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The Bay, The Rock And The... Tall Stick  
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 8086 times:

THE BAY, THE ROCK AND THE... TALL STICK


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/Graphic1-2.jpg


BACKGROUND


In late June I had to get myself to Palo Alto, CA, in order to attend a week-long workshop at Stanford University. A new, revolutionary, research technology was recently invented there so Stanford offered a training course for those that wish to learn how to use it. The obvious dilemma for me was how to get there. Of the 3 major airports in the area, SJC is the one closest to Palo Alto, but I could not find any good flights out of ORD that would get me there early enough on the first day of training (I had to be at Stanford by 11am). OAK did not offer any exciting options out of Chicago so I had to go with SFO. That would have given me a perfect excuse to fly with Virgin America. However, none of their flights arrived early enough at SFO so that plan had to also be abandoned. Eventually, and after a bit of a search, I settled with the following itinerary: I would fly from ORD to SFO with UA and then, for the return, I would fly out of SJC to ORD via PHX with US. That would give me the chance to sample 3 new airports (SFO, SJC and PHX) and also get me some miles for my MileagePlus account. The only downside was having to fly with UA (not my top choice) but I guess I could handle that. Also, I had only flown once with US in the past (BOS-PIT in 2008) so now I could add a few more segments to my log on this particular carrier.

So here's a map of the entire trip as generated by www.gcmap.com.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/gcmap-2.jpg
Blue represents flights with UA and red represents flights with US


HEADING OUT WEST


.
.
Route: ORD-SFO
Carrier: UA
Aircraft: A320
Reg: Unknown


As I mentioned earlier I had to be in Palo Alto as early as possible so inevitably I had chosen a brutally early flight out of Chicago. A cab picked me up from my house and half an hour later I was at ORD. Whenever possible I like to travel with just one carry-on bag and this time was no exception. However, given the chilly weather in the Bay Area this time of year (temperatures were expected to be in the mid-50s (10C) as opposed to the 105 (40C) we had in Chicago during that week) I had packed some warm clothing making my bag somewhat heavy. Who would have though that California could be so cold in the summer?

I had completed OLCI the day before so once I got dropped off I headed straight to security. Once there I noticed an unrealistically long line extending to (and snaking around) the check-in counters. Apparently it was so early that security hadn't even opened yet. I found that odd. If there are enough people here ready to fly you would think that security would be open. Even after security opened, there was only a single person checking the passengers' IDs thus making the progress very slow. Eventually, after I got done I headed for the gate where our A320 was already waiting.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8567.jpg
The A320 waiting at the gate


I was in boarding group 7 so I had to wait for pretty much the entire flight to board before I could make my way to the jetway. I was warmly greeted by the very friendly attendants, which caught me by surprise; you don't see this very often these days. Somewhat surprisingly once I got to my seat (35A) I saw nobody else in my row. Nonetheless there was not a sliver of overhead space available so I had to place my bag in the seat in front of me which reduced considerably the already very limited legroom. For a moment I thought I may have the entire row to myself but just before the door closed a couple of young girls showed up and sat next to me. One of them would prove to be quite a peculiar seatmate.



http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8568.jpg
I'm glad I took this photo when I did. A moment later my seatmate showed up wearing possibly the shortest mini skirt ever made (I'm not sure if you could even call it a skirt; it was more like a thick belt). I wouldn't want her to think I was trying to take a photo of her legs...



We pushed back on time and took off to the east before turning around to face west. Having skipped breakfast I was quite happy to see the drink service starting almost immediately after we reached cruising altitude. Too bad I had to wait for 34 rows to be served before it was my turn. I opted for some water and also purchased a ham-and-cheese sandwich from the (again) very friendly and polite flight attendant. The sandwich was a bit dry but it satisfied my hanger just fine.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8577.jpg
Sunrise over ORD

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8578.jpg
Getting ready for take-off

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8583.jpg
The sun peeking over lake Michigan

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8585.jpg
Cabin view

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8589.jpg
My breakfast

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8592.jpg
Does anyone know why this posture is so popular with people from the indian subcontinent? They are the only ones I've seen doing it. To be honest I find it quite annoying having someone's hands in my face, especially if they have also fully reclined their seat. At least in this case it wasn't the guy sitting directly in front of me.


