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Flights of 2003 so far....

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  • Flights of 2003 so far....

    I haven't written a trip report per-se in quite some time. However, at the request of a few, I've compiled some limited notes from my travels so far in 2003. I have three more flights tomorrow. I've put links to photos where applicable. I'm sure my geocities bandwidth will crash....

    5 January 2003
    AA2419 STL-DFW 9:04am-11:02am MD-80
    Used the e-kiosk to check-in about 7:40am. Short wait for agent to call off my name for my checked luggage tag. St. Louis’ ticketing hall is a mess with the placement of the new TSA screening equipment in the middle. I worried about my bag making it as it was added to the line-up of well over a hundred bags waiting for screening. Elite security line put me at the front of the screening queue, so the wait was minimal. The gate was one of the closest on C concourse on the alleyway side. Boarding was quick. Seat was 21B, second exit row aisle with no seat opponent. Deadheading flight attendants (just arrived from Maui) filled the row in front of me. On-time departure. Approximately 50% load. One pass with the drink cart and cookies (Breton and Biscoff) followed by a tray service of coffee or water. Great TWA crew. Typical TWA interior, relatively clean. On-time arrival into the TWA-gates in B terminal.

    5 January 2003
    AA1678 DFW-JAX 12:40pm-3:53pm F-100
    Long hike over to A13. Grabbed a quick sandwich for lunch then sat in the Admirals Club for a short time in A terminal. Boarding started around noon. Full flight. Old interiors on the F-100. Seat was 13B, exit row aisle. No recline. Tray tables small, fold out of armrest (very poor for laptop). Two great flight attendants. Powerport in the seat is useful once again for extending laptop life as well as charging cell phone. Standard drink service with pretzels (I miss Cheddar Rold Gold Snack Mix). Arrive into JAX about twenty minutes early, then park on the cargo ramp for a half hour waiting for a gate to free up. American’s operative jetway is in use by a STL flight with mechanical delay, so we wait for the Miami-bound ATR to depart before parking in front of the broken C6 jetway (has been broken for over a year and a half). Airstairs are pulled up to the airplane, but are a little tall for the F-100 (borrowed stairs from Continental). Down the stairs, and up the terminal stairs to the Eagle doorway. Checked luggage takes approximately twenty minutes.

    Weekend of January 11th:
    Went south to Vero Beach, staying with a friend. Flew to Orlando twice, once in Cessna, once in Seneca II.

    17 January 2003
    WN1524 JAX-FLL 8:40pm-9:45pm B737-300
    Used Southwest’s new e-kiosks for the first time. Easy to use and prints an A boarding card. Walked to the counter to check luggage and was done within two minutes. Decided to check luggage as this flight is inbound from other cities and usually has a fair number of continuing passengers and little overhead space. Security wait less than five minutes at the new checkpoint. Gate agent begins lining up passengers in the cramped gate as the aircraft arrives from Indianapolis and Chicago/Midway. A flight attendant came out and joked over the public address system, advising there are already sixty passengers on board. I take the exit row window seat (this aircraft was single cabin with no lounge seating, but still the old interiors) and a friend sits next to me. On-time departure. Standard Southwest drink and peanut service. Full flight. On-time arrival into Ft. Lauderdale and the new terminal. Excellent terminal with open spaces, pleasing colors/decorations, and simple layout. Checked luggage is on the belt as we come downstairs.

    Hotel was a Mainstay Suites at Miami Intl. We had two rooms, each with two double beds and a sofa bed, so all five in our party were accommodated comfortably. Hotel wasn’t bad for employee rate of $25 per night per room. Took a day trip to Key West. Took a cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale down the canals and intercoastal waterway. Visited a friend at University of Miami.

    20 January 2003
    WN227 FLL-JAX 3:00pm-4:10pm B737-300
    E-kiosk yields an A boarding card once again. Gate agent lines up passengers about a half hour before departure (yet some people are already sitting in their respective lines almost an hour before departure, even in B line). Two girls sitting next to us in the gate have quite an interesting conversation on “boob jobs.” Apparently one already has her nipples pierced as well as a lower body part. I love flying Southwest. On-time pushback with a full passenger load. No jokes from the flight crew once again, but the Captain walks through the cabin after boarding greeting everybody. They turn the field as we taxi out and we wait a half hour to take-off. Quick flight up the center of the state (over ORL VOR) with standard drinks/peanuts. Sat in the window seat in front of the exit row (bulkhead behind with exit row lounge seating, old interiors) with a friend in the aisle. Odd person in the middle seat. Visual approach into runway 31, flying low over downtown Jacksonville. Arrival is about fifteen minutes late.

