mke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2377 posts, RR: 5 Posted (3 years 1 week 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 8437 times:
So it’s been four months since I've posted my last trip report, and with my first three months of college complete I was ready to head home for Thanksgiving break. For those of you who don't know, this fall I started as a freshman at the University of Arizona in Tucson. Of course, before I showed up on campus and actually started going to school here I occasionally wondered whether or not I had made the right college decision. Well, once I got down here it didn't take too long to get over those feelings of indecision and so far it’s been great! There's the independence, the parties, the warm sunny weather, and oh, did I mention the daily flyovers of A-10s/C-130s from local Air Force base?! So yeah, you could say it’s been a pretty good time thus far. It also doesn't hurt that I get the opportunity to fly home three times during the school year for visits. Shortly after I got to Arizona in late August I bought my flight home for Thanksgiving on US going TUS-PHX-MKE, and I wanted to have my return be on US as well, but the prices were pretty high for that so after waiting it out for a few weeks I eventually settled on booking FL MKE-PHX for my second leg. I thought it would take ages for Thanksgiving to roll around, but the first three months just flew by and it was here before I knew it. So anyways, on with the report...(Nov. 24-28)
Flight departure time from TUS was 5:50 PM so after going to only one of my four classes that day (yeah, I was feeling lazy ) I went back to my dorm and waited for the airport shuttle to come pick me up. The van came by at 3:45 and then it only took about fifteen minutes to drive to TUS. For those of you who are wondering, on my way down to Arizona in the fall I flew AA ORD-TUS, so this would be my first time actually flying from TUS.
After the shuttle dropped me off I went inside to check in at US's counters and found the whole ticket counter area to be pretty quiet. I had my boarding passes printed out and was set to go in a matter of seconds.
Before heading for the security checkpoint I went over to the observation area that's in the middle of the terminal and saw an AS 738 getting ready for its flight to SEA. Do they have more than one of these planes with the lei on the tail? I could've sworn I saw a similar plane later that evening after landing in PHX.
Next up was security. Now, as the cliché goes I hadn't been living under a rock or anything the past few weeks before my trip, so I was well aware of all the buzz concerning the new TSA screening procedures. However, luckily for me there was barely any line whatsoever and they didn't even have any of those new "naked body scanning" machines set up yet. I was through there in a few minutes and it was a breeze! Supposedly the day before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel days of the year, but I guess that's one of the benefits of flying from "smaller" airports, right? There was still over an hour to go until my flight to PHX and unsurprisingly my aircraft hadn't arrived at the gate yet. At one of the other adjacent gates there was a CO 738 that was flying to HOU later that night. On a normal day just about of all TUS's last departures go out by around 6 PM, but since it was the day before Thanksgiving this was one of several extra evening flights that were added.
Right behind that CO 738 there was a US CRJ9 parked on the stand. I was pretty sure this one wasn't for my flight, so either it was sitting there as a hot spare or it was also probably operating another extra flight that evening.
I then turned my attention to the other concourse and saw two WN 737s doing simultaneous pushbacks. These flights were going to DEN and ABQ.
Eventually after waiting around for a bit my flight landed from PHX and pulled up to gate B10.
Boarding started not too long afterwards and I made my way onboard back to seat 19A. This would be my first time flying on a CRJ9 and the first thing I noticed was that this particular aircraft still had the cabin/seats from its days with HP.
It looked like a full load on this flight and once everybody took their seats we pushed back, taxied out to runway 29R, and took off into the fading sky.
Obviously TUS-PHX is a very short flight, and if I hadn't flown ORD-MKE many years ago this probably would've been the shortest flight I've ever been on. It seemed like only five minutes after we took off the captain announced we were already descending into PHX! We flew right over Sun Devil Stadium on final approach and landed smoothly on runway 25L. After taxiing over to gate B16 I waited for everybody to get off and then I snapped a picture of the cabin.
And then here's a bad picture of my CRJ9 at the gate. Its next flight was to MEM.
As you can see it was going to be somewhat difficult getting any decent pictures at that hour with the darkness/reflections. I then proceeded over to the moving walkway which I rode all the way down to the far concourse. When I got to gate A30 our aircraft hadn't arrived from SJC yet, so in the meantime I went over to get a snack from Cinnabun.
After I got done eating I went to check out some of the other aircraft at the nearby gates. This US A320 was getting ready to go to DTW. It seemed like all the gates in that area had flights going to Midwestern cities such as ORD, STL, IND, etc.
When I got back to the gate our A319 had arrived and people were still getting off from the previous flight. In the past whenever I've flown between MKE and PHX on US it’s always been with an A320, so I guess the route might have been downgraded. Once everyone was off they started boarding for our flight to MKE not too long afterwards, and while I was in line I even saw a YX E190 taxi by! A definite sign that I was heading home. I went aboard and took my seat in 18A.
