PSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7902 posts, RR: 27 Posted (13 years 1 week 6 days ago) and read 5161 times:
Alright, I’m almost finished with this now. I’ve been working on it from time to time. Its long, I’ll warn you. I decided to post the outbound trip first. Not quite done with the return—its more interesting.
Fri 3/1/02 XJ 3101 SCE DTW 6:00A 7:57A SF3 1D
Mon 3/4/02 NW 1225 DTW DEN 7:20P 8:30P 319 7F
Sat 3/9/02 NW 560 DEN MSP 6:35A 9:35A 72S 9F
Sat 3/9/02 NW 1862 MSP DTW 1:14P 4:04P 757 42F
Sun 3/10/02 XJ 3108 DTW SCE 9:15P 10:51P SF3 5D
Well, here is the run-down of it all
Friday, March 1st, 2002
Mesaba Airlines (Northwest Airlink) Flight 3101
State College Pa (SCE) – Detroit, MI (DTW)
Scheduled Departure: 6:00am Actual Departure: 6:00am
Scheduled Arrival: 7:57am Actual Arrival: 8:06am
Aircraft: Saab 340 B+ N445XJ Delivered: 11/4/98 Seat: 1D
I was supposed to leave later on Friday afternoon on 2955, but I had no reason to stick around and I wanted to get home. Checking the online availability nearly every hour Thursday night, finally they were showing openings on 3101 at 6am. I decided to play the odds and show up bright and early with hopes of getting on stand-by. Nothing like waking up at 4:15 after about 3 hours of sleep and then making it to the airport in five minutes, by doing 70 out the back roads to the airport. I roll up to the airport little after 5, take a first row parking space and walk across the circle drive in the front door, about 30 feet from my car. At any other airport they would have people searching my car, or the parking blocked off, not in State College, they got an FAA waver. I am next in line at the Mesaba counter. The USAirways Express counter already had a line of 20 people and they didn’t even open until 5:15. No one at the United Express counter, their first flight out isn’t until 7:45. The usual two agents were checking people in, so I go up and hand over my driver’s license, WorldPerks card, and E-Ticket. The agent doesn’t even pick up my E-Ticket, you check in by last name. I told him I wanted to go stand-by, “Sure no problem. Exit row ok?” I was just happy to take what I could get, luckily I got a window, 1D. He goes to take my bags, unfortunately I had 3 bags to check, a suitcase, a small bag w/ ski boots, and my ski bag. He took a look over the counter and said, “Carry that one on the plane” Referring to the ski boot bag. I ask that now I’ll have two carry-ons and that’s against the rules since I already had a backpack. The agent said, don’t worry about it, this way I don’t have to charge you for an extra checked bag. Alright, thanks, and I’m on my way as this all took a total of 5 minutes from when I walked in the front door. Now its time to wake up my folks at 5:10 to have someone meet me at the airport. They appreciated the wake-up call.
After taking a seat in the lobby for a few minutes, at 5:20, the security crew, national guardsman (one), and county sheriff enter the departure area to open up the security checkpoint. They make an announcement for all passengers on the 6am NW flight to DTW & 6am US flight to PIT to make their way to security. The departure lounge in State College is basically a room with about 75 chairs that is separate from the lobby by a window-wall. So I get in line, there are about 15 people ahead of me and the line grows to about 60 people combined for both flights. It’s the same national guardsman that has been there since October. Everytime I have flown out, its been the same guy. He’s actually gotten a little bit friendlier, but it was obvious he didn’t want to be there at this time in the morning. I get up to security, he is checking ID’s & boarding passes, then it’s the usual security deal. In State College, they wand everyone down at the checkpoint, quite simply, because they can. With the few number of passengers, they can efficiently do this. The people running the checkpoint are actually USAirways Express employees, wearing ties & blazers. They appear official, speak English, and actually understand their job unlike the goofballs running security at major airports. I waited a little more than 5 minutes. They got everyone through the checkpoint by 5:45. They call us to the door at about 5:50, and now I’m outside on the way to the aircraft.
A chilly morning for the first day of March, clear and 15 degrees outside. We haven’t had much in the way of cold weather, so this was a surprise to some. Out on the ramp sat 2 USAirways Express Dash-8’s at the one end: one bound at 6am for PIT the other leaving around 7am for PHL. A United Express Jestream-41 sat right outside the doorway, bound for IAD at 7:30. Down at the far end sat 2 Mesaba Saab 340’s. N457XJ for the 9am departure for DTW and N445XJ, our aircraft on the very end. I had to Planeside check both my carry-on’s since I was in the bulkhead seat. The aircraft was still rather chilly from its evening out on the ramp and the fact that I was sitting across from the open door in 1D, no big deal for me, I had my good ski coat on, and I don’t mind the winter weather. Everyone was soon on board and the Flight Attendant, a very nice woman in her 30’s, told the guy seated in 1A to move to the back row which was empty. The passenger next to me in 1C also moved to the back row since he had nowhere to place his computer bag and they don’t allow you to planeside claim them. I found it odd that I supposedly got the last seat on the plane yet the four seats in row 11 were supposed to be empty. Weight & balance issues more or less. The ground crew came onboard to inform the Captain about where to go for de-icing, as soon as they left, the FA closed the door, and the crew started the starboard engine, promptly at 6am. After a moment to disconnect the GPU, the left engine was started, and we then taxied 50 yards across the ramp to the de-icing pad and then shut-down. We beat the 6am USAirways Express flight to PIT out of the gate, but they didn’t de-ice, so they beat us to the sky. Its funny to watch the person harnassed to the top of the ladder cart being pulled around the aircraft by a tug. Quite simple, compared to the bucket trucks used a larger airports.
After a quick squirt-down of de-icing fluid, they pulled over and reconnected the GPU to restart the aircraft. The flight crew made the usual announcement, “Good morning folks, we will be running some quick engine checks since this is this aircraft’s first flight of the day. Don’t be alarmed by any unusual engine sounds or vibrations, that is part of the tests.” I love being on the first flight of the day, the props make the coolest sounds when the power them up and down, adjust the pitch and power settings doing the engine tests. After about 5 minutes we start our quick taxi to the end of runway 24, and we round the hammerhead and apply power for takeoff at about 6:20 as the first light is just coming over the top of Mt. Nittany to the east.
