As I feverishly work to clear my backlog of trip reports, I fast forward from Alaska in August 2020 to the closing days of 2021. Yes, I went more than 15 months between flights before my next boondoggle. Itching to do something again, I set out to fly upstart Breeze Airways in Nice and Nicer classes. Why? For food, of course. In this case, the original Hot Brown sandwich and Derby pie in their native Kentucky habitat.
This trip report is relatively short, and will include the following installments:
- Capital One Lounge DFW
- The Brown Hotel, Louisville, Kentucky
- Breeze Airways Nice Class, Louisville to Charleston
- The Club at CHS, a Priority Pass Lounge
- Breeze Airways Nicer Class, Charleston to New Orleans
- Q&C Hotel Bar, Autograph Collection by Marriott, New Orleans
- The Club at MSY, a Priority Pass Lounge
The Flight Plan
As flight plans go, this one was pretty simple. I put together a circle with stops in Louisville, Charleston, and New Orleans. The only complication was severe weather in Kentucky two days before my trip. That canceled my nonstop to Louisville, necessitating a rerouting through Chicago. At least AA canceled my flight the day before, giving me enough time to figure out an alternative. The final routing ended up like this (more wonky pyramid than circle):
- 12/12/21 AA 1106 Dep DFW International (DFW) 16:35, Arr Chicago O’Hare (ORD) 19:09
- 12/12/21 AA 3680 Dep ORD 20:00, Arr Louisville Muhammad Ali International (SDF) 22:28
- 12/13/21 MX 291 Dep SDF 13:45, Arr Charleston International (CHS) 15:20
- 12/13/21 MX 202 Dep CHS 18:00, Arr New Orleans Louis Armstrong International (MSY) 19:05
- 12/14/21 AA 1768 Dep MSY 09:42, Arr DFW 11:30
I won’t review the American flights, which are your plain Jane domestic coach flights. This flight from LA to Dallas gives you a good idea of the experience (albeit in Main Cabin Extra). The main event for this trip was checking out upstart Breeze Airways, both in Nice and Nicer Class.
I also did get in a few lounges on this trip. First up was the (then) recently opened Capital One Lounge DFW. Later, I discovered a couple of Priority Pass lounges I didn’t expect in Charleston (The Club at CHS) and New Orleans (The Club at MSY). As The Club lounges go, they weren’t bad, and actually decent options for airports of that size.
The Hotel Plan
This trip required two overnight stays, one in Louisville and one in New Orleans. No trip to Louisville is complete without a stop at the historic Brown Hotel, so that’s where I stayed. I booked a “Deluxe” room, but ended up getting upgraded to a club floor room. Why, I’m not sure, seeing as the hotel seemed deserted. But I certainly didn’t complain about the palatial room.
Next in NOLA, I booked a Marriott Autograph Collection property, Q&C Hotel Bar. In typical New Orleans fashion, he hotel formerly known as the Queen & Crescent is a charming historic property. Unlike the Brown, though, standard rooms are about the size of a broom closet.
The Food Plan
Of course, no trip of mine is complete without some frivolous pursuit of food. In this case, the real purpose of staying at the Brown was to eat a Hot Brown sandwich in its native habitat. Several places in Louisville serve up the ridiculously large open-faced turkey sandwich smothered in bechamel sauce. But there’s something extra special about getting one where it was invented. Along with the Hot Brown, I picked up another Kentucky original, a Derby pie. The Brown didn’t invent the pie; that honor goes to the defunct Melrose Inn in nearby Prospect. But the hotel serves up a fine version of the chocolate walnut pie in its own right. (Despite the poor presentation in a plastic box, it was quite tasty.)
And what trip to Kentucky is complete without some bourbon? Louisville Airport’s got you covered, with the Bourbon Academy Tasting Room to enjoy a flight before boarding your flight.
Now, some of you probably want to know, why go back and finish these trip reports now? Well, it’s been one excuse or another to proceed slowly over the last three years. But finally, I’m at a place where I have at least some time to write regularly again. And more importantly, get caught up so I can move on to my more recent boondoggles. The Breeze and Capital One Lounge posts went up long ago, with the rest going up in the next few weeks. Enjoy!