I just got back from my annual end-of-school excursion down to Disney and figured I'd share it with all of you.
Wednesday, May 19th. Southwest 291 MDW-MCO. 737-700 N282WN
For as often as I go to Florida, and for as much as I fly WN, this would be the first time I actually take them there. I've previously done the route on UA, TZ, NW, and FL as well as DL twice from ORD (some nonstop, some with connections). I arrived around noon and it wasn't too busy. Checkin went smooth and I even got a compliment from a TSA agent on my "I'm On a Boat"shirt (worn ironically) as I went through security. After walking basically the entire airport to kill time I eventually made my way down to A17 (last gate, of course) where we boarded just in time along with a flight to STL at A19 which made the area a tad crowded. I ended up boarding A30 and so I managed to snag seat 6F where I would end up sitting next to a father and his 5ish year old son. Nothing makes me happier on an airplane than a well-behaved child with a parent who makes sure to keep them well-behaved. The flight was full, but not overbooked and we pushed back a couple minutes early before taxiing over to 4R for departure. I got a few pics from the ground but none in the air since my camera is broken and I had to use my phone.
Sheldon the Sea Turtle on a Frontier A318 bound for DEN along with a Porter Q400 headed to YTZ. Considering F9 and PD have the most unique planes coming into MDW, it kind of sucks that they'd be using the international gates with the whited out windows and half to view them from across the ramp.
My plane, just arrived at the gate
I was lucky enough to catch FL's falconjet landing and walked over to the otehr side of the concourse to snap a pic while it was pulling into the gate
The view on board from seat 6F
The flight itself was smooth save for a few bumps just south of ATL (which we passed right over) and ended up landing about a half hour early on 17R (thankfully not 17L for once). Since we were early we had to sit on the ramp for a few minutes waiting for our gate (126) to open up. After deplaning I headed straight to the terminal for dinner at Chick-Fil-A since I've been craving it for months since they announced they were finally expanding here to Chicago. After that I headed to the bus to WDW.
Tuesday, May 25th. Southwest flight 2528 MCO-MDW 737-500 N502SW
Taking the bus back to the airport in the morning and checking around 8, I was suffering from my typical "I don't wanna leave" mood, but I knew it was time to leave and got over it. I was surprised to find out the flight was on a 735, which gave me an unintended new type to add to my log. From gate 123 I boarded A21 and took seat 5A. The plane was only about ~80% full so I was fortunate enough to have an empty middle seat next to me. Before departure the captain annouced some likely rough air for the first 25-30 minutes of the flight and told the FAs to stay seated for the time being. After departing 35L (I'm not used to northbound) we headed straight west and jogged along the gulf coast for a bit to avoid the weather before heading north. The turbulance ended up not being bad at all and the crew proceeded with drink service about 10 minutes in. I got really thrown for a loop trying to figure out where we were as we descended into MDW. I eventually recognized the water tower in orland park (a couple towns over from me) and figured we were heading west in order to land on 4R. I got even more confused when we started banking north and just kept banking until I realized we were going all the way around to land on 13C, which is extremely unusual. Thankfully that allowed a very quick taxi over to gate B26 where I would be on my way after waiting a couple minutes for a jetway driver.
From the platform for the train to Airside 2 at MCO.
California One parked at the next gate over
My plane, N502SW
View from 5A
Waiting for the jetway upon arrival at MDW
Overall it was a really good trip. It's weird how a few years ago I couldn't stand WN because of their bare-bones operation (especially when we still had TZ for comparison) but since then I've really grown to appreciate the efficient and friendly service. The crew on both flights were exceptional. On the southbound leg, the head FA would make the pefect skipper for the Jungle Cruise, and northbound they got the whole cabin cheering for the Blackhawks (my all-time favorite sports team ever). Aside from be delayed disembarking both times (one was excusable since we were early) everything was just about perfect, and even with the jetway it wasn't a huge deal since I'd have to wait for baggage anyway. I complain alot about the lack of variety at MDW, but in the end Southwest dominates the place because they do things right.
(shameless plug: If you'd like to see the rest of my pictures from the trip they're right here http://picasaweb.google.com/ElBandGeek/FL10# some don't make alot of sense do to inside jokes with my friends so don't worry about them)
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