A fairly long takeoff roll since we were full, and once airborne, maintained runway heading more a minute or two before making a hard right turn to the northwest, climbing over the Alleghany plateau. Climbing, we head for Mid-State Airport at Phillipsburg then make a slight turn back to the left, heading nearly due west, paralleling I-80 out the right side of the aircraft. A very smooth flight, on a clear and cold morning flying over the snowy Pennsylvania hills as the sun was quickly rising behind us. Clearing 10,000 ft, with a cruise at 15,000 ft, the F/a provided drink service, for the few passengers, like me that were awake. Sitting there with the first row to myself, an exit row with tons of leg room, sipping on an orange juice and reading the newspaper, I was living it up in “First Class” on the Saab. Even being dead tired, I couldn’t sleep, especially when flying, and there is no way I could sleep over the noise of the props, not that I mind that or anything. The F/a is back in about 5 minutes, and sits down in 1A, she starts talking to me about school and break, a very friendly person. Then one of the pilots comes out of the cockpit to get a coffee. He comes over and starts talking with the F/a & I. He was a very friendly guy, fairly young, no more than late 20’s. He just needed his caffine fix and was enjoying the easy and smooth trip into DTW. After he went back to the cockpit, the F/A asked to see some of the newspaper I was looking at, this was a very easy flight for her too.
Sorry, if I detail the flight path, I’ve only made this flight 20 times or so, not to mention how many times I’ve made the drive too. Heading west, we fly over Youngstown, then past south of Cleveland, just over CLE, were I could see several a/c on takeoff. Approaching Sandusky, OH, make the turn out over Lake Erie to pick up the DTW approach, descend below 10,000 ft, pass over the Erie Islands, before making a hard turn to the North/Northeast into the mouth of the Detroit River, flying the approach into 21L. Fly over the Detroit River, pass just west of downtown Detroit, and start turning to alignment out over the Davison and heading to the southwest. Dropping the gear over Dearborn, with the adjustment in prop pitch, engine noise increases. This is when I start getting the tingles, as I know I’m back in my hometown. As we come into 21L I can see the vacant Davey terminal, void of all activity, nevertheless if felt good to be back home. A smooth landing on 21L a few minutes shy of 8, followed by a loooong taxi in. After exiting 21L, parallel the runway down to taxiway Tango which parallels 9R/27L and looping completely around the WorldGateway before taxing up to gate C24 at the far end of the commuter terminal. The airfield was incredibly empty for 8am. All I saw in action was an ARJ & CRJ that landed ahead of us, a WN 733, a Spirit MD-80, and a UA 757. The WorldGateway was full, we were one of the last a/c arriving for the morning bank, which would explain the lack of ground traffic.
We pulled up to C24 about ten minutes late, mostly due to de-icing and the long taxi in. None of the jetbridges on C concourse were operational for the Saabs & CRJ’s. The F/A said that no one had been trained how to operate them yet. People on our flight, are asking “Where are we, this isn’t Detroit” They built a new terminal, duh. I’m honestly not sure if the expense of jet bridges was even necessary, its only about a 20 foot walk from the aircraft to the door of the concourse, that alone would’ve been fine. I was the first one off the aircraft and once inside the concourse I was impressed. However, it was still a major constructions site. None of the moving sidewalks were working as they were still being installed. Tool boxes, construction equipment, holes in the ceiling, and workmen were everywhere in there. Oh well, there was no reason this place couldn’t hold passengers, and considering it was only day 6 of the place. Down the escalator, to the tunnel, where I find the first bathroom I’ve seen. I go in and it is absolutely trashed! Toilets overflowing, mud, dirt, grime. Only one sink out of four worked, along with none of the dryers and no papertowels. I wasn’t very impressed at this point. Go through the tunnel, pretty cool with the lights and music, it reminds me of some futuristic exhibit at the science center or something. I go up the other side, and going up the escalators is this huge window wall that looks out on the ramp and right outside is parked a 744. Would’ve made an excellent picture, being able to see the whole side of the aircraft. A40 is the marquee gate. I command a photographer on here to go get some of those pictures. I was truly in awe once inside A concourse. Incredible! This couldn’t be Detroit. All I can say is that it was huge, and the tram going by overhead is really neat.
You can’t see the ends of the concourse in both directions. C concourse isn’t all that impressive compared to A, also A was in much, much, better shape than C. They still needed a lot of work and cleaning out in C. Since I would be back on Monday, I’d have plenty of time to look around then, I needed to get going, so I headed for baggage claim. Everywhere I went I kept hearing about people who were lost. Tough, read the signs and look at a map like everyone else. You really can’t get lost unless you are stupid. Go down to bag claim, which is enormous, meet my dad, and shortly there after, Claim 5 starts up, and my suitcase and ski bag pop out, and the claim stops again. The bag claim was empty, and I’m also surprised my skis came out on the claim instead of the oversized claim area like they are supposed to do. Mine were the only bags going to Detroit on that flight. The long walk in from C24 ate up most of the time, but it took about 40 minutes from the time we pulled in the gate until my bags came out. Not as fast as it was for Mesaba in the old terminal, but in general, not bad. Head to the parking garage which is absolutely insane. Unlike the old terminal, you can’t cross the roadways to get to the parking deck, everyone must go to the bridge and cross into the deck at level 6. There is no other way to get across. At least this prevents traffic from stopping for pedestrians all the time though. Self-service pay parking is the smartest idea ever where you pay for your parking at these machines before you go to your car. You really need a map to figure out the parking deck. There are concrete barriers that divide the levels all over the place between hourly, daily, and economy parking. The aisles are extremely narrow and to exit you need to go up one level, drive around, down another, through a gate, circle some more, then get to the pay booth. The craziest parking deck I’ve ever seen. Be back in a few days………..
Monday, March 4th, 2002
Northwest Airlines Flight 1225
Detroit, MI (DTW) – Denver, CO (DEN)
Scheduled Departure: 7:20pm Actual Departure: 7:50pm
Scheduled Arrival: 8:30pm Actual Arrival: 8:46pm
Aircraft: Airbus A319-114 N316NB Delivered: 6/16/00 Seat: 7F
After making it to the airport in remarkable time in rush-hour, its time to use to crazy parking deck again. The signage coming in from I-94 isn’t the greatest. I knew where we were going and we had this phaplit that had a map to the parking entrances, but its very confusing for clueless people. Pulling into the Daily parking in the new deck, a rent-a-cop stumbles out of this clunker asking to roll down the windows. Takes a glance, ok…talk about window dressing security measures. Cars full of suitcases and bags, nothing suspicious would ever be in those. Now in the daily part of the deck there are these crazy spirals, but some levels are blocked off, and there is an up & down spiral. Crazy I’ll tell ya. Not straight forward like the old deck.
