20 November 2001
US Airways Shuttle 6827 BOS-LGA
I arrived at Boston Logan Airport’s Terminal B US Airways concourse a little after the -now- two hour prescribed limit for domestic flights. I proceeded to the new US Airways Shuttle counters where the queue was established, but not terribly long. I checked-in and now got to do the fun stuff…answering questions to men with big guns!!! After passing through the security checkpoint I went and grabbed something to eat. After a tasty meal of Burger King I went down to see if I could get a glimpse of the A319 that would transport me to LGA. There she was at gate 16 (in the new concourse). Boarding was done promptly at 17:30. As the airlines now have new security measures in place, which include random security checks which show up as an “S” on your boarding pass, when boarding was called, I had to go to a separate queue for those that received an “S” on their boarding pass. After having my bag searched and getting another metal screening, I boarded the plane and took my seat, 14A, a window on the left side. Shortly after boarding, flight attendants came around offering snack packs, which included a sandwich, chips, water, and a cookie
We pushed back at 18:01, and made a quick taxi out to runway 27. On the taxi out I was able to see BA212, a 777, taxiing behind us and BA215, also a 777, arriving and taxiing to Terminal E. Other planes in sight were a Northwest 727 and America West A320 landing on 33L, and an Air Canada A319 to Toronto taking off. Traffic was rather light that evening and within 5 minutes from push back we were on runway 27. We took off and proceeded west-southwest over Boston. Soon we were at our cruising altitude of 18 000ft (5 454m), with the lights of Providence, RI off to the left. We stayed mostly west, flying over Worcester, MA (that’s Woos-ter, not Worse-ter), before turning to the southwest and flying south of Hartford, Connecticut. We came into the New York area from the Northwest, over flew LaGuardia and proceeded to fly over Harlem, on Manhattan. With the entire skyline in my view we turned south down the Hudson River, allowing me to see Midtown, the Empire State Building, downtown, and, sadly, what remains of the World Trade Centre. Now out over New York Harbor, we made sharp turn to the left and back over Long Island. We descended over Brooklyn and Queens, and then made a sharp left turn for finals onto runway 31 at LaGuardia. We taxied to the gate, and so ended my first flight on an A319.
20 November 2001
US Airways Metrojet 2648 LGA-FLL
After checking the monitors for my connecting flight I made my way over to my next flight at Gate 12. Not surprisingly, there was no red and grey 737-200 awaiting me, even though the flight was scheduled to leave in less than an hour. Metrojet and Delta Express are like flying buses, only I think buses get more downtime than these 30-year-old workhorses do. The flight, I believe from Fort Lauderdale, came in, however with only 20 minutes before our departure to FLL; it was becoming clear that we were not going to be leaving on time. Soon boarding commenced, and I took boarded, feeling sorry for the people who received “S”s on their boarding cards as I walked onto the Jetway. I took my seat. 14E is a centre seat ¾ to the rear of the plane, a.k.a. HELL! First off, the odour from the lavatories was noticeable, and seeing as I was in the centre, I was going to go before we took off. Let’s just say that people in Auschwitz would be able to relate to the stench that emanated from the rear lav, and we hadn’t even taken off yet!
Anyways, with everyone on board, we backed out and made our way out to runway 4. Being 4th in the queue for take off, we eventually lifted off from the runway, but with some hesitation-gotta love them 737s! Shortly after take off we made a turn to the left (west). After crossing the Hudson we made another turn to the left, and flew due south and paralleled the coastline. After a couple of hours, which included a small snack, the coast of Florida was in sight. Soon we began to descend from our lofty 35 000ft (10 606m) altitude. We eventually made a turn to the right and flew in over the coast of Broward County, north of Ft Lauderdale. Flying due west we descended and flew right to the edge where civilization and the Everglades meet. Then we turned to the south, and after a moment another left turn onto finals to runway 9L. We landed on 9L and taxied right to the US Airways gates at FLL. After parking, I got off the plane and proceeded to baggage claim, got my luggage and went to my family’s house for the holiday.
