2020-09-13-Back to Travel-Collette tour of the West · Key Blogs

Back to Travel – Flying has changed

Empty terminal at SFO

Gone are the days of long security lines at major airports – at least for now. I was the only passenger in sight at the brand new terminal one this Sunday morning at 450am. Named after gay rights legend Harvey Milk, this is the newest of SFO’ terminals which now houses American, Southwest, and Jet Blue. A bright, airy, and spacious departure hall makes for easy check-in even when someday soon the masses return.

Seat 3F

One of the rare pandemic advantages is that loyalty upgrades are much easier to come bye these days. It is a relief to see that my 20+ year loyalty to AA still matters as my coach seat was moved to main cabin extra at 72 hours and on the dot 24 hours prior, I got my first class cabin seat confirmed with segment credits I had earned over the years. The reality of mergers and consolidation meant that in the days before Covid, such upgrades had all but become unattainable with upgrade request lists as long as 80 names long.

Decommissioned aircraft from AA & Spirit at DFW airport

A quick plane change in Dallas got me to my connecting flight to Denver. This experience was less fun. The plane was completely full – every seat taken. My faith in fellow Americans was to be tested for the 2 hours aboard as there was little room to move around. Fortunately, everyone wore their masks and stayed put in their seats. That said, my rating for American is a five out of ten while my United and Southwest flights got nines out of ten. Think twice before purchasing tickets and read up on individual airline policies regarding empty middle seats. No national standard means each carrier has their own set of rules.

Mile high airport with its iconic shape

As scheduled, the flight landed at 151pm and our #GoCollette tour director Wendy awaited me at baggage claim. A short transfer got us to the newly renovated Sheraton Denver Downtown where our tour begins in earnest tonight at 6pm with an orientation reception. For now, it’s off to a walk as I still have 4000 steps to complete.

One thought on “Back to Travel – Flying has changed

  1. That’s so disappointing to hear about the full American flight. I understand the airlines are hurting and need the money from the full flights but sacrificing customers health isn’t worth it. They are definitely off my list of airlines I’ll fly until covid is over with.


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