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SYD - USA Return: 12 Flights, 9 Airlines, 120 Pics  
User currently offlineQFFan From Australia, joined Dec 2006, 19 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 7032 times:

First of all I just want to apologise for the length. I tried to cut it down but couldn't go any further.

Background
My girlfriend Tina and I had planned to go on a Skiing and beach holiday back in the middle of 2006. I already had a return ticket to New York with Qantas which I had originally planned to use to go skiing in Colorado.
We decided that we would go to Whistler for a week, then Los Angeles for 5 nights and then to Honolulu for a week and a half. We were scheduled to depart around the end of March for about 3 week holiday. About mid January we decided to cancel the skiing section of the holiday, much to my dismay, and just go to Los Angeles and Hawaii.
I decided early on that I wanted to make the most possible flights as possible. Instead of organising the same flights as my girlfriend (SYD %u2013 LAX %u2013 HNL %u2013 SYD) I kept my original flights to LA with QF and organised internal flights from LAX to HNL return.
After organising all the flights and accommodation we were set to go. About 1 ½ weeks before we were due to fly out Tina broke her ankle. We had to postpone our trip by 2 months. During the re-booking phase that followed I decided to stay a couple of extra days a take some more flights.
The next challenge was to research were I wanted to visit and what airlines I wanted to fly on. I pondered over many different variations until I came up with the following.

LAXOAK Southwest
OAKHNL ATA Overnight
HNLLAX Hawaiian Overnight
LAXSFO Frontier
SFOSAN Alaska Airlines
SANPHX Southwest
PHX – LAS US Airways Overnight
LASLAX US Airways
LAXSFO United Overnight
SFOLAX Delta Overnight


After re-booking and making new bookings it was time to count down to the trip. This time praying nothing was going to delay us, as we both really really needed this holiday.

Friday 1st June 2007
Sydney, NSW %u2013 Los Angeles, California
Airline: Qantas Airways
Flight number: QF 107
Route: SYD - LAX
Aircraft: Boeing 747 %u2013 438 %u2013 Wanula Dreaming
Departure Terminal: 1 (International)
Gate: 8
Seat: 70J
Scheduled Boarding: 09:35
Actual Boarding: 10:15
Push: 10:36
Runway: 34L
Takeoff Roll: 60 Seconds
Wheels Up: 10:52
Meal(s):
IFE: PTV w/AVOD
Movies:ttBorat
ttMan of the Year
ttPursuit of Happyness
ttHappy Feet
Scheduled Arrival: 06:40
Wheels Down: 06:26
Time @ Gate: 06:37
Arrival Gate: 41
Arrival Terminal: 4

The day had finally arrived and it was an early wake up. We could not check-in for the flight online (as QF only allows it for it%u2019s domestic operations) so we had decided to get to the airport as early as possible to check %u2013 in as we wanted to try and get seats at the back of the plane where the configuration is 2 %u2013 4 %u2013 2. As I am a Silver Frequent Flyer I could check in at the Qantas Club check %u2013 in desk and as luck would have it we managed to get seats 70 J & K. After clearing check-in we headed over to the food court to grab some breakfast. After breakfast I headed up to the observation deck where I was pleasantly surprised to find that our aircraft today was Wanula Dreaming.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a.../jcroll2/QantasClubCheck-inSYD.jpg

We then headed through Immigration and after the necessary documents had been filed I made my way around the terminal to see what aircraft I could capture. We had about an hour and a half until we boarded and about a 30 minutes prior to scheduled boarding we headed to the gate. Once there we grabbed a seat right next to the gate customer service desk, and I must admit I found it amazing how many people actually came up and asked for upgrades to Business Class and bulk head seats etc. The crew boarding the aircraft about 15 mins prior to scheduled departure at which point I realised we would push back late.

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We eventually boarded and after taking our seats we pushed back once everyone was aboard albeit a little late. We made our way down to the southern end of the main runway. The takeoff roll was about 60 seconds and we made our way north just over the north of the CBD and out over Manly beach and began the trip east to the US.

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The seat belt sign was switched off about 6 minutes after takeoff and the crew sprang into action. First of all we were distributed menu%u2019s for the flight, which now also include a Trip Planner which outlines the service of the flight, and on this flight also includes the continuation of the flight from LAX %u2013 JFK. We were then offered a drink and a snack. I chose a coke, mostly because I try and avoid drinking alcohol on flights as most of the time it is warm by the time I drink it, and it was accompanied by a snack mix.