26 November 2001
US Airways 1638 FLL-PHL
With a nice vacation with clear skies and temperatures around 28°C (82°F) everyday, it was time to return home to Boston, where the high for the day was around 15°C (60°F) under cloudy skies. So, this time arriving at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport some 90 minutes before my scheduled departure of 14:05, I was greeted by a formidable queue at the US Airways ticket counter. However, the queue moved quickly, and soon I was checked in on the flight, in 33C, an aisle seat, in the very last row of the 757. I tried unsuccessfully to get my seat changed to a window, however a group of teens returning to Pennsylvania assured this to be a full flight. Happy that I at least had a window on the PHL-BOS leg, I accepted my fate of an aisle seat, coz, hey, at least I don’t have to worry about waking anyone up when I want to use the lav. As I waited for boarding to commence it was apparent that it was going to be a full flight to Philadelphia. I waited and spotted the activity on the active runway for commercial flights, 9L (9R is for general aviation), and got to see my first 767-400 and first jetBlue planes. I boarded the plane and took my seat, however, shortly before departure I thought I would try my luck one last time, and asked a flight attendant, who agreed to help find me one, and with luck, and kind gentleman vacated his window seat at 27A. Satisfied with my aft-wing window on the left side of the plane, I proceeded to relax for the 2hr15min flight to the “City of Brotherly Love”. Pushing back from the gate, about 15 minutes late, we taxied quickly out to the short queue at the end of 9L. After a Spirit DC-9 took off, and a Southeast DC-9 and US Airways 737-400 landed, we were next for take off.
The full flight made for a lengthy roll down the runway, but soon we were enjoying a powerful, and steep, 757 climb out. We took off to the east over Port Everglades (the cruise ship terminal) and Ft Lauderdale Beach to the north (Ft Lauderdale Beach is an excellent place to spot beautiful men and women). After flying out over the ocean a few miles, we made a slow turn to the northeast and later north. With the coast of Florida peeling away and nothing but the vast ocean to look at, I relaxed and enjoyed the blue water and white clouds as we climbed to our cruising altitude of 37 000ft (11 212m). We came back over land around Wilmington, NC and flew parallel to the coast for the rest of the journey. Somewhere over the Delmarva Peninsula (the area of land on the east side of the Chesapeake Bay where Delaware, part of Maryland, and a spit of Virginia lie) we began our descent into PHL. We came up over Cape May, New Jersey until southeast of Philly, where we turned west, then northwest, and finally turned onto finals for 27R. We touched down at about 16:35, about 7 minutes ahead of schedule. After a brief taxi to the gate it was off to the bathroom…then a fast walk from our arrival gate on the B concourse over to C25, near the end of the C concourse. Upon arrival a sign stating that the volunteers were needed because of an over-booking situation prompted me to give up my 8A seat on US15, a 17:30 departure on a 737-300 for stand-by on US 568, also a 733 at 18:30. The reward? A free round-trip ticket anywhere in the US and Canada up to a year.
26 November 2001
US Airways 568 PHL-BOS
After walking back to the B concourse, I waited until my name was called, and I, happily, took my seat at 9A, a window on the left side of the plane (noticing a pattern between me and windows on the left?!). The plane started boarding late, and by now we didn’t push back until almost 19:00. We made our way out to runway 27L, right behind another US 733. We made a decent take off run and lifted off the runway, and made a turn to the south before turning off to the north-northeast. We reached our cruising altitude of 18 000ft (5 454m) still in the Philadelphia region. We passed over a mostly cloudy New York City before turning east-northeast over Long Island Sound and beginning our descent southwest of Providence, RI. We passed to the south of PVD and then made a sharp left turn to the northeast, and made a straight shot into BOS, for a “firm” landing on runway 4L. We made a lengthy taxi to the US Airways concourse and eventually parked. As my luggage was transferred onto US15 (the flight I was originally on), I grabbed my suitcase and left.
I think I’ll use my free ticket for a ski vacation