Alright, this will be a little bit of a wild ride of a trip report simply due the complicated nature of the trip. Having flown United on the entire duration of the trip, hopefully I can give some insight to operations these days. I had only three final destinations: Beckley, West Virginia (BKW); Maui, Hawaii (OGG); and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (OKC) (home) but had the opportunity to travel through several airports in order to get there. Here’s a list that can kind of help you catch up:
Friday, June 6, 2008
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (OKC) to
Chicago, Illinois (ORD) to
Washington Dulles, Virginia (IAD) to
Beckley, West Virginia (BKW)
Monday, June 9, 2008
Charleston, West Virginia (CRW) to
Washington Dulles, Virginia (IAD) to
Los Angles, California (LAX) to
Maui, Hawaii (OGG)
Thursday, June 12 (13), 2008
Maui, Hawaii (OGG) to
San Francisco, California (SFO) to
Los Angles, California (LAX) to
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (OKC)
As one can imagine, this was quite a trip!!! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take many pictures simply because I didn’t have the time. So, let’s get into the report!
Thursday, June 6, 2008: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to Beckley, West Virginia
Airline: United Express operated by Trans States Airlines flight LOF7988
Equipment: Embraer ERJ-145 (E145/L)
Route: J98 TUL J98 SGF J105 BAYLI BDF5
Scheduled: 0600 -- Actual: 0609
Scheduled: 0808 -- Actual: 0742
The flight left fairly on time with a minimal line through security. Long legs on regional jets are nobody’s favorites, but being on the left side of an ERJ makes it much easier. I had the best thing, a window seat on the right side in the back (note: sarcasm). Eric, our flight attendant, provided outstanding service for our jaunt to Chicago. He accidentally spilled a drink on my friend when we hit a bump, and my friend seemed a bit outlandish at this, but I think he completely over reacted because it was rather choppy the whole flight. The only unfortunate thing was the person behind me kept wedging their foot between my seat and the fuselage which was massively irritating. I caught some zzz’s and before I knew it we were on approach at O’Hare. It was a rough approach, and from the quick glance at the windsock, seemed to be compounded by about a 70 degree crosswind with the sock getting thrashed about. Touchdown was a text book crosswind landing with the right main first; firm but not uncomfortable. All in all, quite a pleasant journey.
Airline: United Airlines flight UAL382
Equipment: Boeing 737-500 (B735/J)
Route: MOBLE ADIME OTENS REGGY RIEKE DJB J34 AIR J162 MGW VERNI ESL SHNON2
Scheduled: 0905 -- Actual: 0925
Scheduled: 1153 -- Actual: 1139
Comments: What can I say? Cramped, crowded, and the flight attendants acted like they were doing you a favor by even being there. Sorry excuse for service.
Airline: United Express operated by Colgan Air flight CJC6953
Equipment: Saab 340A (SF34/A)
Seat: 9D (Moved to exit row)
Route: CSN V140 MOL V140 ZOOMS V258
Scheduled: 1245 -- Actual: 1319
Scheduled: 1405 -- Actual: 1412
Comments: The gate agent was very abrasive and dismissive with regards to all passengers and any questions. Once we got onboard, we were treated to a very nice flight attendant who had been with Colgan for quite some time. She was seasoned and knew how to make all of her passengers have a good flight. When we got to Beckley, we ARRIVED. We’ve all made some landings that we are not proud of, but man. We SERIOUSLY ARRIVED. I can’t judge too hard, I’ve made some great landings, and I’ve made some bad ones. Needless to say, some days you can’t even buy a decent landing!
Monday, June 9, 2008: Charleston, West Virginia to Maui, Hawaii
Airline: United Express operated by Colgan Air flight CJC6880
Equipment: Saab 340A (SF34/A)
Seat: 4A (Moved to exit row)
Route: HVQ ROYIL2
Scheduled: 0600 -- Actual: 0616
Scheduled: 0720 -- Actual: 0704
Comments: I accidentally locked my phone inside my rental car inside it around 5:00am and returned the keys to the lockbox because it was a few hours before Enterprise opened. Never to fear! Local PD called a pop-a-lock and he opened it up in about 15 seconds. While I was waiting for him to show, I was standing on the sidewalk close to the stairs up from the parking garage. It was still fairly dark and I noticed an attractive blonde walking from the terminal to the parking garage. She passed by me again on the way to the terminal and I noticed that she was acting very apprehensive of me standing off to the side of the dark sidewalk next to the dark stairway with it being dark outside…. Though I’m not sure why….. After I thought about this a bit, I repositioned myself closer to the terminal to waive down the pop-a-lock guy. As far as the flight goes, not much to say except that attractive blonde that I inadvertently scared happened to be the flight attendant. I was just a little embarrassed and apologized and explained the situation. She laughed and said that she was relieved at this because she wasn’t too sure about things when she had passed me twice earlier. After this, I fell right asleep waking upon landing at Dulles.