Go inside, go up to the check-in level, the place is empty. The whole southern third of the check-in’s are closed, or not even assigned to a carrier. The middle third is all international check in’s, and the north third is open, but has virtually no line, and this is 5:45pm on a Monday. The best part is the huge window walls at both end of the terminal which give a clear view of the inside ramp. Its interesting how NW uses their gates. Only smaller narrow-bodies use the inside gates. A320’s and higher use the outside even numbered gates. With my dad, who’s gold elite, use the special check-in. Had probably the friendliest employee I’ve ever seen in DTW, before many of the agents were quite rude and appeared to hate their jobs. Maybe it’s the new terminal that’s raised morale. That didn’t take long, now for security, where the is absolutely no line. Now there are three checkpoint areas, each with about 5 or six scanners in each. There was about 2 people ahead of us in line. Painless security, except they pull me over for being a male between 18-35. It was the typical goof-ball screeners. Conversing back and forth about their social lives, not really paying attention to the job at home, then talking back and forth in Spanish. The guy wands we over, thinking its like I’ve never had this done before yeah, right, I know the drill. Done with that, no carry-on searches for once. So my dad & I are going down the escalator, talking about how imcompitent the screeners were, and I was mentioning how they were speaking Spanish….well apparently the county sheriff just below heard me. We get off the escalator, he comes up to us…. “Excuse me gentleman but what did I hear you say was happening up there?” We told them about them going on and speaking Spanish and not paying attention. He goes, “Speaking a foreign language like that is against the law, they shouldn’t be doing that, I’ll go take care of it, thank you very much for telling me.” And the sheriff was off in a dash up the stairs. Good, at least someone cares about security.
Anyways, once again in awe at the new terminal, this was my dad’s first time in the place. We rode the tram down to the one end and back, its so fast, clean, and its got new car smell. Then we walked out through the tunnel to B & C since we had so much time to burn. Now it was approaching 6:30 so we decided to go get something to eat. We were supposed to depart from A53, however walking by the gate, a delayed DC-9 to Lansing was still sitting there. Glancing over at the monitors showed our flight had moved farther down to A68. We walked down and ate at a real nice restaurant, RioWraps, which makes very delicious wraps and sandwiches, and at very decent prices, not your typical fast-food airport garbage food. It was mostly flight crews eating at this restaurant between flights. Too bad they didn’t have a little more seating.
Now to the gate area, which is rather empty, maybe only about 50 people or so sitting around. This end of the concourse seemed quite deserted. I like the huge jumbo-tron TV’s in the gate areas with CNN on. Trust me, these aren’t like TV’s at most airports, they belong on stadium scoreboards, you can see them from outside taxi-ing by! About 7 they begin boarding. I think its funny how before everyone used to jump up to be the first onboard, now everyone waits since they don’t want to get pulled aside for “random”-yeah, right, searches. Once they’ve picked someone off, then all the business travelers rush the gate. The mic for our gate was broken, so the agent had to walk across the hall to use the mic at A65 for our flight. Also the heat was broken in the jetway too, it was quite cold in there as it was only about 15 outside. Get onboard, my dad & I had the three seats to us both so he took the aisle, I took the window. This was only was second A319 flight ever, well that’s because NW has only had them in their fleet for only about 2 years now. Typical interior, blue seats, new looking. We sat at the gate until about 7:50 before being pushed-back, a half hour late. A good old DC-10-40, N158US was parked next to us, and strangely, the thrust reverser on the number 1 engine was deployed. The captain said we were waiting for all the luggage to be loading, but I didn’t see very much action going on outside and they didn’t cater us until about 7:40.
After pushing back half an hour late, we start up, which I never really knew, is quite smoky. A big cloud of smoke pours out of those CFM’s on start-up. Then we taxi up to 22L, passing by the old terminal. Strangly quiet over there. The lights were still on inside and out. Electronic gate signs were taken down, some jetways were down, mostly the newest ones on the end of C-concourse. Others were left in the position of their last aircraft, while others were put in some really odd positions. Dumpsters were all around the ramp areas. A lone light stand with some bag carts sat in the middle of G-ramp. A few moving vans were loading up at F-concourse. After a Saab and a DC-9-50 took off ahead us we were next. Powering up, I was amazed at the lack of buzz-saw noise inside the cabin as compared to what you hear outside. It was still noticeable, more after we powered back after takeoff. We took off like a rocket, we were also rather empty too only about 65 pax on board, everyone had spread out so they got more than one seat to themselves. After takeoff we made a sweeping right turn to the west, took us over Ann Arbor, then Jackson before the clouds came in and I could no longer see the ground. At some point the F/A’s came around to serve us drink along with we got pretzels and this energy bar. We had some interesting F/A’s on this flight. This one woman, was probably the youngest and cutest F/a I’ve ever seen. This other guy, was quite strange. You couldn’t understand a word he was saying into the mic and he also forgot when he had already made and announcement. I believe he made the announcement about being in the exit row, willing and able four times. Judging by his tone of voice and actions toward other males, I wasn’t totally certain of his gender preference.
Cruising at 37,000 ft we had an incredibly smooth flight, no bumps at all, and it was incredibly quiet. Maybe I’ve just been on too many prop flights lately, and I’m used to the noise. We descend into DEN, encounter a few bumps an land smoothly on runway 26. We were in no hurry to slow down as we ran the length of the runway before exiting and the long taxi into C concourse. DEN was completely dead at this time of night. A lone UA 735 was parked in front of the mx hanger, and their B concourse was empty. No ground traffic either. Parked at C concourse was a TW 757, AA 757, AA MD-80, US 733, 2 DL 763’s, and a NW 722. The taxi in was kind of rough due to the ice and snow frozen on the taxiway. DEN is impressive at night with the lights everywhere, however I was disappointed with the lack of traffic at 8:45pm. We pulled up to C36 at 8:46, about 15 minutes late, right next to us at C34 is the old workhorse NW 727 N728RW. Inside the concourse and terminal are deserted. Our flight was the only one arriving at that time and the bags came very quick for DEN. Soon we were on our way to get a rental car and the mountains.