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Lunch was then distributed and it was the traditional choice of Chicken or Beef!!! Tina & I both chose the Chicken. I was a little concerned that being at the back of the aircraft we might not receive a choice of meal but in all services, the crew began distributing from the back and front of all the economy zones so we got our choice every time.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa70/jcroll2/QF107SYD-LAXLunch.jpg

Whilst enjoying lunch I watched Borat, it was the first time since I had seen it since the movie%u2019s. Once again it was funny and I am looking forward to hopefully a second instalment coming out. Tea and coffee was served after all meals had been distributed. About an hour after getting our lunch the crew brought around dessert!!! A splice ice-cream went down like a treat. The chicken was actually very nice, I think Neil Perry is doing an awesome job with the QF Menu%u2019s he has designed.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a...70/jcroll2/QF107SYD-LAXDessert.jpg


After all the trays had been collected the crew came by and asked for all the shades to be closed to allow people to sleep to attempt to acclimatise to the new time zones. I find it difficult to sleep on long haul flights and it was the same again this time, made particularly difficult with AVOD available.

The crew then bought around Cadbury Hot Chocolate & Marsh-mellows mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm they were delish. They were shortly followed by the Snack on Q bags that were passed out. They included a bottle of water, small chocolate, mints & cookie. It was at this point that I noticed that the crew had began their rest rotation.

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Over the course of the next couple of hours I spent the time between watching movies, TV shows and walking around the cabin.
Through out the night the crew came through and passed out apples and offered water, although this was only done once or twice which was a lot less than the last time I went across the pacific.
Next it was time for hot towels. This was one of the new service items which had been added since the last time I travelled to the US and it was AWESOME, the perfect way to wake up on a plane or to simply refresh prior to breakfast. The crew were all up and ready to go about 2:40hrs prior to arrival and then it was time for breakfast.

As a bit of a ritual for my SYD %u2013 LAX flights I take the hot breakfast which did not let me down, it was just what I needed, although I managed to put half the sachet of salt on my eggs by mistake D'OH.

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After breakfast is cleared away I put on a new set of clothes, cleaned my teeth and freshened up prior to landing.
We then completed all of the necessary documents which are required by US Customs.

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The pilot then informed us that we would be landing from the from the West to the East which cut down our flight time by about 20 minutes. After the crew came through and did their final checks we began our approach into LA.
We landed ahead of schedule but had a longer than usual taxi because we landed on the northern runway and had to taxi behind Tom Bradey International Terminal to our slot @ Terminal 4. Once there we received the mandatory tow into gate 41. It was then time to head to Immigration!!!!!

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After de-planing we made our way down the escalator and into the immigration hall. I knew we would have a bit of a wait because we were at the back of the plane but what lay ahead was a nightmare. We ended up queuing outside of the actual immigration hall @ Terminal 4 and I thought that after not moving for the first 20 minutes the agents must not have started yet. That was dashed when someone came back after looking around the partition that there were agents available but it was just taking forever.

It eventually took us an 1:45 minutes just to get through immigration. About 15 minutes before we actually got to see an agent a QF flight from Melbourne had arrived and let me tell you there were some very very disgruntled First Class passengers who had to wait in line.

After finally clearing Immigration & Customs we waited outside for the shuttle for the LAX Marriott which would be our home for the next 4 nights. We chose this hotel mainly for the rate (discounted rate through a friend as we both use to work for Marriott back in Sydney) and obviously I was hoping to get a room overlooking the runways like I had 18months ago. After a little re-arranging we managed to get a great room on the 11th floor overlooking the south runways, I have included a few pics of my time spotting from the room (very civilised).

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http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa70/jcroll2/WNB737LandingLAX.jpg


There were 2 facets of the flight that really disappointed me. First was that while the IFE was AVOD some of the TV channels did not work for the entire flight, and when I did manage to watch CSI, it actually played a movie I wasnt interested in watching. Also with the IFE the Publication stated that it was set up for June movies / TV / Audio however a quick scan of the actual movie & TV titles playing indicated that it was still the May viewing schedule. I can understand that being the first day of the month this might get missed but still disappointing nonetheless. The other main irritant was that were never received our Amenity Kits, I was disappointed but it wasn%u2019t going to kill me so I didn%u2019t mention it, although during the night I noticed that hardly anyone was wearing any eye-shades, now whether or not there weren%u2019t any available for the entire flight or maybe our row was missed I am not sure however for such a highly rated airline (and my closer attention to detail than other airline) it was a bit disappointing.
After 4 great days and nights in LA it was time to head to our next destination, Honolulu, Hawaii. I had managed to get a good deal on ATA which meant having to fly with Southwest to OAK. It would be my first time on both airlines and was looking forward to the service I would receive.

