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Playing Delta same-day confirmed roulette today, The Rapid Traveler lost out on his desired nonstop flight Minneapolis to Las Vegas and instead found himself backtracking through Memphis. For non-Delta flyers, same-day confirmed allows gold medallion and above to freely change domestic flights on the day of travel, within three hours of new flight’s departure, keeping destination the same but routing is flexible for legal routings. Silver and non-medallions pay $50, which still can be a good deal if fares widely vary on a given day. But there is always the risk that flights are not available come three hours out, which happened today, the nine economy seats on the seat map illusory, and the nonstop and the following, last nonstop both oversold.
It was a chance for The Rapid Traveler to see Memphis Airport (MEM) for the first time, despite being a NW/DL flyer all his life. The narrow, brick-lined hallways were hulking and claustrophobic. The Sky Club was elegant ex-NW style and the agent* surprised The Rapid Traveler by hospitably asking, “Is this your first time visiting this club? The restrooms are over here, refreshments this way…” It occurred to The Rapid Traveler that he had never heard an agent volunteer to introduce a club. Chalk it up to Southern Hospitality.
Back to the point, it is important for international travelers to know that Memphis and Atlanta, through incomprehensibly poor design, have all international arrivals exit to their respective main terminals, necessitating another trip through security and re-check of checked luggage, even for passengers completing their travel at those airports. Atlanta’s new Terminal F will eliminate this problem; Memphis does not appear to have any plans to follow suit. This has no direct impact on connecting passengers other than potentially longer waits at security. iFly has good detail and maps for ATL and MEM for those who can overcome its endless pop-ups.
Once The Rapid Traveler made the mistake of buying a bottle of liquor in Dubai duty free and that darn bottle cost him fifty minutes in Atlanta. Now his Atlanta friends only receive chocolate and cancer sticks.
Readers, are there any other airports in the US or elsewhere in the world that have this exasperating arrangement? What is the most time this has cost you in ATL or MEM?
*Name withheld for privacy, but if she is kind enough to be reading this, she is welcome to say hello in the comments.