Hello everyone as I'm back again with yet another trip report. After I got back from my CUN vacation two months ago, I decided I'd use the fresh heap of cash that I got for my birthday to organize another daytrip for myself. It had now been almost a year since my last daytrip and while I originally planned on going to LAS (again), I eventually settled on FLL. The idea of going to LAS centered around the idea of meeting up with one of my friends who had moved out there, but he still had school going on until June and the fares/available flight schedules weren't looking too good on select weekends either. Not to mention I also already had other flights/trips planned during June, so I just decided to scrap that idea and instead head to FLL. After browsing around for some good flights/fares I found some that I liked which would take me DL MKE-DTW-FLL on the way down and then FL FLL-ATL-MKE on the return. Once fellow A-netter Legacytravel helped me book the flights (thanks to him for that!), I was set to go. So on with the report...(May 22)
When I went on all my other daytrips in the past, I never told my parents that I was going flying (oops?) and needless to say they were pretty pissed wondering where I was all day. This time, however, I decided to spill the beans to avoid any possible arguments, so I just kinda went up to my mom the day before, handed her my printed out itinerary, said I'm headin out the next day, and then pretty much walked away lol. Surprisingly enough she almost didn't even seem to care at all, but I wasn't about to fill my dad in...
So anyways, I woke up that next morning at about 4:30 AM and ran out of the house before anyone had a chance to notice. I drove over to pick up my friend (who would be taking my car from the airport and then picking me up later so I wouldn't have to pay for parking) from his house and we then made the 20 minute drive up to the airport from Racine. It was pretty foggy out that morning and I was somewhat worried about any possible delay because I had kind of a tight connection at DTW after my first flight.
After getting dropped off at the airport I headed inside to DL's ticket counters for my flights down to FLL. There never seems to be much of a line these days to check in with all the self-ticketing machines they have, so I found myself being serviced almost right after I had walked in through the door. The only thing I had to check in with was my ID and the first DL employee I approached seemed sort of annoyed that I didn't have a credit card or itinerary/confirmation number with me. I don't have any credit cards, but I guess it somehow slipped my mind that you can use confirmation numbers to check in, and as a result I left my paperwork at home. Oops!
The DL person told me to go over to the ticket counter where they eventually printed out my boarding passes for me without any more problems. With still over an hour and a half to go until my 7 AM departure to DTW, I went upstairs to check out the new food court they had just finished renovating in the main terminal. I'll miss the Cinnabon that used to be here, but this place definitely needed to be renewed.
I decided to pass on buying any breakfast, so with not much else to do I headed for the security check point in front of concourse E. There was a fairly descent line, but it didn't take too long to get through and then it was time for some spotting. First up was this WN 737 parked at gate E61. WN doesn't use E, so I'm guessing this was a RON waiting for one of the other two gates at concourse D to open up.
I went down to the DL gates and the first thing I saw was an MD-80 flight leaving for ATL. Seeing this pretty much erased the previous worries I had about the fog causing delays.
Aside from my DC-9-50 flight to DTW at gate E66, other flights on the concourse included some CO ERJs, a DL A319 to MSP, DL E170 to ATL, and then a couple of DL CRJs probably going to MEM and CVG. At this point it was kinda hard to see anything else that was going on outside because of the fog, so I just took a seat and waited for boarding. Boarding started about twenty minutes before departure and I made my way down the jetway and back to seat 22F.
So here I was back on the DC-9, and there's no way a daytrip would be perfect without at least one DC-9 flight, right? I'll definitely be in the mindset of trying to get as many flights on them as possible these next few years. But anyways, the first thing I noticed right when I stepped onboard were the new blue leather seats as it was about time they tossed out those old, hard, and uncomfortable cloth seats that NW had. After the pilots finished up some last minute paperwork in the cockpit, we pushed back close to on time and then those old engines roared to life with the classic DC-9 engine start up, definitely a sound I'll never get sick of. We then taxied down to runway 1L, waited for an AE ERJ to go up, and then rocketed away into the foggy sky before turning to the east to climb out over Lake Michigan. The fog had lifted somewhat by the time we left, but we were already in the muck only seconds after leaving the ground.
One of the flight attendants then announced that due to the short duration of the flight there wouldn't be a drink service and while that didn't really bother me too much, it’s worth recalling that back when I flew between MKE/ORD and DTW over a year ago, drinks were served. As for the rest of the flight, it was pretty smooth except for some points where it felt like the plane was steadily pitching up and down, kinda like a ship on the water. It looked like the flight was just about full and I must've lucked out having the only empty seat on the plane next to me. Like I said, it’s a short flight and eventually we started descending into DTW where the weather was pretty murky.