I wasn't feeling all that sleepy so I chose to read on my kindle as the movie shown on the overhead monitors was not my cup of tea. However my seatmate (who had fallen asleep almost immediately after take-off) started progressively to treat me as her pillow. The one moment she was resting on my shoulder, the next she would literally use my table as a pillow (see photo below) and on a couple of occasions she almost leaned on my lap. Despite my attempts to make her aware of this she did not wake up for even a single second; I would push her gently away and she would just raise her head only to lean towards me again after 10 seconds. Fortunately after a while the skies cleared and I was given the opportunity to be distracted by the beautiful landscape of the Rockies. A second drink run followed.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8594.jpg
What is this hairy thing on my table?

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8598.jpg
Finally some mountains


_
A very impressive ridge. The Comb Ridge perhaps?

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8611.jpg
Tonopah Test Range Airport (TTR) in Nevada


The skies remained clear up until we reached the Bay Area where a thick wall of clouds was waiting for us. As we descended through the overcast sky I managed a glimpse of Palo Alto which was visible through a tiny opening in the clouds. We landed on 28R about 15 minutes early but had to wait around 10 mins for our gate to become available, thus negating the early arrival.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8625.jpg
Coyote Point Marina

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8628.jpg
Almost there

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8630.jpg
Almost...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8633.jpg
Touchdown


_
This is the complete route of this particular flight, courtesy of flightaware.com


GETTING TO PALO ALTO FROM SFO




.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8636.jpg
Some old school United paint scheme at SFO


Once off the plane I wasted no time and headed for the SkyTrain which would take me to the SFO BART train station. So, if one arrives at SFO on a weekday before 7pm and wants to use public transportation to get to Palo Alto (or anywhere in the Silicon Valley), one needs to do the following: 1) Take the SkyTrain to the SFO BART station. 2) Buy a ticket and ride BART north one stop to San Bruno Station. 3) At San Bruno take another BART train and head south one stop to Millbrae. 4) At Millbrae buy a Caltrain ticket and take a train heading for San Jose. All of this despite the fact that the Millbrae Station is just 1 mile away from SFO. Surely not the most efficient of configurations. There used to be a free shuttle bus between SFO and Millbrae but that's not the case anymore.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8643.jpg
Taking the SkyTrain

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8646.jpg
A final look at SFO

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8649.jpg
BART train at SFO

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8652.jpg
Caltrain at Millbrae. Those bad boys were huge.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8671.jpg
Palo Alto. This is were I get off...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8661.jpg
Finally making it to my hotel...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8660.jpg
A quick bite at Chipotle (Mexican Grill) to reward myself for making it there...


THE TALL STICK


My time at Stanford was very productive and educational. The campus is beautiful and well-kept and the absence of students at this time of year made it very tranquil. The city of Palo Alto (which means "Tall Stick" in Spanish, referring to the redwood tree after which the city was named) is also very pleasant. I stayed at the Travelodge Palo Alto, one of the few reasonably priced hotels in the area (Palo Alto is generally fairly expensive). The hotel was a bit sketchy, the rooms looked pretty old, they were not terribly well maintained and the reception was staffed by ex-cons, but it was clean, it offered free breakfast, free wi-fi and was located close enough to the building where my training was taking place.


Here are some photos from Palo Alto and the Stanford campus:

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8678.jpg
Some modern architecture

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0388.jpg
The Oval

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0320.jpg
Hoover Tower

Some other pretty buildings/sights:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0377.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0372.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0369.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0356.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0352.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0346.jpg

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0404.jpg
A steller's jay. I'm particularly proud of this photo as this devil would not stay still for a second. I'm convinced it was on speed.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0409.jpg
A ground squirrel taking a break from digging holes on the ground


THE BAY AND THE ROCK


On one of my days off I got the chance to head out to San Francisco. I was very excited about visiting Alcatraz and had bought my tickets online several weeks in advance as they tend to sell out pretty fast. I took the Caltrain from Palo Alto and headed north. On the way it became apparent to me that the early explorers of this part of the country had no imagination when it came to naming places: San Martin, Santa Teresa, San Jose, Santa Clara, San Antonio, San Carlos, San Mateo, San Bruno, and of course San Francisco. After about 40 mins, I got off at the Caltrain terminal stop located next to the San Francisco Giants baseball stadium. From there I walked along the waterfront and enjoyed the views.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8663.jpg
Getting ready to head out to SanFran


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0024.jpg
The Bay Bridge

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0048.jpg
Stupid crane ruining my photo...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0051-1.jpg
Modern buildings on the waterfront

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0072-1.jpg
Gothic space aviation art

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0075.jpg
The ferry terminal tower

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0090.jpg
The Transamerica Pyramid

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0094-1.jpg
I triple checked that no trains were coming in my general direction before shooting this photo

