Trip type: Business

Airline: Delta

Route: MSP – SJC via LAX


“The early bird catches the worm” are words to live by. Although not a travel novice in the least, I do not like to cut my travel time too short. (As my friend Andrea found out when she was two minutes late to pick me up for a different trip to California the other week and I was already Googling the number for a cab.) I’m always at the airport plenty early so that if anything goes awry, I’m ready to take action.

As it turns out, this worked out beautifully last week. To save over $1k on my travel, I was connecting through LAX on my way to San Jose and was starting the day with a 7:35 flight to Los Angeles. I arrived at the gate around 6:30 and after not even a minute was called to the podium.

“Ma’am, is San Jose your final destination?”

– “Yes.”

“Did you check any bags?”

– “No.”

“Would you like to take the direct San Jose flight instead of connecting?”

– “Is that a real question?”

Although already wiling to jump at the new itinerary, I did ask the agent if he could get me a decent seat as I was worried he was going to put me in a middle seat in the back of the plane. He said he thought he could do all right and handed me a new ticket for seat 1A.

Yep, I flew direct, got in an hour earlier than I was scheduled, and got a first class upgrade. Not too shabby.


The flight home was not as magical (although really, how could it be?). I started off my day of travel getting beaned by a fly-away air hockey puck (long story but basically I was at one of those ‘cool kid’ tech conferences where they had a bunch of arcade games setup by our booth…I think you can figure out the rest. Actually, can I just side-bar here for a moment? If you’re a man reading this and you attend conferences where women are the minority of attendees, can you make a concerted effort to not be a dingbat? In addition to these guys who were so careless they missed hitting me in the eye by 1″, there was another gem of a gentleman who asked me “Did you used to be a model when you were younger?” Yes, a real person said this. Please don’t be this guy.) and was not looking forward to a very tight connection at my favorite airport (LAX) to end what had been a long week.

Boarding at SJC, we were on a small regional jet which meant we had to gate-check our bags. Usually I like gate-checking because it takes out anxiety about overhead space and makes the cattle call slightly more sane but this time I just inwardly groaned when I saw the pink tags come out because it meant we’d have to wait for the 60 or so carry-ons to be brought up when we landed.

Sure enough, even though we got in on time, I had to stand around for 10 minutes waiting for the bags to be brought around. My connection time was already scheduled for 44 minutes and I knew every second was going to count. I called my husband and asked him to look up what gate number I was going to next so that I could make a break for it after I got my bag.

Finally with bag in hand, I sprinted across Terminal 5 to the next gate and got there just as they started boarding my section. I sent my mom and E this picture from the jet bridge:

Delta jet bridge

Made it with 27 minutes to spare.

This was not my closest call, but it certainly felt like it. You see, I was determined to get home not just because if I had to spend another minute at LAX I was going to lose it, but because there was a Mother’s Day celebration at my son’s school the next morning. With an arrival time of 1 a.m., there wasn’t any room for error if I was going to make it to “Muffins with Mom” and see my kid for the first time since Sunday night. Thankfully, it appears luck was on my side for this entire trip. I may have even teared up during takeoff from the relief.

And yes, I made it to muffins at 7:30 the next morning.

takeoff from LAX

Evening takeoffs are the prettiest.