David J. Danto


Business travel thoughts in my own, personal opinion




eMail: ddanto@IMCCA.org      Follow Industry News: @NJDavidD on all           


A September To Remember – A September 2023 Trip Report


Americans Prioritize Fall Trips, As Travel Appetite Extends Into Autumn |  TravelPulse  I’ve been telling my readers for a while now that I took the summer off from traveling because I knew it would be a disaster, and I had early September travel planned.  Here is my report from that promised trip.  As with all of life, it’s filled with good and bad.

My first flight of this trip – to DEN on United – departed from EWR Terminal A.  You know that yucky, dated wing with all the security lines vertically arranged down the long corridor?  Well, not anymore.  I had read that Terminal A was “redone” and I was expecting maybe a prettier counter area in front.  I was wrong.  They’ve rebuilt the whole thing and it’s glorious – rivaling any US airport.  Instead of entering in what used to be the front of the terminal you now have to drive around to the back to enter the facility – and it’s enormous, spacious and beautiful.   There is a separate room for premier check-in that leads directly to the TSA Pre-Check lines.  Once through security it’s enormous, clean, bright – an amazing job by Munich Airport NJ LLC.  The only negative is that it’s a very long walk, but I didn’t mind as it does not have the annoying and frustratingly in-the-way mid-hallway vendors that terminal C has, nor does it have the uncomfortable chairs bolted next to tables there either.  Heck, it even has some chaise chairs for relaxing.   

There doesn’t appear to be a rhyme or reason why some United flights arrive/depart from A and others don’t.  (It is United, so looking for logical reasons for something is probably pointless.)  But - as I am quick to call-out United for their constant customer unfriendly actions – I need to give everyone there kudos for an experience that is really nice!

My conference in Denver (stop #1) was for the most part uneventful.  The worst thing I can say about it is that the Hyatt Regency at Denver Convention Center texted me that my room was ready, but when I arrived at about 3:45pm I had to wait till 4:45 for it to be actually ready – and this was after me telling them I’d be there by 2pm.  The best thing I can say about the trip is to acknowledge these awesome bathroom signs at the nearby Terra Restaurant.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to identify as the unicorn or the alien, so I tried each at one point. 

My next leg was off to Las Vegas where I had my standard Avis experience.  I specified the car brands and models I preferred in my request, and the list was 100% ignored.  When I used the app to try and swap the car to one of the dozens of models I wanted, I got the usual response:

While I couldn’t hate AVIS more, at least their app was in fact working (if you can call the “sorry” message working.)  That’s more than I can say about the MGM resorts app.  While I was staying at one of their properties, the resort chain was hit with a cyber-attack that knocked-out all of their IT systems.  Nothing was working – Digital room keys, app, website, car valet kiosks, in-room TV menus, gambling devices, etc. – all of it disabled (and is still down as I write this five days later.)  It is a horrific example of a poorly designed IT infrastructure, where all systems seem to be tied together without isolation.  It will cost MGM millions in recovery and make-goods to guests like myself that could do none of what I planned for the stay.  It reminds me of the story of firms like Home Depot that were crippled because they did not invest enough money in their IT systems.  The extraordinary greed of the Las Vegas casinos recently means I’m not shedding tears for them now.

My flight home on United was the more typical, frustrating United experience.  I had paid tens of thousands of miles for an upgrade which only got me to the top of the upgrade list (a rarity) but of course there were no seats ever available to upgrade to, and my miles have yet to be returned.  United treats its million-milers like dirt, with a ‘we only care what you’ve done for us lately’ attitude.  At least the later-in-the-day, lighter load flight I booked did in fact leave on time and get me home, so my earlier blogged worries about booking it were unfounded.  We landed early at Newark (at 8:35pm instead of the scheduled 9:03pm) but we didn’t have a gate ready until 9:28pm.  Again, that’s typical United, spending about an hour on the tarmac – enough to make an early flight a half-hour late instead.



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After a half a week at a conference in Denver and an extended weekend in Las Vegas, I luckily came home without having gotten sick.  I wore masks on the flights of course, but not much other than that.  I am scheduled to receive the new COVID booster this weekend.  Hurry and get yours ASAP to try and minimize the spread of the new variant.  Then get a flu shot a few weeks later.  Never a good idea IMHO to get them both at the same time as you’ll never know what was the cause if you have a reaction.


This article was written by David Danto and contains solely his own, personal opinions.

All image and links provided above as reference under prevailing fair use statutes.

Copyright 2023 David Danto


As always, feel free to write and comment, question or disagree.  Hearing from the traveling community is always a highlight for me.  Thanks!