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0108.jpg
Yes, we are in San Francisco indeed...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0109-1.jpg
Chicago has the Cloud Gate, SanFran has the Skygate

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0061.jpg
The Bay Bridge from afar


I walked all the way from the Caltrain terminal station to Pier 33 where the Alcatraz boat anchors. I joined the long boarding line and found myself a seat on the upper deck of the jam-packed vessel. The ride takes no more than 10 minutes. We anchored at the tiny harbor of the island and then we were allowed to roam freely. Once in the cell house we were provided with audio guides that guided us through the various prison areas, offering a lot of historical and other information. All in all a very interesting and eerie experience. I thought the audio guide was very well made. We got to see the different types of cells, the isolation units, we learned about the various escape attempts (the most famous being the one depicted in the movie "Escape from Alcatraz") and about the various revolts. At the prison's book/gift store there was a little desk where an old man and his wife were sitting talking to the guests. Apparently his name was Robert Luke and he is former Alcatraz inmate. He recently published a book about his life and his time on the Rock. On the island there was also a large number of seabirds who use Alcatraz as their nesting/breeding grounds. As a result the smell was a bit overwhelming at times.


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0098-1.jpg
My ride to The Rock

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0116-1.jpg
Our next stop. Alcatraz Island.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0134.jpg
Almost there

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0278.jpg
San Francisco from the boat

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0138-1.jpg
Alcatraz Harbor

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0141.jpg
The famous welcoming sign

And here a bunch of photos from the Rock:
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0143-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0145.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0150.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0156-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0163.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0148.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0165-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0171-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0173.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0184.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0187.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0193.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0198.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0215.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0219.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0238.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0235.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0221-1.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0244.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0247.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0260.jpg
http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0245.jpg



Unfortunately due to the dense fog over the bay the Golden Gate Bridge was not visible (not even a freaking pillar... very frustrating) so no photos of San Francisco's most iconic symbol. Bugger.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0277.jpg
The Golden Gate Bridge in all its foggy glory


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0263.jpg
Leaving Alcatraz behind

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/DSC_0220.jpg
Returning to town


CONTINUED BELOW...

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Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
27 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 8091 times:

A DAY IN SAN JOSE


On my last day of training I checked out of my hotel and stored my stuff at a locker on campus until I got done with my class. I then hopped on a Caltrain and went to San Jose where I would stay for the night in order to catch my morning flight out of SJC. I stayed at the San Jose Airport Garden Hotel, a somewhat more upscale lodging compared to the one in Palo Alto. It's located a stone's throw away from SJC and it offers free transportation to the airport every half an hour, which is somewhat unnecessary given that there is also a bus stop right in front of the hotel with a free bus running to SJC at frequent intervals. I took advantage of the free bus and went to the airport on a couple of occasions. I was meant to fly out of Terminal A the next day so I wanted to also check out the somewhat more modern-looking Terminal B while I had the chance.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8681.jpg
My hotel for the night

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8689.jpg
You gotta love free airport buses


http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8693.jpg
SJC's Terminal B looks nice both outside and...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8699.jpg
...inside too.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8712.jpg
WN is the predominant carrier in Terminal B




THE RETURN HOME


.
.
Route: SJC-PHX
Carrier: US
Aircraft: A319
Reg: N812AW


On the morning of my flight I took the free bus from in front of my hotel but I missed my stop at Terminal A (I did not request a stop assuming that a stop in Terminal A was compulsory, only to find out it wasn't) so I ended up in Terminal B. Too annoyed with myself to wait for the next bus I simply walked the 1km to Terminal A and checked-in at a self-service kiosk. Security was practically empty so I was airside in no time. I must say that I was impressed by SJC. First of all, it offers some great views to the runway. This, combined with the somewhat exotic traffic consisting of AS, HA and QX makes it a very entertaining airport to be in. Even the (otherwise boring) WN flights that kept landing/taking-off every few minutes were fun to watch in that setting. I got myself an overpriced sandwich and a drink and just sat by a window to enjoy the view.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8724.jpg
Terminal A check-in area

And here is some of the traffic at SJC:

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8728.jpg
A United B737-800

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8734.jpg
A couple of Hawaiians were getting ready for departure

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8758.jpg
An AA 737. I may be flying one of them later in the year, assuming the company doesn't go bust.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8747.jpg
Cute little UA CRJ

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8764.jpg
An AS 737

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8765.jpg
A cute American Eagle jungle jet waiting its turn to leave.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8744.jpg
A lot of AS Dashes coming and going

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8767.jpg
One of the Hawaiians leaving

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8751.jpg
One of the gates

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8754.jpg
The north end of Terminal A was pretty deserted

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8740.jpg
This is the Silicon Valley. Seats come with power sockets and USB ports...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8775.jpg
My aircraft arriving

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8778.jpg
Our A319 hiding behind the jetway.

