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JTO Part 7: THE Final Chapter (LAX-PHX on HP)

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  • JTO Part 7: THE Final Chapter (LAX-PHX on HP)

    Well, after a total of around 49 hours in the air the entire trip, it was time to fly the last two back to Phoenix. For the past month I'd been touring Australia & New Zealand, flying all over, and having the best time of my life with some really great new friends. And to top it all off, we had a very nice aircraft change on our last flight....

    America West #160
    ETD: 1550 local
    ETA: 1715 local
    Boeing 737-200
    (Switched from an A320!)

    Well, we were almost home- after getting off our 12 hour QF25 flight from AKL-LAX we cleared customs and security, and then migrated back over to the domestic terminals where our adventure had began one month earlier. By now everyone had been awake for a good 30 hours, and we were all starting to smell! Checkin was a mess- the ticketing area was clogged with all 42 of us and a couple hundred other passengers trying to pick up their tickets. The LAX luggage people who were taking out luggage out of the way were very tolerant of us sitting in front of doors, etc.- something that was very appreciated at the end of a very long day.

    After everyone was checked in (maybe a half hour later), all of us herded up the escalators to the security checkpoint, which went much faster than I expected. I had no problems (except trying to pry the laptop out of my over-stuffed backpack) going through, and after that we had about two hours before our flight took off. LAX is an amazing airport- I loved the way the domestic terminals were laid out- very easy to navigate through.
    Our gate neighbor on his way to St. Louis:
    By now my stomach felt like I'd been eating styrofoam from flying so much, so I grabbed a smoothie and some food before we were scheduled to depart. The two hours passed by quickly, and before we knew it it was almost time to get ready to board. But to complicate things we had a gate change....and then another gate change....and then an aircraft change. I was just sitting back and enjoying the crisis. But our aircraft finally pulled up to the gate- at which I almost dropped my camera- turns out our flight had been switched from an A320 to a 737-200! Wow was I happy! This would be my first 732 flight ever, and I was spazzing out since I've heard all the talk about how much fun they are to ride in.

    This time, luckily, we did receive group priority boarding. This helped a lot, and we were able to get settled down in the a/c and relax. Through the window, my view of countless 747s continued- something you don't see very much of at PHX. For as old as HP's 732s are, I was impressed at the cleanliness of the cabin (besdies the seats, which make my back hurt). Everyone was eventually seated, after ramming, cramming, or jamming their bags into the Baby Boeing's very baby-sized overhead bins, and we were ready to go.

    My first 732 wingview!

    Pushback commenced, and the engines were spooled. The engines shrieked when they turned over, but the loudest part was yet to come! Taxi time was short since our gate was pretty much at the threshold of the active runway. We were #1 for takeoff, and took the runway.

    The pilot floored the engines, and we SCREAMED down the runway. As our Boeing raised its nose and took skyward, we passed through low cloud cover during our ocean-view departure from the north runways.

    After a bumpy climb up to FL280, drink service came around and I had my ritualistic tomatoe-on-ice while enjoying the view of the JT8D's.

    Cabin crew was very hospitable and cheerful, making my first (and probably last) 732 experience very worthwhile.
    After a short thunderous cruise, we began an early descent into PHX. For even more fun, it was pretty bumpy on the way down as well, and while my friend had a deathgrip on her armrests I was having a ball.

    We were put in some strange holding pattern into PHX that I'd never been in before- took a good 15 minuts before I figured out where we were after he said we'd been given clearence to land.

    We landed on rwy26, and followed the Loop 101 (which actually wasn't busy for once) & canal in from the east. With a wonderful view of Camelback mountain out my window, the pilot made a very impressive smooth landing back into the heat of Phoenix.

    Spoilers & buckets UP! (sorry for the glare)

    After a brief taxi back to the gate, we were finally home after a month abroad. Parents were met with hugs, unlike the Phoenix heat. This was a significant trip as far as aircraft experiences goes- first Qantas, 744, 763, and 732 flights!

    And the last shot of the trip- a view out the window of one of HP's last 732s at the company's next generation of aircraft passing by us, with Camelback Mountain in the backdrop.

    Click below.


  • #2
    nice report




    • #3
      Nice report there Justin, glad you enjoyed your trip down under.
      Sam Rudge
      A 5D3, some Canon lenses, the Sigma L and a flash


      • #4
        Great report, its been a pleasure reading your reports Thanks for sharing. Glad you got to ride a 732 before they are all gone
        You've got to try to find what's right before your eyes-Finger Eleven


        • #5
          Thanks for all your comments guys- they mean a lot to me after I've spent so much time writing these. Look for more on the way from my trips inside the US!

          Click below.



          • #6
            AWESOME REPORT!! I loved it, with the photos and everything, it was awesome! Can't wait for more reports from ya


            Next Flights:

            October 14, 2006 - Airtran MDW-MSP
            October 16, 2006 - Airtran MSP-MDW


            • #7
              After reading your reports about your trip I really get the urge to hop on the first available flight and go to Australia again, I love that country.

              The thing I like best about your trip reports is the enthousiasm that you put in them.

              Looking forward to your next report, keep up the good work.