To start: We spent the night before our departure at an airport motel. I thought, for our 6.55 a.m. departure, we'd need to take the motel shuttle at 5, but got persuaded to have their breakfast starting at 5, and took the shuttle at 5.30, which was fine. Because I have US Airways' credit card, we had First Class check-in, plus we had TSA Pre-check to clear security quickly, even though the checkpoint, for only US Airways' flights, didn't technically have Pre-Check.
We were at the gate in plenty of time, and the regional jet to Philadelphia went fine. It had an early arrival for our 8-hour layover, where we had plans to go into Center City and see SlowTrav friends Terry and Sheri. We got to the airport train station just in time to get the train 30 minutes earlier than the one we expected to take. I texted Terry, who was on her way but delayed by traffic. The Phila. airport train has an odd system where there are no ticket machines or booths at the airport; the only way of buying tickets is with cash on board. We got off at Market East station; while Terry had planned to lead us from there to Reading Terminal Market, with neither place having a clear-cut main entrance, we went to the market on our own and texted Terry at which entrance we were, and she arrived. It was great to see her while we took a look at the crowded historic place with a farmer's market and food stands. We were lucky to find four spaces together at the eating tables, Sheri arrived, and we decided it would be better to find someplace else to eat without so much background noise.
We found Barbuzzo, with a nice assortment of cold cuts while I had a hamburger. It was very nice to visit, and we went on to a gelato place across the street. Before long, it was time to return to the airport to be there early. We entered the train station where we'd entered before, and saw that the ticket booths were in the other side of the station. We went there because I'd learned the system: if we showed the recept for our inbound ticket the same day, we'd get the surcharge for paying on board credited back to the return ticket. The agent needed to do some paperwork, but it wound up that we spent $16 for our two inbound tickets, but $10 for the return. Again, because of a small delay on that train, we got to the platform just in time to board the train.
We got back to the airport, and the signage was confusing as to how to get to Terminal A-West. With our boarding passes in hand with Pre-check, however, there was a checkpoint right there for us to enter. Another credit card benefit was a one-time entrance for the two of us to the airline club. It was a little confusing to find, but it was there, right above our departure gate, nice for us to spend our few hours before boarding with a few drinks and munchies.
We pre-boarded and found our seats. There isn't a whole lot to report on the flight. Not having slept much the previous night, I was ready to sleep before takeoff, but I was up for the meal, choosing chicken over pasta. I got a little sleep, then the little cinnamon roll in the morning, and the flight got in early, around 8.30 instead of 9.15. We got to baggage claim, Margaret got her bag without my noticing, and bag delivery was complete without my having seen mine; then I did spot it on the belt.