    25 January 2003
    AA1305 MCO-MIA 9:00am-9:59am A300
    Drove to Orlando the night before. Embassy Suites MCO was $62. Nice corner room on the top floor. Hilton HHonors Gold amenity was a snack box with two bottles of water, a package of cookies, a bag of chips, and two granola bars as well as a personal letter from the manager. Arrived at the airport around 7:45am and used the First Class/Elite check-in. Security took a half hour with ten checkpoints open. Arrived at the gate as boarding began and boarded with Group 1. Had seat 9H/J. Old interiors, but MRTC. All male flight attendant crew who was generally rude to passengers. Full flight, 2/3 are Spanish-speaking. Our connecting flight was one of three connections in the U.S. No service at all on the very short flight. On-time into Miami and taxi to the decrepit C concourse. Deplane out of the 2L door. Connection is out of B concourse, quite a walk through a maze of drywall tunnels.
    View inflight:

    25 January 2003
    AA1506 MIA-LGA 10:54am-1:49pm MD-80
    Short wait at B10 before boarding began. This concourse is slightly better but still a dump like most of the Miami airport. Boarded the full flight with Group 1. Had exit row, two-seat side. Two men in front of us made out for the entire flight, with unaccompanied minor across the aisle from them watching intently. On-time departure. Nice clear flight up the coast. Two drink services. On-time arrival at LaGuardia after a spectacular visual approach. Arrived on-time after being towed into a D-concourse gate. I set off to meet a friend while my traveling companion set to work taking pictures of the airport for a class project.
    Aircraft at gate in LGA:

  • #2
    Part II

    25 January 2003
    AA1329 LGA-MCO 6:59pm-9:53pm MD-80
    There as a line at the First Class counter so I went up to the empty coach line. The agent really didn’t want to check me in, insisting I use my benefit of the First Class check-in. She finally checked me in. C-concourse is desolate (location of the Florida flights) and run down. Grabbed a sandwich and waited for boarding. Flight was only 40% full. On-time departure. The back four rows were occupied with what I’ll call “ghetto youths” all singing aloud, hanging over seats, shouting obscenities at each other. Many other passengers moved forward to empty seats. We had row 20A/B exit row. I moved to the empty 19A/B row for more room and used the in-seat powerport for my laptop. Two drink services by the MIA-based crew. Arrived at Orlando a few minutes early. Quick departure from the airport.

    1 February 2003
    DL1991 MCO-ATL 7:05am-8:38am MD-11
    Spent the night in Orlando the night before once again, this time at a Hampton Inn on Semoran Blvd. near the airport. Amenity was usual set of two bottled waters and a bag of chips. Arrived at the airport at 6:00am and used the Delta e-kiosks for check-in. Security wait was only fifteen minutes. Quick breakfast then to gate 80 for boarding. Boarded with Medallion preboarding and took 31B, bulkhead aisle seat. No seat opponent on this 75% full flight. Fast Break service after take-off. On-time arrival into T-concourse at ATL. I am impressed with the MD-11 overall. We rode the train to our connecting gate on the B concourse, greeted by the breaking news on CNN monitors of the shuttle disaster.

    1 February 2003
    DL1929 ATL-RDU 10:30a-11:50a B757
    Boarded with Medallion Pre-boarding and had 26D in the first exit row. I was alone in this row as the flight was only half full. On-time departure. Four flight attendants passed out the Fast Break bottles: Lemonade, water, or some cranberry concoction as well as snack mix. Arrived on time at Raleigh.

    This aircraft at ATL:

    1 February 2003
    DL1160 RDU-ATL 5:25pm-6:52pm B757
    Used the e-kiosks at the ticket counter. The ticketing area of this terminal is a mess, especially the Delta counter with narrow lines and awkwardly placed machines. Walked the entire length of the terminal from Northwest/Continental to Southwest before returning to the gate to await boarding and watch CNN. There was just one boarding call as the flight had around 30 persons. I sat in 26C, and my friends were in the exit row behind me. Nobody showed up to sit next to me contrary to what the seat map depicted. Take-off was impressive due the light load. Nice view of the sunset. Fast Break once again. On-time arrival into the T-concourse. Connecting flight departed from E-concourse.
    Aircraft arriving at RDU:
    View out the window of sunset:

    1 February 2003
    DL157 ATL-MCO 8:20pm-9:52pm MD-11
    After grabbing dinner from the E-concourse food court, we made our way to our gate at the north end of the terminal. The gate agent continually advertised the $50 upgrade to First Class and had many takers. We were the first three to the counter when he asked for volunteers due to an oversale. At the last minute, after the boarding mess had settled down and final call made, he said he didn’t need us and printed new boarding passes. I received an op-upgrade to a window seat in row 13 (Business Elite in this configuration). One member of my party was in row 12 and the third was in row 52. Bottled water was on the seats as well as a pillow/blanket and headsets. Pre-departure drinks were offered. The flight was completely full: both passenger seats and jumpseats. Orlando-based crew was great. These seats are better than Business Elite on the B767-300, my only other DL BizElite experience. The B767 has narrower seats. MD-11 legroom was extraordinary. Constant drinks were offered throughout the flight. For the first time in years I used the inflight entertainment, however with my own noise-cancelling headphones instead of Delta’s cheap offer. I have an adapter so it fits two-pronged airline outlets. On-time arrival back into gate 80 at Orlando.

    Due to a hectic February, a trip to Atlanta never happened (those low fares are good until 7-day advance purchase, so didn’t purchase when planning it thankfully). However, a group of us used for the first time and went to Orlando on a free weekend. On the weekend of February 15th, pricelined for a 3-star $46 hotel after all other attempts at traditional reservations failed (Daytona 500 weekend, so usual hotel was booked solid on the north side of Orlando). We won the Adam’s Mark at Florida Mall. Check-in was quick. Hotel was full though and is a hassle to get to as it is in a mall parking lot (actually attached to the mall via the lobby). Room service trays from the previous guest were in front of the room door. One elevator was broken, so only one was operative on our side of the hotel. It took 20 minutes to reach the room at one point due to the long line to ride upstairs. No stairwell could be found, and hotel employees claimed we couldn’t use one to go upstairs anyway (ridiculous as our rooms were on the third floor). Room was generally clean except for the bottom of the toilet seat (the rest of the bathroom was very clean). Checkout was quick. Visited Epcot, so now I know what the world looked like in 1983.

    1 March 2003
    AA1118 JAX 10:41am F-100
    Arrived Jacksonville Airport around 9:15am, used First Class check-in which had nobody in line. Upgrade cleared that morning, so received boarding pass for 5B. I was offered the non-stop to STL at 9:45am “if you run right now to the gate” but I declined as I was flying JAX-DFW-MCI-STL for the segments toward requalification. I saw one of my friends running for that flight, being paged for “final boarding.” Bad behavior when one is non-rev traveling. Weather was poor with heavy rain while the aircraft arrived from Dallas at 10:10am. Boarding was completed by 10:40am, with six in First and about a 90% load in the back. Pre-takeoff beverages were served and lunch orders taken. I ordered a chicken salad sandwich (the other option was a salad with shrimp on top). The ramp was closed due to lightning, but that was only a ten minute delay. As we prepared for pushback, there was a commotion in the back. Apparently water was pouring out of the ceiling onto passengers. The pilots looked at it as well as one mechanic and they decided to call Fokker-rated mechanics to the airport (they are not on field, so this was at least a 45 minute delay). We all deplaned and I call AA to get myself protected on the later non-stop to STL as well as the next DFW-STL flight (missing my DFW-MCI flight would make it impossible to get from MCI to STL that day). After ninety minutes, I was rebooked (I only have a 1hr15min connection in Dallas anyway) to the 3:40pm non-stop to St. Louis. It actually got me into STL a half hour before my original itin, so no compensation was offered (or asked for). I left the airport for lunch.

    1 March 2003
    AA3197 JAX-STL 3:38pm-4:55pm MD-80
    I didn’t upgrade on this flight as I didn’t feel it was worth it. In exchange, the agent gave me an exit row aisle seat that reclines on this flight and blocked the seat next to me. More room than First that way. I preboarded through gate C4 (the functioning jetway) and sat in 21B. The flight was 80% full. We departed on time despite the still poor weather. Climbout was very bumpy and at cruise the turbulence continued. The flight attendants remained seated for the first half of the flight. Drink service and pretzels offered, with flight attendants hanging onto seats and overhead bins the entire time. Landed twenty minutes early at St. Louis and parked halfway down C concourse.

    3 March 2003
    AA3123 STL-OMA 11:59am-1:21pm MD-80
    I used internet check-in for the first and only time (to get the 500 bonus miles) and arrived at Lambert about 50 minutes before departure. Security was quick, and I arrived at the gate at the end of C concourse as preboarding began. Quick flight up to Omaha in the exit row with drink service. Omaha airport hasn’t changed, and probably never will.