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Tuesday 5th June 2007
Los Angeles, California %u2013 Oakland, California (Continuing onto Honolulu, Hawaii)
Airline: Southwest Airlines
Flight number: WN 955
Route: LAX - OAK
Aircraft: Boeing 737
Departure Terminal: 1
Gate: 7
Seat: 17 A (row to myself)
Scheduled Boarding: Unknown
Actual Boarding: 06:44
Push: 07:01
Runway:
Takeoff Roll: 35 Seconds
Wheels Up: 07:08
Meal(s): None available
IFE: None
Scheduled Arrival: 08:10
Wheels Down: 08:06
Time @ Gate: 08:11
Arrival Gate: 31
Arrival Terminal: 2

As we were settling the bill at the hotel the night before there was a note on reception saying that the hot water for the entire hotel would not be available due to necessary upgrade works and would not be back on until 05:00am. I was planning on being on the shuttle @ 5am to maximise my time at the airport and I wanted to ensure that I got to the hotel as early as possible not really knowing what to expect from Southwest check-in facilities, times etc. We were lucky enough to have a bath in the room and I decided to fill the bath up in case the hot water hadn%u2019t come back on to have a cold bath @ 04:30 in the morning (something I was definitely not looking forward to). As a precaution I attempted to check-in online through the ATA website as I did not for some reason have the PNR for my Southwest flight. All was going really well I even managed to get an exit aisle seat on my ATA flight, until I had to confirm my flight for Southwest, it kept coming back with an error that would not allow me to continue my online check-in. At this point I was quite confused seeing as I had confirmed my seat and received my boarding pass for my ATA flight but could not check-in for my Southwest flight. I decided to try not to worry about it to much and just accept that fact that I was more than likely going to have a very cold wake-up @ 04:30 (the things you do as an aviation enthusiast).

After an all to short sleep the wake up call came and I decided to test the systems. After noticing that the taps in the sink were working cold I tried the hot water and Hallelujah the water was back on and the hot water was steaming. After grabbing a blissfully warm shower and packing the last items I bid Tina farewell (in her state of Coma, as her American Airlines flight did not depart until a leisurely 3:30) and lugged my bags down to the lobby, after grabbing some cash the hotel shuttle pulled up and I hopped on with what looked to be an AA crew heading off for the day.
Upon arrival at the terminal I was making my way to the check-in counters and I was accosted by a Southwest agent and asked for my flight details and passport. Not really understanding that he was attempting to check me in, I asked for directions to the check-in desk and he told me that if I gave him my photo ID he would have it all done for me in a couple of seconds (blown away by the service and efficiency) I handed over my Passport and seconds later I had my Southwest boarding pass and he told me my bags had been tagged all the way through to HNL but I had to re-check for my ATA flight. He walked me over to the TSA Screening area and after dropping my bag I made my way to the security line.

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While the line looked quite menacing it zipped by really quickly and incredibly fast and after getting all my goodies through the check point and out the other side without any hassles I proceeded to check out the LAX Terminal 1 surrounds, a terminal I had not used until this trip. After grabbing some photo%u2019s and some breakfast I noticed that there were about 7 people in line @ gate 7 and decided to jump on in with them. I was in boarding group A which I am sure was due to the efficiency of the kerb-side check in. There was 1 or 2 groans from business travellers when they realised that even though they part of boarding group A they had left it a little late to join the queue as it now snacked back out of the gate area and included about 40 passengers. After waiting for about 30 minutes boarding commenced. While the passengers in front of me attempted to take up all of the front end of the aircraft I made my way down to the back hoping that I would have the entire row to myself. As luck would have it the row was mine for the entire flight.

OAK.jpg" target=_blank>http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa70/jcroll2/WNFlight955LAX-OAK.jpg

Push back was just about on time and one of Southwest biggest assets for departing flights is the terminal%u2019s proximity to the eastern end of the runways, we were airborne shortly after departing the terminal and made a sweeping right hand turn north to our destination. For this flight the crew came through and offered Coffee or Juice, I took the juice (with ice), to all passengers and they did this and all the announcements with all the flair and excitement and genuine love of their job which I was expecting from Southwest.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a...70/jcroll2/WN955In-flightSnack.jpg

The flight was quite routine as far as short haul seems to be in the US these days after the service was completed it wasn%u2019t long until we started our decent into OAK. One thing that I did find strange was that the Captain only turned the seat belt sign off for about 10 minutes, although it wasn%u2019t completely smooth flying I had encountered a lot worse on the transpacific flight with QF without the seatbelt sign being turned on.
We made a soft landing in OAK and headed over to our terminal and it was there I found out exactly how much Southwest seems to dominate OAK. Deplaning was fast and efficient and the crew, including the Captain & First Officer wished us a pleasant day (which I thought was a great touch).

