The good news is that I don't have to fly on a 6 AM flight out of SFO, which would have meant having to leave the house at 3:30 AM to be there at 4:30 AM, and the only practical way of doing it would be to drive it, adding $150 worth of parking to the cost. (Yes, it's business expense, but we've been told that all other things being equal, we should save money on travel.) Flying mid-day means I can take a bus to BART to SFO (although it takes a while from Fremont, as you're going the long way around a large rectangle), which is much less expensive. The bad news is that to fly at that time of day means I have to fly on America West via Phoenix rather than Northwest via Minneapolis as I'd hoped.
I hear you asking, "Why not fly direct? You're going to one of the biggest airport hubs in the country!" The answer is that all of the direct flights were at least $200 more than the change-of-plane flights, which was hard to justify.
Why Northwest over America West? Because (a) it's more direct; (b) I have more frequent-flyer miles on NWA; and (c) Northwest just gave me yesterday a free three-month silver elite frequent flyer upgrade, which means I might have been bumped up into first class, at least on the return trip which is on a Wednesday rather than the packed Monday morning flight. Also, if I make two NWA trips in those three months -- and they might send me out to Chicago or Detroit again in the next three months -- they'd make the silver status good for another year. Now silver elite is only mildly cool -- there are too many golds and platinums out there ahead of me every time I want to use the perks -- but it seemed like a good opportunity.
I almost ended up flying via Seattle on Alaska, given the airfares, and that would have been even more roundabout than the Phoenix change will be, but the frequent flyer miles would have been more useful -- I have about 130,000 miles on Alaska. My hope is to use them for a trip to Australia in 2010, but that of course assumes that Alaska is still partnered with QANTAS. I don't ever want to fly to Australia in less than business class.
Meanwhile, today I brought my personal computer into work and "transferred my flag" to it -- that is, moved the files off my desk machines onto my personal machine that I'll need on the trip. My personal box is better than any laptop they could loan me for the trip; it has the one disadvantage that I can't plug it directly into my company network; however, at least in the new office, we've discovered that someone within range of my cubicle has left an open wireless link out there into which I can tap and then use VPN to get back to my own company network securely. I expect that won't last forever, as someone will notice the extra traffic, but we'll take advantage of it for now.
Then some things came up unexpectedly this afternoon that needed resolving before I went home. And I wanted AAA maps of the areas I'm going to be in next week, especially as it looks like I'll have the weekend free, so I had to run down to the AAA office, which wasted 45 minutes or so. One thing led to another, and here I am at nearly 10 PM just now finishing everything I needed to do.
Fortunately for me, I have no deadlines on Saturday, although I need to do laundry and most of my packing then. Sunday I'm going to the baseball game with Raven O'Neill -- she's the lucky one who gets the other lower-box seat. Then it's off to Chicago.
Being in Chicago means that I'll miss SiliCon. If I do get the intermediate weekend of October 8-9 off, I'm thinking of doing a bit of railfanning, about which more later if it comes to pass.