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Topic: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-10-22 05:40:33 and read 9495 times.

Giving The Big Easy Some LUV


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/MSYCOVERLUV2.jpg


Every October/November my job requires that I attend a scientific conference that usually rotates between Washington DC, San Diego and New Orleans. Luck had it that every time it was held in New Orleans I could not go for one reason or another. The one and only time that I was actually able to go (back in the mid-00s) Hurricane Katrina got in the way and forced the conference to be moved to Atlanta. This year it was again New Orleans' turn to host the event and sometime in early May I found out that I was allowed to attend it. Awesome.

The obvious question was how to get down there from Chicago. I refused to consider direct flights and started thinking about airports that I haven't been to and that I would like to layover at. Unfortunately nothing exciting came up as most carriers offered layovers at airports that I've been to before. Then I thought about Southwest (IATA: WN, ICAO: LUV). No other airline could offer itineraries with layovers at airports like BHM, TPA, BWI or BNA, all bookable under a single ticket. Now that was *really* exciting. To cut a long story short, due to budgetary and time restrictions I had to choose a layover at HOU on the way south and a layover at BHM on the way back. I had previously flown in and out of HOU but it was a quick "no-aircraft-change" layover (again on WN) so I never got to see the terminal. This meant that (technically) this would count as a new airport for me. So all in all this trip would involve 3 new airports (HOU, MSY and BHD) and 2 new States for my personal collection (Louisiana and Alabama).

I do understand that the choice of carrier may not excite most readers here but I hope that the destination photos compensate for that.



Here's the map with the full itinerary courtesy of Great Circle Mapper.



HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

-well, not really, but I always wanted to say that-


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Graphic1-5.jpg

Route: MDW-HOU
Carrier: Southwest Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 737-7H4
Registration: N739GB


As you know WN does not assign seats but instead, on the basis of how early one checks in online the day before, they assign you a number which you use to find your spot in the boarding queue. For an extra $10 they can guarantee (well, almost) that you'll be in the first 25% of those boarding the aircraft (no matter how late you check in online). Wanting to make sure that I get a window seat and enough overhead space for my carry-ons I went ahead and paid the said fee, which is known as "Early-Bird". I quite like the idea. Much less stressful than the traditional way.

On the day of departure, I got up early and rode a couple of CTA trains down to MDW, which took about an hour. I printed my boarding passes at a self-check-in kiosk (the printer home had broken down a couple of days earlier) and made my way to the always crowded security checkpoint. Once done with that I headed to Pegasus for the compulsory chicken soup and spinach pie (a tradition every time I fly out of MDW).

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9096.jpg
My breakfast. Delicious as always.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9100.jpg
No matter how many times I fly out of MDW, I have to stop by this and admire it.


There isn't much spotting to do in MDW unless you really like WN. I had a ton of time to waste so I wandered around the terminal hunting for WN aircraft with special liveries. The only ones present at the time were "Colorado One" (N230WN) and "Illinois One" (N918WN).


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9106.jpg
"Colorado One"

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9109.jpg
"Illinois One"

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9107.jpg
Hello Mr.Porter!


I sat at one of the many armchair-style seats provided by WN and read on my kindle until I saw our aircraft position itself by the gate. No special livery unfortunately. Bummer. I was assigned boarding number A22 so once I got on our 737-7H4 I made my way to the back of the aircraft where there were a ton of empty seats. I was surprised at how good the legroom was. The flight was jam-packed so eventually I got a couple of neighbors (who I soon realized were not very familiar with flying as they had a great deal of trouble figuring how to fasten their seat-belts. I felt like being nice so I helped).


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9118.jpg
Here's our bird.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9119.jpg
Pretty comfy

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9126.jpg
The WN livery may be hideous but I do dig the winglet color scheme.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9129.jpg
See you again in 6 days, Chicago!

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9147-1.jpg
Cabin


I simply love the way WN does the drink service. No silly trolley blocking the isle and no on-site drink pouring. A flight attendant simply asks everyone what they want, he/she writes it down and a few moments later he/she brings back a tray with a bunch of drinks (usually 6-8 at a time). It's so much faster and efficient. We all had our drinks in no time and shortly after came the snacks: peanuts and cheese crackers. Hear that "legacy" carriers?

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9137.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9138.jpg
The crackers were not my cup of tea so they were expelled from the second photo

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9162-1.jpg
Nice table detail

The flight was fairly uneventful even though I couldn't help but notice that half the pax were coughing continuously. It was like we were a TB colony. Rather unnerving. After the pneumonia I got (most likely acquired during the flight) in my latest trip to Japan I didn't wanna have my conference ruined by yet another infection. Most of the flight was spent over clouds but the skies cleared somewhat once we reached eastern Texas allowing us a glimpse of the urban sprawl of Houston.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9154-1.jpg
Flying over some swamps

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9167.jpg
Descending over Houston

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9169-1.jpg
Downtown Houston

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9172.jpg
A quick glimpse of HOU through the clouds.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9179.jpg
Hello HOU. We meet again.


A good deal of the pax had to remain on the aircraft as they were continuing to JAN (it's very common for WN to issue tickets with "no-aircraft-change" layovers) so it got a bit chaotic with people having to make room for those leaving and trying to find their bags in the overhead compartments.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9180.jpg
The rather lovely airside area of HOU

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9188.jpg
The Houston skyline in the distance

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9192.jpg
WN likes to put its logo everywhere. This is on the armrest of the comfy armchair (which came with power- and USB sockets) next to my gate.


I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised by HOU. It was clean, bright and really nicely air-conditioned. Most gates had armchairs like the ones I show above and there was plenty of space for everyone. I even overheard people commenting at how nice the airport was. I could have happily stayed there for several hours but my layover was just 90 mins so it was soon time to line up for boarding again...


HEADING TO CAJUN COUNTRY



http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Graphic2-3.jpg

Route: HOU-MSY
Carrier: Southwest Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 737-3H4
Registration: N644SW


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9197.jpg
Here's our girl, right on time.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9198.jpg
Looking towards what I assume to be the main terminal area.