My flight was departing from gate A10, possibly the only gate where one could not see the parked aircraft clearly (unless you were in the cafe/bistro next door). This time I was in boarding group 2 so I was one of the first few to make it to our A319. The aircraft was sparkling clean and in a great condition. Legroom was very generous which, due my height, I appreciate a lot. We took off right on time and were treated to some really nice views of the Santa Clara valley. Our captain informed us that we were expected to arrive at PHX on time and that the weather at our destination was incredibly wet with a possibility of a thunderstorm. Hm, that doesn't sound like Phoenix at all... After asking for some water (which was given to me in a large glass filled to the top) I fell asleep and did not wake up until we started our descent. Indeed, just as our captain had told us, Phoenix was under a sheet of dark clouds and the rain was pouring like crazy. Go figure, I got here the one day of the year they get rain in Phoenix...

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8779.jpg
Pretty decent legroom I thought

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8781.jpg
Cabin view

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8784.jpg
Passing by the other Hawaiian on the way to the runway

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8787.jpg
Taking off

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8789.jpg
Santa Clara Valley

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8792.jpg
Interesting table

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8793.jpg
Very generous amount compared to other airlines

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8803.jpg
Interesting landscape around PHX

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8805.jpg
Pouring like crazy

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8811.jpg
PHX's tower



_
The route of our flight to PHX, courtesy of flightaware.com


LEAVING THE WET DESERT BEHIND


.
.
Route: PHX-ORD
Carrier: US
Aircraft: A320
Reg: Unknown


I only had 30 mins to make my connection to ORD so once I got off the plane (luckily being seated in row 5 allowed for a quick disembarking) I headed for gate A10 where I met a huge crowd of passengers ready for boarding. Yet again, our aircraft was not visible from the gate as it was hiding behind the jetway. I hate that. I was in boarding group 7 so I had to wait for awhile in the jetway for those ahead of me to settle in. As I was waiting there one of the ground crew that had entered the jetway to handle strollers and other oversize pieces saw my Chicago Cubs shirt and started chatting with me.

-"Cubs fan?"
-"White Sox. I wear this to humor my wife who's a diehard Cubs fan"
-"I'm a Sox fan too! I got MLB TV so I can watch them here in Phoenix. Did you watch the game last night?"


So we went on chatting about sports like that as if we were buddies from the past. That made my mood. It was not to last for long.

Once I got on the plane my seatmates were already there. A huge Russian guy and his wife. I squeezed past them to get to my window seat and pretty much immediately it became apparent that space would be a huge issue on this flight: The legroom in this A320 was not as good as in the A319, the Russian guy suffered from what I call "swollen testicles syndrome" where one sits with his legs wide open, and the guy in front of me had already fully reclined his seat. In fact he stayed fully reclined even during takeoff as none of the flight attendants noticed him.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8816.jpg
Interesting carpet patterns at PHX.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8817.jpg
I couldn't get a look at our aircraft so I took a photo of a nearby one

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8821.jpg
Getting ready to leave rainy Phoenix for sunny Chicago

Our departure was delayed by about 30 minutes due to some minor technical issue. On takeoff we passed over the downtown area of Phoenix and (quite appropriately) over the US Airways Center, home of the Phoenix Suns basketball team. Given that I did not get the chance to grab any food at PHX I was eagerly waiting for the service to start so I could buy something to eat. I opted for the CafePlus snackbox and I was not disappointed. For $6, it contained a bag of sesame sticks, peppercorn Parmesan cheese, a bag of almonds, a bag of delicious turkey jerky, a bag of cookies and a mint. I washed it all down with yet another very generously large cup of water. Having satisfied my hunger, I tried to fall asleep which I fortunately did after about half an hour.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8820.jpg
Legroom was tight

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8824.jpg
Downtown Phoenix

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8829.jpg
Food time!

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8831.jpg
A lot of little things to sample


I woke up as we were crossing the Illinois river somewhere north of Peoria, IL. As we descended, those of us on the right hand side of the aircraft were treated to views of downtown Chicago and its iconic skyline. I also got to see my house, which doesn't happen very often. We landed at ORD about 25 minutes late. Staying true to tradition, the Russian guy was on his cell phone within nanoseconds of us touching down.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8848.jpg
Approaching the urban vastness of Chicago

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8850.jpg
Downtown Chicago

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8859.jpg
I can see my house from here!

