Date: December 12, 2008
Scheduled Departure: 2:42 PM
Actual Departure: 3:01 PM
Departure Gate: D15
Scheduled Arrival: 4:49PM
Actual Arrival: 5:01 PM
Arrival Gate: C20
Equipment: B717 - no idea what tail number
After I convinced myself that I had enough cash to attend this weekend's meet in ATL, I looked for the best package. Hotels.com matched me up with Airtran and the Wellesley Inn for about $600. Not bad. I was a little nervous about flying Airtran considering that 95% of the reviews I've read on them are VERY negative.
I woke up bright and early so my dad oculd get me to the nearby train station in time for me to catch the first of 2 SEPTA trains I would need to get to PHL. I allowed so much time because I have not been to PHL since I was 5, and had no idea in terms of what to expect in crowds and lines at checkin and security.
I was at PHL by 11:30, and by 11:50, I was checked in and through security - which I might add is a joke compared to what I've experienced on El Al, but the TSA is also a joke. Since I had so much time to kill, I just walked around the terminals. My mother asked how it compared to JFK, and I told her the truth...compared to what I've seen in JFK, PHL is a dump.
Not seeing any stores that made me want to spend money, I looked for a place to eat. I grabbed a Philly Cheesesteak at one of the concessions in terminal C. Lunch done, just under 2 hours before boarding, I decided to head to the gate and do some spotting. Mainly saw ERJ's, some 737's, and what I believe was a United A319 (I'll add the pictures when I get home Monday night).
Once the plane arrived, boarding was very orderly, and the FA's quite helpful. To my suprise, I did not need a seatbelt extender to fasten my seatbelt. We had a long taxi to 27R, and were airborne in about 30 seconds. My only complaint about the flight itself was that the XM satellite radio kept "updating." It didn't matter much since i had my iPod. Once we reached altitude, the FA's came around with drink service. I opted for a coke. After the coke, I dozed off and on for the rest of the flight, waking up about 45 minutes before landing. The landing was very smooth, and it was a relatively quick taxi to out gate. Baggage claim was very quick. The worst part was waiting for the shuttle to my hotel.
All in all, I was satisfied with AirTran's service. Many reviews I read online discussed rude F/A's, gate agents, etc. but I did not have that experience. Meanwhile, I am going to try and have some fun while I am here in ATL, and will try to do a TR of my return flight when i get home.