This time I had boarding number A32 which once again allowed me to get exactly the seat that I wanted at the back of the plane. Yet another full flight which was hardly surprising given the enormous number of conference attendees that had to get to New Orleans that day. Once on my seat I noticed the far from stellar condition of the cabin. The carpet was scattered with crackers, peanuts and random garbage, while some trash could be found even on the seats themselves. I hate it when people treat aircraft like a baseball game dugout.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9203.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9204.jpg
Tsk Tsk...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9206.jpg
That's one funky bag.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9209.jpg
Bye bye HOU. It was a pleasure.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9211.jpg
Lots of artificial ponds in suburban Houston.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9222.jpg
Tankers lining up in Galveston Bay


Drink and snack service was done in a bit of a hurry as the hop between HOU and MSY is just about an hour long. I intentionally sat on the right side of the aircraft so I can look at the coastline and have a better look of the Mississippi once we started our descent. Despite the hazy skies this strategy paid off and I was treated to some nice views.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9232.jpg
Refreshing cranapple drink

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9245.jpg
It sure looks like Louisiana

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9253.jpg
A first glimpse of the mighty Mississippi

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9255.jpg
Getting ready to land at MSY

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9256.jpg
Descending over some refineries.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9260.jpg
An early reminder that New Orleans is built on what used to be swamps... This area is known as LaBranche Wetlands.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9265.jpg
Hello MSY


My first impression of MSY was not great. The place (at least Concourse B, the part where WN operates out of) was rather old, damp, not terribly clean, somewhat smelly, and several areas were under construction. I'm sure the other concourses are much better, or at least so I've heard. On the positive side, as we were exiting air-side everyone was handed Mardi Gras-style beads which I thought was a nice touch. It puts you in NOLA mood right away. I wonder whether they do this all the time or if this was some kinda special occasion... I was dreading the wait for a taxi but once I got out of the terminal there was no line so I was on my way to downtown in no time.

I had chosen to stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites - Convention Center, which was just a 2-min walk from where I had to be every morning for the next few days. The downside of staying by the convention center was that it was somewhat far away from the French Quarter but I guess this was also a good thing. I must say that this was probably the best hotel I've stayed at during a conference. The building belongs to an old warehouse and you can clearly see this in its architecture and especially the windows. The rooms were spacious and clean, the beds were incredibly comfortable, the staff was very friendly and we were offered free breakfast every morning. What's more, my room enjoyed views of the New Orleans skyline, which I greatly appreciated.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9269.jpg
The Superdome as seen from the taxi

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9280.jpg
Hotel Lobby

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0001.jpg
View from my hotel room window

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Another old warehouse/factory now used as an apartment block.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0109-2.jpg
Time to get some sleep after a long day...

Scroll down or click below to read the next segment

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-10-22 05:41:13 and read 9521 times.

SIX DAYS IN NEW ORLEANS


New Orleans is known by many nicknames. "The Big Easy" (or "The Big Sleazy" according to some), "The Crescent City", "The City that Care Forgot" and "NOLA" just to name a few. The French influence is evident everywhere. In the street names, the architecture, the cuisine, people's last names, the fact that there is a fleur-de-lis everywhere you look and of course in the city's name itself.

I'm no party animal but I was curious about the French Quarter so some older colleagues and I made plans to eat/drink there on Saturday night. We stayed out until fairly late and got rather drunk. On the way back to the hotel we had to walk the entire length of Bourbon Street. The things that I saw along the way were unbelievable by US standards. Strippers provocatively dressed standing by the entrances to their clubs luring folk to come in, half-naked men pole dancing, people throwing beads from balconies, numerous prostitutes, people so drunk that were unable to stand upright, advertised sex show venues and much more. Bourbon street sure lived up to its reputation. There was also a group of people carrying a huge cross who were trying to persuade those around them to "abandon their sinful lives and follow their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" but I don't think they were doing a very good job convincing them. The next day I woke up with such a terrible hangover that I didn't drink a single drop of booze for the remaining 4 days of my stay in New Orleans... I'm such a lightweight.

Instead of drinking I chose to fill whatever free time I had with other activities. I had a great time exploring the city. I tried to sample as much of the local cuisine as possible (I had a ton of Jambalaya, Gumbo, Crayfish, Oysters) but unfortunately I did not get the chance to sample any alligator or any of the city's famous beignets. However, the thing I enjoyed doing most was to sit by the river and watch the huge tankers that would go by. I never thought that tanker-spotting could be so much fun. I saw vessels from all around the world carrying their precious cargo up and down the river. Too bad we don't get this kind of action in Chicago. At one point I jumped onto a small ferry and went across the river to Algiers Point (a 5-min crossing), just for the sake of doing it. I didn't even get off on the other side; I just stayed on board and got right back to downtown. It seems that I like boats as much as I like airplanes...



http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9409.jpg
Colorful downtown area

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9283-1.jpg
Streetcars

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0253.jpg
Jambalaya

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0254.jpg
Crayfish Étouffée and potato salad

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9304-1.jpg
French Quarter by night

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9288-1.jpg
Statue of Andrew Jackson (7th President of the US) in the park that bears his name.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0180-1.jpg
Interesting row of restaurants

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9282.jpg
Lots of small boats on the Mississippi.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0016-2.jpg
The ferry that would take me across the river to Algiers Point

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0020-1.jpg
Ferry interior

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Leaving the dock

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The bridge as seen from the boat

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0024-1.jpg
A Turkish tanker (flying the Maltese flag and with an Azeri name, albeit spelled in Turkish) going downriver.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0065.jpg
Our boat's front

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0062-1.jpg
Shipyards at Algiers Pint

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0018-1.jpg
Riverfront skyrise

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0052-1.jpg
New Orleans Skyline as seen on the way back from Algiers Point

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0110-1.jpg
Old-style steamer riverboat on the downtown side of the river

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0113-1.jpg
With a name like that this tanker has to be Greek-owned (despite the fact that it's registered in Liberia). I looked it up and sure thing it is Greek.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0076-1.jpg
Downtown Skyline

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0114.jpg
Another look at the bridge

A few photos of New Orleans' trademark, the St.Louis Cathedral:

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0122-2.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0141-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0126-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0142.jpg


And a few photos of the French Quarter and Bourbon Street:

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0145-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0148-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0157.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0150-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0149.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0158.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0160-2.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0161.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0164-1.jpg




SWAMPED


During one of the less busy days at the conference I decided to book myself a swamp tour. There were many available ones at different locations around New Orleans but I chose the one organized by "Cajun Encounters" and taking place on the Louisiana-Mississippi border (near the town of Slidell), on the West Pearl River. A shuttle bus picked us up from our hotel and took us 45-mins out of town in the middle of the bayou. While there, we boarded a small 10-people boat and took off to the depths of the swamp in a wild area known as Honey Island or Dead River. The experience was absolutely amazing. We were very lucky that we came across a bunch of very exciting wildlife as you can see from the photos below...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9324-1.jpg
Crossing the Twin Span Bridge on our way to Slidell. This bridge was severely damaged by Katrina and had to be rebuilt.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0258.jpg
Interesting name for a boat. It doesn't fill me with confidence though..

