DLX737200 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1983 posts, RR: 18 Posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 9925 times:
Warning: This is a long, but entertaining, trip report.
Hey everyone. So to start out, on December 15th, I was originally going to go home to Orlando to visit my family before the New Year. I haven't been home since September and thought that'd be nice. Everything was looking good for the weekend in Florida then a big storm system had to move through that weekend and worry me about flights canceling/delaying, etc, etc. In fear of flights getting canceled and getting stuck somewhere, I opted out to not go to Orlando. However, I had my heart set on flying that weekend so I looked up alternate options. SLC flights looked decent in/out of Omaha but only on Saturday, they were all bad for Sunday. So I thought, I'll go somewhere on the west coast for the day on Saturday and come back that night. I wanted to go somewhere I loved and knew I could get around easily. The first place that came to mind was LAX. I also considered LAS, PHX, and SFO but all those cities looked bad getting back to SLC that night in time for my connection to OMA. LAX didn't even look good going down but after some research I found a flight through RNO that could get me to LAX fine. So it was set. I was going to fly OMA-SLC-RNO-LAX-SLC-OMA in one day. Here we go.
I hadn't been to LAX since March and hadn't been able to make it on any flights to the west coast since I moved from Orlando to Omaha in May. I was dying to get back. I got up that morning, left my apartment at 4:45am and got to my car to find 4 inches of snow on it, which had fallen overnight. After 10 minutes of clearing my car, I got on the icy, slippery roads on the way to Eppley. After driving probably faster than I should've, I checked in on the kiosk around 5:20 or so and made my way gate B5. This was my first time on Skywest and wasn't crazy about being an S3C standby priority but what can I do? After some chit chat with the gate agent, also my coworker, he cleared myself and the other standbys for the flight. With all standbys clear, this plane would go out with 48 pax on board today. 5:50 came, our planned start time for boarding when my coworker came up the jetway from the plane saying the crew didn't want to start boarding yet because they couldn't get the APU started and didn't want to board until the plane warmed up. I think more of us in the terminal would rather be cold and make our connections rather than be warm and miss them. At 6:05, we finally boarded. As I watched one of my morning coworkers brush the snow off the wing with a broom out my window, the door was finally closed and the flight attendant began her routine of giving us the safety info. Finally at 6:35, we released the breaks and after a few retries by the ground crew due to the snow, got the plane off the ramp and onto the taxiway, where we could disconnect from the pushback. After a 10 minute deicing session, we taxied to runway 36 where we were #1 for takeoff. As soon as we got rolling and reached some speed, glycol covered the windows and no one could see a thing for a good 3-4 minutes. As we climbed north, we made a left turn to the west and stayed that course for a good hour and 40 minutes.
Not much to speak of about the flight itself. We didn't turn heading for quite a while and most of the flight I just stared straight down at the snow covered ground of Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah. Looked pretty boring down there! I kept looking at my watch, concerned about making my 8:30am flight to RNO. If I didn't make that flight, I probably wouldn't be going anywhere as all the SLC-LAX flights were pretty full, some oversold. This would be close. Finally, we make a left turn and start descending. This was my first time to SLC so I was a little excited about seeing a new airport. As the flight attendant was making her rounds picking up trash on approach, I stopped her for a second to ask about SLC and how far it was from concourse E to B, since that was my connection distance. She said, "Oh it's a good hike. About a 10 minute walk." This would be fun. We approached SLC from the north and pretty much took it straight in as we landed on 16R.
After we landed, I was prepared to run. We parked at the last gate at the end of E, wouldn't you know it? I finally got off after some slow moving people in front of me took their time with their overhead luggage. I immediately started sprinting down E, and if you know me, you know that's probably quite a sight. Haha. I got into the terminal and onto the escalators to go upstairs when I determined I couldn't run anymore. The higher elevation and thinner air was getting to me and I just couldn't run as far as I thought I'd be able to. Then I see signs and realize I have to go past, D, and C terminals before I even get to B. Then I see a map and realize B12 (my gate for RNO) is the last DL gate in B. Great! I run and stop, run and stop, so out of breath I thought I was gonna pass out. Finally I get to B!
