with the two-tone, very worn, dirty, and gray interior, but the seats had been refurbished. The seats in F were two-tone medium dark blue/gray and the seats in coach were medium dark blue. I like the new seat look, but the medium dark blue just does not go with the old, worn, dirty gray. I sure hope they plan to refurbish the interior walls and carpets as well. Funny note—my seat, the part where my back rested, already had pen marks! How does that happen? There ended up being one open seat in F and the FA brought someone forward to fill that seat. We also received a full pre-departure drink service. I had white wine.
We departed the gate 2-3 minutes early (scheduled departure was 2:40 pm), but we sat in line for another 25 minutes before taking off. So in all reality, we departed about 20 minutes late, so I assumed that we used up our “padding” in CLT.
My seatmate and I had a great time talking. He was about my age and leads a software sales team for Computer Associates. He actually got to where he is today with an associate’s degree from a NC technical/community college in computer-something and told me his story of how he owes his career to the training, mentoring, and work-study experience he received at his local community college. We discussed technology, software, computers, etc., and how community colleges are well positioned to play a major role in training students with the appropriate technology skill sets for specific companies.
I asked him if he was still all US Airways and he said yes, that he saw no other way to travel except US Airways. I did not ask him what his status was, but he earns enough miles and points through his air, hotel and car rental travels that he can take his family of four on a full vacation every year free except for meals and incidentals. He said most recently he has taken his family to San Diego and Hawaii all on miles/points.
Oh yeah, we also talked football! He is a Carolina Panthers season ticket holder. And he was a NY Yankees fan, too, but his son prefers the Braves, so his loyalty for the Yankees had waned!
The inflight service was the standard snack basket and beverage service. The snack basket contained Fiesta Snack Mix, Biscoffs, Granola Bars, and Harvest Cheddar Sun Chips. I elected for a Bloody Mary. Honestly, that is not much to eat at all for two and a half, three hour flight. And in coach, they really should sell snacks for a flight that length, IMO. I am so glad I ate lunch, was upgraded, and did not have to BYOB.
The BofA credit card spiel was reserved until the descent.
Thank goodness the flight was completely uneventful, with no Beth Effect whatsoever. We landed at 4:22 pm Central Time, 7 minutes early.
I took my pre-paid Super Shuttle to the Hilton Towers downtown. And because I am now Hilton Gold, I received free Internet and I get to eat and have cocktails in the Executive Lounge! This is a very nice property, right in downtown Minneapolis. Perfect for a Minneapolis virgin like me!