AirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Posted (8 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 16859 times:
I’m sorry if the pictures do not show for some of you. I have a bandwidth limit of 25 GB, and have 90 pictures in this report. If you cannot see them, my only advice is to wait until the 18th of the next month when the limit resets, thanks.
The idea for this trip started a few weeks ago when a friend at school told me the Red Bull Air Races would be in San Diego on the 22nd. He said we had a test that day. I of course had to find out more, so I went to their website. I also figured out that my test was on the 21st because the 22nd is a Saturday, so I could go. I then checked ticket prices from TUS-SAN. WN still had $49 one-way tickets available 2.5 weeks in advance. I then downloaded DING! in the hopes that they would DING! TUS for SAN. I figured there was a good chance they would since the $49 fares were still there 2 weeks in advance. I didn’t have to wait long. That Saturday, 2 weeks before the show, I looked at that day's offers when I turned on my computer. TUS-SAN was there for $37 each way. I had emailed my dad about the show earlier that week to see if he wanted to go. I hadn't heard back so I called home. He wasn't sure if he wanted to go, but said I could go if I wanted and he could get me to the airport. If he went, he wanted to drive. I told him that flying was cheaper than driving with these fares, and look at all the time you saved. I must have convinced him because we bought the tickets right then. Then I went and bought the Air Race tickets and bus passes for San Diego (which we really didn't need, but more on that later). Now I had to wait through two weeks of papers and tests before the show.
I checked in for all the flights the moment they became available on southwest.com. The Friday before the show, I couldn't fall asleep. I can't decide if it was because of the show the next day, or the week I now had behind me. I woke up at 4 Saturday morning and got my things together. Those basically were camera, sunglasses, boarding passes, and tickets. My dad picked me up outside my dorm at 5, and we were off to the airport. We parked in the Park&Save lot and took the shuttle to the terminal. Since I had checked us in the day before, we went right to security. Security was normal for TUS: virtually no one there. After doing the security thing, we went and sat at gate 23.
The side of the terminal WN uses at TUS is looking really sad. They are remodeling it, which explains the dismal appearance. I would say we are lucky it has carpet. The ceiling is the metal frame that is to support the foam tiles, but there are no tiles, so you see the pipes and concrete roof above. The WN gate information signs are hanging by metal wires from the metal frame above (pic at the end of report). At least there were seats to sit on. While we waited the F9 overnight A318 left for DEN (no pics because it left just as we got through security) and an AA MD-80 left for ORD. The other planes on this side of the terminal were an XE ERJ-145XR waiting to go to ONT, three more AA MD-80's, all going to DFW throughout the morning (there is also a 5 AM flight, which had already left, making 5 RON AA jets in TUS). AA's gate situation is interesting. It appears they have 25 and 26, but try to use only 25. They do have a podium at 26, which they need if two flights are here at the same time due to delays. Then there were a total of 5 WN 73G's: ours to SAN, and one each to MDW, LAS, LAX, and ABQ. While waiting, I saw some guy start his campout for spot #1 in the B line. Before boarding, there were 10 or so people waiting in the A line.
XE ERJ-145XR to ONT
AA MD-80's to DFW Each jet in the background has its own towbar attached to it.
Boarding began around 6:25AM with group A. My dad and I got in line behind the 10 people who were already there and got on the plane. We noticed two people get turned away (not because of their clothes ) but because they were in the wrong line. It was clearly announced that this flight was going to SAN and they were going to MDW. As we were on the jetbridge waiting to go through the door, it shifted its position vertically. There were some older women behind us who were a bit concerned, but told them it was the bridge, not the plane. I wanted a seat where I could see the flaps, but also a good view of the ground. The first row I chose had too much wing and not enough ground. So I looked at the next row, which was better, but not great. I decided on one more row, which was good (I didn't even pay attention to the number). As I was working on deciding, an F/A was walking by and jokingly said "It's just a seat guys, pick one." My dad said I was a pilot and had to have just the right one. He was right, you know. The F/A understood and kept going. I ended up picking a row with two windows, but I had to lean forward a bit to look out the front one and keep my head against the headrest to look out the rear one. Not ideal, but I had a great view. The seats were a bit dirty (not dark spots on the leather, but more like crumbs between the seats and on the traytables. The part of the seat you sit on was clean, which was the least I would expect. All we brought along was a Camelback each, which fit more than fine under the seats in front of us. I was more than happy with the legroom because I could slouch and still not have my knees touching the seat in front of me. I could also stretch my legs out fully and they would remain under the seat in front of me. I didn't think the seat was overly narrow, but wouldn't want it any narrower than it was. The flight was nowhere near full (65% maybe), and no one sat next to us, giving us the whole row of three. The pilots introduced themselves as Anita Newride and Anita Break ("I need a new ride" and "I need a break" if you can't tell). They said the SAN had broken clouds, which would be fixed by the time we got there. Pushback was right on time at 6:45am, and we made our way to Runway 21.