There wasn't much to see on final approach because of the low ceiling, but we landed on runway 22R with full reverse thrust and then made the long taxi over to gate A63. After getting out I took a pic of the DC-9-50 that had just brought me from MKE. Its next flight was to EWR.
DTW is definitely one of my favorite airports to fly through and while I wish I would've had more time to look around, there wasn't a whole lot of time before boarding for my flight to FLL so I just decided to head to my departure gate A78 where our A320 was getting prepped to go. Notice anything special about this picture? I may have found the only dot-less window at DTW lol.
There was still a little spare time so I did some spotting around some of the adjacent gates. The NW colors were still floating around on a few planes, most notably on the DC-9-30s. This flight was going to MHT.
Boarding started shortly thereafter so I headed back to board my flight to FLL.
I took my seat back in 19F and also even recognized a few people from the MKE flight that were on this one as well. Eventually we pushed back, taxied out to 21R, waited for a few CRJs to go up before us, and then took off into the dreary sky.
We leveled at about 35,000 feet and then about halfway through the flight the flight attendants came by with the drink/snack service. They had those worthless snack boxes (I don't know if they're as bad as they used to be, but I didn't feel like finding out) for sale, but I was content with only getting a coke and some pretzels. Once again it looked like it was another full load and for the rest of the flight I kinda just looked out the window and listened to my IPod.
After about two hours of being in the air we finally crossed into the Atlantic Ocean and shortly thereafter we even flew over the Kennedy Space center! I took some pics, but I got some better ones on the return flight so that's posted below. Anyways, right after that we started descending into FLL.
We flew pretty far inland, to the swamps even, before turning around for final approach and then landing smoothly on runway 9L.
It was a very short/quick taxi to the gate and after getting off I snapped a pic of our A320 at the gate. Its next flight was back up to MSP.
I was now back at FLL for my second time with around four hours to spare before my next flight. I decided the first thing I'd do was head over to the other terminal to check in for my fights home, just to get that out of the way. So I went outside, waited about ten minutes for the shuttle bus to come, and then almost decided to walk before it finally came and took me over to terminal three. It turns out I should've just walked anyways because the bus only took me about one hundred yards.
I went inside up to FL's ticket counters and found them dead quiet. Needless to say, I got my boarding passes printed out in less than a minute and was set to go.
Now it was time to head back outside and take in the Florida weather. There's a sidewalk outside going from terminal to terminal on the elevated roadway by the ticket counters, so I just walked the whole way and did some spotting at the same time.
At that point the humidity was starting to get to me a little bit (it was definitely in the 90s temperature wise) and I was starting to get a little greasy/sweaty, so I went back over to terminal three for my flights home. I was looking to get something fast to eat, but the only thing good place they had was a Chili's so I just headed for security and figured I'd get something by the gates area. There wasn't much of a line at the security checkpoint, and after about ten minutes or so I got through to the E gates with still over three hours of spare time. Security was quick and I was at the E gates with over three hours until my flight. Before grabbing a bite to eat, I walked around the concourse and did a little spotting. This US A321 was going to CLT.
Then there was an FL flight going to CHM, but other than that it was pretty quiet, so I went to get some pizza and then it was time to settle in and just wait for my 5:38 PM flight to ATL. I was starting to get somewhat tried from all the walking around and there wasn't that much going on anyways with only ten gates and three airlines on the concourse. The adjacent concourses seemed to be a lot more active.
There was also an earlier FL flight to ATL that broke down and as a result they had everyone deplane before finally getting the issue sorted out and leaving an hour late. Things started to get pretty slow after that because of the long wait and I just kinda switched off between looking around/sitting down. UP is the other airline that shares concourse E with FL/US, and here's their flight from NAS.
And then right after I took that last pic my 717 flight finally arrived from ATL and pulled into the gate.
The turnaround time was pretty quick, but before boarding I went over to grab a muffin and some Dunkin Donuts coffee for the flight. I boarded in zone four and then went back my seat 27F.
We pushed back on time, taxied out to the runway 9L on one engine, and then took off over the coastline before turning around back towards the mainland.
The flight attendants started the drink service not too long after takeoff and I got a cup of Coke and some pretzels. Along with that I still had the coffee, muffin, and my IPod to keep me entertained during the flight.
Like I mentioned earlier, we flew past the Kennedy Space Center again (this time on the other side) and as promised here's the better pic I was able to get.
Continuing the trend from the first two flights, this flight was also for the most part pretty smooth and the load looked pretty full again as well. Eventually the engines started to whine down and we started descending into ATL. We passed over some rich looking estates before lining up and then landing on the new runway, 28.