Airline: United Airlines flight UAL867
Equipment: Airbus A320 (A320/Q)
Route: BLUES RAMAY EYTEE J149 ROD BVT BDF IOW J60 HCT J128 TBC J64 PGS RIIVR1
Scheduled: 0825 -- Actual: 0841
Scheduled: 1056 -- Actual: 1046
Comments: The service on this mainline flight was CONSIDERABLY better than that I experience on my last mainline flight to Dulles. The flight attendants were courteous and kind and were willing to cater to their customers’ needs. They came through the aisles and I tried the “healthy” snack box for $5. Honestly, it was worth it! The food was nutritious, filling, hardy, and all together good! I don’t recall the IFE as I was drifting in and out of sleep while listening to Channel 9! One memorable thing about this trip is that I sat through the smoothest landing I’ve ever experienced on an airline. Kudos to the flight crew!
Airline: United Airlines flight UAL47
Equipment: Boeing 757-200 (B757/Q)
Route: PRCH9 DINTY R576 DIALO R576 DENNS
Scheduled: 1405 -- Actual: 1424
Scheduled: 1604 -- Actual: 1614
Comments: Simply outstanding. As we boarded from the crowded LAX terminal, the flight attendants welcomed us aboard with warm smiles. As everyone got seated, they offered us drinks and I knocked back a Baileys and made some phone calls and checked some e-mails. We were waiting for a connecting flight to arrive and were delayed an insignificant amount of time, but who really cares?! We’re going to Hawaii! We push back and the signature sound of those Pratt and Whitney’s roar to life and start out taxi out. As we rocket into the air, the sound of the landing gear clunking into their bays and the flaps sliding into their sleek stowed position re-enforce the fact that we are, indeed, on the way to paradise. Before I know it, the beautiful beaches of California slip beneath us as we soar our way over the Pacific. Shortly after, the meal service begins. The flight attendant walks up to me and asks: “Mr. Blanco, what would you like to eat this afternoon?” I have sampled the First Class product on numerous airlines, and I must say that this is a first! I have never had an attendant call me by name. I was very surprised and very impressed. Her service throughout the flight made it simply outstanding. I opted for the Mahi-Mahi with a Mai-Tai and a few other cocktails. As I ate, I looked down at the warm Pacific miles below us, still being able to see gentle waves on the surface. I experience a strange sensation to heights. I have no problem with looking out the window of an aircraft as a passenger or as the pilot. I remember doing spin training in a Cessna 150 and loved every second of it! However, get me inside a building or on a ladder, and all bets are off and I’m pretty much useless! I don’t quite understand this, but I know a few other people that are exactly the same way. But, I digress. I settled in to watch the movie and drifted off to sleep. I recall never being able to sleep on planes, and now it seems like the dull vibration from the engines lull me to sleep. The next thing I know, we gently touch down on the volcanic ground of Maui. This is going to be a fun week.