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8866.jpg
Back at ORD

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8869.jpg
And a quick reminder of who's boss here


_
The route of our flight, courtesy of flightaware.com


I hopped on a CTA train and then switched over to a bus which took me home. On the way I noticed a couple of interesting things:

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8870.jpg
First Bulgarian Center? Some kind of cultural center run by my compatriots. Its window displays were in a bit of a disarray and there was also sign that said: 'We fix computers". Your guess is as good as mine.

http://i409.photobucket.com/albums/pp176/JCNadal_x/SAM_8874.jpg
Is JAT thinking of starting TATL flights to ORD? I know that they considered it a couple of years ago but not sure what came out of it.



OVERALL CONCLUSIONS


I must say that despite my less than favorable opinion of UA (and through what I've heard from others, of US too) the 2 carriers left me without any major complaints. The crew on my UA flight was very warm and pleasant which is always appreciated. What impressed me about US was the generous amounts of liquids they offered during the drink service on both flights. The fact that neither airline offers the tiniest of snacks even on flights of this duration is something I'm used to by now. It is somewhat funny however how WN is considered a LCC yet it offers free checked-in luggage and free drinks+snacks, while legacy airlines charge you for both. At the end, as far as North America is concerned, the only difference between LCCs and legacy carriers is whether they assign you a seat or not.

As for my week in California? I had a great time both on and off Stanford and I would happily go there again, perhaps at a time of the year when there is less fog on the Bay.

Thank you for reading.

WideBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineEmpressOfCanada From Canada, joined Mar 2012, 9 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 7929 times:

Wow.. Great pics! The PHX carpet looked like planes and crop circles. Lots of good photos of The Rock.. wld love to go see it myself someday. Thanks for a great TR.  

[Edited 2012-07-09 10:32:27]

User currently offlineroberts87 From Netherlands, joined Dec 2011, 980 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 7818 times:

Nice report, thanks for sharing!
Great that you also had some time of to explore the Bay Area.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I had packed some warm clothing making my bag somewhat heavy. Who would have though that California could be so cold in the summer?

As Mark Twain said "the coldest winter i ever spent was a summer in san francisco"

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I was in boarding group 7

Group 7? Seriously? When was that introduced? Last summer they had only 4 groups. What's next, individual boarding calls?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Taking the SkyTrain

Does that thing still has that very annoying voice asking you to "Please hold on, please set luggage cart brake to on" ?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Here are some photos from Palo Alto and the Stanford campus:

Stanford is beautiful. Wish I payed it a vist when I had the chance.


User currently offlineglobalflyer From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 926 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 2 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 7740 times:

Hi Stojan! Great TR as usual! I am glad you made it to Alcatraz. Each time I try to go it is sold out as it is always last minute. Ahhh to be young again and on a college campus!   Those were the days! You are so right...a rainstorm in PHX! It actually happened to me last time as well. Amazing! Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Will


Landing on every Continent almost on an annual basis!
User currently offlinesultanils From Belgium, joined Mar 2010, 1685 posts, RR: 30
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 7231 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hello Stojan,

What a nice report you wrote there! You see: these boring ‘work trips’ can be interesting as well, especially if you can squeeze in some interesting sightseeing stuff like the Alcatraz prison. Nice sunny pics and cool to see that the Golden Gate was bathing in clouds while you had a nice blue sky above you.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A new, revolutionary, research technology was recently invented there so Stanford offered a training course for those that wish to learn how to use it.

Ha ha, only a true scientist can talk like this    Being in the same ‘working field’ as you, I wonder what this ‘revolutionary’ technology might be...?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
which reduced considerably the already very limited legroom.

Ouch, and that for a > 4h flight.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I wouldn't want her to think I was trying to take a photo of her legs...

Explain that to the wife afterwards 

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Cabin view

The fact that every seat seems equipped with a sat telephone goes beyond me. Of course you phoned the Mss to tell her about your seatmate?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
the next she would literally use my table as a pillow (see photo below) and on a couple of occasions she almost leaned on my lap.

Omg, this is way over. At this point I would’ve woken her up and ask her politely to stay on her own side of the seat.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
What is this hairy thing on my table?

