Not a whole lot of background. This trip kind of happened on a spur of the moment about a week and a half before spring break started. Tickets were purchased on the airlines' respective websites (AA was $89 sans taxes, WN was $114 sans taxes, IIRC). I used electronic upgrades for both upgraded segments.
Wednesday, March 18th, 2009
As this was a short trip, I attempted to maximize my time up there by getting an early flight. Well, my best option was the 6:00 am flight to ORD. As such, I never went to sleep. I left for the airport about 3:40, getting to the Airport FastPark about 4:00. I didn't have to stop at all on the way there, and I really think I could count on one hand the amount of cars I saw. Parking was easy, and about 10 minutes later, I was inside the terminal. I checked in with ease, checking my bag through to PHL. Suffice to say, the airport was empty, and I was through security by 4:30. My flight was scheduled to board at 5:30, so I plugged in my laptop, and played a game of StarCraft (retro, I know!).
That preoccupied me until about 5:15, and shortly thereafter, boarding began for this really light flight up to ORD.
We pushed back early, and taxied to 17L. Our two JT8D-219s powered us skyward, and we made a turn to the west, then northwest to join the departure. It was still well before sunrise, but I was already anticipating the opportunity to get some awesome shots of it. The load was really light today (5/16 in F, 62/120 in Y, IIRC), so I had plenty of room to move around (everybody was behind me in F). Service was a continental breakfast , which consisted of sliced fresh fruit with choice of a bagel or biscuit. I scarfed that down, and got ready for the sunrise. Little did I know how beautiful it was actually going to be. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.
Note: This is my first TR using my new Canon DSLR, so I've lost video capability, but hopefully my pictures will be a little bit better.
First rays of light over Dallas
Sunrise over Oklahoma (about the only nice thing about that state! )
The rest of the flight continued uneventfully (I read and played around on the computer). The morning grew, and eventually we began our descent into ORD from the southwest.
Descending into ORD
Final for 4R
Over the numbers
AA 772 at K17
I was the first one off the plane, and made my way over to H14 for my flight to PHL, with a quick stop off at McDonald's for a proper breakfast (lol).
This flight was a lot quicker than I thought it would be. We pushed back a little early, and quickly taxied to 4L.
We jetted into the Illinois morning, and made an immediate turn east.
We quickly made it up to FL 370, and a beverage service with the Premium Snack Mix was done.
Cruising over Ohio
After what was a much shorter flight than expected, we began our descent into the crowded NE Corridor airspace. Surprisingly there was no hold, just a little bit of vectoring for sequence.
Philadelphia Shipyard on final for 27R
Over the numbers
We quickly taxied to the gate, and I made my way over to baggage claim. After a short wait there, my bag was the 2nd one off. Lucky me! I was picked up by my roommate, and we made a b-line for Pat's. I'd been craving a real Philly Cheese Steak for a long time. Whiz witout please!
Saturday, March 21st, 2009
After a fun, easy-going vacation, it was time to head back to Austin, and school. Many of you may know my dislike for WN, and I tried everything to avoid them. Alas, they were the only airline that even remotely fit my desired schedule, and I didn't feel like taking the Greyhound home (though the fact that it crossed my mind should be testament enough to how much I didn't want to fly WN!). I managed to check-in almost exactly 24 hours prior (I think 23 hours 59 minutes prior), and secured myself A35. We made it to the airport about 12:30, for my 2:35 flight. Curbside check-in took a little while, but I had my boarding pass in hand and made my way to security, where quite a line awaited me. It moved reasonably fast (they had the three divisions, and surprisingly, the Expert Traveler line did go faster). I was through about 1:10. I had plenty of time to kill. I walked to the end of the D concourse and took some pictures, but I was shooting into the sun, so none of them turned out very well. I chatted for a bit with a WN F/O about the industry, and read a little bit, as well. Finally, N214WN pulled into D2.
I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I got on board. I figured the front-most seats and the exit-rows would be taken, so I knew at the very least I could get a window somewhere. I really think I wound up with the best seat on the plane, 12F. Row 12 is right behind the overwing exit, and there is no F seat in row 11 (exit row), so I had two rows of legroom! Not too shabby!
View from 12F The winglets sure make the wing look bigger!
It took a really long time to get everyone on board, and we wound up leaving about 20 minutes late.
This flight was very uneventful. I had some reading to catch up on so I did that. Snack service consited of our choice of Cheese Crackers and 100 calorie packs of Chips Ahoy and Lorna Donne shortbread. A perfectly acceptable offering, and sadly light years ahead of what AA offers on such a flight.
Eventually, we began our descent into AUS.
Descending over Central Texas
Short final for 17L
Over the numbers (note the B24 holding short)
We taxied (slowly...surprising for WN) to gate 10, where we pulled in, 15 minutes ahead of schedule.