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0260-1.jpg
Leaving the dock to explore the swamp wilderness

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0308.jpg
Beautiful bayou scenery

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0381-1.jpg
An absolutely huge owl. Too bad you can't appreciate its size in this photo.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0417.jpg
Beautiful swamp

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0277-1.jpg
What do we have here?

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0302.jpg
Holy crap

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0285-1.jpg
Good boy

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0299-1.jpg
Easy now...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0294-1.jpg
Maybe I'm sitting a bit too close...?

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0298-1.jpg
The eye of the gator

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0312.jpg
I don't wanna know what's under these water lilies

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0346-1.jpg
Sunbathing baby gator

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0472.jpg
More of the swamp

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0476-1.jpg
Wild boar and its baby

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0464.jpg
The baby boar was fearless

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0524.jpg
Another gator approaching our boat. This one is much smaller than the last one.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0528.jpg
...but equally hungry

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0530.jpg
...and quite persistent

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0539.jpg
...not to mention skillful

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0558.jpg
Heading upriver to the Indian Village

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0588.jpg
The "accessible-by-water-only" Indian Village.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0603.jpg
I wonder how often these people get unwanted "visits" by alligators...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0575.jpg
Hilarious

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0581-1.jpg
The movie "Deliverance" comes to mind...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0597-1.jpg
Another victim of Katrina

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0606.jpg
One of the better looking houses of the village

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0608.jpg
Shrimp-fishing boat

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0615-1.jpg
West Pearl River bridge

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9334.jpg
That's one cute kitty back at the swamp tour HQs. I hope it watches out for those sneaky gators at night.


The tour lasted about 2.5 hours and it was worth every single penny. We saw a ton more wildlife than what I'm showing you above but I don't wanna fill this report with photos of spiders, cranes, gator-turtles, woodpeckers or random reptiles. If you ever find yourself in Louisiana, please do yourself a favor and go on a swamp tour.

On the way back we drove by several bayou communities and we also stopped by a NASA assembly facility for a couple of quick photos. A great way to end an awesome tour.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9353-1.jpg
Fort Pike. You can see some cracks on its walls caused by Katrina

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9360-1.jpg
Boats blown off the water and onto the road by Hurricane Isaac a few weeks earlier

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9364.jpg
Houses around this area need to be built on stilts as flooding is extremely common. Every single house in this area was like that.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9376.jpg
Going through the gates of a levy

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0636.jpg
The NASA Michoud Assembly Facility

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0634.jpg
S-IC of Saturn V on display outside the main facility


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9394.jpg
New Orleans skyline from the highway

Scroll down or click below to read the next segment

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-10-22 05:41:43 and read 9522 times.

SWEET LAYOVER ALABAMA


After some lovely time in town it was time to return home. I was excited about the prospect of flying into an Alabama airport, something that I never thought likely before. A colleague of mine and I shared a taxi to MSY, where we were dropped off at around 10:30am (his flight was leaving after just a couple of hours, while I was perfectly happy to hang out around the airport until my afternoon flight). After checking in, we headed to the rather chaotic and slow moving security line. The whole thing was rather confusing, with multiple lines that diverged and converged again. There was hardly any room between the ID-check desk and the metal detectors so the line was forced to a standstill on multiple occasions. Not efficient to say the least. Later my colleague was approached by a lady conducting a survey regarding passengers' satisfaction with the airport. When asked about his security experience, he gave it a 1 (out of 5). As a reward for agreeing to take the survey he was given a luggage tag with MSY's logo. Too bad I was shopping for souvenirs at the time and missed the opportunity to get one too.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Graphic3-2.jpg

Route: MSY-BHM
Carrier: Southwest Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 737-3H4
Registration: N331SW


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9413.jpg
View of the MSY apron

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9418.jpg
WN's little sibling (Airtran) flies to MSY too

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9419.jpg
FIDS

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9428.jpg
Midwest's livery sure looks sharp. Such a shame that technically Midwest (YX) doesn't exist anymore as it has been merged with and incorporated to F9.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9430.jpg
If you agreed to take a survey about your MSY experience you were given an MSY luggage tag.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9432.jpg
A good looking jetBlue Embraer 190


Unlike HOU, MSY lacks space around the gates. A bunch of seats were placed around our gate without regard to how people will access them and this created a rather uncomfortable situation for those wanting to walk up to the gate. Our flight to BHM was overbooked so several pledges were made over the microphone for volunteers willing to take a later flight for a monetary compensation of around $300. Those agreeing to give up their seats would be offered alternative routings via TPA or BNA (I have flown to neither) so for a moment I was tempted. However, in my mind BHM was a much cooler and rarer airport than either TPA or BNA so I stayed put.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9433.jpg
Our bird shortly after arriving at the gate

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9434.jpg
More WN-branded seats

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9435.jpg
What used to be a gate

Just like I mentioned earlier, concourse B has seen better days. Even the oldest and darkest areas of ORD looked better in my opinion. Our 737 was not in a much better state either as apparently it had just unloaded a bunch of kindergarten kids or Neanderthals. I can't explain otherwise the food that was scattered around the floor. I guess that's what happens when your turnarounds are so brief that there is no time to clean the cabin. We pushed back just as a light rain had started to fall. We took off heading south, before turning around to pass over the downtown area for a last glimpse of the Superdome. We continued on a northeasterly route, flying over the city's other airport (NEW) and over lake Pontchartrain before heading towards the very swamps I was making alligator acquaintances at a couple of days earlier. The flight was fairly short (just about an hour gate-to-gate) and uneventful. I got myself a coke and some peanuts and enjoyed a bit of reading.



http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9442.jpg
Another dirty interior

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9446.jpg
It looks like we're just about to beat a storm

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9447.jpg
A friend from the north

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9450.jpg
In Flight magazine

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9454.jpg
Getting ready for take-off

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9455.jpg
Taking off

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9457.jpg
MSY from above

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9460.jpg
Flying over the Mississippi one more time

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9464.jpg
Superdome and downtown New Orleans through a gap in the clouds

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9469.jpg
New Orleans Lakefront Airport (NEW) on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9472.jpg
The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, the second longest bridge in the world.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9476.jpg
Fires somewhere near the Mississippi-Alabama border

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9478.jpg
Getting ready to land. By the way, notice the lack of a winglet on our plane.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9483.jpg
What is this? Military aircraft? Nice...


After landing at BHM I noticed a number of military aircraft parked on the right side of the runway. Apparently this is a joint civilian-military airport, something I did not know. After getting off the plane I hunted for some Alabama souvenirs but all I could find were stuff about 'Bama's, Auburn's and U.A.B.'s (american) football teams. No doubt this region is crazy about college football. Finally after purchasing some suitable souvenirs, I got myself a drink and sat by a window to spot the various military aircraft going by (mainly KC-135s)


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9487.jpg
Approaching the terminal at BHM

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9493.jpg
Inside BHM

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9499.jpg
Vitamin Water bottles can be hilarious.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9502.jpg
Birmingham skyline

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9503.jpg
BHM doubles up as a military base for the US Air Force. Here's a KC-135.



