My stay in Chicago has unexpectedly been prolonged, thanks to intense rain that led my 10:15 p.m southwest flight home from midway to be delayed two hours. At which point I was able to reschedule my flight at no cost to tomorrow at noon. Thank you Southwest. (Apparently this is possible after your flight is delayed more than an hour.)
Meanwhile, we had a good day in Chicago yesterday starting with a great performance by Hubbard street dance at the Harris Theatre. After the matinee, my sister and I walked around the new parts of Millenium Park/grant Park including
At Maggie Daley park
the lovely prairie gardens of Lurie Park and the cool kids playgrounds and snaking ice rink at Maggie Daley park, although I gather locals were not pleased that old live trees were cut down to make way for the playgrounds, which oddly feature bizarre dead trees. We had an excellent dinner outside overlooking Michigan avenue at Acanto, a new restaurant owned by the same person in charge of The Gage, next door, (try the chicken piccata and the Bellini desert- a scoop of peach sorbet in a pool of prosecco.)
Today I went with my sister–in -law, a designer, to NeoCon, the enormous commercial interior design show at the Merchandise Mart; then I walked along the new Riverwalk east to Michigan avenue. Chicago, looking good. Now if only it would stop raining.
I was not pleased to learn that my 2.5 hour wait at Chicago’s Midway airport for a connecting flight last week had grown to 3.5 hours (due to weather delays) but I was delighted to find an outpost of Manny’s – the famous Chicago deli that I have meant to visit, after strong recommendations from my son and stepdaughter – right by the Southwest gates at the airport. I had a fantastic corned beef sandwich on rye for a late dinner!
||March 16, 1967
As word comes from today’s DMRegister that there’ s talk of trying to expand the selection of direct Southwest flights out of Des Moines (Orlando and St. Louis but no promises and would happen, at the earliest next summer), I’ve been thinking about advice I’d give to people flying Southwest out of DSM right now – based on my first trial run earlier this month. And here it is:
– Although Southwest offers no fee to check your luggage (how refreshing), I am glad I didn’t check mine because if I had I wouldn’t have been able to switch flights in Las Vegas at the last minute after my LAX flight was delayed and I hopped aboard a Burbank flight. Or so I gather. The first question the counter agent asked me after I inquired about switching was whether I’d checked my luggage. I hadn’t and miraculously I was en route to Burbank minutes later. When I got to Burbank, I received another update on my original LAX flight. It still hadn’t left Vegas, delayed over 2 hours and counting…
– Paying the extra $12 or so to get priority boarding was definitely worth it!! Otherwise it is essential to check in as close as possible to exactly 24 hours before flight time so you get a good position in line, preferably A group or failing that B group but NOT C group. Those folks get the middle seats and there’s less likelihood, if the plane is booked, of getting an overhead spot to stow their luggage. The one flight I didn’t take and pay the extra $12 I got an A44 number in line – not bad. And I ended up with a good aisle seat close to the front of the plane (so I could exit quickly and make my connection).
– Speaking of connections, in Las Vegas my flight arrived in the C terminal and I had to haul a** to make my connecting flight in the B terminal, which seemed like miles away (with only a few moveable walkways). The slot machines strewed in the corridors didn’t help as I had knots of people to get around while dragging my suitcase. I don’t know if this is always the case on the DSM-Vegas-LA flight. (The one I took was at noon on a Friday out of DSM.)
– My connection at Chicago’s Midway was much much better – the Seattle-Midway flight landed in a gate only three gates away from the Midway-Des Moines flight. Yippee!! (This was on the 2:30 Wednesday flight from Seattle to Midway and the 9:30 pm flight from midway to dsm.)
Another thing to love about Southwest: their flexibility. Yesterday when I realized that my connecting flight from Vegas to LA was going to be delayed yet another hour due to mechanical problems with the plane back in Tucson, I decided it was time to act. I tried to get on an earlier LAX flight which was oversold but the airline said I could give it a shot…and not loose my seat on my scheduled flight. No extra cost. No hassles. What a delightful change from other airlines which are rarely so flexible and would charge extra to change my ticket. Even more amazing, as i was,rushing back across the airport to see if I could get,on the earlier LAX flight, I passed a gate where a flight to Burbank was boarding. I remembered that my brother lived even closer to Burbank than LAX so,I dashed over to the desk, asked,if there were any seats left and once again, was told it was oversold but worth a try. A few minutes later , my name was called and an hour later I was at the Burbank airport when I got a,text saying my original flight still had not left Vegas. Even though Burbank was more expensive, no one said a word about charging me more or not letting me on the flight. Talk about a good way to build brand loyalty! meanwhile here (see photo) is the reason why I am now staying in a sweet bungalow in Toluca Lake with my brother and his family. Beautiful,area by the way. We walked in some lovely residential areas, passing houses owned by movie stars like Steve Carrell and even sawmthe house that was used as the exterior for the brady bunch!
So according to the DM Register there has indeed been a “Southwest effect” in Des Moines – i.e. fares have dropped about 6 percent since Southwest FINALLY decided to grace us with its presence. Southwest-effect-slashes-Des-Moines-prices. And that’s great! Oddly I’ve yet to fly Southwest. Up until yesterday Southwest only flew to Chicago from DSM (twice daily). But today it will begin flying to Las Vegas which should open up western routes to places like Tucson/Phoenix and L.A. where I need to fly. An Elvis impersonator and Vegas showgirls will be on board to kick off the new Vegas flight!
On the few occasions when someone from my family has opted to fly to Chicago (vs. drive or take the Megabus) they’ve opted for other airlines that have dropped their prices as a result of Southwest’s arrival – and as I recall they’re lower or more convenient times than Southwest. Still I would like to thank Southwest by flying the airline sometime – should it prove cost-efficient and convenient.
We interrupt this blog for an exciting long-awaited announcement: Southwest Airlines is coming to Des Moines. So reports Iowa Public Radio. Not many details yet – but Southwest recently purchased Air Tran, which flies from Des Moines to a few places. Now the trick will be getting Southwest to fly here, there and everywhere from Des Moines! And to fly relatively cheaply – in recent years we’ve found that it’s no longer the cheapest option when we’ve tried to fly Southwest from places like Chicago, Kansas City or Omaha.