Let’s try this one more time. I had the unfortunate event of writing this post yesterday, only to lose it upon attempting to save the post. :-(
Earlier this week I traveled to Orlando, Florida for a business conference. I continued to stray away from Southwest Airlines when traveling cross country to get direct flights instead of having one or more layovers. This resulted in about $50 more than a flight with Southwest, but I think it’s worth the extra cost. Even if the company was paying for it, I would do the same with my own money. In addition, Virgin America continues to have one of the more comfortable seats in the airline industry, wide enough to fit my not-so-small frame, high enough on the back, along with having a “riser” on the seat back for taller individuals. They also have one of the better in-flight entertainment systems in the industry, with a lot of channels I actually want to watch.
We stayed at the Orlando World Center Marriott, just minutes from Disney World and SeaWorld, although I didn’t go to either of them. I actually didn’t leave the hotel from the time I arrived on the 12th until I left on the 16th. The hotel is large and clean, with a nice pool, which I went to on Sunday for an hour or so. The portion of the conference I attended ended on Tuesday and my flight didn’t leave until late Wednesday. The hope was to spend a good portion of the day Wednesday lounging by the pool, but it wasn’t meant to be as thunderstorms took over the day.
There were a couple of new things I tested out for the first time during the trip. A few months ago I applied for a TSA Pre✓™ Known Traveler Number (KTN), which would allow me to go through security without removing my belt, shoes, jacket, and computer from the bag. The cost was $85 and the KTN is valid for 5 years. Now that I’ve tried it I can unequivocally say it was worth the money. Getting through security at LAX and MCO (Orlando) was smooth and quick. I just put everything in my computer bag, placed the bag on the conveyer belt and walked through the security screening area. It was as painless as going through security can possibly be.
I also used Apple iPhone Passbook as my boarding pass for the first time on the return trip from Orlando. Using the Passbook I was able to check my bag, get through security, and board the plan by just scanning the iPhone screen. Again, it was smooth and quick. However, I did still print a boarding pass, which I kept in my pocket just in case, but never needed it throughout the trip.
The only inconvenience from the trip was checking my bag at LAX. I paid for the checked bag the night before. However, it still took almost 45 minutes to check my bag after arriving at the airport. This was really too long. I arrived at the airport just about 1 hr. 45 minutes from the departure time and didn’t have enough time to eat breakfast at the airport prior to the flight. The lines for the various food shops were also quite long and not moving fast. I ate for the first time later that night after arriving in Orlando.