Everything went smooth until this point….now here’s where things got interesting……..I'll have the return posted shortly.....
PSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7902 posts, RR: 27
Reply 1, posted (13 years 1 week 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 5072 times:
Friday, March 8th 2002
Northwest Airlines Flight 1244
Denver, CO (DEN) - Detroit, MI (DTW)
Scheduled Departure: 5:10pm Actual Departure: -----
Scheduled Arrival: 9:57pm Actual Arrival: ------
Aircraft: Airbus A319-114
Well this flight never happened. We were staying up in Summit County, doing some skiing. Weather report for Friday was for heavy mountain snow, but Denver was supposed to be just cloudy and cold. The snow wasn’t supposed to cross the Continental Divide….WRONG. After skiing, we left for the airport at 1:30. Normally is an hour and half trip, two hours tops to the airport from there. We were expecting snow up through Eisenhower tunnel and that was the case, it was a little slow going but not bad, on the other side driving into Denver, the snow stopped, roads dried up, and the sun came out. Great…until just as we were coming off the foothills into the metro area. It started snowing….heavy…..traffic is getting slower and slower, finally on I-70 just east of CO 470 it stops dead. Took us an hour to go two miles…making the flight was looking questionable if this kept up. It took us two and a half hours just to reach I-25 from 470. The city was absolutely paralyzed. Traffic reports on the radio were nonstop, they advised everyone to stay off the roads, and this was only with two or three inches of snow. Temp was 15 and the roads were a mix of ice and snow. Use the cell to call the 800 number for Northwest, flight is still on time. Its now passing 4:30 and we are just at I-25, no chance in hell of getting there, turning the car in and making the flight. So we call reservations, they say the flights going to go, as I’m pouring through the flight schedule in my bag, we’re working out a new return. No directs DEN-DTW until afternoon on Sat. They rebook us DEN-MSP-DTW leaving at 6:30am, getting into DTW at 12:45 on a 727 and a DC-9-50. Sweet, one more 727 flight, is what I’m thinking, that makes up for missing the flight and everything. Find a room at the Holiday Inn at Pena Blvd & I-70. It took us four and a half hours to the airport from Summit County, three hours more than normal. The hotels were filling up with people from the airport. Flight 1244, which we were supposed to be on, actually was cancelled, so it really never mattered that we didn’t make it. News in Denver was going on about how they blew the forecast and this was the most intense storm they’ve seen in a long time, like a snow thunderstorm.. It stinks how the hotels are so far away from the airport and even then there are no restaurants by them either.
Saturday, March 9th 2002
Northwest Airlines Flight 560
Denver, CO (DEN) – Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP)
Scheduled Departure: 6:35am Actual Departure: 6:46am
Scheduled Arrival: 9:35am Actual Arrival: 1:01pm
Aircraft: Boeing 727-251 N288US Delivered: 9/21/77 Seat: 9F
After turning in the rental car at 4:30am, we show up at the terminal at about 4:45 and walk up to the Northwest counter to see about 200 people in line! It turns out, the evening flight to DTW (ours) and the one to MSP were cancelled last night and a ton of people spent the night at the airport. Fortunately we already had reservations on 560 that we did over the phone……Too bad the ticket counter doesn’t open until 5. About ten minutes before 5 one guy comes out to start checking in people. We are first in the World Perks Elite line, but this guy doesn’t care about that, he’s only taking people from the main line. At 5, 3 more agents come out, shocked by the size of the line. The one agent wasn’t phased, instead of opening her station, she spent about 10 minutes trying to get chairs out of the back room for the agents to sit in (as if they’d have time to sit). Finally we’re up. Check us in, things are good, “Alright we’re going to hold your boarding passes while that guy there takes your bags to be X-rayed.” “Huh??” This clueless skycap wheels up a cart to take our bags and gets this form. So we follow him down around the corner to this bag room that contains the CTX bomb scanner. Now, I thought this was supposed to be random, but the agent just took the first 15 people to check in and sent their luggage to be scanned, no one else later on, it wasn’t random at all! So in this tiny room, you have to open up your ski bag and unwrap them so this screener can look at them. There were way to many people in this room that appeared to be an old break room. Ok, “Repack them and leave the skis in here, they go through the CTX in here, rest of luggage outside.” So then we go out around the corner to a closed United check-in counter where they place our bags behind the counter and tell us to go sit on these benches over by the NW check-in. The skycap hardly spoke English, we couldn’t understand a word he was saying. Next, this woman comes out from the CTX room screaming at the NW agents, “What the heck are you doing??? You’re overwhelming us, the CTX isn’t even running yet, hold on!!!” Besides the bags from NW, they had a ton of bags to do for UA. Our bags disappear on one belt, then about 5 minutes later come out on another belt where the skycap has to be sure to grab in and take it over to the NW counter or else in goes down a United belt to their baggage system. Finally our bags come back out, now all of our boarding passes are lying on a table along with a dozen others. This one agent is trying to match bags & boarding passes but having a difficult time. We try to help him by pointing out our bags and telling them they are through, but he gets angry at us and replies, “I’m the agent here, you’re not, I know my what my job is, here, C34!” What a way to treat passengers, and a World Perks Elite Gold passenger. After that unorganized fiasco, its time to clear security. Oh boy, the checkpoints were a mess. The line snaked back a forth and both checkpoints through about 25 rows of ropes. Great. It took us about 45-50 minutes to get through security. They had an express lane for those with no carry-ons or a small one. They said my dad could go with his carry-on, but my backpack was too big. Once again employees having no idea what the rules are, a lady was telling people that they were ok for the express lane at the entrance, another lady farther up was throwing the people that were told they were ok out of the express line because their bags were too big, and guess what, she could barely speak English too! This was the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen, they had 5 stations screening people in the main line and the wait was 45 minutes +, meanwhile they had 3 stations dedicated for the express line and the wait time there was nothing, sometimes they screeners there were sitting around doing nothing!!! Meanwhile, as we’re waiting in the line, I look at our boarding pass, oh great, we got the S-ticket. Next to our names on both of our boarding passes was the “S” meaning we were selected for gate security screening. Boy, its so random when you know ahead of time you are going to be searched, why not advertise it more than by putting in blatantly on the boarding pass. Fortunately, our boarding passes didn’t have the S for MSP-DTW.
