Sunday, December 11, 2016

MWFF Recap – Thursday – Taking Flight

This is Part two in a six-part MWFF recap series:
Epilogue – Monday – Sleepy Birthday

Image courtesy Virgin America

I tried to sleep.

 I really tried. 

I couldn’t.

I tried watching videos on my phone to keep me lulled. On and off I dozed, on and off for an hour… until my alarm blared with a cheerful “Good Morning” at 3:15 am. Our Lyft wouldn’t be arriving until 4:30, so we had more than enough time to wash up and do final packing (which is nice for a clumsydog like me). 
Our Lyft arrives to bring our half-awake souls to the Airport, giving us one more look at the pretty SFO décor in the process.

Pretty rush of lights

We seem to have arrived just in time for the ticketing desks to open. Warm country music fills the halls as friendly staff help out with bags. The virgin app failed to display my boarding pass, but the staff was cooperative in handing out a new one for me as I checked my bag in. 

Terminal 2, in all it Virgin glory

I like Virgin with mixed thoughts. It’s a good airline with a good mission and honestly the only one to not leave me fatigued after flying. It is a shame it doesn’t really have the availability that the main three do, and with it being bought out by Alaska this year, will be unlikely to show it’s potential. I have been following that acquisition throughout the year, perhaps moreso than other more pressing matters, just to see how it would play out… and I think I might have become more versed in the Airline industry than ever really wanted to (it’s ugly).

Back on point, Fraddas and I are plane geeks, and I was curious to see how we both approach traveling. I’ve spent a year trying to reduce a majority of the flying drudgery to be a simple a quick routine not unlike something out of George Clooney in Up in the Air: Check-in early, keep a digital copy of boarding pass, use CLEAR and apply for Pre-Check, fly an airline enough times that you know the flow of the terminal. The result is I’m through from check-in and security in a matter of minutes and thus, not worried for time.

 and yet this still somehow amuses me.

 However, I realized that much of this was done at my own expense with the added income… so not everything could apply evenly to everyone (especially when comfort > discount). I spent enough time to use the restroom and catching up on messages while the fox got caught up in security for quite a while.
 A quiet Terminal 2

The carriage awaits

One hour until boarding and hunger strikes. The fox and I settle on a quick grab and go from Peets coffee: Yogurt for fox, and a disappointingly bland lemon poppyseed on my end (which, honestly, says a lot that I can remember this well over a week later). Time to explore a bit and maybe play a bit of "spot-the-furry"... which obviously didn't take too long upon reaching our gate: we ended up finding quite a few animal people waiting amid the dark morning, with a few more popping in just before it was time to board the purple and blue party plane.  

Carry-on fursuiting

As it turns out, party plane indeed. I happened to sit in an entire row of furries, otherwise scattered about the plane. We took advantage of the complimentary in-flight chatroom as a makeshift Telegram group that went about as well as one might expect for furries.

It did make the three hours go by quickly (sadly interrupting my attempt at watching Civil War with each new message), and added some fun to the flight. I was more amused with how, compared half a year ago, flying this far no longer feels so daunting to me. Heck, it just feels "normal".

It honestly didn't hit me that I was even in Chicago until I reached the baggage claim. Furries. Everywhere. It didn't matter where you came from you could easily tell who the large numbers of furries were: the fashion, body type, and suspiciously bulky luggage give it all away. 

Fraddas and I crossed paths with another, and only non-vulpine, roommate, Lakota, thus we proceeded to navigate a labyrinth of hallways to make it to the shuttle plaza. 

 Seriously, what the hell is with this elevator?

I was warned to no end about the chilly Chicago weather. Honestly? It wasn't that bad. It reminded me a lot of my travels to Europe as a kid, and was a welcome change. 

We settled into the cozy Doubletree room, warm cookie in hand and then set off on our own thing. I planned on getting a quick look at the con before checking out Chicago. A suprisingly looooooong walk on the skybridge to the Hyatt and I was.... overwhelmed. 

Oh my dog



... furries

Bear in mind the convention hasn't officially started and won't for another day, but the space is so packed you couldn't kick a pebble and not hit a furry.

I was amazed. The con itself was well-established. Lines set for the elevator like amusement parks. Clear signs for clearing pathways. The fact that the hotel itself was so welcoming. The perfect impression so far was practically unreal. 

 Seeing these behind the desks was kinda amazing.

I ran into a few familiar friends, said hi and reconnected briefly before checking out the Windy City. 

I will post further details of the side trip to Chicago in a link here, on this very line, which will become a link sometime soon. 

I returned for a bit to get myself through registration. This was the first con I sponsored as the perks were very enticing (and I blame a very persuasive Lakota). I am glad I did, though, as it made the line speed by much faster. The lack of sleep from the morning caught up to me, though, so after some socializing, and photography, I headed back to the room and played Jackbox, a fun party game suite played via a main screen and your phones, with the roomies before calling it a night.

So the furry vacation weekend begins. At this point I felt relaxed and acclimated to being away in a world of animals. Let the party start!

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