Is it maybe Emily Dickinson?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Some old school United paint scheme at SFO

Looks who’s there: the UA retrojet! Nice one.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Buy a ticket and ride BART

FlyingFinn’s report features a bus called ‘Marc’ and now your report features a train called ‘Bart’. How funny!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The city of Palo Alto (which means "Tall Stick" in Spanish

That makes sense. Google translate or Spanish roots? I though you were ore of an Eastern European descent  

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I took the Caltrain from Palo Alto

What an ugly looking little bugger!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
San Francisco from the boat

Fantastic view. It seems quite windy as well.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
assuming the company doesn't go bust.

Oops, is there some sort of process like that in the making?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Very generous amount compared to other airlines

I do hope it was given to you for 0 $?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
the Russian guy suffered from what I call "swollen testicles syndrome" where one sits with his legs wide open, and the guy in front of me had already fully reclined his seat. In fact he stayed fully reclined even during takeoff as none of the flight attendants noticed him.

You were lucky again it seems with the assigned seating. Did you ask him about the syndrome?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I also got to see my house

   Where is it???

Sultanils



In thrust we trust.
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 26912 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 7132 times:

Hey Stojan  

Great report and lovely photos . That seat mate would drive me mad I would wake her up and tell her to act with respect. Its really bad manners to do what she did .

Interesting to see the JAT office. Would be good one day if they could re start TATL again . Last time was with their DC-10 s .

I see the USA have got the mifi devices as advertised on the the tables. I have one and they are pretty handy if your out and about and no access to wifi. They create your own wifi hotspot when ever you have a 3G or 4G signal.

Thanks for the nice read.

Philip  


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 6954 times:

Thanks for your comments so far guys. Much appreciated.  
.
.
.

Quoting EmpressOfCanada (Reply 2):

Wow.. Great pics! The PHX carpet looked like planes and crop circles. Lots of good photos of The Rock.. wld love to go see it myself someday. Thanks for a great TR.

Thank you Empress. I think you are right about the carpet. A very interesting and appropriate choice I may add  
Quoting roberts87 (Reply 3):

Nice report, thanks for sharing!
Great that you also had some time of to explore the Bay Area.

Thank you Robert   The Bay is indeed a very interesting place and it's worth visiting. I wish I had more time to check out more places like the Muir Woods for example.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 3):
As Mark Twain said "the coldest winter i ever spent was a summer in san francisco"

Even though I consider myself rather "worldly" I have to admit I was surprised to learn about the relatively low temperatures in San Francisco at this time of year...

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 3):
Group 7? Seriously? When was that introduced? Last summer they had only 4 groups. What's next, individual boarding calls?

Oh yeah, I've been in Group 7 in more than one occasions. I've also got as low as group 8. 
Quoting roberts87 (Reply 3):
Does that thing still has that very annoying voice asking you to "Please hold on, please set luggage cart brake to on" ?

To be honest I don't remember. I guess the lack of sleep from the previous night got the best of me and I wasn't paying much attention.

Quoting globalflyer (Reply 4):
Hi Stojan! Great TR as usual! I am glad you made it to Alcatraz. Each time I try to go it is sold out as it is always last minute. Ahhh to be young again and on a college campus!   Those were the days! You are so right...a rainstorm in PHX! It actually happened to me last time as well. Amazing! Thanks for sharing. Cheers, Will

Hey William, thanks! You should definitely try to book some Alcatraz tickets in advance next time you plan to visit SanFran. It's definitely worth it! And I'm sorry I couldn't meet you at ORD on the day of my departure. But since you got stuck at AMM and got rerouted via FRA we couldn't meet anyway. As for PHX, I don't know how much rain they get down there but I know that it's rather rare. My image of Phoenix now is associated with overcast skies and rain. I'll need to go back there again so I can see the place in its usual, sunny, glory to get things straight.  
Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
What a nice report you wrote there! You see: these boring ‘work trips’ can be interesting as well, especially if you can squeeze in some interesting sightseeing stuff like the Alcatraz prison. Nice sunny pics and cool to see that the Golden Gate was bathing in clouds while you had a nice blue sky above you.

Hey Nils, thank you so much, I'm very pleased that you enjoyed it.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Ha ha, only a true scientist can talk like this    Being in the same ‘working field’ as you, I wonder what this ‘revolutionary’ technology might be...?

It's Optogenetics. It involves viruses, fluorescent proteins, ion channels, UV lasers and other sci-fi stuff  
Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Ouch, and that for a > 4h flight.

And it made it feel much longer than that...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Explain that to the wife afterwards 

Tell me about it! 
Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
The fact that every seat seems equipped with a sat telephone goes beyond me. Of course you phoned the Mss to tell her about your seatmate?