Wing shot after boarding
A bit closer
UPS 757 in old colors taxiing for takeoff
Other WN jets
DL 757 going to ATL
OO CRJ going to SLC
OO CRJ going to DEN
YV CR9's to PHX
This runway was also part of the reason why I chose to sit on the right side of the plane. I had noticed for awhile AZ ANG F-16's flying over the UofA for DMA, but didn't know why. When I flew to keep current on the 15th, I realized it was because runway 11L at TUS was closed for September. Last year it was closed this month for rebuilding, I want to say they are grooving it now, but am not sure. While we were waiting in the terminal, I heard a plane go by taking off and thought 11L was open again, so I called ATIS and found out it was still closed. The plane I heard must have been using 11R. We had a powerful takeoff and were off the ground in 4000 ft. I know that because I saw where we rotated and measured it on GoogleEarth.
AZ ANG F-16's
Pima Community College Airport Campus
Wing on climbout (The spot behind the wing is on the window, not my camera)
Turning west over I-19
An overview of TUS looking down runway 3
City of Tucson
Clouds over the wing
Wing and clouds
We climbed to the south, then made a right turn to go towards Gila Bend (You can't go direct because of restricted airspace south of I-8). Unfortunately the low pressure system that was bringing rain to SoCal brought clouds to Arizona, impeding my view of the ground out the window. Just before reaching Gila Bend, the drink service started, which consisted of coffee or OJ, no food. I had brought pop tarts with me from my dorm and ate those. I think the reason I have so many wing shots on this flight is because back in December when I flew CO, the row I was in on the daytime flight did not have a window, so I had to make up for that here.
The clouds cleared a bit once we passed Yuma and I saw the Imperial Dunes, the Salton Sea, and Imperial, CA.
Imperial - IPL
Farms in Imperial
El Centro NAF There appears to be 2 C-17's on the ground between the clusters of white buildings, but I am not sure.
The clouds came back over the next mountain range, and we descended into them. We popped out of the clouds over green mountains and large houses.
We skimmed the bottom of the clouds for a bit, then stayed below them. The humid air allowed a nice vortex to come off the end of the flap.
We floated a bit when landing on runway 27, then touched down and the pilots hit the brakes hard. The deceleration was enough to cause me to slide forward in my seat. We pulled off at taxiway B6 and made our way to gate 10.
Hawaiian 763 This shot was hard to take because I was trying to keep myself from sliding into the seat in front of me.
Flaps and spoilers (Wind sock shows a left quartering tailwind.)
DL 738 (CVG), DL 763 (ATL), HA 763 (OGG, I think), DL 763 (ATL)
AA and YX
Aloha 73G with the whale on the side
AS, US, AQ, NW
YX 717 (MCI)
We pulled in at exactly 7:55am. Since we had 3 hours till the gates to the Air Race opened, we waited till most people had gotten off till we got up. The plane was continuing to OAK, and there were three UofA athletics employees in UofA clothes heading to the UA vs. Cal game. I guess they could not take the chartered HP 757 the day before for some reason.
AirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (8 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 16858 times:
We made our way downstairs to catch a bus to downtown San Diego. The pilots were right, the clouds had been fixed, as it was now overcast, with clearer skies to the west. I already knew which bus to take, but stopped at a kiosk to see if they had any bus maps. The guy asked where we were going, so I told him the Red Bull Air Race. He had no idea what I was talking about, but gave us a map and said to take the 992 bus, which I already knew. When he said it, he pointed behind him across the roadway, which indicated to us that we should cross the pedestrian bridge to the other side. We did, but didn't see a bus stop, so we went back, where we could see the stop right next to the bridge. We waited a few minutes for the bus and hopped on. We got off at Broadway & Kettner at about 8:30. We were allowed to bring sealed bottles of water into the Air Race, but could not bring them from home because we were flying. I searched beforehand and found a 7-11 next to the America Plaza, so we went there and got some water to take with us.
