Gate 69

I’ve flown a lot this year–over 51,000 miles, according to my most recent calculations. Yesterday’s flights from Eugene to San Francisco and from San Francisco to Calgary put me into Air Canada’s top tier program for 2016. By the end of the year I’ll likely get into the program’s third tier, where international lounge access kicks in–not bad, considering I swore I’d stop using Star Alliance carriers for international travel after an Air Canada agent gave my travel agent wrong information that resulted in me not getting status for 2015. Heck, if I hadn’t flown British Airways to the Middle East this winter I’d have an outside shot at Super Elite status.

Anyway. Most of my flying stories are variations of “it was long” or “I’m really glad I’m not flying again for a couple weeks” (like right now: I’m in Calgary till the 24th!). Some are minor horror stories. This one’s actually kinda fun. I had what’s known as a “hot” connection yesterday in San Francisco. Actually, this one was so scorching it could’ve been a Steve Simmons column: I had exactly fifteen minutes to make my connection to Calgary. I checked the departures board and saw that I was leaving from Gate 69. I then realized I was at Gate 61; turning around, I realized Gate 69 was the exact same game from which I’d just finished deplaning.

Same gate.

Same plane.

Same crew.

Same seat. 23B. I’m not a superstitious flier, but I usually try and book myself into the right-side aisle seat in either row 14 (for Theoren Fleury) or 23 (Michael Jordan). It hasn’t failed me yet. And so fifteen minutes after leaving flight 6400 I walked onto flight 6348 and assumed the exact same seat I’d just vacated. Three hours later I was in my apartment. Moreover, the baggage handlers took my luggage off the plane, looked at the tag, and put it right back on. It was waiting for me after I cleared customs.

Tomorrow’s flying story, which is actually less about flying and more about a gawdawful rewards program, isn’t a good one. This one is, and it made me smile.

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