You know what, I didn't even notice the phones there, lol

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Omg, this is way over. At this point I would’ve woken her up and ask her politely to stay on her own side of the seat.

I honestly think that the girl had drugged herself to sleep. Maybe she was nervous flying or something. Never have I seen someone sleep so soundly.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Is it maybe Emily Dickinson?

Nils, I'm not very cultured (neither classically nor pop-wise). I had to google her to see what you were talking about :p

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
FlyingFinn’s report features a bus called ‘Marc’ and now your report features a train called ‘Bart’. How funny!

Hehe, good catch. I wonder whether there is a 'Steve" anywhere...

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
That makes sense. Google translate or Spanish roots? I though you were ore of an Eastern European descent  

Haha, you know some people call me "Carlos" because they can't pronounce my real name. Also whenever I play sports I flop like there is no tomorrow so I must have some spanish blood in me :p. On a serious note though, I found the name of the town a bit odd. Why would you call a tree a "stick" or a "pole"? Maybe it makes sense in Spanish (or made sense back in those days) but it doesn't translate very well into English.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
What an ugly looking little bugger!

Ugly yes, little no so much :p

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Fantastic view. It seems quite windy as well.

Yeah, windy indeed! You gotta be careful or you'd loose a hat (hear that Petteri?)

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
Oops, is there some sort of process like that in the making?

There was some talk that they will go bust but more recently the speculation is for a merger with US. A decision is expected to be made by the end of the year.

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
I do hope it was given to you for 0 $?

Fortunately yes  
Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
You were lucky again it seems with the assigned seating. Did you ask him about the syndrome?

Nah, I don't wanna be added to some Mafia black list at this point in time :p

Quoting sultanils (Reply 5):
   Where is it???

Don't you see it? It's the most beautiful of them all  
Quoting OA260 (Reply 6):
Hey Stojan  

Great report and lovely photos . That seat mate would drive me mad I would wake her up and tell her to act with respect. Its really bad manners to do what she did .

Interesting to see the JAT office. Would be good one day if they could re start TATL again . Last time was with their DC-10 s .

I see the USA have got the mifi devices as advertised on the the tables. I have one and they are pretty handy if your out and about and no access to wifi. They create your own wifi hotspot when ever you have a 3G or 4G signal.

Thanks for the nice read.

Philip  

Euharisto Philip!

That girl must have taken some pills. I did try to wake her up but she just wouldn't move. If I knew that this would be the case I would have offered her my seat so she could lean against the window...

I would be very curious to try JAT if they started ORD-BEG! That JAT office has been in Chicago for about a year now. Let's see if they are gonna start any services anytime soon. Wouldn't that be a TATL to try?



Widebodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinegabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3222 posts, RR: 12
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 6878 times:

Nice report Stojan... shame you missed out on Virgin American though!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):

I was in boarding group 7 so I had to wait for pretty much the entire flight to board before I could make my way to the jetway. I was warmly greeted by the very friendly attendants, which caught me by surprise; you don't see this very often these days. Somewhat surprisingly once I got to my seat (35A) I saw nobody else in my row. Nonetheless there was not a sliver of overhead space available so I had to place my bag in the seat in front of me which reduced considerably the already very limited legroom.

Do they still have notices everywhere saying that FAA regulations says max 1 bag per person? I've never seen problems with carry ons anywhere but in the States.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Does anyone know why this posture is so popular with people from the indian subcontinent? They are the only ones I've seen doing it. To be honest I find it quite annoying having someone's hands in my face, especially if they have also fully reclined their seat. At least in this case it wasn't the guy sitting directly in front of me.

I hate it when people do that!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Despite my attempts to make her aware of this she did not wake up for even a single second; I would push her gently away and she would just raise her head only to lean towards me again after 10 seconds.

I think it was time for a big poke. Not fair on you that she has an inability to sleep upright.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This is the Silicon Valley. Seats come with power sockets and USB ports...

Very high tech!



http://my.flightmemory.com/shefgab Upcoming flights:LHR-VIE-PRN,SPU-OSL-LHR,STN-SNN-STN,LHR-ARN-OSL-TOS-LYR-OSL-CPH-LHR,
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 6719 times:

Hey Gabriel.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 8):
Nice report Stojan... shame you missed out on Virgin American though!

Very true. I was really looking forward flying them as I don't tend to fly out West very often.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 8):
Do they still have notices everywhere saying that FAA regulations says max 1 bag per person? I've never seen problems with carry ons anywhere but in the States.

