I booked this flight about a week ago, when I heard that the United 727's were being retired on the 30th. I'm a fan of early jetliners and it is so heartbreaking to me that all of a sudden we're seeing the demise of these classics. This is most likely my final seven-two flight and I thought I'd share it here.Click for large version
B727-222A (N7299U) BUR to DEN Oct 28, Flight 1154, Seat 25A
Showing up at BUR, seeing a UAL722 is still such a strange sight! I went to Gate B4 and saw my plane, a good old 70's vintage three holer. I boarded about 2:30P and took my seat blocking out the world around me, this was so important to me. I've flown on 727's alot but this time it was different, knowing that this plane has two more days of active service left flying the line. I sat down and cranked my head to the left, glued to the window, trying to memorize all the noises, seat patterns and everything else I possibly could. BUR has a short runway (less than 7000ft) for a 727, and this was a completely loaded flight so I was thinking of all the times I've watched it barely make it over the fence and set off all the car alarms. We departed Rwy15 and climbed slowly in a right turn over Palmdale then over Las Vegas and on to DEN. The approach was excellent with a series of tight right turns at very high power settings. Routine landing and a 10 minute taxi to the gate. Now it's time to start hoping it's a 727 on the return!
Photo © Stephen Tornblom/Flying Images Worldwide
B737-322 (N326UA) DEN to ABQ Oct 28, Flight 1037, Seat 16F
I talked to the captain at the gate before boarding, the guy seemed so excited to be flying, rare these days, nice to see. Departed at around 8:20P for a quick hop over to Albuquerque. Takeoff was powerful but still a long roll. Arrived at around 9:20P in a cool New Mexico night. Click for large version
Photo © G. van Beek
B737-322 (N326UA) ABQ to DEN Oct 29, Flight 1164, Seat 19F
After spending only a few hours actually sleeping at the Wyndham Hotel just outside the airport I woke up at 5:30A for a 8:10 departure on the same airplane. After avoiding a coyote on one of the taxiways we climbed into the crisp morning air. There was alot of turbulence on this flight (since it parellels the Rockies). We descended from FL310 to FL290 and it was smooth the rest of the way in.
B727-222A (N7444U) DEN to BUR Oct 29, Flight 1585, Seat 26A
It was a 727 as planned! I even got the seat I wanted at the back emergency exit row, unbelievable! Things are going so well. The plane arrived late from Omaha so they rushed a quickturn that still took over an hour (scheduled for two). 86 passengers onboard this flight and the pilot announces over the PA 'you are on a Boeing 727, these fine aircraft are all being parked by United tomorrow along with other carriers in the following days, so this is probably your last 727 flight, enjoy'. I thought that was so great that he acknowledged that and passed it along, but then the flight attendants kind of ruined the moment by clapping and saying they hate it and saying things like "you can have it". The takeoff roll was rediculously long, I actually saw the end of the runway pass beneath as the gear was just starting to be retracted. Very slow climb in the high pressure altitude of Colorado. Flight was smooth and fast, then we descended early and stayed slow for the last forty miles of the journey. Crossed over VNY a little high but we continued the approach and touched down a little late and the nose gear slammed to earth, then the stop was so hard that a part of the back galley popped open and threw out bottled waters and other items everywhere, it looked like 500 napkins were also throwen all over. I thought of it as the 727's way of getting back at the flight attendants for badmouthing it after all its loyal years of service. Click for large version
Photo © Jason Whitebird
Thank You for reading this, I know it was a long post but I wanted to express alot.