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I made my way through the nice new terminal 2 out to head back to check-in with ATA. Now I thought this would be quite straightforward, after I had eliminated the possibility that they might be located in terminal 2 I headed over to terminal 1 to see if they were present there. I managed to find every other airline except the one I needed. I asked the information booth and he advised me to head to security and it was located next to it up a walk way, although there was absolutely no signage that I could see indicating it was there.

I headed up to the counter and explained that I had attempted to check %u2013 in online the night before and explained the situation. The check-in agent seemed a bit confused and even more so when I told her that my bag had already been tagged through from LAX to HNL by Southwest. She asked for my baggage receipt and checked all was ok and after a couple of minutes came back and confirmed that everything was ok and that my exit aisle seat was still good to go.

Tuesday 5th June 2007
Oakland, California %u2013 Honolulu, Hawaii
Airline: ATA Airlines
Flight number: TZ 4625
Route: OAK - HNL
Aircraft: Boeing 737 - 800
Departure Terminal: 2
Gate: 5
Seat: 12 A (Exit Aisle)
Scheduled Boarding: 09:35
Actual Boarding: 09:30
Push: 10:03
Wheels Up: 10:18
Meal(s): Buy on Board
IFE: Movie & TV Shows displayed on overhead drop down TV Screens
Movie: Employee of the Month
Scheduled Arrival: 12:25
Wheels Down: 12:21
Time @ Gate: 12:24
Arrival Gate: 29A
Arrival Terminal: Main

HNL.jpg" target=_blank>http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a...roll2/ATAB737-800TZ4625OAK-HNL.jpg

After that it was time to head back through security again once again with no problems reported I made my way through what seemed to be a much older terminal 1, having a look to see what birds were on the deck. I grabbed a slice of pizza for lunch and then mulled around the gate for the call for boarding.
Boarding was done by rows, 20 %u2013 28 first then followed by 10 %u2013 20. I made my way down the aerobridge and on to the aircraft after stowing my luggage I grabbed my seat and found that the legroom would be wonderful for the 5 ½ flight back across the pacific.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a.../TZB737-800Legroomrow12Exitrow.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa70/jcroll2/TZ4625OAK-HNLCabin.jpg

Shortly after takeoff the crew announced that there would be food items available for purchase (as well as headphones for the IFE) and that the movie to be shown would be Employee of the Month I would have liked to have watched the movie however as soon as we became airborne I was out like a light and didn%u2019t really wake up until about 2 hours prior to landing.

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/jcroll2/TZ4625In-flightsnack.jpg

Once I woke up I noticed that I had been given some sort of department of Agriculture & Tourism survey to fill out which I would do once I could get a pen from my bag. Just after waking up the crew came through and offered beverages to the passengers and I requested a Cola and was given the whole can when the flight attendant realised that no one else wanted it and she didn%u2019t want to keep a half empty bottle of soft drink on her cart.
About 30 minutes prior to landing the Captain began announcing what the different land forms were below and that we had commenced our decent into Honolulu. We were landing from the west and as we landed I noticed the large amounts of Air Force and Navy aircraft at the airport. It became apparent that the major player at HNL was Hawaiian airlines. What really took me by surprise was that JAL had such a strong presence, which would later be confirmed the with amount of Japanese tourists that were also in Honolulu when we were there.

We promptly exited the plane and made our way to baggage claim. This was much easier said than done, while I was quite happy to have a walk around the airport and capture some great shots it amazed me how spread out the airport actually was and that generally the viewing opportunities airside were very good which encouraged me for when I had to return for flight back to the US mainland.

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Wednesday 13th June 2007
Honolulu, Hawaii %u2013 Los Angeles, California
Airline: Hawaiian Airlines
Flight number: HA 0010
Route: HNL - LAX
Aircraft: Boeing 767 %u2013 300ER
Departure Terminal: 2
Gate: 27B
Seat: 44J (Window, Last row)
Scheduled Boarding: 07:25
Actual Boarding: 07:32
Push: 08:02
Wheels Up: 08:26
Meal(s): Turkey Sandwich, Oreo, Crisps, can of Coke
IFE: Main Screen & Personal Digi Players
TV & Movie(s): see below
Scheduled Arrival: 16:25
Wheels Down: 16:34
Time @ Gate: 16:42
Arrival Gate: 4
Arrival Terminal: 2

After 8 awesome nights in Honolulu sadly it was time to leave. It was not only time to leave Hawaii but it was time to leave Tina and head off on my own for 4 nights. As my flight was domestic and left about 3 hours earlier we said our good byes at the hotel and I headed off to the airport. I had to grab a cab because the earliest shuttle from the hotel did not leave until 7am which was not early enough. The cab to the airport was uneventful and dropped me off at the inter-island terminal so I could check %u2013 in for my Hawaiian Airlines flight to LAX.

