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Here we go again.....another mother son trip. This time Brooks and I are off to Vegas with the goal to fly home tomorrow on the new Boeing 737-800 Max.

As of today there are only two US carriers flying the Max....Southwest and American Airlines. After carefully mapping out our options to catch a ride we landed on this one. Louisville to Vegas tonight. Tomorrow we will fly Vegas to Chicago on the Max (hopefully) and then return home around midnight.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, we are already almost two plus hours delayed (that happened before I even started the blog) and there’s always the possibility that the Max will be replaced on the route tomorrow as it was last Saturday. Praying that doesn’t happen.

Hoping to show this boy a little (but not too much!) of Vegas while we are there.

This picture only took three times and is terrible of me but he’s already irritated will do. :)

The good thing about traveling with Brooks is that I don’t really have to think at all. He just checked FlightAware and knew our plane had landed. No need to check monitors! Off to the gate to prep for boarding.

On board and ready to go!

Brooks absolutely loves taking selfies...I’m not sure if that evident in his face. Don’t worry, I’m not letting it stop me. :)

Oh geez, they just said it’s a 4 hour and 25 minute flight. I mean, I think I knew that but somehow it seems so long now. I think because we are delayed by over two hours. So, it’s 6:38pm which means we will land around 11pm est. That gives us 12 hours to find dinner, experience a little bit of Vegas, oh and sleep. And of course Brooks wants to hit a Gemini Jets store to look at plane models while we are here. No big deal...I totally got this.

Let me just send Greg a quick text to let him know I will be sleeping ALL DAY SUNDAY.


Thankfully I survived the flight and even managed to get a tiny bit of sleep. I was so exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before I was in desperate need of a nap.

As soon as we boarded the plane I realized I was hungry. It wasn’t smart not getting dinner before we boarded but we were supposed to have left hours ago AND I was really hoping for Shake Shack in Vegas which unfortunately doesn’t look like it will happen due to its poor location.

Lucky me, the SWA flight attendants came through with lots of snack options for FREE! Fritos, cookies, pretzels, peanuts, crackers and popcorn. I snagged the most fillings thing i could find. In reality I wanted one of each.

I’m embarrassed to say these made me much happier than crackers should.

After a short (or not short) flight the lights of Vegas are welcoming us!! Time to get my second wind! (Or actually first.....)

View from the plane on our descent.

Eiffel Tower!!! Now we are talking!!

Vdara Hotel & Spa

Vdara Hotel and Spa

After a pleasant Uber ride we made it to our hotel. I should have expected that Greg booked us in a room with an amazing view. Too bad we are only here a couple hours to enjoy it.

View of Bellagio Fountains.

Light show

First order of business was to find dinner. Shake Shack is our anticipated destination....assuming we can even find our way to the Strip.

Uh yeah, we are struggling. A walk to the Aria and into the casino accidentally, then back out from where we came, back to Vdara where we found a sidewalk hidden behind some bushes. Boom!!

This sign was not helpful....

But I like this one! Maybe it’s time I splurge on a purse.

As we continue walking we finally make it to New York New York!! That was only after we crossed the street unnecessarily only to have to cross back over. No worries, Shake Shack is totally worth the trouble.


This is totally worth not eating dinner until 12:30am est.

“Brooklyn Bridge”

After dinner it’s time to head back to the hotel. I could totally keep walking around but Brooks isn’t feeling well. He’s been battling a cold all week and his throat is hurting. So, we need to find \240a place to buy some Advil and call it a night.

Might as well soak up the sights on the way back!

Logan would love to check out Gucci!

Heading to the sky walk.

I will definitely need some Christian Loubatin shoes to go with my new purse!

We ended up in the shops in the Aria and I was starting to get cocky that we were finding our way back so easily. Our hotel is directly across from the Aria so easy breezy.

Or not...

We got outside and saw these beautiful water walls/fountains which we hadn’t seen on our earlier trip. Hmmm

Another view...

I’m kinda into this bird chair but Brooks isn’t feeling it so....missed opportunity to sit in it.

Meanwhile we still have no idea where we are. Back into the Aria we go where we see signs for a tram to the Vdara. Side note, I saw similar signs five minutes ago by Christian Loubatin but was scared to try the tram. Walking seemed easier.

At this point I think the tram sounds like a fabulous idea.