LEAVING THE BIBLE BELT BEHIND


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Graphic4-1.jpg

Route: BHM-MDW
Carrier: Southwest Airlines
Aircraft: Boeing 737-3H4
Registration: N360SW

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9506.jpg
The plane that would take me home

Our layover at BHM was a short one so before I knew it I had to get ready for boarding once more. Another 737-3H4 was waiting at the gate. Fortunately this time the flight was not full so the seat next to me remained empty. As we were getting ready to reach the runway I noticed that BHM is about to open a new terminal. The jetways were wrapped up in protective plastic covers. Too bad I was here too early to check it out. Apparently the first phase of its construction should be completed by December.

After getting my drink I fell asleep for about an hour and woke up as we were overflying Indianapolis. Thunderstorms were expected over Chicago so we had taken a slightly more easterly route than normal.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9510.jpg
The still empty cabin

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9514.jpg
What must be the new or renovated terminal. Notice how the jetways are still wrapped up

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9526.jpg
The city of Birmingham as seen from above

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9530.jpg
The downtown area

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9532.jpg
Where we just took off from

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9513.jpg
Free booze, but unfortunately not today...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9536.jpg
Some tomato juice will suffice for the time being

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9542.jpg
I like big sales

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9545.jpg
Interesting cloud formations

After landing at MDW I headed to the train station, which was eerily empty. It was a bit unnerving to be all by myself on the train and to make things worse I was soon joined by a guy that was clearly on drugs and hallucinating. You gotta love the South Side of Chicago. Fortunately he was way too high so he just kept conversing with his imaginary friend, and occasionally high-five'ing him.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9551.jpg
On the train back home

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0642.jpg
Had to get one of these since I didn't get the chance to try the real thing

FINAL COMMENTS


So what did I think of WN? Well I had flown with them once in the past (MDW-SAT-HOU-MDW) and I have to say that my opinion of them remains unchanged. I find their boarding procedure to be as stress-free as it gets. Pay the $10 "Early Bird" fee and you're gonna get the seat you want, a ton of space for your bag, and you don't have to stress about beating other people in line for boarding. The drink and snack service is much more efficient compared to other airlines, and I have yet to come across an unpleasant WN flight attendant. Their only downside is their butt-ugly livery; but you know, I can live with that.

Of course there was the issue with the messy interiors on 3 of my 4 flights (food and trash scattered on the floor) but as I mentioned earlier that's somewhat inevitable due to the way WN operates their flights (with very brief layovers at multiple airports, while some pax remain on board) which makes cleaning the cabin difficult. I personally blame the pax for this; if they didn't behave like pigs this would not be an issue.

As for New Orleans? I really liked its uniqueness and I would love to go back, if only to go on another swamp tour. I would definitely recommend a visit there.

Thanks for reading.


WideBodyroga

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: MSYtristar
Posted 2012-10-22 09:08:38 and read 9079 times.

Great report! Loved the pictures and the detail. Glad you enjoyed your time in New Orleans!

Concourse B is actually in the midst of a pretty big renovation. WN shelled out a few million of its own money to spruce things up. It was badly needed, and I'm hopeful that when it's done it won't be such an eyesore.

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: CaptainRed
Posted 2012-10-22 11:11:18 and read 8857 times.

Hi Stojan,

what a great report here. And another one from your hands that brings back some wonderful memories from the time of my flight training. Went down to New Orleans in a little Cessna on my obligatory long cross country flight for the training. Unfortunately I only had a couple of hours in the city (and only during the day, so I wasn't able to check out the infamous nightlife like you did   ). But I really enjoyed the city very much, that mixture of French, Cajun and US influence really makes for an awesome atmosphere there. That swamp tour also looked like fun, for sure a great experience to get so close to an alligator.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
New Orleans Lakefront Airport (NEW) on the shore of Lake Pontchartrain.

Great shot, that's the airport where I landed back then.

Also looks like you had some good flights with Southwest. Given the fact that they are considered to be a LCC their service really seems to be good. Maybe they should just keep their planes a bit cleaner.

Greetings
CaptainRed

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: MSS658
Posted 2012-10-23 00:37:37 and read 8315 times.

Hi

Awesome report, thanks for sharing! Looks like WN pleased you, except for the cabin condtion on the HOU-MSY leg

New Orleans looks amazing, would love to go there one day myself!

Greetings
Marc

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: palmjet
Posted 2012-10-23 05:12:23 and read 8156 times.

Hi S

Great report there ! It was an unexpected pleasure to see it appearing and provided me with great entertainment while sitting at my desk looking outside at a grey and dreary and damp London.

Nice to see how your WN experience was. I've flown with them but it was many many years ago now and I was blown away by their level of customer service. Certainly at the time I flew with them, I had never experienced such casual but friendly staff at an airline before.

I really enjoyed the destination pics - of course! The swamp tour looked great. I would definitely be up for that. I just hope that cute kitty keeps away from the alligators. Great pic of the owl as well.

Some great views of New Orleans too by day and night - with the French influence, it gave me some short and sweet flashbacks to Montreal - still a city close to my heart!

So you're a ship spotter now as well as a plane spotter..?  

Cheers Palmjet

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: viasamsy
Posted 2012-10-23 05:44:21 and read 8131 times.

Great trip report and great job featuring New Orleans the city where I live and love. No place like it.
I have been living in New Orleans for 22 years and have never taken a swamp tour. Your pictures have inspired me to do it.
BTW you were around the corner from my office building on St Charles Avenue.
Cheers and thank you

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: roberts87
Posted 2012-10-23 09:47:52 and read 8021 times.

Excellent report Stojan, thanks for sharing!
Southwest is definately a great, carrier, I enjoyed my two flights with them.
And I absolutely loved New Orleans, what a unique city!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I simply love the way WN does the drink service.

Agreed!

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: dc9northwest
Posted 2012-10-23 14:52:01 and read 7891 times.

Hey Stojan,

Ah, yes, the famous Alabama connection! Though if I hear "Birmingham" I think of a lousy accent, not of Alabama.

Let's see here...

Alligators, check. Drunken revelry, check. Swamp, check. "Easy" women, check.

Seems like your trip to New Orleans was a success!

Southwest looks like Southwest indeed. I'd fly them way more often if they had assigned seating though. I despise not having an assigned seat. But I guess those 10 extra dollars are useful. A44 instead of B32 for me this autumn. Quite the difference.