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I had checked %u2013 in the night before and the Hilton allows you to print boarding passes at their self serve check %u2013 in / check %u2013 out kiosks and managed to print my boarding pass out before heading to the airport. I headed straight for security after checking out the check %u2013 in lines and thanking myself for checking %u2013 in online.
Once through security I had a quick look around the Inter %u2013 Island terminal and did a bit of spotting. I then made my way to the Wiki %u2013 Wiki shuttle that transfers passengers and crew over to the Main terminal for Mainland and International Flights. Once at the Main Terminal I had a quick look around but there wasn%u2019t much available either on the tarmac or in the terminal. I had convinced Tina to take our large back to Sydney with her so that I could just travel with my Carry %u2013 on, whilst in the waiting area any concerns I had regarding whether or not they would allow me onto the aircraft with my carry %u2013 on were put at ease when I saw the size of most roller carry %u2013 on bags. If they were going to allow most of the other ones on I wouldn%u2019t have a problem. This would continue throughout all my domestic flights.

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Whilst boarding it became obvious that I would be in the very last row on the starboard side. This irked my seat mate even more who was not only told when she checked %u2013 in at the counter that she would have a window seat (which I had) and that it wasn%u2019t at the back of the aircraft. While boarding was underway she tried to capture any of the open seats with 2 or more free. However all hopes were dashed for her and I (would have loved the extra room on the 5 hour flight) when the Senior FA came of the PA and confirmed that it would be a full flight as they had a number of Standby%u2019s waiting.

After push back we made our way out to the far runway for take-off. Once into the air the FA%u2019s jumped into action and played a video (on the main screen) outlining the entertainment options for the flight. The options included renting a Digi-player and headphones for $20 for the duration of the flight or renting headphones $3 for the main screen entertainment. The movie that was to be played was Wild Hogs, as this was going to be playing on my QF flight home I decided to go ahead with the Digi %u2013 Player. The players were due to be collected an hour before landing and the FA said that if we started watching a movie as soon as we rec%u2019d it we could watch 2 movies for the flight.
After going through the list of movies I saw only 1 I would be bothered watching so I checked out the menu for TV Shows.

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My entertainment list was as follows:
TV: Simpson%u2019s: Lisa%u2019s Substitute (as I have seen the episode many times before I gave that up after 5 mins in), Boston Legal, Chris Angel, The New Adventures of Old Christine & Bones.
Movie: Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil
The investment in the Digi %u2013 Player was worth the investment for the flight, and as it turned out the players weren%u2019t actually collected until about 30 mins prior to landing, so got in more than I was expecting.

The meal service for this flight was lunch. As for choice it was between, Chicken, Pasta or Turkey Sandwich. When my seat mate quizzed the FA about the chicken the response went something like this: %u201CI am not actually sure what type it is but I think it might be Chicken Catchatore%u201D with that response the decision was made particularly easy we both chose the Turkey Sandwich. As it turned out it was a croissant with Turkey, Cheese and Mayonnaise on it . Accompanying the sandwich was a bag of crisps, 2 Oreo cookies and a can of coke.
For the remainder of the flight I watched movies & TV the time passed quite quickly and before long we had begun our decent into LAX. The decent into LAX was a little confusing. I had assumed we would be using the Northern Runways but when we made a series of right hand turns while descending I thought we may actually land on the Southern side of the airport which would give me a good view of the terminals as we landed. My presumptions were right and we landed (albeit a little late) on the southern runways. After the taxi to our terminal I had quite a wait until the remainder of the aircraft disembarked. I was very impressed with the comfort of the seats on the ageing 767 and was very comfortable for the duration of the flight.

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I made my way out to the ground transportation and waited for the shuttle to the LAX Radisson. When I checked in I asked for a room overlooking the northern runways. When I got to the room there was large building in front of my view and the windows were filthy I have included a few of the better pics I managed to take (however none of them will be highlights package, so to speak).

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After a dreadful night at the Radisson (if you can manage to avoid this hotel you will be doing yourself a service, not only the problem with the view but the bed was crap, some new inflatable mattress but the movies did not work and air conditioner did not work and after my 3rd request in 3 hours maintenance managed to fix it only for it to stop working during the night). I had an early start 0430 for what was going to be my biggest single day of flying in my life.

The plan for the day was as follows:
LAX -- SFOttFrontier
SFO -- SANttAlaska
SAN -- PHXttSouthwest
PHX -- LASttUS Airways

I had managed to pick the flights that were the most cost effective and which gave me on average about 2 ½ hours between flights. The closest connection I was going to have would be in San Diego where I only had 1:17 between Alaska & Southwest.