Ride the tram to C concourse, get some food, its now about 6:15, should be boarding soon. Out a C-concourse we had a NW 727, NW A319, & NW A320. The A319 was from the cancelled DTW flight the night before. Over AA, they had a ton of a/c. They had a PW powered ex TWA 757 in AA colors at C31 for STL, 757 for ORD at C33, 738 for MIA at C35, MD-80 for DFW at C37, MD-80 for LAX at C39…plus a PW powered ex TWA 757 in AA colors, 2 MD-80’s, and AA 757 all overnight parked remote across the ramp. I never knew they overnighted 9 aircraft at DEN. An ATA L1011 was being pushed back when we arrived out there. While we are waiting we see these people wearing yellow ponchos saying “Gate Security” going through and looking at people’s boarding passes, picking off the “S tickets” and nearly everyone is being sent over for additional screening. Well, they start boarding at 6:15, which I thought was kind of late, so we go up, they put our boarding pass in the scanner and it starts going nuts with red lights flashing and buzzers, “Yep we know the deal,” so we go the end of the security line which already had about 20 people in it. Still, more and more people are getting sent over. In all about 50 people can picked off for additional screening and the screeners were overwhelmed, and guess what??????????? English was not their first language either. Well, we didn’t realize this until later in MSP after we made the same error, that if you change a reservation less than 48 hours prior by phone, you get an S-ticket for gate screening…and all these other people like us called to change their reservation because they couldn’t make it to the airport. The typical gate screening occurs, take coat off, wand over, take off shoes, show belt, go through my backpack which they really don’t look through a whole lot. They finally finished getting everyone on board after screening so many people at the gate around 6:45, ten minutes late. Meanwhile the captain makes an announcement about the aircraft being overweight since it is full, and the bad weather in the MSP area and fuel for a diversion airport requires puts us over maximum takeoff weight. Anyhow, I guess they cleared up the matter, and we pushback shortly there after.
I was so exciting that I was on a 727 again. I hadn’t been on one since 1996. I was in 9F, the interior did not show the age of the aircraft at all. Most people on board were probably clueless about the vintage 1977 727 we were on. The seats appeared to be rather new, identical to those that were on the 2 year old Airbus we flew on the previous flight. Time to start-up, the low rumble followed by the signature whine of the JT8D’s. One, two, three, yep it was a 727 alright. We taxied down to the end of C concourse and shut down on the de-icing pad to get hosed down with the glycol. De-icing took about ten minutes to get the remaining snow off the aircraft, it was clear and cold now, about 10 as the sun had brightly risen for the day. After we were done, time to start up again…in the fashion of the 727. We taxied out toward the CO mx hanger which I have actually never seen an aircraft parked at. We came from behind the United mx hanger and to my surprise a 727 still in full colors and appeared to be flight-ready was parked out back. What?? I thought, they’ve been out of service since November. Nevertheless, its still there, so all you Denver spotters be on the look out for it sometime. A United 735 still wearing Shuttle colors was parked out front too. We taxied to runway 8 where we began our takeoff roll. I love the way the 727 wing looks with the slats and flaps deployed, and the large light on the front slats. Powered up and the 727 roared down the runway, as I fully took in the moment figuring this would be the one of the last takeoff’s I experienced in a 727. Compared to what a 727 sounds like outside on takeoff, its rather quiet inside, at least toward the front. The takeoff roll took forever, we used 6000 feet of runway to get airborne, and climb out seemed so low, slow, and smooth. The 727 doesn’t leap off the runway the way the newer Airbus and NG’s do, it kind of glides up there like the beast it is, that’s what I remember about these birds.
Once at cruise the F/a’s came around and gave drinks a this tiny little packet called a “Gourmet Cookie.” I had to laugh at that one, hardly what I would call gourmet, and all about the size of a book of matches. The captain came on in flight and mentioned MSP was having bad weather and that coupled with the departure delay would put us in about 45 minutes late. That put it really close with our connection to DTW, but we figured oh well maybe it’ll be late too, and plus they run MSP-DTW nearly hourly. Captain comes on, that we are approaching MSP and should be in there in about half an hour. F/A’s get the cabin ready as we are descending. Then I notice we leveled off, still well about the clouds, and we’re turning…..now the sun is on the left side of the plane………a couple minutes later its back on the right………hmm we’re circling…..again………again…….hmm….the Captain comes on again…”Uh folks, if you couldn’t tell, we’ve been circling…MSP is down to one runway and there is quite a backup going in. Unfortunately, we’ve been up here a while, and I’m afraid that’s all she wrote ‘cuz we’re running low on fuel so we’re going to heading to Sioux Falls to put down, fuel up again, and then be on our way back to MSP. We would have enough full to stay put and circle for longer, but FAA rules mandate we have to divert and land when we get to a certain level, so now we’re going to make a quick 150 mile trip to the Southwest down to Sioux Falls (FSD) and we’ll be on the ground there in about 25 minutes. Hmm. Great, we’re going to South Dakota now, groans are heard all throughout the cabin. Well, I can’t say I’ve ever been to SD, but I guess we’ll get home sometime.
