Updated on June 6, 2021
Flight Log of American Airlines Flight 2707 and 2188 from Washington Dulles to Reno via Dallas Fort Worth
Christmas 2020. I decided to spend a few days snowshoeing in the mountains around Lake Tahoe. This is the outbound flight segments where I flew American from Dulles to Reno.
I had been looking for somewhere away from home to spend Christmas 2020. At first, I thought the relatively warmth of California coast would make it a good idea to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles along the gorgeous CA Route 1. I even secured a web-special award from AA from DC to San Jose at mere 5k miles. That is, until most of California went into lockdown early December where hotels weren’t supposed to honor (non-essential) reservations anymore.
Another major motivation for going west coast was Alaska Airlines’ promotions for elite qualification, and I was one trans-con flight away from their lowest-tier MVP. With them joining OneWorld early 2021, that would come in handy for me checking bags on AA/AS. So with my scope set on the west coast, I found Lake Tahoe seemed to be a popular winter sports destination. Even better, the lake spanned both California and Nevada, with all accommodations on the Nevada side still open. Considering schedule and connection times, I decided to fly out on American, and back on Alaska.
Towards the end of 2020, American Airlines had lots of domestic award spaces at 7k miles one-way, that’s available all the way to departure time. (I believe there were only a handful of routes and days where they didn’t offer this.) With free cancellation on award tickets and unsure about weather at Lake Tahoe (nobody liked to be out in a snow storm), I booked flights on the 19th, 20th and 21st each, and finally decided to take the flight on Dec 20th. The schedule would have me fly out of Dulles (unfortunately that’s the only airport compatible with 7k award) at 8:40am, with a short 1-hour connection at Dallas before landing in Reno at 2pm, leaving enough time for me to settle down before it got dark.
Flight 2707 from Dulles to Dallas
So on the Sunday morning of Dec 20, I asked my friend for a ride to Dulles Airport. Being early morning and with international traffic way down, the airport felt both cheerful and hollow with its Christmas decorations.
Being the farthest of three DC area airports from my home, this is my first time at Dulles. I liked that it felt modern and spacious, with its high ceilings and wide concourses (by US standards, at the world stage its concourses could still use some widening).
Yet on the other hand, its secluded security checkpoints and the tram ride to the terminals combined with numerous escalators made it feel like a workout to reach the gate.
Here’s GPS tracking:
The morning flight out of Dulles was a pretty full one, with clouds outside starting at 4000m and remained for most of the flight. I tried to catch some sleep from this morning’s early waking.
Another thing worth mentioning is that, it took us 25 minutes to descend from 9700m to 1600m, which is much longer than the other flights I’d been on. As a result, there’s not much ear discomfort.
After I stepped out of the plane into DFW’s terminal A, it’s past 11am, with about 75 minutes till my next flight’s departure time. With that, I still managed to take the tram to Terminal B, grabbed a Panda Express meal (using calories to help me rest), then take another tram to Terminal D where my next flight to Reno would depart from. By the time I devoured this lunch, it’s about boarding time.
Flight 2188 from Dallas to Reno
The flight from Dallas to Reno was marginally less crowded than the one from Dulles. Surprisingly, it’s on an ever-extinct pre-oasis 738 with personal entertainment screens. We were delayed first by a defective first aid kit, then by the forward door handle, after which we were directed to takeoff from the distant runway 31L. Combining these meant our departure was 38 minutes late.
Here’s GPS tracking:
But once we were airborne, the weather over western US was great, and the views were gorgeous.
And once into New Mexico, we were treated with views of magnificent mountains.
Then the red desert land of South Utah briefly took the place of snow-crested mountains.
Before they re-emerged into sight as we headed into Nevada, with its mountain ranges threading the state.
It’s perplexing to me that between Dallas and Reno, we were only cruising at 8800m (that’s FL29?), which seemed quite low.
Probably because headwind wasn’t as strong along the way, despite our late departure we still managed to land 10 minutes early.
I didn’t wait long for my bag at the carousel. The experience at rental car desk was also swifter than what I expected: handed the keys and told my car’s spot number in the garage across the street. That’s when I found out half the airport garage was occupied by rental cars.
By the way, it only took 80 dollars (+90 dollar of taxes and fees, yes there were more fees than listed price) to rent a Honda Fit for a week with Dollar. Sort of surprising to me.
Lake Tahoe: First Glimpses
It’s 2:50pm by the time I left the airport. With time left till sunset I decided to drive up Mount Rose Highway to take a quick glimpse of Lake Tahoe, before heading to the hotel in Carson City. (That’s also to pick up California’s sno-park day pass, but that’s a different story).
Finally, when I descended to the shores of Lake Tahoe it’s about sunset time. There were a few roadside turnouts along the north-east shore of Lake Tahoe, ideal for watching sunset. Among which Memorial Point was the largest. Views of the lake were offered both at parking lot level for the mobility-limited, and at the rocks by the shore.
After that, I sorted out the Sno-Park pass issue, and headed for the hotel in Carson City where I would be spending the next 5 nights.
Flight Log of American Airlines Flight 2707 and 2188 from Washington Dulles to Reno via Dallas Fort Worth by Huang's Site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.