Saturday, December 15th, 2007
Sked Departure Time: 8:30am (Mountain)
Actual Departure Time: 8:30am
Wheels Off: 9:00am
Sked Arrival Time: 9:10am (Pacific)
Actual Arrival Time: 9:14am
Aircraft Type: ERJ-145XR
Seat: Cleared for 3A but moved to 14C
I finally get to B12, just wanting to faint. I see the screen at the gate said Final Boarding to Reno. I go up to the agent and ask (while panting) if standbys have been cleared to RNO. She goes, "Are you Justin? Where've you been?" I say, "Omaha was late." She goes, "oh that's a good reason. Ok then. You're cleared." I asked if I was cleared all the way to LAX since it was a thru flight to LAX. She said I was and I was the last one on. I walked on board my shiny looking, new colors, ERJ-145 with beautiful winglets on it to find 20 or so open seats still. I checked with the F/A then moved back to row 14 to have two seats to myself behind the emergency exit. I was just so relieved to be onboard and on my to LAX finally. We push back a couple minutes late due to ramp congestion around concourses B and C. Finally we taxi off to the deice pad and have three deicers soak us all at once. That'd be nice to have in OMA! Haha. Finally around 9am we turn onto 16L and rocket off to the south but quickly turn west and head over the Great Salt Lake the city is named after.
Then we broke the overcast layer:
We headed WNW on our way to RNO and quickly got over clear desert scenery. The flight was light to moderately choppy for quite a good bit of time. I munched on some gummy bears I packed with me and then enjoyed a Coke and some Biscoff cookies. The flight was overall uneventful and again I spent most of my time starting out of the HUGE and overall clean ERJ window (love the size of those things) and taking pics.
We eventually started making our decent into RNO. I had never been to Nevada, nor Reno, before so I was looking forward to adding another state and airport to my list of visited, in addition to SLC and Utah already that day.
Our approach was rather turbulent and many 'ooos' and 'whoas' could be heard from neighboring passengers. We got a great view off our right side on approach and final.
Finally we landed on 16R at RNO and turned off to the right to head to gate B4. After we parked, I got off the plane just to stretch my legs and walk through Reno airport for a moment. I also took this time to call the DL nonrev 800 # to check on the loads for my flights home tonight to make sure nothing had drastically changed. I was disappointed to hear that my flight from LAX-SLC had filled up by 10 people (leaving me with 5 open seats now) and if I wanted to play it safe I'd have to take the earlier LAX-SLC flight which was a 737-800 running an extra segment that had 100+ open seats but left 1 hour, 55 min earlier. Crap! Oh well. I listed myself for the new flight out of LAX.
Saturday, December 15th, 2007
Sked Departure Time: 9:40am (Pacific)
Actual Departure Time: 9:40am
Wheels Off: 9:55am
Sked Arrival Time: 10:55am (Pacific)
Actual Arrival Time: 11:00am
Aircraft Type: ERJ-145XR
Seat: 3A but moved to 15C for this flight
As I was admiring the slot machines (too bad I'm not 21 till next November), they announced boarding to LAX. I was already cleared for my seat by the agent in SLC so I boarded with other thru pax. Once onboard I regreeted the F/A and waited till everyone was onboard to move again. I moved to 15C this time as someone was already in 14C. The great skywest ground crew in RNO pushed us out ontime at 9:40 and we taxied to the end of 16R. We held short for about 10 minutes due to flow control into LAX. No problem. Finally we were off the ground at 9:55 and on our way to sunny LAX!
We climbed to the south and stayed that course for quite a while as we passed Lake Tahoe and beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains.
The F/A was a lot quicker this time to come around and pass out snacks and drinks. He came through three times with snacks. I was impressed! Way to go man! After this day so far, I had be given a great first impression of ExpressJet! As we neared LAX, we started descending and a little later on, turned left (to the east) to set up for our downwind approach over Hollywood
As we made our approach, I met a very nice gentleman and his family who worked for Delta at LAX. We had a great conversation as we descended. He continuously pointed out landmarks on the ground as we made our way over LA. He was a great tour guide. We stayed just south of downtown and then swung a right (to the west) for our final approach into 24R. I was anxiously waiting to see my beloved In N Out off to our right soon!
Finally, camera in hand, there she was!
We made a very smooth landing on 24R followed by an abrupt stop and left turn. After a decent length taxi to the gate, we parked at 55A. I was so excited to be back in LA. I exited the aircraft and made my way straight to the counter for check-in back to OMA. The kiosk was giving me troubles and couldn't find my listing for my flight home. I asked for help from a Delta agent but the moment she found out I was a nonrev, she told me to go stand in the very long line to my right. I explained I was only there for 3 hours as it was and didn't want to spend an hour in that line. I begged her for help but she said she was too busy. Whatever! I jumped on the Delta direct phones and the lady on the phone was more than helpful to activate my listing, give me updated load information and get my seat request card printed behind the counter. Less than a minute later, I was activated for Delta 9703 to LAX with 100+ open seats followed by Delta 3792 to OMA with 14 open. Lookin good!