I had checked -- in for all my flights the night before and printed off all the necessary boarding passes. I was hoping that this would negate me from having to go out of the secured area and back through security for some of my flights. Alas this was not to be for all of my flights I had to go out and then back through security (let me say I am now a whiz at getting all my gear off and out of my bags and through security in record time, it is now down to a fine art). After going out of the secured area in Phoenix to ask for directions to the US gates I went back through security only to find that I had actually passed one of the connecting walkways which would have allowed me to by pass security again. D'OH!!!

Thursday 14th June 2007
Los Angeles, California -- San Francisco, California
Airline: Frontier Airlines
Flight number: F9 1929
Route: LAX - SFO
Aircraft: A320
Departure Terminal: 3
Gate: 39
Seat: 5 A (row to myself)
Scheduled Boarding: 06:40
Actual Boarding: 06:46
Push: 07:01
Wheels Up: 07:17
Meal(s): Cup of coke & Oatmeal Rasin
IFE: Pay Per View, Seat Back TV's
Scheduled Arrival: 08:10
Wheels Down: 08:11
Time @ Gate: 08:14
Arrival Gate: 43

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The day started off perfectly after checking -- out I walked straight onto the shuttle to the airport . Once at the terminal I made a bee -- line for the security area, which @ 04:55 was nice and quiet. I was through security and exploring the gate area in no time. After doing a bit of spotting I sat down and got some needed ZZZZZZ's before it was time to board. Out of all the terminals I have now passed through @ LAX, T3 has to one of the worst for spotting with most of the agent areas taking up most of the space, I was a little disappointed.

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When boarding was called general boarding was called and I was first on the aircraft. I am not sure the crew were advised we were on our way because 2 or the 3 FA's were sitting in the first row having a good ol chat. The load was very very very light for this flight. With only 13 pax on board I saw first hand why F9 have decided to ditch this route. The flight was very pleasant with an entire row to myself I made the most of the Free Direct TV that was offered and relaxed for the short flight up to San Francisco.

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The aircraft for our flight was under the watchful eye of Sarge the Eagle. With the load being so light we were offered a kind of A la Carte service with the FA coming and taking our drink order by hand and then going back to the front galley to receive the prepared item from his colleague. All the crew on this flight were great, very friendly and very professional. The one downside was the quality of the in-flight map that was provided by MapQuest for Direct TV. Other than that I had a great flight with F9 and would not hesitate using them next time I have to fly one of their routes.
After a short ride we made our decent into San Fran. We landed over the water which made the taxi to the terminal very easy and were at the gate and off the aircraft in no time at all.

SFO.jpg" target=_blank>http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/a...0/jcroll2/F9Flt1929A320LAX-SFO.jpg

After clearing the gate area I looked for the closest information screen which I hoped would give me an idea of where I had to go for my Alaska Airlines flight to San Diego. When I found the screens it was only showing Delta & Northwest. I bit the bullet and headed out of the secured area and found the check-in desks who pointed me to the correct gates.

Thursday 14th June 2007
San Francisco, California -- San Diego, California
Airline: Alaska Airlines
Flight number: AS 690
Route: SFO - SAN
Aircraft: Boeing 737 - 700
Departure Terminal: 1
Gate: 22
Seat: 20 A (seat next to me vacant)
Scheduled Boarding: 10:35
Actual Boarding: 10:28
Push: 10:58
Wheels Up: 11:18
Meal(s): Party mix & cup of Diet Coke
IFE: None
Wheels Down: 12:30
Time @ Gate: 12:35
Arrival Gate: 19
Arrival Terminal: 1

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After clearing security again I made my way through to the Pier of Terminal 1 which serviced Alaska, Continental & US Airways. I grabbed a great seat over looking all 4 runways and just watched the action for about 40 minutes. I then decided to get some food as I hadn't really had anything to eat since dinner. I grabbed a turkey and cheese sandwich and went back to watch the action.

Soon enough it was that time again to board the aircraft and I made my way down to my assigned seat. Given the large number of people waiting for the flight I was pretty certain that it would be a full flight. When I got to my row there was already someone in the aisle seat which dashed any small hope of having the row to myself again. As it turned out the middle seat was left empty so it wasn't to bad at all.