Spirit of Kitty Hawk pulling into gate 9.
I deplaned, and eventually got my bag from the crowded WN baggage claim. I got my car, and made it home in time to watch UT break my heart, barely losing to Duke in the 2nd round.
Hope you all enjoyed! Comments/Questions always appreciated.
My next report will be coming tomorrow, a proper A.nutter trip report to BNA.
Longhornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3197 posts, RR: 45 Reply 3, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7985 times:
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1): Too bad I don't have enough time to write all these reports anytime soon...
I know how you feel! I've been putting this one off for a while.
Quoting NQYGuy (Reply 2): why do you dislike Southwest so much? Big grin You seemed to have had any okay experience here, anyhow!
My experience was fine. Honestly, I've always found them boring. . I always hated flying on WN (and still do), because they only fly 737s. Of all the reasons to dislike an airline, that is one of the more ridiculous, I know, but I just really don't like it! In addition, I really don't like the boarding process. The entire operation is "barely controlled chaos." That, and I've developed a real high level of comfort on AA, so any other airline I fly just isn't the same.
Quoting PlaneHunter (Reply 1): Nice report with many great pictures - the sunrise shots are awesome!
Thanks! I'm actually irritated because the quality really decreased when I put them on Photobucket. Oh well!
Longhornmaniac From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 3197 posts, RR: 45 Reply 9, posted (4 years 8 months 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 7209 times:
Quoting SXDFC (Reply 5): N214WN is Maryland One!, You flew on N241WN my friend
What are you talking about?! It looks like Maryland One to me! . Good catch, thanks!
Quoting SXDFC (Reply 5): I would like to know why you hate WN? I have flown on them many times and I have had nothing but good stories to say about them.
It's really bizarre, because I can readily admit that I don't have what people would consider a good reason. My dislike of them comes from when I was much younger, and my hatred in the lack of variety in their planes. I got to fly on Shamu once, and that was really exciting, but other than that, it's just a vomit-colored yellow/orange WN 737. When I was younger (and certainly today, as well, to a point), there was no excitement in flying WN. Also, WN represented the cheap, low-fares, no-frills airline back in the mid 90s, when all of this came about. Suffice to say, as other airlines' service has crumbled areound them, their cabin service has been brought up to, and probably surpassed that of the average legacy carrier.
In addition, I really don't like the open seating and the semi cattle-call. It's chaotic, and everytime I walk past a WN gate on my way to the AA gates at AUS, I look over there and think, "man, I'm glad I'm not doing that."
Most of all, I think it's just I've developed a very high comfort level flying AA. I know exactly what to expect. Even when I fly another airline like CO, which is a great airline, I'm no where near as comfortable, so I think that had a lot to do with it, as well.
Quoting Jlbmedia (Reply 7): Did your first WN experience change your mind about WN?
This was by no means my first WN experience. Mind you, I've had some fun experiences on WN (like making a fool of myself at like 6 when I got up and told what I considered to be a joke over the PA during a flight from ELP-AUS...they were letting people come up and tell jokes). But given the choice, I still won't fly them. Not because anything bad happened on the flight, it was a perfectly pleasant flight, but I feel like a drone in their process. Some of this might be a reflection in me being an AAdvantage Gold member, and having always been around some sort of Elite status (my dad was lifetime Gold, now lifetime Platinum), and getting some of the perks of that. WN has no F, and I'm spoiled enough where that matters. In that respect, it's not exactly a fair fight, because the airlines are entirely different in that regard, but it is what it is. Ironically enough, I had more legroom and better food on my WN flight than I did on my ORD-PHL flight in F on AA. Just goes to show that it's not what it used to be.
Thanks for the comments, guys!!! I'll get working on the next one. It's going to be long, and over 100 pictures included! Hopefully the quality won't deteriorate like these did.
Atrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5663 posts, RR: 53 Reply 10, posted (4 years 8 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 6685 times:
Awww poor guy for getting ragged on for not liking WN. I'll spare you
At least you admit they are good at what they do, they just don't fit your type of traveling and I can honestly understand and respect that. There are some things you just don't prefer to fly for no reason and WN falls under that.
Great report though, and glad to see for the most part all the airline and segments were consistent through the trip. Good pictures too.
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
LOL. Lest we forget, you had your chance to come get them!
Quoting Super80DFW (Reply 14): Nice TR. Good pictures. Did you get any snack mix on the AUS-ORD, or just a drink? And just a coincidence.. I flew on N214WN back in 2007. Although I was on a much shorter flight.
Thanks! I did get some snack mix, too. As pointed earlier, I flew on N241WN, unfortunately. I would've loved to have flown Maryland One!