Rockies Region Transit Adventures

A Pleasant First Class Flight to Salt Lake City to a Flight to Nowhere Above Fogged in Jackson Hole

I leave the UnitedClub at 1:10 and find out my next flight is in the F Gates. this is the new international terminal. I take the train out there to the airy modern terminal that only opened a couple of years ago.

I go up to the gate agent, show him my long receipt with my reconfirmed flights. I ask him if I need new boarding passes and reprints them for paper ones. I look up at the standby monitor and see 40 names of the Medallian Members on the flight. Even stranger! The mysteries of airline opt-ups. I’m just a regular SkyMiles member who got the upgrade because of oversold coach.

I board with first class after the pre-boards. We have an older grandmotherly flight attendant and I’m surrounded by 3 older gentlemen going to Park City who I hear wiffs of being in paid first class from. The crew passes out water bottles and do pre-departure beverages. I get Ginger Ale, the gentlemen around me wine. The attendant comes trough with orders, were first since were sitting in the back. I’m addressed as Mr. Cox. The choices are Chicken Salad or a Hamburger. I decide on the hamburger and decide one drink won’t hurt on this long travel day, ordering a gin and tonic for our 3 hour and 43 minute flight.

  • 1:54 – The safety video starts. The CEO now introduces the safety video. It’s a la Continental Airlines, the airline that started the trend.
  • 1:57 – Jetway removed, but we’re still waiting on loading bags.

I finally take off for Salt Lake City at 2:15 and get a nice view of the huge Atlanta Airport and the MARTA and Skytrain station in the domestic terminal.

  • 2:28 – Were above the clouds. Soon hot towels and then linens. I feel like I’m underwater, my ears not adjusting to the pressure.
  • 2:49 – Gin and tonic in hand as I try and stay awake for the meal service. Then a snack basket with the same 3 as economy!

The meal service is a hamberger or a chicken salad. I try the Hamburger. It’s tastes reheated yet okay, reminds me of an AmBurger.

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It’s not all that bad.  I spend the rest of the flight zoning out there is also a more premium snack basket later passed around.

5:00 ET – Arrive in the Rockies, were getting somewhere. It’s a winter wonderland of snow and more.

I arrive in Salt Lake City at 4:08. My gate to Jackson Hole is slowly boarding a flight to Paris. I have until 8:20 and decide to leave the airport and take the light rail into downtown. I try and see if I could check my backpack but they can’t do it at the gate yet. I stop at the ticket counter and am told even with my opt-up to first class I would still have to pay the $25 bag fee. This isn’t worth it so I check the transit app.  I find out the green line is scheduled to depart in one minute, tap my credit card for payment and head into town to find a drugstore and a supermarket (for something dry for breakfast tomorrow) with my luggage. The train is basically standing room only.
I get off at Jackson/Euclid(12 Photos). I’ve found a Rite Aid there and need to buy sunscreen and Chapstick.

I then have a nice walk over the North Temple Bridge(7 Photos) including a few of the FrontRunner Station(7 Photos) where I’m happy to see that the NJT Comets are now running as the first car in every consist with 3 modern BiLevels Behind. For awhile most were in storage, I assume its a sign that ridership is picking up!


Next it’s onto downtown for a walk. I’m craving soup as a second meal. I have an hour walk through downtown and finally find soup as I’m realizing I need the 6:48 Green Line to get back to the airport with enough time. I have a nice hour in a cafe before its time to head back to the airport. I’m there at 7:10.

I’m stuck at the nude-o-scope even though my Jackson boarding pass says Sky Priority all over it. I only see PreCheck, not a sky priority line. I head to the gate and check the seat map on my phone. The flight is dead. The monitors say only 25 people have checked in with 90 economy seats available. It’s a full size A319 I’m though at a window with someone at the aisle. I go to the gate agent and ask if I can get a row to myself. The answer is yes, it’s an empty flight and everyone who’s connecting is already here. He hands me a new boarding pass for 7D, and I’m back down to Zone 2 instead of the Elite zone that my previous boarding pass said. I would have chosen a back row but don’t care enough to 8ask) it’s only a 50 minute flight. I almost could have driven to Jackson Hole faster since arriving in SLC at 4:00pm.

We board at 7:55. I grab the window. From the chit-chat I think I’m the only one alone. We then sit waiting for our 8:22 scheduled departure time.
At 8:10, 12 minutes early (flights close 15 minutes in advance the doors close). Then the safety demo for the 33 minute flight. We’re told the plane is overwater certified with live vests. We’re also told due to the short flying time there isn’t a beverage service.
We really pushback at 8:18.
It’s a 10 minute taxi to 8:28. We take off and there is a great view of the Moon over the Wasatch Valley.

  • 8:33– Reach 10,000 feet.
    During the flight I see a beverage service in First Class. Back in the economy cabin we get nothing. The clear valley below breaks for clouds.
  • 8:50 – Start are descent with some turbulence into the clouds.
  • 8:56 – I see coats handed back in First Class
  • 8:57 – Get the lights for the crews pre-descent check.
  • 9:03 – They announce were within a quarter mile of the airport but in a holding pattern because of fog reducing the visibility to a quarter mile, we need a half-mile to land. We have enough fuel to hold for 10 to 15 minutes otherwise returning to Salt Lake City with 20 to 30 minutes. It’s agony wondering where we will end up for the night
  • 9:22 – They announce were diverting, another 30 minute flight. They come trough with water.

I check my phone to refresh the Delta App after we’re back at 35,000 feet it says I’m rebooked on the same flight number at 7:00am tomorrow. It’s clearly time to try again.

We get back to Salt Lake City, landing at 9:55. I call the Hostel that I’m supposed to be staying in and leave a message, as we taxi, knowing I’m stuck eating the $40 for an un-slept-in bed tonight but don’t want to be no-showed.

As we arrive (all 30 of us) the gate agent makes an announcement directly on the plane, telling us the same thing, we will try again at 7:00am tomorrow, use the same boarding passes. We will board the same plane at the same gate. Please see agents waiting to assist you with discounted hotel vouchers. I go up to one and mention that the initial delay today was mechanical, this is a no-go excuse sadly. I’m handed an pink hotel voucher, and a SkyTeam Amentity kit from a normally locked movable unit, another has pillows and blankets. I’m also told I could stay and attempt to sleep in the airport. I ask if there any armless benches and am told just a couple but only by the restrooms. I have barely slept last night and decide to splurge for a hotel room considering the fact I’m planning to ski tomorrow and real rest will be good.

To use the pink hotel voucher you call a number on it and a creepy sounding man answers who starts listing hotels starting with a Holiday Inn for $100, I accept the Ramada for $57 (I later regret not asking if anything would be cheeper) and write a bunch of info on the voucher (a pen is required), I’m happy he doesn’t ask for any credit card information. I then call the Ramada and am told to head outside as soon as possible, a shuttle is approaching.

I get to the curb, wait about ten minutes and when the minivan reaches it’s second stop at Terminal 2 (used by Delta although their basically one long terminal airside) I get one of the last two seats. I chat with another lone traveler from my flight. At check in I agree to a 5:30am Shuttle, it only operates every half-hour, 5:45 would have been more ideal.

I collapse at 11:00pm finally in a real bed!