During taxi I spotted the AN-124.
And then after that somewhat long taxi we pulled into gate C17.
Once I got out I snapped a pic of our 717 that was going to PBI next.
I still had over two hours to go until my flight back to MKE, so I decided to do some spotting before it got dark and then go get something to eat. Here's a DL DC-9 flight that was getting ready to go to MEM.
And then I took a couple of other miscellaneous pictures and looked around.
After it got dark I went to go eat at Charlie's Grilled Subs before taking the airport tram over to the other concourse for my flight to MKE at gate D6.
As you can see, at that point it was too dark to take anymore good pictures or really see what was going on outside, so I just waited around the gate area for boarding to start. I was in zone five this time and once boarding started I headed back to my seat 25A.
Right when I stepped onboard the first thing I noticed was how hot it was inside the cabin. It must've been at least eighty-five degrees in there and while I tried using the jets above my seat to help cool me off a bit, it was as if they weren't even turned on or something because they were barely blowing out any air and even if they were it couldn't have been much cooler than the cabin temperature. The flight attendants tried to reassure everybody that once the engines started during taxi the jets would start working better. It was pretty uncomfortable and I wasn't completely buying their story, but I tried to suck it up and eventually we pushed back and got in the longgg line for takeoff. I haven't had to deal with any long takeoff queues for a while, but I guess I should've expected one this time with ATL being one of the world’s busiest airports and DL/FL were both sending out their last flights of the day. So it wasn't a big deal, I sat there patiently and after about twenty-five minutes of waiting we finally got up to the front of the line at runway 26L. When it was our turn to go, however, instead of taking off we taxied right across the runway onto another taxiway. Ok, so at this point I'm thinking we must be going to the other runway, 26R, just to speed up the overall traffic, right? Wrong. The captain then announces that we're going back to the gate because a crew member at MKE got sick and we have to pick up a replacement. The rest of the passengers had some pretty pissed off reactions upon hearing this and I don't blame them. You wait in line twenty-five minutes for takeoff and then right when we get to the front someone decides to send us back to the gate? Not to mention we're still sitting here roasting up in the cabin because the jets were maybe on for like thirty seconds while we were in line and that's it.
When we got back to the gate it took ten minutes for them to FINALLY turn the jets back on. It was still kinda hot, but at least the temperature gradually started to go down from that point over the course of the flight. I texted my friend who was going to pick me up from MKE to track my flight on flightaware because I obviously wasn't going to be on time at that point. Eventually the extra crew member showed up/made it onboard and then we pushed back and started taxiing out for the second time. All of the other flights were gone, so at that point there was no line left for the runway and I wouldn't have been surprised if we were literally the last flight to be leaving. Anyways, after a quick taxi we made it back to 26L, took off, and climbed out heading north.
The drink service started not too long after takeoff and I got a cup of cranberry-apple juice and some pretzels. The flight attendants announced that due to the incident at ATL, WIFI would be available for free on our flight. I guess I give them credit for at least somehow trying to appease us. Then just when you start thinking things can't get any worse, the old traditional crying baby starts acting up in the seat right behind me ...Great, it’s already past 11 PM, it’s hot in the cabin, and now it’s noisy. Yeah, definitely not the best flight ever. Eventually we passed over Lake Michigan and I got a great lit-up view of downtown Chicago as we started descending into MKE. Up to that point things had been pretty smooth, but then all of the sudden out of nowhere while we were over the lake things got pretty hectic and we started getting tossed around bad for about thirty seconds. It was definitely a rude wake up call for most of the passengers who had dosed off. After things smoothened out we flew inland over downtown Milwaukee to line up for landing on 19R, probably the rarest approach into MKE, but my second time in a row doing it. We passed over Layton Ave, touched down smoothly, and then taxied over to gate C22 to conclude a tiring, but fun day of flying.
I expected the airport to be pretty much dead at that hour, but there was actually another FL flight getting ready to head out to LAX and another one about to arrive from MSP. I walked out of the concourse and exited outside through the baggage claim area where my friend picked me up shortly thereafter and took us back to Racine.
Well this is my 15th trip report and I hope you enjoyed reading it!!! The point of a daytrip is to have fun flying for the day, and I'd have to say my flights on DL/FL were pretty enjoyable except for the last one which was kind of nightmarish to say the least. It was nice having a different kind of plane for every flight, and I can never get enough of the T-tails. Anyways, comments are always appreciated as it takes some determination to put these kind of reports together. Thanks a lot!!!