I walked outside and caught the Lot C shuttle. 10 minutes later I was walking up Sepulveda Blvd on my way to In N Out. I grabbed a Double Double, fries, and a coke and walked back south on Sepulveda just under the 24L lights so I could photograph 24R arrivals for a while. Caught some great stuff:
I was very pleased to catch the Virgin America and Eva 773. Those were both firsts for me. After about 90 minutes of photography and a tasty lunch, it was time to head back to the airport in time for my 2:05pm departure back to SLC.
I jumped on the Parking Spot shuttle, pretending like I had a car parked there, and they took me to the Delta terminal. I tipped the guy $1 as thanks for the ride. I got off with seat request card in hand already and went straight through to security. Security was a breeze except for an odd TSA agent who when I asked, "How's your day going?" answered, "Horrible, yours?" I said, "Must suck to hate your job." And walked off. Five minutes later I was past security and walking to my gate. On my way I noticed a beautiful Delta new colors 757 with winglets just finishing pushback with some great light on it. I decided to walk up to the window and get a shot of it. Just as I was grabbing my camera out of my bag and positioning myself up to the glass a voice to my right said, "No Sir!" in a very commanding tone. I looked over and said, "Excuse me?" A lady dressed in one of those contract security company uniforms looked me dead in the eyes and says, "I Said No Sir! You cannot take pictures out the window."I said, "Oh really?" She goes, "Yes sir. They say so.." I say "Who says so?" She says,"Delta says so. They don't want pictures of their planes taken." I said, "Ma'am, I work for a Delta Connection carrier and deal with airplanes five days a week and I've never heard such a thing." Meanwhile I flash my badge which was in my pocket. She backs down and mumbles something like, "well that's what they told us." I took my picture and then turned to her and said, "Well whoever told you that is full of it."And I walked off. I loved it.
Finally I get to the gate and see I've been cleared for my first class seat assignment, 2A. I was pleased. I haven't flown any first class in a few months since it's been mainly CRJs or ERJs as of recently. With only about 30 people on this flight, we boarded about 1:40. I boarded with zone 1 and got onboard to find pillows and blankets nicely folded in my seat. Nice! After being seated, the first class F/A came by and took drink orders. I just took a coke. I started talking to a Delta 757 captain seated in front of me and we discussed the industry and flying. Finally we pushed back ontime and made our way to 24L for takeoff. Around 2:20, we turned onto the runway and began our roll. We takeoff to the west and about 4 miles out, begin our left turn to head Northeast.
We fly right over LAX and then downtown with Hollywood off to our left. What a great view on such an awesomely clear day! How I wished I had another full day in LAX to spend taking pics but I had to get home. The flight was overall very smooth and service was great for the short duration of the flight. The F/As came through our cabin at least 3-4 times with chips, peanuts, biscoff, and cheese crackers and constant refills on sodas and alcohol for those around me. I pretty much ignored the IFE on the TVs and listened to my girlfriends Ipod.
As the flight went on, the sunset was beautiful off our wingtip.
Eventually we began our decent into SLC and dipped below the still overcast skies of Utah.
We made our approach from the south then executed a downwind for 16L at SLC. After a very smooth approach, we made a very smooth landing and turned right towards concourse D. After parking at D, we were very quick to get off. I had two hours to kill so I was in no hurry and let the entire plane off before I left my seat. I finally got off, thanked the crew and went to eat at the Manchu Wok right outside concourse D. After a nice dinner, I walked all the terminals from A to E for about an hour.
Saturday, December 15th, 2007
SLC-OMA (suppose to be)
Sked Departure Time: 7:35pm (Mountain)
Actual Departure Time: 7:30pm
Wheels Off: 7:55pm
Sked Arrival Time: 10:57pm (Central)
Actual Arrival Time: Well about that... you'll see
Aircraft Type: CRJ-200
Finally about 6:30 I just sat in E awaiting the agent working the OMA flight to call my name and issue me my seat assignment.
Around 7:10, I heard, "Omaha passenger Idle, please see the agent at E72." I walked up and he said, "Where do you wanna sit?" "Anywhere with two open seats, preferably in the back if you got it." I said. He gave me 10A and blocked off 10B for me. I was extremely appreciative. SLC people are very nice it seemed!
We boarded a couple seconds later and I boarded with zone 4.