We still had more than two hours before we could get in, so we walked to Harbor Drive and then down the bay to the race site instead of waiting for the trolley (it was <1mile anyway). We walked past the Midway, lots of restaurants, and lots of homeless people. We had tickets for the North Embarcadero viewing area, but since we couldn't get in until 11, we kept walking. We made it to the South Embarcadero where the race tower was set up, and a large amount of Audi's parked (they are a sponsor). There was a nice selection of boats between the two sides, and I wonder what cost more, the boat, or parking it in that area.
When we got back to the north side, it was only 9:30, so we sat down and waited for 11. It started raining shortly afterward, but it was not Arizona rain with large heavy drops. The drops were small so we stood under a tree and stayed dry. There were two entrances to the north side, one on the west and the other on the east. There was a good sized line on the east one, while there were less than 10 people standing near the west one, but not in any organized line. I guess they didn't see the other one? No one on our side was going to say anything. While we waited for the rain to move on, we talked to a guy who was at the qualifying Friday, so we heard a bit about the other stuff that would be going on. That guy also said he was at the race when it went to Monument Valley in May. I didn't know about that one when it happened, but even if I did, I couldn't have gone because of finals. He said there were only 2000 people or so there, and that Red Bull had the race there more for the scenery. I agree because that area is beautiful. When the rain stopped, the people in the other line realized that there was another entrance, so some began to come over. We made sure to get in front of the barricades before they did, and were at the front of one of the four lines. Another funny point is that the barricades were arranged so that there could be four lines, yet people only made two. As the lines got longer, someone came up and asked if these were the lines to get in, and one of the persons manning the gate said yes, and the guy went back to his spot in line. There were two barricades with no line, he could have been first, but he went back instead.
The Red Bull Air Race website laid out a set of prohibited items that were not allowed to come into the race. They included umbrellas, chairs, and food. After we get in, what do we see? People with umbrellas, chairs, and food. Figures. Some people manning the gates were volunteers from various military branches, not in their military uniforms, but in the uniform the staffing company that did the staffing had them wear. It took some of them awhile to figure out how to use the scanner that scanned people's print-at-home tickets. They figured it out eventually. While we waited, we notice a variety of street performers that included a magician, a guitar player, and someone who played chess. Since we were standing at the front of the line for so long, I asked the person standing there if he wanted to check my bag then so when they opened the gates I could go right in. He did and I was good to go. At 11 when they opened the gates we picked up copies of the program and tried to find a good spot. We ended up with a space on a grassy knoll facing the first gate of the slalom. It was a great spot where we could see the rest of the track and sit comfortably between events. The only unfortunate thing about it was there was no screen near us. They had cameras in the cockpits of the planes which broadcast video to the screens, which would have been really neat to see, but our seats were great as they were.
I heard someone say this was the USS Ronald Reagan. There were quite a few people on it during the races.
The sun came out by the time the Military display started at noon. It started with fly-bys of three propeller driven Navy planes from the past. Then there was a fly-by of an E-2C and C-2. The last thing was a simulated water rescue by the Navy and Coast Guard. A Navy Blackhawk dropped five guys into the water, and another one came by to pick them up. The second helicopter dropped a wire, which four of the guys attached themselves to. The helicopter then picked them out of the water, with the guys on the rope. They flew around with the guys hanging beneath, and then flew away, over the Coronado Bridge, with the guys still hanging beneath. A Coast Guard helicopter picked up the last guy in the water the way we have seen it many times. Helicopter flies in, guy jumps in water, attaches himself to other guy, they are hoisted into helicopter, they fly away.
WWII Navy prop planes
Modern Navy prop planes
Navy Helicopters hovering
People watching from the Marriott and Hyatt respectively.