Heading up the escalator to the tram. The height of all the building around us is just surreal.

Made it to the tram station and the tram was arriving!

One last forced selfie for the night for Brooks. He is so thrilled!

Good night from Vdara!

I started watching the Olympics opening ceremony live on the plane. Lucky for me it’s now on here and I don’t think I missed that much. Ah, the benefits of traveling cross country.

More pics of the view, because why not.


My favorite

Another fountain video much has happened today I don’t even know where to start. I woke up on easy coast time and was trying to be quiet so as not to wake Brooks. He woke up early as well and immediately checked flight aware to see what aircraft we were going to be on.

Not. The. Max.

Are you kidding me?

We start looking on Southwest’s website to try to see if we have any other options from Vegas to anywhere within reason on the Max. Brooks finds two options, one to Orlando and one to New Orleans. Some texts back and forth with Greg (as he attempted an elliptical workout) confirmed we could fly home on points from basically either.

So....I called Southwest and got the worst rep ever. After explaining our situation she put me on hold to talk with her supervisor. He said there was no difference between the Max and the 737.....what a rookie. Thankfully we know the difference and also what our options are.

Long story short without going into all the details, it was going to cost us a couple hundred dollars with no guarantee they wouldn’t switch the planes out on us before they left. My tears didn’t help at all. I get that mechanical issues can cause them to switch planes or major delays but neither of them caused our flight to be changed. It seems like Southwest obviously changes planes around for different reasons and I wanted them to give me some idea that it wouldn’t switch again on us. No such luck.

I hung up and cried some more. A call to Greg to discuss other options. We were running out of time and missing out on our chance to explore the city.

I decide to call back and got the nicest rep ever who actually knew what she was doing. She checked the flight numbers, tail numbers and overall Vegas schedule and said she felt really good that the New Orleans flight would be on the max. Sold. Sign me up.

Next question was about our early bird check in. We paid for priority boarding on the original flight, that of course didn’t transfer over. She tried to book us on business select but it was going to be 500.00....or not. She suggested we ask at the gate at the airport to see if we could upgrade for 40.00. Much better option.

Priority boarding is important so Brooks can try to get in the flight deck and also so that we can get good seats. If not, it’s not the end of the world but again would be nice.

Now we can breathe somewhat easy and go enjoy Vegas.

Our day is looking up!

I’m smiling again. :)

Bellagio Hotel and Casino

The Bellagio

Our first stop of the day was the Bellagio. Luckily we knew how to get there from our walk home from the tram last night. It’s an easy walk from the Vdara as it’s connected via walkways.

These chocolate fountains are kinda cool.

As we walked toward the conservatory I would smell flowers before we could even see anything. Poor Brooks was congested and couldn’t smell.


It’s the year of the dog. This will be the first of several dog pics.

Almost everything is made of flowers.

Channeling my inner Logan for an attempt at an interesting photo perspective.

Logan channeling continued.

Might as well make him selfie.

Lobby of the Bellagio.

Horse pics for Maddie.

Bellagio front entrance.

Paris Las Vegas


One of my favorite places!! So excited to see the “Eiffel Tower.”

Outside entrance to Paris

Casino area in Paris.

Les Toilettes :)

Blurry pic of the French cafe where we had breakfast.

Chocolate crossaint

Our attempt at healthy.

Caesars Palace

Next stop Cesear’s Palace!!


Cesear’s casino

Huge area with lots of TV’s and wagering.

Lots of awesome shops here. I again showed great restraint by not stopping in Louis helped that they weren’t open yet. :)

The aquarium was pretty but all my pics had too much glare. I could have sat and watched the sting rays all day. But, we have lots of ground to cover!

The Venetian


I love the Venetian but didn’t think we would have time to make it here. It’s about a mile away from our hotel. Since our flights changed, instead of an 11:30am departure we are leaving at 2:45pm so we have more time than anticipated.

Hello Venetian!

Brooks did not want to take a ride with me...I don’t get it.

We almost got “lunch” here but decided against it. Everything looked really delicious.

That mustache was added by yours truly. My friend Tony wears a mustache suit in Vegas and takes mustaches with him to hand out or leave places. He gave me a mustache to bring with me. I thought this guy could use one.

(I didn’t cause damage and I removed after the picture. No animals were harmed in this photo op.)