Coming in on approach to runway 33, all I can see are snow covered fields and cattle, eventually a town pops out of nowhere, and then an airfield. A smooth landing, followed by the loud roar of the reverse thrust as the JT8D’s then settle down to idle. We taxi toward the terminal-a brown metal concourse with about 8 gates. Vintage at that, not the busiest of airports. An Express I CRJ is parked on one side of the concourse and a Mesaba SF3 is parked back in another corner. We pull up to the NW gate about 10:15 in FSD, 45 minutes past our arrival time in MSP. We can get up, and they decided to connect the jetway because there were some passengers on board that FSD was their final destination and they would be left off. They encouraged others not to get off since the terminal was packed with stranded passengers trying to get a flight out. It was only about 5 in FSD, bright & sunny day, but the winds were whipping about 30 mph. The 727 were shaking back and forth sitting and the gate. I made a dash for the bathroom in rear once we stopped. Cell phones were out everywhere, people b$$ching and moaning…its the weather..tough. The fueling process went rather slow as I doubt they fuel 727’s often in FSD, well none are scheduled in there. It took about 45 minutes to get gassed up and at this point MSP was still completely closed. We’ve been there about an hour when I noticed a NW DC-9-50 landing. Hmm, another diversion…nope. MSP was now sending out planes but not receiving yet. The DC-9 pulls up behind us, now we have to get the few people out of the terminal back on board so we can be pushed out of the gate for the DC-9 to use. Get everyone seating, they push us back into a corner of the ramp. We stop and the Capt. says we’ll be parked for another 30 min or so….oops…sorry we didn’t push you back far enough to get the DC-9 in….back us up another few feet……DC-9 slips past……tow us forward to the front of the ramp…now we park. Oh well, this was entertaining. About 12:10pm now that we’ve been there for two hours…we get the word…MSP is open…..its snowing…its blowing….its not pretty……you guys can come on in now……Well, out of all this I got one more bonus cycle on the 727. Time to fire up the JT8D’s again…1…2…..3….. Back underway again as we taxi down to the end of Runway 33. By this time a UA CRJ & Dornier 328 had joined us in FSD and a TWE ERJ-145 (they were scheduled to be there) Time to takeoff as we roared down the 6500 ft Runway 33 then made a climbing turn to the right toward MSP. Our short cruise over to MSP only took us to 22,000 ft, we started our descent on in….below into the clouds…circled around before picking us the ILS on 30L. The pilot warned us that it would be rough coming in but the 727 cut through it like a knife. We came in for a smooth landing just shy of 1pm on a very snowy 30L in MSP. We taxied toward F-Concourse and you could feel the wind rocking the plane. 40 mph with gusts over 60 was whipping the snow around causing white out conditions. NW planes were everywhere! There was about a dozen over on the one de-icing pad. It was nice to see the 747-200’s again, we haven’t seen a pax model in DTW in a few years. We pulled up to F-15 but there was no ground crew and bag carts blocked our path. The electronic gate signs were flashing “HIGH WIND WARNING: TRIPLE CHOCK ALL AIRCRAFT!” Finally they moved the bag carts, then walked away. The Capt. pulled the plane in as far as he could without the ground crew, then they finally showed up. Pulled into the gate at 1:01pm, three and a half hours late. The passengers started applauding upon arrival.
Saturday, March 9th 2002
Northwest Airlines Flight 1862
Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN (MSP) – Detroit, MI (DTW
Scheduled Departure: 1:14pm Actual Departure: 3:05pm
Scheduled Arrival: 4:04pm Actual Arrival: 5:56pm
Aircraft: Boeing 757-251 N538US Delivered: 3/1/96 Seat: 42F
Upon arrival in MSP, we knew we had missed our scheduled connection. The concourse was a disaster, completely jammed with stuck people. My dad stopped to talk to an agent that met our flight to see where we should go, considering nearly half our flight was going on DTW. I got in line at the next gate over which had a DC-9 departing for DTW. The agent told my dad to go to gate F7. We managed to push our way down there and got in line at the counter. The monitor said Memphis, but everyone in line was to DTW, however we found out the plane was going to TPA and they had yet to begin boarding on that flight. The agent was beyond flustered that all these DTW people showed up for a flight that had yet to arrive. First they made an announcement for us to sit down so they could get the TPA flight out. Next they made an announcement saying our aircraft was on its way because they just brought it from the hanger and it was being de-iced. Looking outside, I saw a DC-10 being de-iced. I knew there wasn’t a DC-10 scheduled to fly MSP-DTW, but that got my hopes up, that and judging they could fill one with the number of passengers waiting. Meanwhile, my dad is on the cell phone trying to get us rebooked to DTW since we weren’t making any progress in person. Next announcement said there was a gate change and the flight to DTW was leaving from F10 down the hall. Now there was a huge stampede as everyone started running down the corridor. None of the video monitors had the correct flights and city at the gate and the departures screen was no help. My dad got us rebooked on flight 1862 to DTW. This was the flight leaving now from F10. Now we just got in line to get our boarding passes. The monitor at F10 showed Memphis too, so the agent just turned it off. Now all the agents turned all the video screens off since they all had wrong information and no info was posted at any gates. Our aircraft, a 757 was waiting to pull in the gate, but it was blocked for about half an hour by a 747 being de-iced. Finally we got to the front of the line to get our boarding passes. Hmm, we got the “S” tickets again…why??? Because we called and changed our flight from the airport instead of seeing an agent in person..thus making us a security risk….and requiring to be searched at the gate. Great, a second time today, we’re pros at this now. The agent turned the video screen back on now, but now thought it was broken since it stayed dark…it started warming up….but he didn’t see that, so he turned it off. Well, since we had not eaten a thing all day we went to get some food. The little restaurant at the end of F was nearly out of food. We were able to get some nasty cold hot-dogs and chips..less than tasty.
About 2:15pm, they were getting ready to board our flight. Knowing that we are going to be searched, my dad & I just walk up to the screeners and put down our stuff on their table and go, “Ok, we know we need to be screened, we’ll give you guys a head start so we can get on our way.” The screeners have this puzzled look on their face… we say, “Oh we know we’ve been through this, we’ve got the “S” tickets, that means we have to be gate searched. So they take our boarding passes and run them through the machine and once again it beeps and buzzes and flashes red lights. Sure enough that was the case, and our names were also on the printed manifest of selectees. They wondered how we knew…Uh guys, its clearly on the boarding pass, not the most effective way of making security “random” Nevertheless, the screeners give us the usual run through, wand over, take shoes off, undo your belt, search your bags. We’re laughing and joking with the screeners and the whole flight is being boarding and staring at us. The screeners were quite nice, they were complaining about their job to us, they seemed to know what was going on, and then we marched on, all the way to the very back row of the 757 to 42F. One of the newer 757's, delivered in 1996, it had the new fresh white interior with the standard blue NW seats. After everyone was on board we sat there another half hour waiting for more luggage to be loaded. It was still gusting hard outside, shaking the plane all over the place. You could get motion sickness just there on the ground. No one came back to sit with us, so once again we had 3 seats for the two of us. We were sandwiched between to DC-10’s at the gates, plenty of those around MSP this day. Finally about 3:10 or so we pushed back. We taxied around to side of the airport toward 30R. Plenty of DC-9’s, 727’s, and ARJ’s parked around. I like the new commuter terminal being built. Plenty of Saab’s & CRJ’s parked over there. I saw N445XJ parked over there, the same a/c I was on SCE-DTW the other week, somehow must’ve made its way up to MSP. We were about 5th in line for 30R, behind an AA F-100, an XJ Saab, and 2 NW DC-9’s.