By this time it had gotten cloudy again, and there were gray clouds south of us (you can see the transition from the clouds in the shot of the Red Bull tower, to the clear skies in the Reagan shot, then clouds again with the guys hanging below the helicopter), but they cleared out after the first two or three racers. The Red Bull helicopter that captured video went through the course to show the crowd how the pilots would go. After that was done, the races began. I didn't record in which order they went for the first part, but I have their times, so I will post those here. I do know that Frank Versteegh of the Netherlands went first, flying an Edge 540, but left the track on one of his laps because he thought a bird was too close. The judges had to decide if he was correct and whether to give him another chance. I don't quite understand that rule. How can the judges determine if a pilot should or should not have left the track due to safety reasons? They are not the ones flying and are not in control of the aircraft. Frank did not get another chance and was done for the day. The other pilots, their nationalities, their aircraft, and their times (in order placing after the first round) were:
Paul Bonhomme, Great Britain, Edge 540, 1:24.19
Kirby Chambliss, USA, Edge 540, 1:24.35
Peter Besenyei, Hungary, Edge 540, 1:25.02
Steve Jones, Great Britain, Edge 540, 1:25.1
Mike Mangold, USA, Edge 540, 1:25.26
Nigel Lamb, Great Britain, MX2, 1:26.85
Alejandro MacLean, Spain, Edge 540, 1:27.52
Nicolas Ivanoff, France, Extra 300SR, 1:28.24 (sec penalty for too high through gate)
Michael Goulian, USA, Edge 540, 1:29.70 (3 sec penalty for too high through gate)
Hannes Arch, Austria, Edge 540, 1:38.18 (10 sec penalty for hitting gate, that gate was in the quadra)
Sergey Rakhmanin, Russia, Edge 540, (I don't have the time, but he had 23 sec in penalties. He hit two gates in the quadra, and was too high through the Start/Finish gate at the end).
Klaus Schrodt, Germany, Extra 300S, (Did not qualify for race)
It was interesting how many of these pilots fly for airlines. A few of the British one flew 744's for BA, Kirby flies for WN, and another American pilot flies for AA.
Here are 3 shots I took during the races. Mnay of my pictures are very similar, so it would be pointless for me to post them all, but here are a few for you to enjoy.
After that they had fly-bys of WWII Air Force aircraft including P-51D's and a B-25.
WWII USAF prop planes
P-51D and B-25
People watching from their boats
The next segment was the quarter finals. All throughout these races, we had to deal with the announcers bickering about the US and Great Britain (the announcers were one Brit and one American). I tried to make a chart here for the quarter-finals, semifinals, and finals, but the coding on this site would not let me do it, so the top four are listed below.
The top four were:
Paul B 1:23.8
Kirby C 1:24.69
Nigel L 1:28.03
Steve J 1:29.43
Towards the end of the race, one of the Red Bull helicopters came out and did its performance. It was amazing to see it do those stunts. I had read in the Red Bulletin (the race program) about the Red Bull Mig-17, and hoped they would bring it by. They did and it was really neat to see.
How could I not? I was at the Red Bull Air Races, so I had to have one.
Carnival Elation leaving port
Interesting advertising for zappos.com. 5 planes high in the sky turning their smoke on and off to form letters. One of the largest ads I've ever seen.
One of the last things they did was some fly-bys of current military jet aircraft. They had an F/A-18, and F-16, and 2 F-5's. An A-6 Intruder also came by. Beside the normal fast passes, the A-6 and F/A-18 did a demonstration where the A-6 refueled from the F/A-18. The announcer had a Navy Commander with him to help announce the military planes. Between their jokes about the different services, the announcer kept asking the Navy guy if he wanted to climb into a jet and try out the course. The commander said the Navy already did the course in a submarine, just no one saw it.
F/A-18, F-16, 2 F-5%u2019s
F/A-18 refueling A-6
Those three were the race course from right to left
The Red Bull Parachute team also did demonstrations throughout the day. One was where they climbed on top of a Beech 18 while it was in flight and sat there a bit before jumping from the top of the plane. They also did the demo where a parachutist cuts away his parachute and deploys his spare (the US Army Golden Knights do this one a lot). Different from the Golden Knights though, the announcer said whoever found this parachute could keep it, instead of having to give it back. He said that one of the "street-urchins" would have a blanket for the night. I doubt any of the homeless people need a parachute for a blanket because they all seemed to have at least one. Someone said they saw the chute land on top of the convention center, so I guess no one got it.