Southwest--good legroom, check. Chips on the floor, check. Yeah, their planes aren't the cleanest! And since they only have 737s they're just not that interesting for me  

Anyway, a nice report, and even if you don't care about aircraft subtypes, you wrote 737-3H4... I wouldn't do that, it's a 737-300 for me, who cares who they made it for  

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: sultanils
Posted 2012-10-23 22:57:13 and read 7756 times.

Hello Mr Roga,

Excellent stuff my friend! You just showed how to turn a mundane LCC experience into a pleasant and attractive story. Nice pics as well and that swamp tour looked very rewarding indeed. Too bad they have to feed the crocs for the tourist’s sake, I’d say leave those magnificent creatures be...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
hen I thought about Southwest (IATA: WN, ICAO: LUV)

Allright, so that’s where the LUV comes from. What a funny callsign!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
and 2 new States for my personal collection (Louisiana and Alabama)

Did you get to keep ‘the States’ 

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM.

-well, not really, but I always wanted to say that-

Ha ha, you’re funny man. It IS a good thing that you luckily had no problem whatsoever  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
It's so much faster and efficient.

Hmm, I’m not so sure of that. The crew has to do a lot of walking and stuff. Sure the main advantage is that there is no cart blocking this aisle, but to me that’s only a minor inconvenience since I stay in my seat foor 99,9% of the time.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The carpet was scattered with crackers, peanuts and random garbage, while some trash could be found even on the seats themselves.

That’s really sad. We live in a waste society you know 

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Interesting name for a boat. It doesn't fill me with confidence though..

The fact that this TR is online (and very good) is proof of you not being fed to the crocs.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
However, in my mind BHM was a much cooler and rarer airport than either TPA or BNA so I stayed put.

Hey come on, you should have taken those $ 300 and run!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Another dirty interior

Maybe you should file a complaint form over the issue? Maybe it doesn’t bother you that much but then at least it get through to the higher echelons of the company and very maybe they might do something about the cleanliness of the cabin (educate the pax?).

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Vitamin Water bottles can be hilarious.

Indeed, but you as a scientist would know very well about ‘relativation’?


Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I like big sales

And I like those branded napkins!

Sultanils

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-10-24 05:33:04 and read 7666 times.

Hey fellas, thanks for all your responses.

Quoting MSYtristar (Reply 3):
Great report! Loved the pictures and the detail. Glad you enjoyed your time in New Orleans!

Concourse B is actually in the midst of a pretty big renovation. WN shelled out a few million of its own money to spruce things up. It was badly needed, and I'm hopeful that when it's done it won't be such an eyesore.

Thanks, MSYtristar. It's important to get the locals' approval on how I presented their town  . It sure is a special place, no doubt. As for Concourse B it needs to be renovated urgently and hopefully all the work will be completed soon. Have you noticed how as part of the current decoration they have fake trees with fake stray leaves and fake cockroaches on them? (at least I hope they were fake).

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_9416.jpg

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 4):
what a great report here. And another one from your hands that brings back some wonderful memories from the time of my flight training.

Hey captain! Ha, it seems like no matter where I go to you've been already!  . I'm glad I brought back some nice memories!

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 4):
That swamp tour also looked like fun, for sure a great experience to get so close to an alligator.

I was so mesmerized by the creature and by my attempt to get some decent photos of it that I missed experiencing the moment itself. At least now I have the photos to look at  .



Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 4):
Given the fact that they are considered to be a LCC their service really seems to be good.

They may be a LCC on paper but they offer so much more than the legacy ones. Free checked-in bags, free drinks and snacks, always friendly and always efficient. Quite honestly, they make UA, DL and AA look like LCCs.

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
Awesome report, thanks for sharing! Looks like WN pleased you, except for the cabin condtion on the HOU-MSY leg

Thanks Marc. Yeah, they could use some vacuuming every now and then  .

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 5):
New Orleans looks amazing, would love to go there one day myself!

You should. Especially given that you visit the US so often. North Carolina is not (in the grand scheme of things) that far away. You should give it a go  .

Quoting palmjet (Reply 6):
Great report there ! It was an unexpected pleasure to see it appearing and provided me with great entertainment while sitting at my desk looking outside at a grey and dreary and damp London.

Hey pj! I'm glad I contributed to make your afternoon a bit more bearable. The weather has been very gloomy here too...

Quoting palmjet (Reply 6):
Certainly at the time I flew with them, I had never experienced such casual but friendly staff at an airline before.

Yeah, definitely very friendly and with a tendency to crack jokes every now and then. It definitely helps on some longer flights...

Quoting palmjet (Reply 6):
So you're a ship spotter now as well as a plane spotter..?  

Well, yeah, I think so. Too bad I can't do any of that here. Especially in the winter when even the small boats are taken off the various little harbors due to the fact that the lake freezes.

Quoting viasamsy (Reply 7):
Great trip report and great job featuring New Orleans the city where I live and love. No place like it.
I have been living in New Orleans for 22 years and have never taken a swamp tour. Your pictures have inspired me to do it.

Thanks viasamsy. If my TR is the reason you decide to go on a swamp tour then it was definitely worth writing! Go ahead and you won't regret it. I'm suspecting that if you go in spring you'll see even more wildlife than we did.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 8):
Excellent report Stojan, thanks for sharing!
Southwest is definately a great, carrier, I enjoyed my two flights with them.
And I absolutely loved New Orleans, what a unique city!

Thanks Robert! A very unique place indeed! I'm already looking forward going back  .

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 9):
Hey Stojan,

Ah, yes, the famous Alabama connection! Though if I hear "Birmingham" I think of a lousy accent, not of Alabama.

Hehe, same here, Alex. I have many friends from the "real" Birmingham back in the UK and my sister used to live nearby (Coventry). Even my doctoral advisor was from the West Midlands area. However both Birminghams have pretty distinctive accents. And you won't exactly call them pretty, lol

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 9):
Seems like your trip to New Orleans was a success!

Yeah, I would say so. The conference went pretty well and I certainly managed to see a lot given the limited free time.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 9):
Southwest looks like Southwest indeed. I'd fly them way more often if they had assigned seating though. I despise not having an assigned seat. But I guess those 10 extra dollars are useful. A44 instead of B32 for me this autumn. Quite the difference.

I used to think the same but I'm slowly changing my mind. As long as I have an "A" boarding number I'm good  .

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 9):
Southwest--good legroom, check. Chips on the floor, check. Yeah, their planes aren't the cleanest! And since they only have 737s they're just not that interesting for me  

Yeah, I was surprised by how good the legroom was. As for the 737 I agree that they are kinda boring. Nobody's perfect I guess... I think their all-737 fleet was part of the reason that I haven't flown all that much with them.

