ORD-AUS (972 Miles)

Ever since reaching AA Platinum status I’ve been upgraded on at least one leg of each trip I’ve taken this year. My flight from ORD-AUS was no exception. I received the upgrade notification 72-hours prior to departure and was thrilled, this is the first time I’ve been upgraded on AA’s MD-80! The flight is fairly short and I wasn’t expecting too much in the First Class cabin, but once we were airborne the flight attendant announced the dinner menu. The selection was average, a chicken salad or lasagna, but the lasagna kept me full until dinner in Austin.

Dinner in Austin 

I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in downtown Austin. It was a great hotel and I was upgraded to a junior suite! From the room I ventured over to LaVaca Street Bar. The bar had a great selection of imported and domestic beer and plenty of liquor to get through the NFL Wild Card games. The bar does not serve food, but has an interior window into Turf N’ Surf next door. The nacho’s were delicious and highly recommended.

After a nacho appetizer we moved onto Buffalo Billiards for a few beers and game of pool. Pool is pay by the hour and is pro-rated when the balls are returned. A very nice venue, but rather quiet on a Sunday night.

Next, we moved onto a highly recommended sandwich shop for dinner. If you’re counting this was my 3rd meal of the evening, but it did not disappoint. Easy Tiger is an awesome bar/sandwich shop on the west end of 6th street. It was quite the walk from Lavaca, but well worth it. The place has a great selection of beers and traditional German bar food. It was the perfect establishment to end a rather long night before heading to work the next morning.

More Food

Our last night in Austin called for even more great beer and food. Our first stops were along Rainey Street. I had never been to Austin and loved the feel of Rainey St. The bars all have unassuming exteriors. It looks like a quaint street with houses on either side, but each is a unique bar with a clearly defined theme. Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden had a phenomenal exterior beer garden and interior beer hall. We wanted to save room for dinner and stuck with drinks, but the menu was exactly what you would expect to see from a large beer hall. After quite a few drinks at Banger’s we walked to Taverna Austin. A beautiful Italian bistro. The weather was a bit chilly and we opted to sit inside, but they had a wonderful outdoor patio. The food was delicious and exactly what we were looking for. On special, Mahi Mahi, one of my favorites! It was an amazing way to wrap up our last day in Austin.

Austin Airport (AUS)

After returning the rental car, it’s a rather long walk to the terminal. You actually have to walk across the OLD parking structure to enter the terminal. Once in the terminal I found the TSA PreCheck line and was through security in seconds. (If you don’t have TSA Pre and fly at least 5 times a year, its 100% worth the $85.00 Fee). Next, I ventured over to the Admirals Club. The Club features a putting green prior to checking in. After missing a few puts, I decided to go inside. The Club was extremely cramped, a few too many people for the size of the place. The snack options seemed a little limited as well. I definitely would not TRY to build in time to sit in this club, but its always wonderful to relax in the quiet comfort and free wifi of the lounge.

AUS-DFW (184 Miles)

One of the shorter flights I’ve ever had to take, but it happened to be on one of AA’s newest 737’s! The plane smelled new, the flight attendants all commented how great it was. The flight featured seat-back entertainment, which had more free programming than I’ve seen on AA flights. Shame I wasn’t able to fly on that plane back to Chicago. Although the flight was extremely short, I was reminded about the AAdvantage of being AA Platinum. The flight gave me the 500-mile minimum and the 100% bonus. So the short flight ended up getting me around 1,000 redeemable miles! If I’m not mistaken, this is not going to be the case when the program changes come into effect in March.

DFW-ORD (801 Miles)

This flight started with another upgrade on AA’s MD-80! I wish I had a system to keep track of the planes I fly on because I sat in the same seat wondering if it was in-fact the same seat from a few days prior. After a pre-departure beverage, we were airbore and the food menu was announced. The choices were Kale Salad or Filet with Lobster Mac & Cheese, a tough decision, but I picked steak. The food was amazing and the flight attendant must have read me like a book because the beer was flowing on this flight! It was a good thing I didn’t have to drive after we landed…

Overall, another great trip, sadly one of just a few I’ve taken this year, but hopefully more are to come! Please let me know if you enjoyed hearing about the city this time or if you think I should stick to the flight. I’d love to hear any and all feedback. Safe Travels!