A hot winter day in California is not the type of weather conditions you would think create flight delays. Basically, yesterday was like summer weather in coastal California. My flight was delayed from Monterey to San Francisco due to fog. Typically fog delays are more of a summer months issue.
I learned from experience to route myself from Monterey to LAX after missing a couple of international connections over the years. I try and avoid the Monterey to SFO flights. More than once I have simply driven my car to SFO to catch a flight when the 20 minute flight out of Monterey will not fly due to fog.
LAX was not a flight option at the ticket price I purchased last month for MRY-MSP.
Monterey was gorgeous weather when I left home.
View of Half Moon Bay, California. Maverick’s big wave surf competition was held off the point two weeks ago.
What should have been a 20-minute flight ended up taking 3.5 hours to reach San Francisco. It was like a Gilligan’s Island air cruise with a stopover in Sacramento.
San Francisco was mostly in sunshine, however, the airport is located on the Bay under the foggy skies.
SFO was a mess upon arrival and my United flight to Minneapolis had left an hour before I arrived. Fortunately, I had been given a backup booking on Delta at 8:30am when I checked in at Monterey Airport.
There were about 100 people waiting in line at UA customer service, so I went directly to Delta Airlines check-in and picked up my boarding pass for a 3:00pm flight to Minneapolis. I arrived in Minneapolis at 8:30pm, about 2.5 hours later than originally scheduled.
My checked bag did not make the flight with me.
Fortunately, I had my parka and gloves with me. The temperature was 10 F. degrees when I arrived.
First Impressions of Minneapolis
An airport with a light rail train to downtown in 25 minutes for $1.75.
The guy working the airport information kiosk asked me if I was sure I wanted to take the light rail into town. Why wouldn’t I want to travel for $1.75 rather than paying for a shuttle or taxi or Uber?
First impressions would indicate Minneapolis is primarily a city of blacks and Asians. The 50 or so light rail passengers heading into downtown Minneapolis were fewer than 10% white and the passengers heading the other direction from the airport toward Mall of America were nearly all white. (Update: 2010 US Census gives racial profile of Minneapolis as 63.8% white, 18.6% African American; 10% Hispanic, 5.6% Asian and 2% Native American).
The light rail looked so clean and modern on the ride into the city.
Much of my time on the light rail was spent checking out people’s footwear. I do not have snow boots with me. Fortunately, the downtown sidewalks are clear of snow.
I have not been outside in the day time yet. In a few hours I will have many more impressions of the city.
Hotting up in the inner city
Upon exiting the light rail at Nicollet Mall Station, I crossed the street to pick up the bus.
I was standing inside a small bus stop kiosk, on the street alone, when suddenly someone asked me, “Is the heater not working?”
This white guy, who at first glance looked like a street vagabond, hit a button and heat lamps turned on overhead inside the kiosk. Immediately, my discomfort from a chill in my legs due to the cold air penetrating my skin through my jeans had some relief.
In ten minutes conversing with the local, I learned several interesting facts about the transportation infrastructure of Minneapolis/St. Paul and my new friend pointed out some pubs and restaurants from the bus that met his approval.
The one mile ride to the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis near the Convention Center on the bus was free with my light rail pass. The ticket is valid for transportation for 2.5 hours.
From the airport to the hotel was less than an hour for $1.75.
Exiting at the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, I suddenly felt relieved at having made my way from California to Minnesota through one bad air travel day.
Walking into a top-floor hotel suite was pretty cool too.
This is like having an urban apartment for the weekend.
I feel like I should have a lonely Valentine’s Day party with all these empty seats in the house.
One of the things I love about being in a skyscraper in the city is looking out the window from bed at city lights. The view of Minneapolis outside was like watching TV with a multiple story light display on a neighboring skyscraper showing hearts in motion rising. The light show stayed on throughout the night.
Minneapolis is a heartwarming place, even if the air temperature is chilling to the bone.
Happy Valentine’s Day from Minneapolis.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.