After pushing back we got in a longgggg line for takeoff and we must've waited at least twenty-five minutes or so. It looked like they were using only one runway for takeoffs and then the other two for landings, so that's probably what caused the long wait. Eventually we got to the front of the line and then took off from runway 25R. We climbed out over downtown Phoenix and then turned around for the trek up to MKE. It looked like another full load on this flight and shortly after takeoff the flight attendants started coming through the aisle with the beverage/snack service. I had planned on buying one of the snack boxes just to try them out, but I wasn't very hungry at all since I just ate so I opted only for a cup of cranapple juice. The cabin lights remained off and with a clear night it made for a very smooth, relaxing flight. For the most part I listened to music on my laptop and watched some videos until it was time to land. There wasn't much to see during descent because of the rainy weather around Milwaukee, but eventually we crossed over Layton Avenue and landed smoothly on runway 19R after a rather short two and a half hour flight. We taxied over to gate C19 and I was officially back in Wisconsin for the first time in three months!
My dad met me outside the concourse and then we headed home.
Of course it wasn't exactly that long of a visit, but it was just kind of "refreshing" to finally go home for a few days and take a break from school. We went to my grandparents' house for Thanksgiving and then the day after that I met up with some of my friends from high school. I also went up to the University of Wisconsin in Madison and stayed overnight at my friend's dorm and then the next day we went to the football game against Northwestern. The Badgers ended up winning 70-23 to clinch the Big 10 Title/Rose Bowl, and after the game we rushed the field!
Yeah, I know what you're thinking, I'm supposed to be an Arizona Wildcat right? Well I've been a lifelong Badger fan and I'm also good friends with two of the guys who are on the team. It'd be kind of interesting if both teams were to ever meet in the Rose Bowl, but for now I don't see why I can't cheer for both, right? Anyways, the break flew by and soon it was time to head back to Arizona.
My flight back to PHX we scheduled to depart at 8:50 AM, so my dad drove me to the airport and dropped me off by the ticket counters shortly after 7 AM. We said our goodbyes and then I headed inside the check in. There wasn't much of a line in front of FL's ticket counters and instead of using one of the self-serve kiosks, one of the FL employees volunteered to print out my boarding pass for me. Before heading upstairs, I glanced over and for the first time saw the new F9 counters which had replaced the old YX ones.
I wasn't hungry so I just went straight towards the concourse C security checkpoint. Unlike at TUS, they actually had the new scanning machines set out at MKE, but for some reason they weren't using them. Oh well, I wasn't going to complain! Then once I got past security, it was time for some spotting!
FL 737 to LGA.
My flight to PHX at gate C20.
FL 717 about ready to push-back for its flight to FLL.
Well, the YX signage around the airport might be gone, but at least some of the Embraers are still sporting the colors!
Not too long after I took that picture they started boarding for our flight to PHX. I went down the jet way and took my seat in 25A.
We pushed back on time, but apparently this was our 737's first flight of the day so we had to go get de-iced which took about twenty minutes. Once that was taken care of we taxied over to runway 19R and then took off back towards Arizona.
The captain announced a flying time of three and a half hours to PHX, which surprised me considering that was a full hour longer than my PHX-MKE flight just a few days before. I didn't know that the wind could make such a big difference! I whipped out my laptop to try out FL's on-board Wi-Fi, and surprisingly it turned out to be free since it was Thanksgiving weekend. Nice! As for the rest of the flight, once again it was smooth and it looked like every seat was filled. I got two cups of cranapple juice along with some cookies/crackers, and for most of the flight I stayed on my laptop. I was hoping to get some good views of the mountainous terrain below, but unfortunately the clouds blocked out the view. Eventually the captain announced our descent into PHX, where he said it had been raining and the temperature was only 51 degrees. Not exactly the warm, sunny Arizona I thought I was returning to.
We flew past the Arizona State Campus and landed smoothly on runway 26.
After parking at the terminal and getting off, I snapped a picture of our 737 at the gate. For its next flight it was heading back to MKE.
I wasn't quite done traveling for the day though, I still had to get back to Tucson. I went downstairs to the baggage claim area where I got on the shuttle for the nearly two hour ride back to UA. Then it was only three weeks until I was flying home again for Christmas break.
Well this is my 19th trip report and I hope you enjoyed reading it!!! Like I already mentioned, it was great to go home, even though if it was only for a few days. My flights on US and FL were all enjoyable, and I'm sure I'll at least be flying US many more times between MKE and TUS. Comments are always appreciated, thanks a lot!!!
[Edited 2010-12-05 23:37:16]
Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
RICBWI From United States of America, joined Jun 2007, 86 posts, RR: 0 Reply 2, posted (3 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 8057 times:
I can relate to the whole PHX vs. TUS pricing deal as I always had a similar dillema as to whether to fly out of Morgantown or Pittsburgh (hour a half away from Morgantown). I didn't mind the car ride up to Pittsburgh since I was excited for the flights but always loathed the ride back after finishing the flights. Most times I just paid the MGW premium. At the time it was Air Midwest service to PIT when US had the hub.
MSNfan From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 135 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (3 years 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 7855 times:
Great Trip Report!