(ok add lots more snow & wind to that)
Our turn for takeoff, you could feel the full power of the Pratt’s on this 757. It got up and got going much quicker than the 727 on the previous flight. Once airborne, we were getting tossed all over the place. We banked to the right over the Mississippi to head east. It was very rough going until we were above 10,000 ft or so. After that a some flight in the late afternoon sun across the upper Midwest. They came around with drink service and the usual pretzels during cruise. I noticed a rather funny event during the flight, a couple attempting to join “The Mile High Club” Sitting in the back row, I noticed this guy and girl-both in their late teens make their way to the back galley. The girl went in the bathroom first but didn’t lock the door. He stood there for a while before attempting to go in. However, the F/a’s were serving the cabin at the time and kept having to get stuff from the rear galley. After a few minutes, she came out, they waited, and tried the process over again. They couldn’t get a clean break. They kept trying…finally this older F/a was back there and jokingly says, “Are you two trying to go in the bathroom together???” The couple turned bright red, “Uh…no, we’re just waiting back here.” In a few minutes, they were back in their seat. Darn, I would’ve gone in the bathroom with that girl….kidding.
We began out descent into a very overcast DTW. The captain had the F/a’s prepare the cabin early as they were expecting a rough ride into DTW. We were just about the cloud deck and you could see us following a NW DC-10 in on approach….this was the last calm moment of the flight. Descending into the clouds, it got very rough. Occasionally we’d break through, but I couldn’t pick out any landmarks of our location. After several more bone-jarring minutes, we broke out for good. I didn’t recognize the ground at all. Finally I found Lake St. Claire…this is odd…I’ve never been on this approach before, must be circling to land to the north…..then we turned to the west….wait a sec…that’s downtown over there….we’re coming in over Canada….we’re coming in on the Crosswind runways. It was gusting so hard in DTW they were using 27R for landings, and the new runway 22R for takeoffs. In all the years, I’ve never landed on the crosswinds before. Coming in on final approach was ugly…we were all over the place…this was one of the roughest flights I’ve ever been on..a 757 too! Not some small prop….people were screaming, overhead bins were popping open, stuff was crashing around in the galley. Finally, we put down for a very hard landing on 27R as darkness was setting in. Looking over, there was a line-up of about 20 aircraft waiting to take off on 22R, the only runway open for takeoffs. We had a short taxi into gate A76, the very last gate on the north end, arriving just short of 6pm. We just took our time, since we were in the very last row. The wind was blowing hard in DTW than it was in MSP, the plane was shaking all over the place at the gate, and the rampers outside didn’t appear to be having too much fun.
Finally, we got off the aircraft to begin the trek to baggage claim, to our luck the tram was down so we walked all the way in. Every single flight was delayed, and there appeared to be a bunch of stranded travelers. We figured there was a slim chance that our luggage was on that flight. Due to all the delays at MSP, there were 5 flights that left within an hour of each other for DTW and our luggage could be on any one of them. The baggage claim in DTW was a mess. None of the signs on top of the claims were working. Claim 2 was overflowing with random luggage. We went to each claim with an MSP flight in search of our luggage. After waiting over an hour, my dad decided to get in the line of about 200 people for the luggage claim office. I wandered from claim to claim. There must have been 1000’s of bags just sitting around the baggage claim. About 8pm, I looked in the oversize luggage claim to see them unloading our skis. I got them, asked which flight they came in on, a later flight from MSP, got my dad and walked all the way down to Claim 11 for the rest of our luggage. Finally we were on our way home. We left the airport about 20 hours later than we were supposed to, and visited two additional states along the way……….and I had to turn around the next day and do it again.
Sunday March 10th 2002
Mesaba Airlines (Northwest Airlink) Flight 3108
Detroit, MI (DTW) – State College, PA (SCE)
Scheduled Departure: 9:15pm Actual Departure: 10:18pm
Scheduled Arrival: 10:51pm Actual Arrival: 11:35pm
Aircraft: Saab 340 B+ N452XJ Delivered: 11/4/98 Seat: 5D
I arrived at the airport about 7:30pm, I knew I had plenty of time. After navigating the maze of a parking deck and going inside, I go upstairs to the check-in level. There was a pretty big line-up for international check-in, so I work my way down to domestic and the line is huge!! I look and notice out of 30 domestic check-in stations, only 3!! Are open. That would explain why the line doubles back on itself 4 times. After standing there for a few minutes I look over and see the E-Service Center, noticing people are checking bags there. Screw this, I get out of line, walk up the E-Ticket kiosk, insert my WorldPerks card and there you go..I’m all checked in…get my boarding pass….and it spits out bag tags that the agent puts on my bags, drops them on my belt, and I am on my way in a matter of about 3 minutes…. I had to laugh at all the fools who hadn’t moved in line…I think some people followed me over there. Well, this time to head through security were there is zero line whatsoever, the screeners are just sitting around waiting for something to do. A business man walks up just in front of me…..he must have spent 5 minutes getting all the crap off on him….cellphone, pager, wallet, keys, change, coat, opening up his laptop….the works…you’d think he would’ve prepared himself for going through security. I put my bag on the belt, walk through, pick up my bag and am on my way, just like old times. Now I’ve got a good hour to waste before I need to be out at C-concourse, so I ride the tram to one end and walk the entire length of A concourse then ride the tram back to the center. Had a nice leisurely walk, checking out the airport and the planes. So I head out to C, through the tunnel, up the escalator to find the biggest mess of people I’ve ever seen. The waiting area at C was overflowing. Wow, they made this space way too small. I stood around for a good 15 minutes before they called my flight. The passengers don’t know what to do out there, they all crowd around the doors that lead to the departures gates and don’t realize they can wait until their flight is called. They make an announcement for the State College flight saying it’s oversold. I thought about it…a free trip voucher was tempting….but I didn’t. Finally about 9:05 they call us up to go through the departure doors. Our flight was departing from C25, the last gate on the end. This time now a few of the moving sidewalks were operating. The jet ways still weren’t operational. So we get out C25, and an agent was like, “What are you people doing out here, which flight is this???” They had to call up front to see what was going on and they weren’t ready for us. The agent starts taking boarding passes, but since it’s about 10 out she doesn’t want to open the door to outside until everyone is ready to go. Unfortunately that didn’t go so smooth, people had wrong boarding passes, missing boarding passes, duplicate seat assignments, etc. The agent was getting annoyed that the people out from had messed things up. They had to get another agent, send people all the way back to the front departure room to get their boarding passes straightened out. Now all the other agents were leaving for the night so there was no one else to help. 9:15pm departure had long past, finally about 9:45, everything was straightened out. The agent opens the door outside, takes a look…..no ground crew outside…can’t load. Gets on the phone, yells at ops…….they call back…say there is only one crew left on duty for the night, they’ve got to push back two more flights first. So we wait…and wait……..about 10:10pm a ground crew shows up, we board the aircraft…we close up….start up….and push back about an hour late. It the usual Saab flight…..I love the noise of the engines……We get going and taxi to runway 21R, and wait for a NW A320, and a NW A319 to take off ahead of us before we power up and rise into the cold March night.
