I was dropped off at STL very early, 11:35 AM for a 5:15 PM flight. My friend was required to travel with the Army to the airport. He ended up leaving Fort Leonard Wood (about two-some hours southwest of STL) a bit before noon. I had a good bit of time to kill before he got there. At first I tried to find a good spotting location within the immediate vicinity of the terminal, but to no avail.
I didn’t have the luxury of internet access during my stay in Rural Missouri, so I couldn’t print my boarding passes online. Luckily the self check-in area was empty, so I was able to walk right up, input my SkyMiles number and PIN, and have the machine print out my boarding pass.
May as well take a picture of the check in area
The reader board. Unfortunately, my flight wasn’t posted on it just yet.
I went downstairs, picked out a seat, and mostly read to pass the next two hours. Shortly after 12:15 I went and got a pretzel from Pretzel Time to hold me over for a while. I went back to my reading and a bit of listening to my MP3 player until my buddy called me right at 2:30 to tell me he was at the airport. I walked back upstairs to the American check-in area (since he was flying home with American on a flight that left only 5 minutes after mine did). His mother sent a peanut butter cheesecake she made herself with him, since there was no way it would have survived their drive back to Georgia. The two of us plus one of his newly-made friends destroyed that pie. Really we had nothing to do after that, so we walked around the terminal aimlessly, looking at every shop we could find.
Finally it came time to split. He headed off to the C-Gates, and I headed the opposite direction to the A-Gates. We coordinated our meeting up in ATL and went our separate directions. I got to security with not much of a line in front of me. I put my bag and shoes and such on to the belt when they said there was a problem. It was my tube of toothpaste. I made it through security in Atlanta without incident earlier in the week, but I guess Crest Vanilla Mint in the state of Missouri in an indicator of being a terrorist.
Funny story though. The TSA in ATL and STL both missed something in my bag that posed a greater threat than toothpaste (which I didn’t discover until after I got back home): A book of matches. Makes you feel safe doesn’t it?
That aside, I walked to gate A6 and took a seat next to the window. My plane wasn’t at the gate when I got there; in fact, it was an ERJ going to Cincinnati.
Chautauqua ERJ at my gate. The ERJ pulling away allowed me to take this shot:
An American 757 with winglets taxiing
Finally 45 minutes before we were scheduled to depart our MD-88 pulled in
N902DE pulling in while the previous AA 757 takes off in the background.
MD-88 (again) pulling in
And finally all the way at the gate.
I managed to take one more shot before boarding time came:
I just had to have some US Airways at some point
Boarding started at 4:45 Central Time. I set my watch back to Eastern Time, so other than departure times, all of my references will be Eastern Time. Boarding was rather slow. Finally when zone 6 was called it seemed like quite a rush. Just about everyone formed a line, but nobody was making any attempt to board, so I handed the gate agent my boarding pass and was asked if I was fine sitting where I was sitting. I was seated in 26A, a nice exit row window I took my seat and enjoyed the legroom.
Window view from my seat at the gate.
We pushed back at 5:12 Central Time, three minutes early, but as it eventually turned out, we wouldn’t be getting off the ground as quickly as I thought.
Window view during taxi.
The captain came on and said we would be waiting about 15 minutes due to spacing. I could see my friend’s American Connection ERJ a few aircraft behind me, but not well enough to take a picture of it. I did, though, manage to get a couple of pictures that were decent:
Air Canada Jazz CRJ
Northwest Airlink CRJ
Cabin view while we waited.
Finally it came our turn to take off from runway 29 As far as power, it really was weak. It’s been about 8 years since I flew on any MD-80, but my more-recent experiences on 717’s seemed to do much better than that. On a happier note, the climb was steep, which was nice. I took a quick video of climb out shortly after takeoff.
Careful, Doors Are Closing And Will Not Reopen. Please Wait For The Next Train