Always nice to see one from a fellow Wisconsinite-glad you had an enjoyable trip. MKE sure looks different from the last time I was there. I'm sure it will look even more different once FL is gone. As a UW-Badger, I especially loved the Camp Randall pic. That game has to be the first event mentioned in an A.net TR I also actually attended. Thanks for posting!
Dentistry: Because everyone smiles in the same language!
planenutz From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 1279 posts, RR: 11 Reply 5, posted (3 years 1 week 13 hours ago) and read 7330 times:
Great rip report. When I attended UofA TUS was raely an option when flying because of the pricing difference with PHX. In fact, I remember a lot of van shuttle companies that would pick people up at various points around Tucson and take them directly to PHX because fares were so much cheaper.
BTW, for three years I lived at Manzanita-Mohave. The A-10's used to stream right over us on approach to D.M.A.F.B.
It was awesome seeing them when they would fly in formation!
KGRB From United States of America, joined Sep 2010, 649 posts, RR: 1 Reply 6, posted (3 years 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 7273 times:
A very enjoyable report, as always! It's always nice to see a taste of Wisconsin on this international board. And what a great Badgers game that was! (I was watching at home on ABC).
Quoting mke717spotter (Thread starter): In the past whenever I've flown between MKE and PHX on US it’s always been with an A320, so I guess the route might have been downgraded.
Well, way back, when HP was still around, the route always used to be 733 (and that's back when only HP and YX were on the route), so an A319 makes sense. I'm actually surprised they were flying the A320 MKE-PHX for a while. With FL on the route now, everyone is fighting for a smaller slice of the pie.
Now in ATW, proudly working for Delta Connection & United Express
AirlineBrat From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 640 posts, RR: 1 Reply 8, posted (3 years 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 7138 times:
Great trip report! Glad you are still posting trip reports now that you are in Tuscon. I remember reading the report you posted when visiting UA before enrolling. Excellent narrative and great pictures.
Quoting mke717spotter (Thread starter): It also doesn't hurt that I get the opportunity to fly home three times during the school year for visits.
Reminds me of my college days. I was a bit of a professional student off and on. I went to schools in Northern VT; Durango, CO; Fairbanks, AK; Missoula, MT and Eugene, OR. As a lifelong fan of aviation and the son of retired UA employees, I relished my trips to New Jersey to visit family during holiday breaks. I must say the marathon 12-15 hour FAI-EWR flights were quite exhausting, but you do build up miles very quickly. There was nothing like a R/T first class upgrade on DL for 10k miles. 15 hours of free drinks and 3 course meals
I hope you enjoy your time going to a Pac-10 (soon to be Pac-12) school. My degree from the University of Oregon has led to quite a career and I hope you have the same fortune after you graduate from Arizona.
I wish I had time to head down to Glendale, AZ for the Oregon-Auburn national championship game but I'll have to watch it from here in Humboldt.......
I'm leavin on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again....
mke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2377 posts, RR: 5 Reply 9, posted (3 years 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 6781 times:
Thanks for the comments!!!
Quoting planenutz (Reply 5): When I attended UofA TUS was raely an option when flying because of the pricing difference with PHX. In fact, I remember a lot of van shuttle companies that would pick people up at various points around Tucson and take them directly to PHX because fares were so much cheaper.
Yeah I'm pretty sure that's still goin on, but I guess since MKE is so cheap to fly to maybe I won't be affected as much by that.
Quoting KGRB (Reply 6): Well, way back, when HP was still around, the route always used to be 733 (and that's back when only HP and YX were on the route), so an A319 makes sense. I'm actually surprised they were flying the A320 MKE-PHX for a while. With FL on the route now, everyone is fighting for a smaller slice of the pie.
And with WN now at MKE, there's actually four airlines flying the route.
Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
Quoting mke717spotter (Thread starter): This would be my first time flying on a CRJ9 and the first thing I noticed was that this particular aircraft still had the cabin/seats from its days with HP.
All of YV's CRJ9s still have HP interiors. Those seats are modeled after a pile of stones. They could stand to put something new in, but YV is slightly too cheap/broke to do so.
Quoting mke717spotter (Thread starter): It looked like they were using only one runway for takeoffs and then the other two for landings, so that's probably what caused the long wait. Eventually we got to the front of the line and then took off from runway 25R.
Standard procedure at PHX. I'm an ATC major at ASU and an intern at PHX TRACON. Because of the noise abatement procedures enforced by the city of Tempe, the departure procedures only allow for one IFR turbojet departure at a time. Now that all three runways are open again (the two south runways had alternating closures for 30 days for runway status lighting installation), they're back to normal ops. Departures are from 7L/25R and arrivals are simultaneous to 8/26 and 7R/25L. In the morning (around 9am) and evening (around 7pm) are the larger banks that go out, and when they run their banks, you're guaranteed to sit around for a few minutes. Payback comes in on arrival because unless things are particularly busy (like the morning arrival bank), controllers don't need to vector too much because there are two available arrival runways.