We pushed back right on time and the crew was very talkative on the P/A during taxi explaining our route and expected weather inflight. Seemed like a great crew! We taxied to 16R and were #3 for takeoff. After two skiwest CRJs ahead of us, we were on the runway and beginning our roll. After a southerly takeoff, we turned right and headed north. Not long after departure the ground went pitch black as we left the city lights and got into the northern mountainous regions. We flew north for a short time then headed east where we would once again maintain the same heading for 800 miles, or so I thought. We got up to FL320 and the F/A had just served me a coke and biscoff when it started getting bumpy. I could feel the plane start descending and I figured we were trying to find smoother air. We started turning right a little bit and then heard the cockpit call the cabin with the "Ding Ding." Then after I saw the F/A on the phone with the cockpit for almost two minutes, I knew something was up. As soon as she hung up the phone, the captain made the announcement that we would be diverting to DEN for fuel due to fog in OMA that had suddenly developed. My first thought was, "Crap, they're going to pull nonrevs for weight and balance." But the captain said, "No one is getting off or on, we're just getting more fuel." That was a relief but I started wondering, what if we can get into OMA. We landed and taxied to the Delta gates. I called my girlfriend and started with, "Well make that three new airports and states for me today."
After about 30 minutes of sitting on the plane, we had our fuel and new release and were ready to go. The captain said the fog had gotten worse and was down to 1/4 mile. He said if it gotten worse than that by the time we get there, we may have to go to our alternate airport. Everyone around me starting speculating Lincoln, NE as our alternate but I explained it wouldn't be LNK because Delta doesn't go to LNK. It'd either be DSM or FSD. Everyone started asking me questions once they knew I was an employee. I finally just said, "Let's cross that bridge when we get there."We took off finally and headed Northeast. An hour later and another beverage and snack service later, we approached foggy Omaha. At first it didn't appear too foggy but as the gear dropped, it was obvious it was very foggy. The lady behind me was asking questions such as, "When do you think we'll know that we're gonna make it into OMA?" I said, "when you feel the gear hit the runway, you'll know we're not going to DSM or FSD." Thankfully, we made a great landing in extremely foggy OMA. As we taxied in, we couldn't even see the gate until we were almost up on it. My coworkers working our flight later told me they didn't see us till we passed the zipper line of the ramp, they could only hear us. We parked at A5 and made it off. After 16 hours of leaving Omaha, I had made it home. I was so tired and slept till noon the next day.
Thanks for reading this lengthy report. Hope you enjoyed! Merry Christmas everyone!
DALCE From UK - Scotland, joined Feb 2007, 1977 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 9522 times:
Great report you made! I loved your story, and 6 flights in a day, and time left to do some spotting is a great achievement, although you planned only five
Non-rev flying is a great way of flying, how is it arranged with DL? Is it free of charge or do you pay ZED-fares?
Thanks for sharing!
INNflight From Switzerland, joined Apr 2004, 3783 posts, RR: 56
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 9467 times:
Awesome report....had a really really good read - and nice pics to go with! Can't wait to see LAX in action in February... is In n' out acceptable re. light in winter?
Quoting DLX737200 (Thread starter): Delta says so. They don't want pictures of their planes taken." I said, "Ma'am, I work for a Delta Connection carrier and deal with airplanes five days a week and I've never heard such a thing." Meanwhile I flash my badge which was in my pocket.
Haha....love it! Serves her right for talking crap and harrassing pax doing nothing wrong. Should have called the real cops on her....
Btw....wanna pass some buddy passes? Non-reving just rules
DLX737200 From United States of America, joined May 2001, 1983 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 9253 times:
Quoting DALCE (Reply 2): Smile
Non-rev flying is a great way of flying, how is it arranged with DL? Is it free of charge or do you pay ZED-fares?
If you are a Delta or Comair employee, travel is free on all flights operated for Delta by Delta, Comair, ASA, Skywest, Expressjet, Pinnacle, Freedom, Big Sky, etc, etc. However, DL and OH employees fly lower standby priority on all the carriers except DL and OH. In turn, employees of ASA and Skywest, for example, fly lower on DL,OH, and all other carriers and only fly normal on their own carriers. So for this trip, I flew what is known as, "S3C" standby priority for all my flights since except the DL flight from LAX to SLC since I am not a Skywest or Expressjet employee. Still though, this trip didn't cost me a penny out of my pocket.
LGA777 From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1149 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 2 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 9217 times:
Justin, great TR and photos, looks like a great day with lots of great scenary both out the windows and at the end of 24L in LAX. Nice job standing your ground with rent a security at LAX. Your LAX-SLC leg reminded me of my only flight on that route aboard a Western DC-10 in a very 70's looking red F cabin way back in 1984 when I worked for Northeastern. Glad you made it home ok.
Thanks Ron! It was tons of fun and I can't wait to do it again (without the DEN diversion preferably). I'm going to MCO tomorrow but I have to fly out of DSM thanks to full flights out of OMA. Gotta go home and see the parents before the holidays are all gone. Probably won't have a trip report for this one, unless something interesting happens (and hopefully it won't). I'm hoping for no surprises this trip.