I had wanted to get an Air Race T-shirt as a souvenir, but someone said the only place they sold them was on the South Embarcadero. I thought that was rather stupid, but I guess I will just have to buy one online.
AirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (8 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 16855 times:
My dad and I left the race at about the middle part of the F/A-18 demo, because we had seen similar things before. Most of the people in attendance left after the final race, so it was easy to get out. We made our way to Anthony’s Fish Grotto for dinner. As we got close to the restaurant, I noticed how close we were to the airport. We could have walked from the airport to the Air Race and not needed a bus pass. We did not have to wait for a table and were seated at a window on the south side that looked onto the boat parking and cruise ship terminal. Dinner was quite delicious. For an appetizer we had tuna in Cajun spices with wasabi and fresh ginger. For dinner I had catfish in Cajun spices while my dad had fish tacos. Think I like Cajun? We finished dinner at 7, and had two hours before our flight home left. I knew there wasn’t much to see at the airport (you’ve seen one WN jet, you’ve seen them all), so we started to walk back towards downtown to just walk around. We were held up by a freight train crossing Broadway. After it had passed, we crossed and saw the 992 bus to the airport in front of us. We ran to catch it, as the crossing gates went down behind us for one of the light rail trains. After getting on the bus, someone commented on my 787 T-shirt. The person looked familiar but I couldn’t figure out who it was. It turned out to be fellow Airliners member nicksair.
It didn’t take long to get to the airport and we got out at Terminal 1. We already had our boarding passes, so we went right to security, where no one was waiting in line. We did the security thing (I didn’t take off my belt and nothing happened, but my dad forgot and it beeped) and went into the terminal. This terminal was much better looking than TUS’s, but anything with a ceiling would look better than TUS’s. There doesn’t seem to be that much seating for 8 gates, and can imagine it can be crowded during heavy travel times. There are adequate places to get food and a single newsstand. The bathroom is quite small and I was surprised. I don’t know how big the bathrooms at TUS are so I can’t compare, but this bathroom was too small for the passenger use of that terminal. There were very few people in the terminal, and most got on the flight to SFO.
When boarding began for the 2478 at gate 10 (same one as that morning), pretty much everyone had an A boarding pass. I noticed some of the people waiting from the flight out that morning. Some people were even as sunburned as I was. We were about 20th in line. On the jetbridge, I noticed the plane had a red “200” below the cockpit window, so I moved over to the left to check it out. It actually was a 2000 and the plane was the 2000th Next-Generation 737. I was hoping to get a window on the forward left side so I would be able to see Tucson when we landed on 21, and would be some of the first out. When we got on, a guy was putting his suitcase in the last available row of the type I wanted, and I hoped he wouldn’t sit there. He actually sat one row behind in the one with no window next to the seat, but one right behind the seat in front. My window this time was perfectly aligned and I could see without having to turn my head 90 degrees to the side. The seats were just like last time with crumbs on the tables.
I could see into the cockpit and noticed that there were openings for eyebrow windows, but the were covered up. I thought this plane had the plugs, but if you look at the pictures above, you will see that it was delivered without them, but there are still spaces there. I guess this is so Boeing did not have to change the interior?
View from my seat
Pushback was right on time at 8:55PM, with no corny jokes by the pilots this time. I did notice that when the lead F/A asked to prepare doors and cross check, the response was “We’re ready.” We taxied out to runway 27 for takeoff. I saw a CO 73G, DL 738 and 757 on the north side remote stands. Taxeoff was quick and we were up before the commuter terminal, about 4500 ft I’d estimate. The load was very light this flight and many passengers had a row to themselves (50% maybe). I saw an NW A320 and some other planes at the south side remote stands near the Commuter Terminal. I played with the ISO settings on my camera to find the one where I could get the best night shots. ISO 800 and 1000 worked well enough, though once we got airborne, I had to use 1000 because the light was much less.
Lining up for takeoff
Looking down the runway of North Island NAS
North Island NAS again
Shortly after we crossed to coast, there was a ding and the F/A’s said we had passed 10,000 ft and we could now use approved portable electronic devices. We had been in the air less than 4 minutes and were already up to 10,000?! We really must have been light. Then we turned toward the west and were headed home.