Quoting dc9northwest (Reply 9):
nyway, a nice report, and even if you don't care about aircraft subtypes, you wrote 737-3H4... I wouldn't do that, it's a 737-300 for me, who cares who they made it for  

I have such little interest for subtypes that I wasn't even aware what "-3H4" meant until you mentioned it and I looked it up. .

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Excellent stuff my friend! You just showed how to turn a mundane LCC experience into a pleasant and attractive story. Nice pics as well and that swamp tour looked very rewarding indeed. Too bad they have to feed the crocs for the tourist’s sake, I’d say leave those magnificent creatures be...

Thanks for your kind words, Nils!

While I'm grateful that I got to see these creatures in (some sort of) action, I agree that it would be better if they were just left alone.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Allright, so that’s where the LUV comes from. What a funny callsign!

Yeah, apparently it is a tribute to Love Field (DAL) which acted as their first hub (and still is one of the many hubs they have).


Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Did you get to keep ‘the States’ 

No because I already had 2 carry-ons.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Ha ha, you’re funny man. It IS a good thing that you luckily had no problem whatsoever  

I guess the only problem with Houston was that the layover wasn't long enough. I really enjoyed that airport!

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Hmm, I’m not so sure of that. The crew has to do a lot of walking and stuff. Sure the main advantage is that there is no cart blocking this aisle, but to me that’s only a minor inconvenience since I stay in my seat foor 99,9% of the time.

I guess it's a matter of personal preference then. I hardly ever leave my seat either but (aside from that) the way WN does the drink service appears to save a lot of time.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
That’s really sad. We live in a waste society you know 

So true. What I really hate on top of that is the "somebody else will clean it" mentality.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
The fact that this TR is online (and very good) is proof of you not being fed to the crocs.

Well in retrospect that big one did come way too close. I was too busy shooting photos to realize it  .

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Hey come on, you should have taken those $ 300 and run!

I'm a dedicated a.netter. I simply had to log BHM  .

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Maybe you should file a complaint form over the issue? Maybe it doesn’t bother you that much but then at least it get through to the higher echelons of the company and very maybe they might do something about the cleanliness of the cabin (educate the pax?).

I'm sure they are aware of it but I guess a quick turnaround is much more important to them than some crackers on the floor... But you're right, a quick and basic vacuuming cannot take that long, right?

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
Indeed, but you as a scientist would know very well about ‘relativation’?

How does this apply to the vitamin water bottle? I only had 4hrs of sleep last night so I'm not being very sharp right now  Please elaborate.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 10):
And I like those branded napkins!

I'm a sucker for maps so I kept examining the map on the other side of the napkin, even though it was just a basic one. I just can't help it  

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: globalflyer
Posted 2012-10-24 07:29:46 and read 7599 times.

Hi Stojan...great report and pictures. The swamp tour looked great but I think I would not do well in the face of a gator! Yes as I told you before, the things you see in MSY in the French Quarter are indeed eye opening! You can "get": anything you desire and more!   Cheers, Will

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-10-26 20:04:20 and read 7282 times.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 12):
Hi Stojan...great report and pictures. The swamp tour looked great but I think I would not do well in the face of a gator! Yes as I told you before, the things you see in MSY in the French Quarter are indeed eye opening! You can "get": anything you desire and more!   Cheers, Will

Hey Will, thanks! You were absolutely right! I would have never guessed of how wild the place was. Now I need to get back there to make sure I didn't miss anything   

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: adamspotter
Posted 2012-10-27 16:38:50 and read 7049 times.

Hi Widebodyroga,

Really enjoyed this report, thanks for sharing!
As you know I will be flying Southwest for the first time in 2 weeks from now and really looking forward to it so thanks for the insight. The route I will be flying will also be MDW and HOU stopping at BNA. So this report really gave me a nice idea of what to expect and see and I have to say I am really looking forward to it, thanks!
Been to New orleans once myself too and it sure is a nice and very interesting city. Such a shame to see what Katrina did too it   didn't do the swamp tour though unfortunately
Love your pictures of New Orleans, beautiful!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I do understand that the choice of carrier may not excite most readers here but I hope that the destination photos compensate for that.

Well it sure excited me!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The only ones present at the time were "Colorado One" (N230WN) and "Illinois One" (N918WN).

Fingers crossed I will catch one of those! Will sure make up to missing the United 787 twice!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
I never thought that tanker-spotting

Interesting, love looking at ships too. Amazing where they all come from

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Vitamin Water bottles can be hilarious.

:D that is hilarious

Thanks once again for sharing!

cheers,

Brendan

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-10-30 11:51:17 and read 6796 times.

Hey Brendan, thanks for dropping by and for your kind words!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 14):
Really enjoyed this report, thanks for sharing!

Thanks!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 14):
As you know I will be flying Southwest for the first time in 2 weeks from now and really looking forward to it so thanks for the insight. The route I will be flying will also be MDW and HOU stopping at BNA. So this report really gave me a nice idea of what to expect and see and I have to say I am really looking forward to it, thanks!

Yeah, too bad you're getting here the day after I leave Chicago for a week or we could have gone for a beer or something. I'd be interested to hear about BNA, an airport I had multiple opportunities to visit but never did so. Will your layover be long enough to explore it?

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 14):
Well it sure excited me!

Haha, you are part of a very small minority 
Quoting adamspotter (Reply 14):
Fingers crossed I will catch one of those! Will sure make up to missing the United 787 twice!

WN has something like 32 (or so) aircraft with special liveries but with a fleet of about 580 B737s your chances stand at about 0.5%. Hopefully you'd be lucky enough!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 14):
Interesting, love looking at ships too. Amazing where they all come from

I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone on this one!  

Thanks again!

S.

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: I39OO
Posted 2012-10-31 16:01:58 and read 6644 times.

Hello Widebodyroga!

Not really exotic your TR might be, at least carrierwise, but it was an extremely interesting read nonetheless! Firstly, because it featured places I've never been. Honestly, I wish I could go on the same business trip you fly to! I've flown down to Spain 3 times in the past 5 weeks and only once I made it out of the airport... And that's just because we were headed to the hotel!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
As you know WN does not assign seats but instead, on the basis of how early one checks in online the day before, they assign you a number which you use to find your spot in the boarding queue. For an extra $10 they can guarantee (well, almost) that you'll be in the first 25% of those boarding the aircraft (no matter how late you check in online).

Mh, sounds a little bit awkward (couldn't they simply give you a seat number?) but it does make sense once one starts thinking about it.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I simply love the way WN does the drink service. No silly trolley blocking the isle and no on-site drink pouring. A flight attendant simply asks everyone what they want, he/she writes it down and a few moments later he/she brings back a tray with a bunch of drinks (usually 6-8 at a time). It's so much faster and efficient. We all had our drinks in no time and shortly after came the snacks: peanuts and cheese crackers. Hear that "legacy" carriers?