Nearing the end of boarding the FA's needed to move some people around to accommodate a passenger who needed the exit row because of his height. The knock on effect meant that a little old lady would be happy to give up her exit aisle seat if she got a window. The FA asked for any volunteer's to which there was no takers. To sweeten the offer she offered a free drink to anyone who volunteered and like a rocket a guy's hand went up and he changed seats. Because of his enthusiasm the FA upped the offer and made it an alcoholic drink for him which he was very happy with.
After we finished boarding we were given the green light to push back and made our way to the runways running parallel to the terminals. After takeoff I had an awesome view of SFO as we powered up into the skies we banked left and gave the left hand side of the plane great views of the airport and the Bay. The flight it's self was very smooth we were offered a snack and drink. The crew for this flight was very efficient and friendly.

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During the flight we passed right over the Los Angeles downtown area and it gave me an even better understanding of how big it really is. Shortly after passing LA we began our decent into San Diego. As I had never been to SD I was looking forward to seeing a new city albeit mainly the airport and what I could see from my window. I was impressed with what little I saw and was amazed how close the airport is to downtown, it was almost like you could reach out and touch it. After smooth flight and a very smooth landing it was time to bid Alaska farewell and head over to the Southwest terminal.

Thursday 14th June 2007
San Francisco, California -- Phoenix, Arizona
Airline: Southwest Airlines
Flight number: WN 659
Route: SAN - PHX
Aircraft: Boeing 737 (w/winglets)
Departure Terminal: 1
Gate: 9
Seat: 19 A
Scheduled Boarding: 1320
Actual Boarding: 13:47
Scheduled Departure: 13:50
Push: 14:04
Wheels Up: 14:14
Meal(s): 2 bags of peanuts and an a la carte drink order: coke
IFE: None
Wheels Down: 14:58
Load: 90%
Boarding group: A

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After getting through security again this time becoming extremely efficient I made my way up to what was a mess of people. I found my gate and saw that boarding group A already had about 15 people in line. I decided that I would join the queue. As I was waiting the arrival time of the incoming aircraft was getting later and later. It got to the point that the arrival time was now the same as the departure time!! I thought that they would naturally change the departure time. An agent came over the PA announcing that the incoming aircraft was delayed and would arrive about 10 minutes before our scheduled departure. She then said that they still believed that we would be departing on time. True to her word the aircraft arrived about 10 minutes prior to push back, and within 5 minutes of the last person clearing the gate we received our orders to begin with boarding.

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The flight passed very quickly, we received a small snack which was distributed with the same flair I had received on my inaugural flight with WN about a week earlier. As we descended into Phoenix the captain informed us of the weather we were expecting, HOT HOT HOT.

As we were de-planning my seat mate asked me why all the pictures and note taking asking if I was an enthusiast and I said I was, and that I was preparing a report of my travels for A.net. He was impressed!!!

Thursday 14th June 2007
Phoenix, Arizona -- Las Vegas, Nevada
Airline: US Airways
Route: PHX -- LAS
Aircraft: Boeing 737 - 300
Departure Terminal: A
Seat: 17 A
Meal(s): Can of coke w/ice
IFE: None
Arrival Gate: 22
Arrival Terminal: B
Load: 100%
Boarding Group: 2



I then had a couple of hours to enjoy Phoenix airport and the hub of US Airways. After trying / hoping to be able to find my way to the US Airways terminal without going out of security I gave in for the 3 time today and headed out through security to ask for help. I asked at an info booth and was walked about 50 meters to the US Airways security line, by a very nice lady. After initially going to the First Class line, I made my way back to the cattle class line and made my way through security for the last time for the day.
I then decided to have a look around the different piers to the terminal and then to my horror I saw the gate area I had just come in from WN. I could have saved myself yet another set of security guards but hey atleast I am making the most of my security fee's that I have paid .

After walking around for a while I grabbed a cheese pizza and a drink and watched the passing traffic for a while. I then headed to my gate where I decided to make the most of the Free WiFi in the airport and checked some emails and the news from home.

When it was getting closer to boarding I noticed that the flight had been delayed by 25 mins and I though that out of all my flights today I was lucky that the worst delay was only 25 mins. When boarding did begin it was a mad house. To access the gate all passengers had to walk down behind a row of chairs no more than about 2 people wide. As we were all waiting to obnoxious blonde girls loudly said to their mother about 5 meters behind them that they were not boarding this flight according to boarding numbers which caused about 80% of the passengers to surge to the gate. Then the boarding attendant made a rather stern announcement that they were in fact boarding by groups. This however did not stop the two blondes who were determined to be amongst the first on board. When they got to the gate the attendant told them it wasn't their group they played dumb and managed to board.

After settling into my seat I noticed how hot the cabin was. I wasn't the only one who noticed with a number of people asking the crew to turn up the air-conditioner. I was also to have the pleasure of the two blondes from the gate area to be sitting right behind me which was AWESOME . I had about an hour of brain numbing conversation to listen to, even though I tried everything to take my mind off it, while really regretting that my iPod was in the locker above.