Overview of SAN
We overflew Petco Park, where the Padres were playing the Rockies, and lost 6-2.
The F/A’s came by taking drink orders, and I had a Cran-Apple juice. Then they came by with honey-roasted peanuts, which I happily took. It took me a while to open them in the dark. I tried to find an indication of the size (in oz. or grams) of the bags, but couldn’t find them. The bags were labeled in honor of Hispanic Heritage month. The peanuts were good and helped pass my time looking out the window.
Pretty soon I saw lights ahead, which turned out to be Phoenix. We turned toward the south (around Gila Bend I thought at the time) and made our way into Tucson. I could see far to the east some lightning in the clouds, but nowhere near us. Soon after turning to TUS from Gila Bend, we began our descent and the landing lights were switched on. I don’t know why they did it so soon.
Wing and engine
Closer view of night winglet
In this shot, the blurred ‘line’ you could call it between the engine and wing is Valencia Rd. just before we touch down.
Thrust reversers out
Our final approach put us between DMA and TUS on a right base to 21, before making the right turn to final. The roll-out was less-violent than the one at SAN. As we slowed down, I noticed the centerline to the left of the plane and wondered if we were turning around on the runway. We did and taxied to gate 23 (yep, the same one again) via runway 3 taxiway A3 A. when we got onto the jetway, it shifted the same way it had that morning. Weird thing. When I walked into the terminal, I looked at the benches and had to stop. They were different from that morning. I asked my dad to make sure. They were now orange instead of black. As we walked toward the escalator, I noticed the other WN gate area and the F9 area already had these new seats, and as we walked down the stairs, we saw the rolling another set towards the gates.
The promised picture of the sad terminal at TUS.
The new orange seats. You can see the old black ones at the AA gate in the background.
We walked outside and waited less than a minute before the Park & Ride shuttle pulled up and took us to our car. My dad dropped me off at my dorm around 10:45 and I thanked him for going with. When I got to my room I looked in the mirror and realized just how sunburned I was. My roommate thinks I look like a tomato. I think the sunburn was absolutely worth it.
I thought WN was great. A little dirty, yes, but legroom was great (I could really stretch out), the open seating was fine (the new way will be really good though) and the service was fine for me. A granola bar would be good to have on the morning flights though. The only thing they really need is adjustable headrests.
San Diego was terrific too. Both my dad and I were impressed at how clean it was. Not even the homeless people left trash around. If only downtown Tucson could be the same. The people we talked to in San Diego were really nice too.
Finally the Red Bull Air Race was amazing. Even that doesn’t begin to describe how much fun it was. It really was a lot of fun to watch. Both my dad and I agree that if the Air Race comes back to SAN next year that we should go. It was very easy to get around SAN, and the race site was convenient. I don’t know where they held the race when it was in SFO, but from what I saw of SAN, I would love to see it back there.
N822ME From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 3, posted (8 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 16764 times:
Quoting AirTranTUS (Thread starter): As we were on the jetbridge waiting to go through the door, it shifted its position vertically.
Jetbridge autoleveler probably. As aircraft loads/unloads, it settles or rises. Jetway autoleveler adjusts the jetbridge accordingly and keeps the jetbridge floor from colliding with the bottom of the aircraft door.
TUNisia From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 1847 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (8 years 2 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 16760 times:
Nice TR! Sounds like a nice day trip to SAN. I didn't even think TUS airport was that bad! How much of a renovation is taking place there? I'm actually moving to TUS in a few months... ahh! Flying CO out there before the move though so it'll be interesting to say the least.
Any more pics of the terminal at TUS?
Someday the sun will shine down on me in some faraway place - Mahalia Jackson
AirTranTUS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (8 years 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 15971 times:
Quoting TUNisia (Reply 4): How much of a renovation is taking place there?
Quite a bit. There are many more food options in the terminal now, and a few more shops. The entrance to the terminal was extended 20 ft (I think) for more room in the check-in and baggage claim areas. There are now waiting lounges on the bottom floor where people can meet arriving passengers. There is also a "gallery" you could call it with more comfortable chairs than the waiting lounge and great views of the B6, DL, F9, and WN gates. I don't have any more pictures, but have heard the DL, CO terminal is much better than the WN, AA one (it has a ceiling at least).