Well, I can think about at least one reason why such a style of service won't catch up elsewhere, at least in the Great Nation of Health & Safety Paranoia: seven cans on a tray, in case of turbulence, will obviously bonk on seven different heads, triggering seven very nasty lawsuits. But I see what you mean!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Strippers provocatively dressed standing by the entrances to their clubs luring folk to come in, half-naked men pole dancing, people throwing beads from balconies, numerous prostitutes, people so drunk that were unable to stand upright, advertised sex show venues and much more.

That's nothing that Blackpool - or any other drinking town in the North - doesn't see on a regular, weekly basis! But I do have to say that New Orleans look splendid and the local food make me drool. What was your favourite?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Fortunately he was way too high so he just kept conversing with his imaginary friend, and occasionally high-five'ing him.

So was he high-fiveing in the air? That's quite...peculiar! But a little bit sad.

Looking forward to read from you again!

13900

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-11-01 10:05:06 and read 6521 times.

Hey I39OO,

Quoting I39OO (Reply 16):
Not really exotic your TR might be, at least carrierwise, but it was an extremely interesting read nonetheless! Firstly, because it featured places I've never been. Honestly, I wish I could go on the same business trip you fly to! I've flown down to Spain 3 times in the past 5 weeks and only once I made it out of the airport... And that's just because we were headed to the hotel!

Thanks, glad you enjoyed it! Sorry to hear about your situation though. That must quite frustrating, especially given the difference in the weather between London and Spain. I'm sure you could use some sunshine, right?

Quoting I39OO (Reply 16):
Well, I can think about at least one reason why such a style of service won't catch up elsewhere, at least in the Great Nation of Health & Safety Paranoia: seven cans on a tray, in case of turbulence, will obviously bonk on seven different heads, triggering seven very nasty lawsuits. But I see what you mean!

Haha, you're absolutely right. People in the UK are absolutely paranoid about stuff like that. I remember all the paperwork I had to go through in order to get occupational safety permission to do...well, pretty much everything when I lived and worked in the UK. I can see why this is so important but sometimes I felt they went too far  .



Quoting I39OO (Reply 16):
That's nothing that Blackpool - or any other drinking town in the North - doesn't see on a regular, weekly basis! But I do have to say that New Orleans look splendid and the local food make me drool. What was your favourite?

:D For some bizarre reason I never got the chance to go to Blackpool (even though I found myself in the area plenty of times). I've heard so many (horror) stories about the place.

Quoting I39OO (Reply 16):
So was he high-fiveing in the air? That's quite...peculiar! But a little bit sad.

Yeah. I've seen much worse on trains over here. Quite sad indeed.

Quoting I39OO (Reply 16):
Looking forward to read from you again!

Thanks! I have a couple of things (potentially) coming up in the next couple of months.

Stojan

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: adamspotter
Posted 2012-11-01 13:51:11 and read 6425 times.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 15):
I'd be interested to hear about BNA, an airport I had multiple opportunities to visit but never did so. Will your layover be long enough to explore it?

Only a 50 min layover, so there wont be too much exploring unfortunately..

cheers,

Brendan

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: N62NA
Posted 2012-11-01 20:20:20 and read 6290 times.

Good report! New Orleans is truly a unique and wonderful city!

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: britjap
Posted 2012-11-03 09:40:05 and read 6077 times.

Hi WBR

WN might not be so exciting but some fantastic wildlife pics and a great read. Many thanks.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Hear that "legacy" carriers?

Thats a good selection and an interesting point. Some carriers in Japan could learn something as well.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
half the pax were coughing continuously.

Urrgch - Hell!!!!   

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
That's one funky bag.

Ahh, my weekend bag.... What the hell is it doing in Houston??!!!?!  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Interesting row of restaurants

They look like stables.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
During one of the less busy days at the conference I decided to book myself a swamp tour.
Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
On the way back we drove by several bayou communities and we also stopped by a NASA assembly facility

You seem to have had a really fun/interesting time. Did you actually do any WORK at this conference?  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Going through the gates of a levy

Were you driving a Chevy?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 2):
BHM was a much cooler and rarer airport than either TPA or BNA so I stayed put.

Spotters logic! I don't think the public could ever understand us.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 17):
I have a couple of things (potentially) coming up in the next couple of months.

I remember you said that you were not going to be able to do much flying so its good to see you back. I hope there may be some more of those little gov't funded routes again!!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 1):
Strippers provocatively dressed standing by the entrances to their clubs luring folk to come in, half-naked men pole dancing, people throwing beads from balconies, numerous prostitutes, people so drunk that were unable to stand upright, advertised sex show venues and much more.

So which one of these delights did you choose to sample?!   

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: gabrielchew
Posted 2012-11-05 10:11:59 and read 5882 times.

Very nice report Stojan! Thanks for posting!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):

HOUSTON WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
-well, not really, but I always wanted to say that-

Ha, me too!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):

I simply love the way WN does the drink service. No silly trolley blocking the isle and no on-site drink pouring. A flight attendant simply asks everyone what they want, he/she writes it down and a few moments later he/she brings back a tray with a bunch of drinks (usually 6-8 at a time). It's so much faster and efficient.

I HATE tray service! The crew must do so much more walking, and surely it takes longer to get your drink?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Maybe I'm sitting a bit too close...?

Reminds me of my Darwin outback tours....looks great. I'll have to check it out when I get down to MSY

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Another dirty interior

Yuck. People can be such animals

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Free booze, but unfortunately not today...

Very nice idea. WN seems to be a step ahead of their legacies

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: OA260
Posted 2012-11-06 10:49:26 and read 5882 times.

Hey Stojan  

Great report and lovely pics. Always wanted to go to New Orleans. Looks fab as does the food .

I have not flown WN in over a decade but seems to be quite decent still.

Regards

Philip  

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-11-07 07:21:22 and read 5882 times.

Hey guys, nice to see some more comments. Thank you!

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 18):
Only a 50 min layover, so there wont be too much exploring unfortunately..

That's too bad. We'd love to see whatever photos you manage to snap during that time though!

Quoting N62NA (Reply 19):
Good report! New Orleans is truly a unique and wonderful city!

Thanks! Couldn't agree more about New Orleans. It's one of those places you gotta visit at least once.

Quoting britjap (Reply 20):
WN might not be so exciting but some fantastic wildlife pics and a great read. Many thanks.

Thanks britjap! I appreciate it!