It’s coming up on the time when we need to be thinking about heading back to the hotel. We were able to get a late check out but only until 12. It’s about 10:45 as we are finishing up at the Venetian so we decide to start walking.

We have been debating a stop at In-N-Out since we got here. We passed a sign for one on the way to the Venetian but it was hard to tell how far away it was. And it was too early to eat.

This time when we pass the sign I decided to map it....900 feet away. Seems like a shame to be so close and not get one. Plus I find myself in a continuous debate with people about whether Shake Shack or In-N-Out is better and it’s been several years since I had one. Brooks and I decide we will split a cheeseburger and fry.

Pretty view as we walked.

Found it!

We waited and waited for our number to be called. Once they had gone way past our order I asked. Yep, no sign of ours anywhere. We didn’t even get anything special. She said they would get it ready....which still seemed to take forever.

We finally got our food and now have almost no time to get back to the hotel before check out. Brooks and I start hauling!

Somehow we have missed the Bellagio fountain completely today. I had hoped it would be on earlier this morning. We waited a few mins and it never started up. I again thought we might get lucky on our way back but no dice. I’m grateful Greg got us a room with a view!

And it’s final, In-N-Out doesn’t come close to Shake Shack!

Diecast Airplane Shop is our next and final stop here in Vegas. This is a store that sells Gemini Jets that Brooks has had on his bucket list for quite some time. We couldn’t be this close and not go check it out.

I almost forgot to take a pic of the canoe sculpture!

We didn’t get to see this side of Vegas at all. It’s a little unreal to see Manaday Bay and think about the tragic events that happened here.

Vegas Strong Memorial...

6301-6449 Windy Rd, Las Vegas, NV 89119, USA

Diecast Airplane Shop

We made it....Brooks is in heaven.

Thankfully these are not for sale!

Another huge case

And more.....

Happy Boy leaving with a Southwest 737 Max8 model....had to have a memory of this trip! Let’s hope this doesn’t jinx us!!

McCarran International Airport

McCarran Airport

We have arrived with plenty of time to spare. First stop is for boarding passes and an attempt at upgrading to business select. We stop at a kiosk and a nice employee started talking to us. I asked her if I could upgrade to business select from the kiosk. Sure she said and helped us walk through the steps....until we got to the $250 per person step. Uh, no, not for that price I say. I mention that the phone rep said we could upgrade at the airport for 40.00 assuming there were upgrades available.

Oh yeah she said, go right over there to the desk and tell them what you want to do. It won’t be $250.

Perfect, we head over and tell that agent what we want to do. No problem she says.

Yesssssss!!!!! We will be the first ones on the plane! This should give Brooks time in the flight deck and me the option to save the correct (and best) seats.

With time to spare we hit the Centuiron lounge. I was way more excited about this than I should have been. This is a perk we get thanks to all of Greg’s travel and it’s usually met with free food including amazing cookies, drinks and manicures (if time allows which for me never happens.)

It was a bust. Food was free but didn’t look good. There were no cookies and no manicures! Brooks and I grabbed a coke and I took the time to charge my phone quickly. It was almost dead from our action packed day. I should have just hit up Jamba Juice or Auntie Annie’s....oh well. You never know until you try.

It’s time for us to bust to our gate so we don’t miss our boarding position.

I have never been so happy to see a plane in all my life. This is the Max8. Isn’t she a beauty! I was almost getting nauseous in anticipation as we got close to the gate thinking they could have swapped out planes again on us. If that had happened I might have had to be committed. Or hit up the Centurion lounge for lots of free drinks.

Thankfully, neither is needed. It’s the plane we have been searching for!

McCarran International Airport

Flight deck

After the pre-boards it’s our turn to board. I have strict instructions to try to get seats 3A and 3B. This has the best view of the engine and should also be on the side of the plane with a view of the Strip. (As I’ve mentioned before, traveling with Brooks has its advantages. This is one of them...knowing which side will have the view.)

Brooks asks to see the flight deck and the flight attendant responded with “of course.” I head back for the seat assignment. Success on both missions.

Im so happy Brooks is in the flight deck, I just wish I could be there to share in his excitement. It felt like he was there forever. Finally I see him coming my way with a big smile on his face.

This right here is why I’m willing to make a crazy trip with my son.

