Our first “non-rev” trip was to Washington, DC in July 2012. Cole had started a few weeks prior to our trip and we were both cleared to travel on standby. We decided to make the day trip up to Washington DC because there were flights almost every hour and we didn’t think we’d have any trouble getting back home later that day.
We woke up early and took the first flight out that Sunday morning. We arrived in DC by 9 AM, which meant we had plenty of time to explore the city. It was already 90 degrees by the time we landed and we wanted to check out all the monuments and sites. We hopped on the metro, which was very convenient and quickly took us into the city. We started off by exploring the Mall and taking a few touristy photos…
After we got our fix of history, we decided to head over to Georgetown. Due to the heat and that Georgetown is a few miles away from downtown DC, we rented bikes from the “Capital Bike Share” which ended up being the best decision ever. In just a few minutes and for only a few dollars, we were in downtown Georgetown and the breeze from riding the bikes gave us a break from the sweltering heat. We biked through the campus and checked out the cute little shops along the main street, “M Street”. Georgetown is one of the most beautiful little neighborhoods and you could spend hours walking along the streets that sits just a couple blocks from the Potomac River.
We stopped for a beer at a quaint little bar, Mr. Smiths, which advertised itself as one of the oldest bars in town. This was the first time we had a chance to see how the flights home were looking. Immediately, we knew we were in trouble, despite that just a few hours ago, the multiple flights home all had tons of seats on them, we were now looking at hundreds of people on the standby list. We had no idea how this happened, but we knew we had to be creative – of all cities to try to fly out of, DC is the one with many options since it has 3 major airports in its vicinity. Unfortunately, we were out of luck with flying directly home from any of the airports. We tried to brainstorm how we could make a connection to a different city and then fly back to Atlanta, but again we were out of luck. In the middle of summer, it seemed like everyone was trying to get back to Atlanta on a Sunday afternoon. We caught a break when we checked flights out of Richmond and there seemed to be a few seats left, however, there were only two flights left and Richmond was still a two hour drive away. Unfortunately, we had to cut our first trip short, and raced back to the airport to rent a car. We hit some traffic on I-95 on the way down and just pulled up to the airport with 30 minutes before the flight left. Cole ran inside to check to see if we would even be able to get seats on the flight, while I waited outside with the rental car. By some miracle, there were two seats left on the plane, so as long as we could return the car and make it to the gate before they shut the door, we would make it back home. We raced through the terminal and ran up to the security only to discover that I left the plane tickets Cole handed me in the rental car. Now we had to turn around and run back to the check-in counter to get new tickets printed. We finally made it to the gate in just enough time to see the doors being shut and we missed the flight. Luckily, the last flight of the night had a few seats left and we were able to get a confirmed seat. Although the flight ending up being an hour delayed, we were just happy to make it back home after our first “non-revenue” trip. I am surprised Cole didn’t just leave me in DC after I forgot the tickets..but at least it made for a good story.
Count of Cities Visited: 1
UPDATE: We went back to DC six months later in December and had another great trip – biking around and enjoying all the holiday decorations adorning the city. Here are a few photos from that trip: