I’ve never been accused of licking the boot of any airline executive.  Anyway, that would be highly problematic to effect, as the natural position of their boot is planted firmly against the back of my neck as I lie prostrate on some distant airport floor watching my connection leave without me or reading the dreaded word “CANCELED” in bold red font next to my flight’s status on the airport information board. Figuratively speaking, of course.  Point is, I have come to expect things to go wrong when I enter the airport netherworld, and I am usually right, unfortunately.  So when everything goes right, I get nervous.

On my last two itineraries, one RDU to the Twin Cities and the other Raleigh to Manchester, New Hampshire, everything DID go right!  And fair is fair: I have to give Delta Airlines credit where it’s due.  Especially since all six flight segments were on RJs, and the New Hampshire trip was a connection through, gulp, LAGUARDIA!

Should I nitpick? Let’s see, well, all flights were on time except for my return connection at LGA (Manchester (MHT)/LGA/RDU).  The LaGuardia to Raleigh flight was reported to be north of two hours late and worsening when I received two notices by text about the delays.  Yet when I arrived at MHT Airport and asked the Delta gate agent whether I might catch different connections (a practice I perfected decades ago), he swiftly hit a few keys on his computer and produced a taxi voucher Manchester to Boston Logan and a boarding pass on a nonstop flight BOS/RDU that put me in earlier than my connection would have had it been on time.  It’s hard to beat that service, and the friendly, competent Delta agents made the slight bump easy to bear.

I am no fan of regional jets, but the flights to MSP were comfortable CRJ700 and CRJ900 airplanes, and sparkling clean.  The cockpit and cabin crews were cordial and efficient, and with schedules being met, it was a virtually painless, even enjoyable experience.  Imagine that!  I am marveling at the memory as I write these words.

Ditto for the flight connection through LGA.  Even Delta’s LaGuardia terminal was clean and neat (unlike a recent trip through part of their JFK complex).  Both flight crews (RDU/LGA and LGA/MHT) were as friendly and efficient as the MSP flight crews had been, and the planes just as clean.  The on-time operation was even more surprising given the low ceiling and a steady rain.  Here’s a shot of the sea of taxis at LGA that I took from the Delta SkyClub window:

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Delta even provided me with free drink coupons on all flights, too, in case my upgrades didn’t come through:

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But I didn’t have to use the coupons because, well, the cherry on top of this experience was that I was upgraded on every flight, save the LGA/MHT leg, which was an all-coach ERJ.

I wracked my brain trying to think of something that didn’t go right on these flights.  I feel especially bad that they were remarkably normal because of the pervasive flying misery being meted out in Chicago concurrent with my itineraries.   The only complaint I have is that this ISN’T the norm. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

New Hampshire was gorgeous, by the way, with the autumn leaves nearing their peak colors:

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