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The crew came through and began passing out drinks and ice with a small snack. I thought they were going really slow but thought they would end up getting to the entire cabin when the attendant from First Class joined her colleague's to assist. However when the Captain asked the crew to prepare for landing only half of the economy cabin had been served. There was an apology from the Cabin supervisor but that didn't seem to alleviate the passengers towards the front of economy.

We began our decent in to Las Vegas and we made our way over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam which looked pretty spectacular from our flight level. I had been there on my previous trip and it was interesting to see how far the new bridge had come in 18months. After a smooth landing we made our way to the terminal where it seemed like we pulled up short for an eternity, maybe I was just ready to get to a hotel. After de-planing I made my way straight out to the cab rank and jumped in a cab to the Excalibur hotel.

I hit the strip for a short outing before the sun went down and then it was off to the Black Jack tables. After being up about $50 I ended up walking away with $40 from the $200 I started with.

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The next morning I jumped back in a cab and headed back to McCarren International. After a blissfully short trip I headed over to the Kiosk and checked -- in. As I decided last night I wouldn't check-in for my flights online as I wanted to try the Kiosk check-in for my flights. The day would take me from LAS -- LAX -- SFO on US & UA.

Friday 15th June 2007
Las Vegas, Nevada -- Los Angeles, California
Airline: US Airways
Flight number: US 101
Route: LAS - LAX
Aircraft: Boeing 737 - 300
Departure Terminal: B
Gate: 6
Seat: 17 A
Scheduled Boarding: 07:28
Actual Boarding: 07:40
Scheduled Departure: 07:58
Push: 07:56
Wheels Up: 08:09
Meal(s): None
IFE: my iPod
Wheels Down: 08:48
Time @ Gate: 08:55
Arrival Terminal: 1
Boarding Group: 2

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After checking -- in without any problems with the US kiosks I made my way up 1 level to the shops and security. Last time I flew out of LAS was with AA and I took the inter-terminal bus over to the newer section of the airport. This time I was scheduled to depart from the older terminal. I made my way through security and headed off to see what I could see. After that I decided to get some breakky and watch the action.

While waiting for boarding an announcement was made for people who wanted to upgrade for only $50, it was very tempting given I hadn't had the best experience the previous evening, but I was planning on doing some shopping in San Fran so didn't want to waste the money.

Once on board it was quite funny as there was a large group of Japanese tourists who were flying home via LA on JAL. It seemed that all the men had spent their last hours gambling as much as they could because all of them were asleep by the time they had put their seat belts on.

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The flight itself was pretty uneventful and we on our final approach when I was busted by the FA for taking pictures. She asked me to put my device away because we were landing then she realised it was a camera and said it was fine.... After we landed I had decided that because I had plenty of time I would walk all the way around the LAX complex to Terminal 7 check-in for UA. I walked at a leisurely pace and headed upstairs at Terminal 4. While there I was amazed and a little disappointed to see Wanula Dreaming standing @ TBIT. I was hoping that she might be my ride home and cop a double dose of aboriginal flying on this trip and tried to do the maths to see if it could do a return flight and back within my time frame as I was flying out in 2 nights time. I decided it could be done but it would be tight.
I had a walk around the AA departures area to get an idea for when I had to comeback in a couple of nights for my return flight to SYD. I then started to walk down past T5 & T6 to the United Check-in area.

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Friday 15th June 2007
Los Angeles, California -- San Francisco, California
Airline: United Airlines
Flight number: UA 702
Route: LAX - SFO
Aircraft: Boeing 757 -- 200
Departure Terminal: 6
Gate: 66
Seat: 19 F
Actual Boarding: On time
Meal(s): Coke
IFE: Channel 9 / Audio

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After waiting for about 15 minutes I got to a kiosk and checked in without any problems, even tho my United Mileage Plus card is almost dead. While I was checking in I got a weird feeling and really wished it was winter and I was flying to Denver to go boarding in the greatest resort in the world, Vail. But after being brought back to reality I got my boarding pass (a rare cardboard one) and made my way to security. After seeing the line for security on the same level as the check-in desks I remembered a trick one of the check-in agents told me last time was to go to the security line up 1 level which comes straight off the carpark level. I was through security in about 10 minutes, I would have been through in 5 if it wasn't for aircrew and a family that expected the TSA agents to do everything for them, which they were abruptly told they had to take everything out of their bags themselves. I had a customar

1 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineBNE From Australia, joined Mar 2000, 3188 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 5861 times:

Thanks for the interesting trip report.

4 flights is very good going especially with having to go through screening so many times.

Nice variety of airlines. I guess the only one you didn't get was Ted.



Why fly non stop when you can connect
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