A Few Days In Dallas

It was again time to get out of here for a few days and use my flight benefits to catch up with a few friends in Dallas. Besides meeting friends, I was excited to finally check out the city. It is still growing rapidly and is consistently being rated as one of top places to live in the US.

Hanging Out With Bruce

My former co-worker moved down to Dallas from Iowa to continue working remotely from the comfort of their (huge) house down there. It seems that Bruce had a good thing going down there so I wanted to get the scoop on what that was all about. His wife was also out of town so we had a boys day out, grabbing some breakfast at a nearby bakery in Grapevine, riding around in his Roadster, squeezing a quick workout in, and stopping by Costco to get a new portable hard drive to replace my failed WD.

Couchsurfing Meetup Downtown

I met Moritz during one of couchsurfing First Fridays meetups in Kansas City as he was getting ready to move to Acapulco and work remotely from there (you see a pattern here?). Following him on facebook, it seemed like he had a blast down there so when I found out he relocated to Dallas, I wanted to meet up and hear about it myself. It just happened that there was a weekly CS meetup going on downtown, so we decided to hit that up with Bruce and Chris, another friend I met in Brazil when he stayed at the same dorm with me in Barra da Lagoa.

Prior to the meetup, Bruce and I spent some time roaming around downtown Dallas. It really surprised how deserted the place was. It reminded me of Cedar Rapids on steroids - more and taller buildings, more traffic, even a light rail, but almost no people. With everyone commuting for a long time, it did not seem that many wanted to hang around there after work.

We walked over to the spot where JFK was assassinated, checked out the water plaza, and the statue garden near the art museum and it seemed that there was not much else left to see downtown.

Aviation Museum Hopping

With both Southwest Airlines and American Airlines headquarters, Dallas claims to be the Aviation Capital of the world so there is no shortage of aviation-themed museums in the area. Both of us being aviation geeks, we did not mind a bit! Our first stop was the CR Smith museum of American Airlines. Even from the outside it looked cool - the roof was made in the shape of an airplane wing and there was a constant stream of DFW departures coming above it.

Inside, the space was not very big, but it was filled with lots of goodies and movies playing about different parts of AA history. One could easily spend a few hours there but we got there with just about an hour left before closing time so it seemed to fly by pretty quick.

Next day we visited the Frontiers of Flight museum at Love field. From the outside, it looked funny with the Southwest B737 fuselage sticking out.

Inside it was bigger than the AA museum, with one hall dedicated all kinds of military and old civilian aircraft. It was cool seing a Tiger Moth on display after I flew one in New Zealand. There was also quite a bit of info on Braniff Airlines that called Love field home for many years.

The other part hosted a large playground for kids and a really cool display dedicated to Southwest airlines. Just as with CR Smith museum, one can easily spend an afternoon here but we had to go soon so I could catch my flight out... If only I knew I was not going to make it out that day...

Nonrev Flying Joys

As I have mentioned before, my friend Cody recently added me to his travel benefits on United so now I get to fly for free in the US. The catch is that I am flying stand-by, meaning I only get a seat if the airplane is not full AND if, essentially, there are no other stand-bys. So I am all the way at the bottom of the list, but hey, I will take it!

Getting to Dallas was not too bad. I got bumped off the first flight to Houston and had to wait another hour for the next flight out, but otherwise it worked out fine. Funny, connecting at Houston, I spent good 20 minutes hiking through the terminals to get to my next flight just to see the gate I arrived at being about 300 feet away air-side.

Getting out of Dallas turned out to be quite an adventure. Even though I could fly out of Dallas Love or DFW airports and connect in Denver, Houston, or Chicago, most flights were almost booked up and with other stand-bys, there weren't many options for me. Being Friday, I expected it to be a bit more exciting, but still thought I had it figured out - I would get to Dallas Love for 12:42 flight to Houston. It showed eight available seats once we left for the airport. Alternatively, there was another flight at 1:35 with ten seats available. From Houston, the direct flights home were all already overbooked but I could go to Chicago and then connect there.

Twenty minutes later as we were getting close to the airport, the 12:42 flight showed almost booked and too many standbys so I rebooked myself onto 1:35 flight. Oh well. We had some time to check out the flight museum so it was all good. As the time got closer, more and more stand-bys got added so I missed that flight as well. There were three more flights going to Houston, but two of them got delayed by hours and finally cancelled and the last one was full with all the rebooked passengers so after spending seven hours at the airport, it was time to call it a day.

It was a much smoother sailing on Sunday, flying out of DFW and connecting in Denver without any issues. Good times!