This was the last of three TPA trips I purchased from UA at a good price (less that $120 rt). Itinerary: IAD-TPA-IAD. Aircraft: A320 and B738.
I departed Dulles on Sunday when many flights were delayed or cancelled due to the winter weather. The jetway refused to connect with the inbound aircraft and those pax were delayed one hour in deplaning. The aircraft was moved to a different gate and deplaned. Once we boarded we lost a half hour for deicing. The flight was smooth and comfortable. I was delighted to finally see the west coast of Florida. I went straight to Hertz after deplaning and picked up my Chevy Sconic. I drove north on Nebraska Avenue to sight check a veggie restaurant and decided to skip it. I then stopped at Whole Foods and picked up a few snacks to eat at the hotel. I drove east to Brandon, Florida, about 15 miles from downtown Tampa, and my hotel, a Marriott Courtyard. I usually stay close to the airport but in the winter their prices had gone up a lot. Brandon was reasonable. It turned out to have been a good choice.
The next day I delighted in spending a lot of time soaking up the sunshine and balmy breezes on the terrace. There was a large indoor heated swimming pool. I should have checked this out before arriving and brought my bathing suit. My one restaurant visit this trip was a Vietnamese buffet called "Bamboozle" in downtown Tampa. Mostly soups, swaps and salads. Mine was just o.k. I will return to try other items. The place has potential. Several hotel chains have large presences in downtown Tampa so I get to stay nearby in the off season.
My trip back was nice and easy. I was very lucky in the seatmate department. The two women in my row were friendly and quite sharp. And they laughed at my jokes. Once at Dulles I returned to my car, cleared the ice off the windshield and drove home. I am already looking for more Florida specials.