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Day 14 - My first experience with Southwest

After another good night sleep in a large king size bed and a complimentary breakfast it was about time to leave the hotel. I took the shuttle back to the airport terminal and transferred to the MARTA train. I rode the subway for only one station until College Park. There I transferred again to bus 172 for which I had to wait about 20 minutes. The ride on the bus took only about 10 minutes. I got off at Delta Blvd home of one of the largest air carriers, Delta Airlines. I headed straight to the gate just to be advised that the entrance of the Delta Heritage Museum was around the corner. Around the corner was about a mile away and there was no sidewalk. I had to walk down the street with all my baggage at 30 degrees and bright sunshine. This country certainly is only designed for cars! Also at the museum’s gate I was greeted by a surprised security guard who perhaps had never before seen somebody arriving by foot to the museum. Nevertheless, I got access to the museum. The exhibition was amazing, among many other airline related artifacts they also had a fully restored Boeing 767-200 on display which visitors could enter. The interesting story behind this particular aircraft is that it was actually bought by Delta’s employees in 1982 and handed over to the airline as a gift. Delta had for the first time in its company history run into a crises and its employees had stood together and helped the carrier out of the crises by purchasing a brand new aircraft. After 25 or so years of service the aircraft had been fully restored and received its original color scheme featuring its name again the Spirit of Delta. I then got myself some nice souvenirs in the museum shop before literally hitting the road again and getting back to the bus stop on Virginia Boulevard. I took the bus 172 and MARTA back to the airport terminal and finally checked in my baggage and had then lunch before entering the airport security screening. After standing in line for about an hour and going to an annoying process of screening and scanning I was happy that this was the only flight on this entire trip. I only chose to fly from Atlanta to Miami because the train connection from New Orleans to Miami had been interrupted since Hurricane Katrina and getting from New Orleans to Miami required a quite large detour. Nevertheless, I was glad that I had included Atlanta into this trip, a city I had really enjoyed visiting. I made my way to concourse C where my departure gate Charlie 12 was located. Luckily I had arrived at the airport early but even though there wasn’t much time left anymore to discover the terminal before it was time to board the aircraft. Checking in early had paid off as I could board the aircraft among the first ones securing myself a nice window seat on the right side, giving me a good view on the wing and the airport during take-off. This was my first experience with Southwest Airlines. I always wanted to experience how it is to fly with Southwest as I had heard so many different things about this airline. The experience was good, the service was friendly and there were many extras network carriers do not offer any more on domestic flights such as free bags, complementary drinks and snacks as well as free Wi-Fi. The flight was short and we arrived almost 30 minutes ahead schedule. Well done Southwest! I got my baggage quick and was already on the way to the bus stop at the time when we were supposed to be landing in Fort Lauderdale. It took me a while to find out where the public bus was leaving from and in the end I almost missed it but fortunately the driver still saw me running up and held the bus for me. It was quite a ride from Fort Lauderdale International Airport down to Miami Beach. Altogether it took almost three hours on the public bus and I had to switch buses one time. Luckily the hostel had provided clear instructions which buses to use and where to board them. In the end the second bus dropped me right in front of the hostel which was very convenient. Also I had a nice view from the bus going down all the way by the coast. After spending such long hours on the train a three hour bus ride didn’t seem long anymore to me. I checked in and was soon in my room. I met my roommates, four travelers from Australia, really friendly people. I went out for some dinner and for a short walk to the beach which was really close, less than 100 meters away from the hostel.

Entrance of the Delta Heritage Museum

Spirit of Delta

Atlanta International Airport

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