After being home for three whole weeks, I’d almost forgotten how to travel.
Fortunately, unlocking travel master status is a lot like riding a bicycle. You go through the motions, packing your bag and choosing your seat on the plane. By the time you take the train to the airport in the morning and amble through the security line, you’re back in the game.
As I began a big trip last week, I flew to Dallas and stayed for the night. In a hotel. Not on the floor.
In my early days of world travel, I slept on the floor of the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport more than once. As airport sleeping goes, it was solidly mid-range. I didn’t get evicted or hassled, and no one tried to steal my bag.
On the other hand, it was damned uncomfortable. On an average night I managed a total of three hours of sleep, “tossing and turning” (an exaggerated phrase) on the hard floor. At 6am I’d stumble into the lounge for coffee and an apple before the 6:50 flight.
This time, I arrived at 6pm and spent much of the evening in the Centurion lounge, also known as “American Express captures the flag of domestic lounges.”
What a place! Unlike most domestic lounges, where you’re lucky to get watered-down orange juice and stale snack mix, the Centurion Lounge provides a full meal service, premium drinks, and even 15-minute complimentary spa treatments. Next time you’re there, make the trek if you can.
After a premium drink or two, I went and walked around the D terminal. ALL of it. I said hello to my friends at Simply Books, one of the few remaining airport bookstores that isn’t controlled by the Hudson mafia. I passed by the Starbucks I like and the one I don’t.
The only fitness center in an American Airlines lounge is located in Dallas. It’s wedged away in the A terminal and consists of a treadmill and an exercise bike… nothing else. Sometimes I go there and dutifully run 5k in between flights—but not this time.
At 10pm I finally checked into the DFW Grand Hyatt, pretty much the best airport hotel anywhere in North America.
Unfortunately my night in Dallas wasn’t as much fun as these guys:
But at least I got some sleep.