This Examiner flew east by Southwest on September 7, returning from a visit to northern California by a slightly different route, starting at Sacramento International Airport (SMF), changing flights in Las Vegas (LAS) and arriving at General Mitchell International Airport (MKE) after midnight.
Because this former airport ramper likes to watch planes and hang-out in airports, I entered SMF hours before my departure, printed my boarding passes at the kiosk without a hitch and passed through the security checkpoint into Terminal B without any hassle after exploring the ground floor for an hour or so. I expected a relaxing afternoon unwinding from my visit, and was pleasantly surprised to find my long chill in the terminal was one of the highlights of my trip.
Sacramento International offers free Wi-Fi and many comfortable computer work stations. The place has many excellent plane-spotting views, restaurants and shops.
There were no delays for the flight to Las Vegas, and boarding for Southwest’s unreserved seating went smoothly despite the flight being sold-out.
A birthday round of free drinks celebrated a frequent flyer’s special day, and the late afternoon views from my window seat were were spectacular. I hardly noticed how crowded the flight was.
Again, there were no delays for the flight from LAS to MKE, but this “red-eye” flight was barely half-full — extra treats were tossed to everyone.
For the four flights of this journey from Milwaukee to California and back, I give Southwest Airlines five stars.
Rating the airports I traveled through: Mitchell Airport gets four stars (great views, good food and interesting main terminal, but no free Wi-Fi), SMF gets five stars (plane-spotting, chowing-down, chilling out and everything was wonderful), and LAS and SFO get three stars (noisy and hot, but no problems).