Quoting britjap (Reply 20):
Ahh, my weekend bag.... What the hell is it doing in Houston??!!!?!

Haha!

Quoting britjap (Reply 20):
They look like stables.

That's exactly what I thought too when I first saw them. In fact I think they used to be stables back in the day...

Quoting britjap (Reply 20):
You seem to have had a really fun/interesting time. Did you actually do any WORK at this conference?

It may be hard to believe but I did plenty of work. I guess I was efficient enough (for once) and managed my schedule well enough to allow me time for some sightseeing.  .

Quoting britjap (Reply 20):
Were you driving a Chevy?

Ha, now I have the song stuck in my head...

Quoting britjap (Reply 20):
I remember you said that you were not going to be able to do much flying so its good to see you back. I hope there may be some more of those little gov't funded routes again!!

Yeah, I was specifically referring to flights with my wife (her schedule is so brutal that she can't even take a weekend off). Nonetheless, I have a few more flights booked for Nov and Dec.

Quoting britjap (Reply 20):
So which one of these delights did you choose to sample?!

I was well behaved  .

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 21):
Very nice report Stojan! Thanks for posting!

Thanks Gab!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 21):
I HATE tray service! The crew must do so much more walking, and surely it takes longer to get your drink?

Hehe, I guess it's one of those things that leave the a.net family divided. Some people love it, others hate it  .

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 21):
Yuck. People can be such animals

Agreed!

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 21):
Very nice idea. WN seems to be a step ahead of their legacies

They've always been pioneers. Hopefully they'll force other carriers to follow their example in a number of policies.

Quoting OA260 (Reply 22):
Great report and lovely pics. Always wanted to go to New Orleans. Looks fab as does the food .

Thanks Phil! As a Greek, I think you'd love the food in New Orleans  


Thank you all once more,

Stojan

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: 767747
Posted 2012-11-07 18:44:25 and read 5882 times.

Great report, widebodyroga!

What a great read, and good photos! Looks like you had a good trip to New Orleans. I'd love to visit - looks like a fun city!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I simply love the way WN does the drink service. No silly trolley blocking the isle and no on-site drink pouring. A flight attendant simply asks everyone what they want, he/she writes it down and a few moments later he/she brings back a tray with a bunch of drinks (usually 6-8 at a time). It's so much faster and efficient. We all had our drinks in no time and shortly after came the snacks: peanuts and cheese crackers. Hear that "legacy" carriers?

I totally agree - cart less beverage service seems so much classier, and I imagine it does take half the time! Good looking snacks, and I love those napkins - WN has good marketing!

Best,
Matthew

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: deltamartin
Posted 2012-11-10 12:14:33 and read 5885 times.

Hi Stojan!

Nice report, glad to see you had 4 nice flights with WN, too bad about the dirty cabins though. And I agree with you about the livery, the old one was better.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The rather lovely airside area of HOU

That does indeed look like a nice terminal!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I must say that this was probably the best hotel I've stayed at during a conference. The building belongs to an old warehouse and you can clearly see this in its architecture and especially the windows. The rooms were spacious and clean, the beds were incredibly comfortable, the staff was very friendly and we were offered free breakfast every morning

That reminds me of a hotel I've stayed at twice in Manchester, also built in an old warehouse.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The NASA Michoud Assembly Facility

That looks like a mini-version of the vehicle assembly building down in Florida! Based on the name I guess it kind of is.  

Martin

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-11-29 06:10:49 and read 5556 times.

Hey guys, thanks for the additional comments and please accept my apologies for the delay in responding.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 24):
Great report, widebodyroga!

What a great read, and good photos! Looks like you had a good trip to New Orleans. I'd love to visit - looks like a fun city!

Hey Matthew! Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words. NOLA sure is a place one needs to check out at least once.

Quoting 767747 (Reply 24):
I totally agree - cart less beverage service seems so much classier, and I imagine it does take half the time! Good looking snacks, and I love those napkins - WN has good marketing!

It seems that some people like the idea while others don't. I definitely belong to the first group and I'm glad you agree with me  .

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 25):
Hi Stojan!

Nice report, glad to see you had 4 nice flights with WN, too bad about the dirty cabins though. And I agree with you about the livery, the old one was better.

Hey Martin, thanks!

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 25):
That reminds me of a hotel I've stayed at twice in Manchester, also built in an old warehouse.

Which hotel is it? I may have heard of it.

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 25):
That looks like a mini-version of the vehicle assembly building down in Florida! Based on the name I guess it kind of is.

To be honest, I have no idea what this unit is responsible for. I took a shot of the big sign that explains it all but I never went back to read it. Shame on me  .

Thanks again!

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: deltamartin
Posted 2012-11-29 10:19:30 and read 5482 times.

Hi again!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 26):
Which hotel is it? I may have heard of it.

I think it was called Place Apartment Hotel, or something along those lines.

Martin

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: MSYtristar
Posted 2012-11-29 10:54:23 and read 5457 times.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 26):

To be honest, I have no idea what this unit is responsible for. I took a shot of the big sign that explains it all but I never went back to read it. Shame on me .
Quoting deltamartin (Reply 25):
That looks like a mini-version of the vehicle assembly building down in Florida! Based on the name I guess it kind of is.

That's where all the external fuel tanks for the Space Shuttle were built. They were then out on a barge and shipped to Kennedy Space Center. Now the complex is being used for development of the new space launch vehicles. Boeing has an office there as well, as does a British company which manufactures wind turbine blades. At its peak they had around 3,000 people working there.

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: flightsimboy
Posted 2012-11-29 11:06:34 and read 5447 times.

Absolutely amazing report!! Love the pics from New Orleans....especially of the "gators"....Makes me want to go there!!   Thanks for putting this together.

Topic: RE: Giving The Big Easy Some LUV
Username: Widebodyroga
Posted 2012-12-07 20:45:10 and read 5004 times.

Quoting deltamartin (Reply 27):
I think it was called Place Apartment Hotel, or something along those lines.

Hm, I don't know it actually. Sometimes I overestimate my knowledge of the places I've lived .

Quoting MSYtristar (Reply 28):
That's where all the external fuel tanks for the Space Shuttle were built. They were then out on a barge and shipped to Kennedy Space Center. Now the complex is being used for development of the new space launch vehicles. Boeing has an office there as well, as does a British company which manufactures wind turbine blades. At its peak they had around 3,000 people working there.

Thanks for clarifying this for us, MSYtristar!  .

Quoting flightsimboy (Reply 29):
Absolutely amazing report!! Love the pics from New Orleans....especially of the "gators"....Makes me want to go there!! Thanks for putting this together.

Thanks again! The gators were awesome. We were lucky to see the big one given that we were there "out of season".

Stojan


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