Trip Review: DEN – SWF

My flight from Denver to Phoenix departed before 6am so I decided to stay at the new Westin hotel at Denver International Airport. The best part about this hotel is that it is 40 yards from the security checkpoint. This is by far my favorite airport hotel. While not the nicest Westin hotel, it has large guest rooms and offers superb convenience. When staying at this hotel I am able to set my alarm clock to 30 min before boarding if I’m not checking bags. Plus it’s a stunning building that offers a nice contrast to the airport.

Denver’s new airport hotel

Although I have access to the Admirals Club in Denver thanks to my Citi Prestige card, I decided to sleep the extra few min and skip the lounge. When I walked over to the airport from the hotel I was shocked to see to see that the security lines were already filling up  at 4:50am. Another reason TSA PreCheck is so valuable.

Parked next to my gate I saw one of AA’s heritage series planes. American is honoring past airlines that they have acquired over the years by flying planes with the livery of the past airlines. I think that this one lives in Denver as I’ve seen it before. This 737 is dressed in the old PSA airlines livery

AA’s Heritage Series honoring PSA Airlines

Once you travel a certain amount each year it pays to be loyal to a particular airline because of the benefits they give you. The best two benefits of being an Executive Platinum member with American Airlines is unlimited complimentary upgrades on domestic flights and 4 systemwide upgrades good for an upgrade on any ticket worldwide with up to 3 segments. I’ll use my first one on an upcoming trip to fly first class on American’s A321 Transcon and 777-300. Even though the flight is only an hour and a half from Denver to Phoenix, I’m always glad to receive an upgrade. The first class cabin on AA domestic planes is nothing special although it does give you enough room to work on a laptop undisturbed by the person in front of you reclining his seat.

AA’s 737 first class

Unfortunately on my flight from Phoenix to Philadelphia I was 4th on the upgrade standby list and didn’t make the cut. Thankfully though, I had a decent seat in economy without a seat mate for the majority of the flight. Another perk of being an AA ExecPlat member is being able to reserve premium economy or exit row seats for free, for myself and everyone on my reservation. The flight attendants announced that this was the last flight for the captain as he was retiring. The wife of the captain was on board and sat next to me for the approach and landing as my seat was next to the exit and she could watch her husband leave the plane for the last time. There was a whole celebratory atmosphere among the staff, which was neat. They were trying to coordinate for fire trucks to spray the plane when it arrived in Philadelphia but, alas, that didn’t happen.

Exit Row seat on AA’s 757-200

My flight from Philly to Newburgh was canceled due to weather. I was automatically rebooked on the next flight but that left me with over 4 hours at the PHL airport. Before eating at Geno’s Steak’s airport outlet I spent the majority of my time at Admirals Club between terminal C and B, which was the old US Airways flagship lounge. It is now one of my favorite Admirals Clubs because of the size and views of the airport. One of the things I value most in an airport lounge is a comfy chair with views of the tarmac so I can spot cool planes and mentally assemble my flying bucket list. In actuality the lounge amenities are sparse and the Wi-Fi is painfully slow. Netflix is a definite no go. And the food options are fairly sterile except for a guacamole bar that AA has implemented into their lounges as a quick fix.

View of the Admirals Club main area
Food options available at every Admirals Club
Tastes like prepackaged cookie dough
The two highlights of the lounge were the made-to-order guacamole
and the espresso machine

Anyway the short flight from PHL to Newburg is a favorite of mine because it’s not often that I get to fly on a prop plane. It is loud but the flying time is only 40 min so it’s worth it.

AA’s de Havilland Dash 8
Fairly tight seats fit the bill for the 40 min flight

After a long day of travel I finally made it to NY and am looking forward to my dinner tomorrow night at Michelin starred Sushi Yasuda. For solo dining there is nothing I prefer more than high-end sushi because you get to converse with the sushi chef and it’s always a quick dinner. I was also greeted by a nice surprise upon landing in SWF.

Definitely opens some options for Newburgh airport

Non-stop Norwegian flights from SWF to Europe is very interesting. At their prices it opens the possibility for some weekend trips.

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