Showing posts from January, 2021

Review: Roam Fitness @BWI, the only airport gym in the U.S.

Airport workouts are my favorite.  There's nothing like getting in a bunch of burpees and lunges for those long layovers and delays.  It sure beats waiting at the gate aimlessly.  The issue is finding open space without frightening other travelers, and of course the lack of gym equipment.  Airports such as Dallas-Fort Worth and SFO do have yoga rooms, but no equipment.  So when I found out that Baltimore Airport (BWI) has the only airport post-security fitness center in the U.S., I had to check it out. Roam Fitness @BWI is a full service airport gym, and accessible with paid entry via Lounge Buddy for $25 per traveler.  The Amex Green card offers 10 complimentary Lounge Buddy passes per calendar year, so my friend with an Amex Green card was kind enough to book me entry for Roam Fitness.  These lounges passes do not carry over to the next calendar year, so it was essentially use or lose near the end of December. Amenities Roam Fitness is located in Concourse D/E, which is not a

Staying at a Holiday Inn Express during the pandemic

For my lodging on my trip to Maryland, I decided to use my IHG points to book 4 nights at the Holiday Inn Express in Annapolis.  The hotel charges a variable 12,500-17,500 point rate per night, but since I get the 4th night free by virtue of having the IHG Premier card, the 4th night was free.  In addition since I also have the IHG Club card, I received 10% of the redeemed points back a few weeks after checkout.  Seeing how the standard rate for the King Whirpool room I booked is $246 per night (nearly $1,000 for a 4-night booking), the 4-night booking was a bargain at just 38,250 total IHG points after all the discounts. Before booking the hotel, I called to ensure that all rooms have their own HVAC units.  Centralized HVACs allow for cross-room contamination, which is what caused the outbreaks on cruises.  The front desk informed me all rooms have their own HVAC units, including the gym, and the public areas are centralized heating.  Needless to say, the safest path would be to limit

Renting a car with Budget during the pandemic

As part of my trip to Maryland, I had to rent a car out of Baltimore Airport (BWI) for a 4 days for commuting.  As usual, I turned to Costco Travel, which typically has the cheapest rental car options.  The 4-day rental came out to about $157 with Budget for a compact car.  After arriving into BWI, I headed to the ground transportation area, where a rental car shuttle runs every 15 minutes to take you to the rental car center off-airport where all the rental car companies are located. BWI Rental Car Center The rental car center was mostly empty, with no lines at any of the companies.  I've never seen this before as usually I would have at least a few people waiting in line in front of me.  As with most service desks, all the rental car agencies had plexiglass partitions separating the customers from the agents, and masks are encouraged though not required per local ordinances.  As usual, I declined the collision damage waiver, counting on Amex's purchased premium car rental ins

My experience flying Southwest during the pandemic

With COVID-19 cases and fatalities unfortunately reaching daily record highs, it's been difficult for many to celebrate during the holidays, much less take to the skies.  I was recently offered a job position near Baltimore, so I decided to take the risk and embark on the 5 1/2 nonstop plane ride from Oakland to Baltimore on Southwest to decide if I'd want to spend my next few years there. Determining plane capacity During the pandemic, SWA flies one daily nonstop between OAK-BWI on a narrow-body B737.  Another option for me would be to fly on United SFO-IAD nonstop, though that would entail substantially more driving on both ends of the journey.  Unlike most carriers which display seat maps, Southwest is all unassigned seating so there's no way to determine the seat map capacity online or through a paid premium subscription like Expert Flyer.  Originally, I wanted to book for Thursday-Sunday, so I called SWA to see if they could disclose capacity.  The agent informed me th