The Traveling Bug

Are bugs good? Well I think there’s a whole lot of agree to disagree about it, and I’d say the same goes for the traveling bug. This weekend I went to the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference in Cleveland, OH and allow me to share with you, it’s not a popular travel option and involves multiple stops and layovers. There are no direct flights from SEA-TAC to CLE so we had our pick of Chicago, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas. Now for those of you with a pretty good idea about American geography, you’ll know that some of these layover locations are nowhere near Cleveland, in the wrong direction or completely past Cleveland, yes but those were the options available. This also opened up a variety of airlines to fly because none was superior and all flew all over the place.

Luckily, or unuluckily ¬†so for us a desire to attend the Friday evening keynote speaker meant leaving Tacoma at 4AM to get to our 6:30AM flight and we would arrive in Cleveland at 3:30PM. We decided to fly through Chicago Midway (not O’Hare) and quickly discovered there was more to learn! From Seattle to Chicago we switched time zones and from Chicago to Cleveland we switched another again! We were now in Eastern time, 3 hours ahead of the Pacific Time we were familiar with. Flying messes with your brain, honestly I didn’t know how long we were in the air, how far we were traveling, where we were, what was personal space and how do you occupy oneself squeezed into a prone uncomfortable chair for multiple hours? It made for an interesting day of flying, enhanced more so by it was my first time flying Southwest and across the midwest!

As a Hawaii gal, I’ve only ever really flown Hawaiian Airlines and been in a flying culture very similar to hawaii with welcome smiles, guava juice to drink and meals during mealtimes, but other airlines are not like Hawaiian Air. We flew Southwest this time. First, southwest- you’d think then that this airline would fly to the southern and western-most state of America aka hawaii, but it doesn’t. That doesn’t make that much sense to me.¬†Anyway what surprised me is that Southwest’s fight costs INCLUDE two free checked bags (which we didn’t need only going away for the weekend but that’s a major perk I think!) and no fees to change flights! Beyond that Southwest doesn’t assign seats or charge you for where and what kind of seat you want, instead you buy your ticket and the time you check in determines where you are in line to boarding the plane to select your seat! That was novel to me! And there are no guarantees maybe everyone wants a middle seat, or there’s a big group that wants to sit together in the back or so many babies, or that you may even be able to sit with your group if you checked in at different times.

Overall it was an interesting travel experience, even more so flying back to the PNW and feeling three hours ahead but today’s a Monday so no rest for me, it’s another school day!