Thursday, June 12 (13), 2008: Maui, Hawaii to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Airline: United Airlines flight UAL36
Equipment: Boeing 757-200 (B757/Q)
Seat: 4D then 5D
Route: CLUTS R465 CUNDU R465 CINNY OSI
Scheduled: 2130 -- Actual: 2144
Scheduled: 0502 -- Actual: 0517
We boarded the flight on time and pushed back on time as well. I originally had the right 4’s to myself but apparently the flight was full and ended up with a completely full first and coach cabin. The issued the attendant a friendly good evening with I boarded and was greeted with a cursory nod, although it was very friendly. I turned left and found my way to my seat and was promptly given a glass of excellent guava juice, yummy. A newlywed couple found their way into first and one ended up sitting next to me, so I swapped with the other spouse and ended up in 5D next to a very friendly lady on her was to Boston. A few passengers were looking for champagne and the cabin crew delivered excellently. It was American champagne, but it was still very good (right before a redeye any alcohol is good!!) I settled into my seat and plugged into Channel 9 which was, for a second disappointing time, not used throughout the entire flight. We were briefed and in the air shortly. Once in the air, I was offered a choice of a fruit plate or cold chicken entrée, the latter of which I selected. The chicken was… different but good. It was served with rice pilaf and a sweet strawberry salsa glaze. Shortly after finishing off dinner with a glass of champagne, I fell asleep and awoke on a wide base-to-final at SFO. Still…. no channel 9
Airline: United Airlines flight UAL1151
Equipment: Boeing 737-300 (B733/J)
Route: PORTE3 AVE SADDE6
Scheduled: 0617 -- Actual: 0610
Scheduled: 0709 -- Actual: 0705
The flight left on time and was completely full. I issued the boarding flight attendant a good morning and was greeted by a stern “hi”. During the whole boarding sequence, the flight attendants talked and gossiped loudly and flirted with a deadheading Delta pilot, barely acknowledging boarding passengers, let alone myself and the others in the first class cabin. We were not offered a drink, nor were we even spoken to until the safety briefing. When it came time to the cabin service, I was handed a coffee and biscotti that I didn’t ask for and not even spoken to while the attendant gossiped loudly with other attendants. I listened to Channel 9 and the captain was talking on the radios. He was very stern, brief, and to the point. He never said the name of the station he was speaking to, only the flight number: (on initial contact with anyone: “United eleven fifty one with you 230 for 330.” I found that interesting, but I guess it does cut down on clutter even if it isn’t very good radio etiquette. While listening to Channel 9 I heard So Cal yelling at Eva 616 Heavy (B747) because they weren’t slowing as instructed. Apparently it was a recurring issue as I heard “Eva 616 slow to 180” “Roger 180, Eva 616” (A few minutes later) “Eva 616 your airspeed should be one eight zero, say airspeed” “We are now slowing to 180, Eva 616” “Eva 616 you needed to be at 180 several miles ago, you’re going to be re-sequenced again, turn heading two zero zero and SLOW AND MAINTAIN ONE EIGHT ZERO KNOTS INDICATED AIRSPEED, over.” This was mildly entertaining as the controller became irritated only at the Eva flight; speaking slowly and ending every transmission with “over.” The landing into LAX was another beautiful landing, however on the ground they seemed to be hauling towards the gate.
All in all, the flight was an early morning cattle call from one bustling city to another, and the customer service was treated as such. I was fairly unimpressed with the cabin crew, but the flight crew did an excellent job.
Airline: United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines flight SKW6442
Equipment: Canadair CRJ-700 (CRJ7/L)
Route: HOLTZ9 TRM BLH PXR J18 ABQ J6 IRW
Scheduled: 0917 -- Actual: 0955
Scheduled: 1327 -- Actual: 1414
Well, it was a long flight and a long flight on a CRJ at that. But at least it was a long flight on a long CRJ with First Class! After boarding the flight attendant offered me a drink and I sipped a cup of coffee while talking to a very good friend on the phone. This is when, however, I noticed the couple sitting in 1 C and D. They were throwing a fit because their dog would have to be stowed in the seat behind them and not up against the bulk head; throwing around the, “Well, other flight attendants have let us do it”. Well, other flight attendants aren’t here right now, so shut up and do what he says maybe? Nah, they don’t go for it and coerce the couple behind them to switch seats. These two are obvious pompous primadonnas that simply don’t think the rules apply to them. They had to be asked several times to do anything including: getting off their phones, turning off their phones, getting off and turning off their computer, stowing their computer, stowing their annoying dog, etc etc etc. After the flight attendants asked them to comply numerous times, they pretended to turn off and stow their computer. As soon as the attendants were strapped in for takeoff, the couple pulled their computers out and used them the whole way to cruise. Additionally, they had trouble with staying put while the fasten seatbelt sign was on. The female again used the “Well the guy in coach just got up” to which the flight attendant replied, “Ma’am, I told him to sit down too”. She was unimpressed by this and sat back down in her seat with a huff and pet her little rat of a dog under the seat in front of her. Alas, on to the good part. The flight attendants were very attentive and friendly. They served me a snack box which was surprisingly delicious and filling. Now, what else is there to do on a nearly three hour flight on a CRJ with no IFE but to drink? I thought to myself, “You don’t have to work when you get in, you have your amazing fiancé coming to pick you up so you don’t have to drive, and you’ve got about two more hours to go”. So, drink I did! I continued towards my goal of finishing my book on this trip to which the pages became harder and harder to read. Eventually, I gave up allowing my heavy eyes and dreary head get the best of me and awoke to the cabin announcement in preparation of landing. A smooth landing, quick taxi to the gate, and a brisk walk to the baggage claim to find my bags zipper notoriously destroyed by the TSA/United, not sure which. At this point, I don’t really care. It’s good to be home, I had a great trip, and I’m ready to see my fiancé whom I missed immensely.