He looks good there don’t you think??

Flight deck

Brooks and the pilots spent time talking about the differences between the flight deck in the 737 and the 737 Max8. It was the first officers first time flying this plane. I’m going to bet Brooks gave him a run for his money knowing the differences between the decks. I’m confident Brooks has probably done more research than most.

Sitting in the 3rd row as instructed! We also managed redneck first class!! (No one in the middle seat.)

Me taking a picture of Brooks taking a picture of aircraft out the window.

Brooks has been wanting a safety card for the 737 Max8. I once thought you could take them from the plane....however you cannot. Which makes total sense. They would clearly want every seat to have one in an emergency. Obviously everyone would stop to read their card.

I asked one of the flight attendants if they by chance any extras so Brooks could have one to take.

Score! I may have to delete my negative comment about SWA on my social media. :-/

Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

Wow! Southwest really turned our day around. Brooks decided he wanted to let the plane deboard so he could see the plane empty. The flight attendants were interested in what we were doing so we started chatting with them. I shared that we wanted to see the plane empty and that Brooks would stay all night if they would let him.

One of the flight attendants suggested he climb in an overhead bin. Really? I asked? He said oh yeah, people (employees) do it all the time.

Heck yeah!

View toward the flight deck.

Back of the plane.

Here goes nothing.

Still strategizing his entry.


Almost there!


New Orleans

Headed to the hotel!

We are on the shuttle headed to the hotel. Crazy enough the crew we just left all shared the shuttle with us. They joked about us stalking least I hope it was a joke. We may seem like stalkers at this point.

They did say that they almost switched out the Max8 for that flight. Shew! Dodged a bullet!!

Concourse D, 900 Airline Dr, Kenner, LA 70062, USA

We are up and at em early here in New Orleans! Our alarm went off at 5:15am and we were down waiting for the shuttle by 5:40am. Ironically there was a group of girls coming in for the evening who were definitely in worse shape than me. So, that made me feel better about my state of being. Can’t say I expected Bourbon Street visitors to be staying out by the airport but apparently I was wrong.

After a long wait for the airport shuttle we arrived at the airport and made a roomie mistake of going through the wrong security checkpoint. These gates don’t connect. That line was a breeze. Unfortunately we had to go back out and head to the security line for the D gates.

We arrived and saw a HUGE line.

They did not have a separate TSA pre-check line because they were doing dog screening so we had to wait in this giant line. Which made me nervous that we would miss our flight. Brooks assured me we were ok and he was totally right. Once that dog passed through the line we starting moving extremely fast. They basically made everyone pre check by walking the dog through us. I’ve never seen that before.

We are now close to the gate and I’d love to grab something to eat. We didn’t have dinner (only snacks) last night so I’m starving.

I love Smoothie King on a normal day but today this is like winning the lotto. Yes please!!

A Smoothie King with King cakes!?!?! I couldn’t pass that up since we are in New Orleans. I will be sharing one of these delicious treats with Brooks on the plane and I couldn’t be happier.

Time to board! Next up! Houston!

This is my idea of a great flight. King cake and a Hamilton documentary. :)


Final leg

Today has been smooth sailing so far. We left New Orleans on time. Arrived and visited the Centurion Lounge in the airport for a free breakfast (just what I needed after King cake.)

We left and made it to our gate early. Finally the boarding announcement was made. We are on a tiny plane so you go from the airport downstairs to a hallway where you walk to the tarmac.

Once we got to the gate they made an announcement that an armrest was loose so the mechanics were tightening it.

Next an announcement that the armrest was fixed but now there was an issue with the bathroom.

And now this...


Luckily this seems to have been a false alarm. Right after we received this the boarding process began.

We are one hour and 47 mins away from this adventure ending. What a weekend it’s been!

While I have thoroughly enjoyed our time together despite the stress of a plane change, rerouted itinerary, a bad customer service experience that resulted in me crying and an extended day that we hadn’t planned for, I’m looking forward to taking a shower in my own bathroom, changing out of my two day clothes and sleeping in my own bed.

Some people think I’m crazy to have gone on such a long trip with a short turnaround but I would do it over and over to spend time with Brooks in his element. He’s pretty amazing and I can’t wait to see where life takes him. He may just be piloting that MAX8 in the near future.

Until our next adventure!