After takeoff we make a hard left, cross the Detroit River and fly over Ontario. Crossing Lake Erie east of Point Pelee, we then hit the Ohio shoreline east of Cleveland, fly toward Youngstown before heading east toward State College. The F/a does not come around with drink service since they forgot to cater the aircraft in Detroit. All in all a fairly quick flight…I just watched outside in the darkness for most of the 55 minute flight at 17,000 ft. Before long, we’d begun our descent into State College.
We flew right over the airport before making a large circle over the Happy Valley into Runway 26. We were getting bounced around pretty good in the wind. It was gusting just as hard as it was in Detroit the previous day. We had a very hard landing on Runway 26 as we landed well beyond the touchdown point. Instead of using the parallel taxiway, we turned around on the runway and taxied on the runway to the terminal. We took the last spot on the end of the ramp, next to sister ship N450XJ. Besides, the other Saab, sat a UA Express J41. The two Dash-8’s of US Express were delayed at arriving as the NW flight is normally the last one in of the night. We were about 40 minutes late arriving….the usual deadness of the State College Airport…make the long walk back to the door…wait about 5 minutes….the baggage claim starts up. About 10 bags come out…all belonging to a certain sports team on our flight came out, then the belt stopped. Hmm, as about 20 of us stood there without luggage. Next we hear, “All luggage from flight 3108 from Detroit has been unloaded, if you didn’t receive your luggage, please come to the counter to file a claim. In turns out, the ground crew in DTW never loaded the bags for our flight. They only got the bags for one XJ flight along side it out on C-concourse. They never got the mainline transfers, international transfers, or DTW originating bags like mine. Since all flights into SCE were full on Monday, there was no room to fly in extra luggage until Tuesday or Wednesday. Great…..
Well, I got a call, my bags came in on flight 3354 Tuesday night around 7:30pm. They delivered them to my place by taxi then.
Well, I had an interesting week of air travel. That same storm I followed across the country for 3 days. I also fell victim to some of the problems of the new DTW terminal. Oh well, you get a trip like this every now and then. I’ve had many of good ones and many of interesting ones. I don’t fault NW for any of the weather related problems…that happens on any carrier. As for the problems in DTW, well, as long as they’re fixing them. I appreciate how friendly and helpful the Mesaba folks are in State College, they run a first class show. I’d also like to compliment the folks in DTW, they really seem to be proud of their new home and their attitude shows. I can’t really complain about the whole delays, I got to fly on a 727 again, visit South Dakota and Minneapolis. Living in Detroit, NW can get you nearly anywhere from there, so you really don’t need to go to MSP. Not bad, but the WorldGateway in DTW is much better. Take care til the next time.
Dc-9-10 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 585 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (13 years 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 5016 times:
Just for your info. and being from South Dakota.
FSD used to get 727s all the time about 3 years ago, United flew them twice a day from DEN. The fueling took awhile because all fueling in FSD is done by accual fuel trucks and not from the ground like many airports.
Azjubilee From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 4146 posts, RR: 27
Reply 5, posted (13 years 1 week 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4940 times:
Great trip report dude...
In the latest mgmt message from Foley, improvments are being made everyday in DTW for the XJ ops. 170 new agents were hired, for the opening, but a high attrician rate has weeded a lot of them out. So, 150 MORE are being hired!! So, things are being done in the XJ world, to solve the problems.
BTW, the jetways were operational on Feb 24, when the terminal opened. We had a Saab eat one of them for breakfast one day shortly after the openning and at that point jetway ops for the saabs were discontinued until a new plan could be put into place.
PSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7902 posts, RR: 27
Reply 6, posted (13 years 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 4931 times:
Thanks Delta777, I've made the one-stop in Youngstown before. Nice little airport you've got there. The flight that leaves State College at noon stops in Youngstown on its way to DTW.
And as I've learned in the past. All companies make mistakes and have problems. Thats normal. Its how a company recovers and fixes its mistakes that shows a good company. You guys are making progress, and thats what counts.
Man, just think, originally the new WorldGateway was supposed to open in December, that would've been interesting with the holiday rush. Besides things not being quite done, you guys made the right call to hold off a little while, and now it'll be in prime shape for the summer.
PSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7902 posts, RR: 27
Reply 8, posted (13 years 1 week 23 hours ago) and read 4916 times:
I have only been there one time when I took the noon flight out of here which stops in Youngstown. I usually take one of the other 3 non-stops, since they are at a better times of the day for me. I was there in December of 2000. It was a rather snowy day too, even though we were only there a few minutes we had to be de-iced because of the freezing rain. I didn't see the new terminal, I don't think it was built yet. We just pulled up a small ground level terminal building.
PSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7902 posts, RR: 27
Reply 10, posted (13 years 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 4908 times:
The official airport code is KUNV. Its actually called the University Park Airport. It is on Penn State land, thus actually in the theorectical town of University Park, which is actually just Penn State itself.
Only the airlines refer to it as State College with the code being SCE in their systems. For navigation purposes, and officially its UNV.
NWADTWE16 From United States of America, joined Jun 2012, 242 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2797 times:
Loved this report! I know you wrote it like 10 years ago LOL but i decided to go back and read NW trip reports from my time there 96-2002...i was def working on a Saturday in March and my home gate at the new terminal was A76 so im thinking you were the inbound for one of my outbound Florida or Vegas flights =) E16 was my spot in the old terminal...anyway..loved every minute of this one and i sure do miss the chaos..not that i want pax to experience chaos but from an agent point of view i loved every minute of it