Flexibility When Travelling

Flexibility When Travelling is Important

Flexibility applies from the ticket counter all the way through a trip - even a simple trip over the river and through the woods to visit Grandma. 

Austin to DFW to Louisville and Back

Even frequent travel will not prepare you for all of the simple problems that can infect your trip. American Airlines had a non-stop from AUS to SDF which was ideal. In the last few years routes have been trimmed, including this route which shuttled me from Austin to 15 minutes from Grandma's house in Louisville. 
American Airlines Messages

Change in Plans

Visit went well, decided to come home three days early - and willingly paid the small fee to change flights. I showed up at the airport a bit early -- then it happened. 

Somewhere in Texas a storm formed and DFW started having delays. The gate display showed a twenty minute delay. Then my phone started beeping... eight email messages, multiple text messages, and almost 11 hours after leaving Grandma's house, I made it home. 

Lessons about SDF

Louisville - SDF does not have ticketing counters behind security. A short delay would not be an issue since I have a full hour layover planned in DFW. A second delay, and a third delay and my transfer time disappeared (the Gate Agents never made an appearance). 

I needed to change my DFW to AUS ticket, which meant exiting the secure area to get back to the ticketing counters. Then I had one of the most mediocre $25 hamburgers ever. SDF does not have a wide selection of restaurants, so choices are very limited and very expensive. Back through security - thank you TSA Pre-Check and finally depart. 


One thing consistent about travel, bad weather takes a long time to get resolved. Finally seated in SDF and I received my first notice that the DFW to AUS flight was also delayed - not enough to be able to visit the AMEX Centurion Lounge, but enough that I didn't have to run through the terminal. Two gate changes later and I was in the air heading home. 

AUS at 1:30AM - Usually Very Quiet

Three flights (two from American and one from Southwest) arrived within minutes of each other. Down to baggage claim area, where the announcer changes the carousel for all three flights: "The signs in baggage claim are incorrect...". 

Key Lessons 

Your phone is your friend. Text messages arrive more frequently than email messages. When I left security and went back to ticketing my ticket for DFW to AUS was re-issued. I didn't have email access during the flight so text messaging caught me up as soon as we were taxiing. 

Having a snack in you carry-on is a good idea, even if the flight is under two hours long and you have plans for a quick visit to a premium lounge. Things change, but $25 hamburgers never live up to the price.

Really spend time considering checked luggage. Had I checked a piece of luggage I would have worried all night about when and how I would be reunited. Worst case - try to gate check your larger bag to make sure it is on the same plane. 

The Parking Spot - East allows pre-payment to save some change on your stay. End your trip early and you get no refund. Yes, it is in the policy so I cannot complain (lesson learned). But to save a few cents by pre-paying for a space makes no sense. In the future I will book a reservation online, then pay at the gate.