    4 March 2003
    AA5731 OMA-STL 11:33am-12:45pm ERJ
    Check-in at Omaha Eppley Airfield was quick as was security. The flight used gate 7, which was traditionally the American Eagle gate before the merger (TWA used MD-80s into gates 4 and 5). I gate-checked my small bag just to not deal with it and carried on a book. Seat 5A, which was not an exit row, and the lack of legroom was noticeable. On-time flight, arrived into the new D-concourse AA Connection gates at STL, making a long walk out to the terminal.


    • #3
      thats a loooooooooooooong trip report, but the longer the better


      | My Photos | My Profile |


      • #4
        An A300 from MIA-MCO Also could you put a link to your site because the images aren't working.


        • #5
          That's quite a list.

          Just a question from me, the ex-St. Louis Native. I have not flown through STL since late 2000, back in the TWA days. Has AA changed the terminals as much as everyone says they have. From what some of my friends were telling me, It sounded like AA trashed STL. Is this true?



          • #6
            Re: Terminal

            Originally posted by NWA_4_life
            That's quite a list.

            Just a question from me, the ex-St. Louis Native. I have not flown through STL since late 2000, back in the TWA days. Has AA changed the terminals as much as everyone says they have. From what some of my friends were telling me, It sounded like AA trashed STL. Is this true?

            The only changes AA has made so far is changing logos and some repainting. They have pledge something like $20 million toward refurbishing the terminal interiors but that is on hold due to their overall financial difficulties. Many routes have been dropped.... STL is supposed to be 45% regional jets by the end of 2003, according to their business plan announcement late last year. Already the higher D gates have gone to American Connection and they are well along in installing new jetbridges. Landside, there are approximately 20 e-ticket machines in front of one side of the counters.


            • #7
              WOW! You people travel a lot!

              January 1, 2003
              YVR (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada) to MSP (Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA)
              Northwest Airlines
              Airbus A321

              What a vacation! A week in the Pacific NW. We landed in 'cover on the 25. THe next morning, we drove south on BC99 and I-5 to Seattle, where we had too much fun. BUt why stop there? Drove back up north, and went skiing in Vancouver, and did a bunch of stuff there. So we left our hotel in Burnaby with much displeasure, as the place was too good to leave.

              Got to YVR, and checked in two hours early. I always go to airports so much earlier than I'm supposed to because I like to look around at the place. My family hates it, because frankly ,they don't really have the same interests as I do.

              Saw a CAL 744 and a lot of Alaska Airlines aircraft. As we passed through security, I was ushered to the side for a random search. They checked me, and my camera bag. Then a woman came over and asked to speak with me. She said my Nikon N65 had a bomb in it. SHe hassled me for like 45 minutes. I know it's her job, and she should do it. They did the test again, and it came out- voila! POsitive for bombs. THey wouldn't let us take a picture to prove otherwise. They got a dog to sniff the camera and the dog detected nothing. They did the test again, and it was cleared. (I found out that they used the same 'cloth' the first time and second time)

              No more time to look at planes! Ran to the gate, and found a NWA A321 looking back at me. ONly there were more vehicles around it than usual. ANd the crew seemed more grim. Then the announcement came that the plane was "broken" and they were repairing it.
              NOtifications were airline style. THey said it would be 30 minutes, and 30 minutes, they told us it would be another hour, and then, hell why not leave 4 hours late? We live in ATL Atlanta, and MSP was a connection. We missed the ATL connection. Northwest put us in a rather comfy hotel for the night, and I got to see another state.
              The next morning, we went back over to MSP, and found we were on the first flight out of there. It was a DC-9.

              January 2, 2003
              MSP (Minneapolies-St. Paul, Minnesota, USA) - ATL (Atlanta, Georgia, USA)
              Northwest Airlines

              WE went into the plane, and i found out i got a window! It was the last row, and I got seat A. It must be a wondow. I looked out, and saw...another window cover. *&%*&! I NNED WINDOW! Luckily, I alerted a crew member about a seat change, and she loked at me like I was mad. She asked why I had a boarding pass for a flight attendant's seat. I said I dunno, they just gave it to me at checkin. There were five open seats elsewhere, three were windows. I chose the one right behind the wing. (As opposed to voer the wing and three rows behind us)
              Flight went smoothly, in a matter of hours the fmailiar Bank of America tower came into view...and we landed in home. grr.. Went and got our luggage, and went home on
              MARTA the subway. MARTA is the most defunct subway system in america. no joke.