Don't get me started on that. You should have seen what everyone was bringing with them on the aircraft. I took a couple of photos of certain individuals who thought that tying 2 bags together makes them a single item and that because of that they were now also entitled to a personal item that could be the size of a duffle bag. Introducing fees for checked-in items has to be one of the most annoying policies to ever been invented and that's not because of the fact that you have to pay for something. The gate crew simply allows people to sneak in extra bags until it's time for Groups 6-8 to board and then they start enforcing the rules. I have seen people in Group 8 with a single little carry-on asked by the crew to hand it over to be checked in. Stupid.

Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 8):
Very high tech!

I really enjoyed SJC in general. Too bad it's not one of the airports I plan to use a lot in the future.

WideBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 6648 times:

Hi Stojan

Great report, thanks for shating it with us today. Nice quality of pics
Great comparision of UA and US. Both seemed to be ok, good and decent service for the duration of the flight.
Thanks for sharing the SFO pics as well

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinechrisair From United States of America, joined Sep 2000, 2093 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 6538 times:

Looks like you left the day I got there for a quick vacation with the girlfriend. That crane/lift was parked in the same position next to Cupid's Span (the arrow thing on the Embarcadero) when we walked by on the 4th of July.

By the way the BART/Millbrae/San Bruno mess is thanks to low ridership. If you're there from 7p-7a, BART runs to Millbrae from SFO.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
On the way it became apparent to me that the early explorers of this part of the country had no imagination when it came to naming places: San Martin, Santa Teresa, San Jose, Santa Clara, San Antonio, San Carlos, San Mateo, San Bruno, and of course San Francisco

Thank the Spaniards. Some are named after missions (Santa Clara, San Jose, SF). Some of those places you're talking about are just CalTrain stops (San Antonio) and Santa Teresa is where you can pick up the light rail (that nobody uses) around the south bay. You should have explored downtown San Jose when staying over there. It's a fun little city.

Quoting roberts87 (Reply 3):
Does that thing still has that very annoying voice asking you to "Please hold on, please set luggage cart brake to on" ?

The recording has been updated. It now says "Please hold on." The "luggage cart brake to on" piece has been removed (thankfully!!!!).


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 6211 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 10):

Hi Stojan

Great report, thanks for shating it with us today. Nice quality of pics
Great comparision of UA and US. Both seemed to be ok, good and decent service for the duration of the flight.
Thanks for sharing the SFO pics as well

Thanks for stopping by Marc  . As a relatively frequent customer of US I knew you would be interested to see how they fare against the other big domestic boys. And as you mentioned, UA and US were very much on par, with the exception of the latter being more generous with their liquids. Also US provided a greater amount of food for the same price as UA.

Quoting chrisair (Reply 11):
Looks like you left the day I got there for a quick vacation with the girlfriend. That crane/lift was parked in the same position next to Cupid's Span (the arrow thing on the Embarcadero) when we walked by on the 4th of July.

Hey chrisair. Yes indeed I left on the 4th. I can't believe they left that crane there for so many days. It kinda ruins the sculpture.

Quoting chrisair (Reply 11):
You should have explored downtown San Jose when staying over there. It's a fun little city.

You are right. I deliberated as to whether I should go to San Jose-proper but in the end I was just too tired, even if it was just a short light rail ride away. Looking back I should have gone. Maybe next time (and ideally with some company) I can go downtown and perhaps catch a Sharks' game and a few drinks. All the people I interacted with around SJC were extremely friendly. I did not expect this for such a large city. I left with the best of impressions.

WBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineParton87 From Sweden, joined Sep 2008, 533 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 6131 times:

Hello Stojan!

Thanks for the great story! Really nice pictures. Palo alto and San Fransico looks like really nice places!

Pity about your seat-mate on the flight from ORD. That´s the reason I never sleep on planes in case I do something embarrassing, he he!

Greetings
Robert


User currently offlinepalmjet From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2001, 1223 posts, RR: 17
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 6025 times:

Hi WBR

I really enjoyed your tale about about your travels to the tall stick. Thanks for bringing this one together. Some great photos there too.

I was chuckling at your unfortunate seat mate from ORD. Some people seem to treat the inside of an aircraft as an extension of their own bedrooms!

As for the guy with his hands behind the seat - mega annoying! I know what you mean. Many years ago I was on a flight with my father out of PPT, French Polynesia and the woman sitting in front of us proceeded to wrap her rather large arms and hands around the back of her seat, which actually meant my father could not see the TV screen (this was pre individual IFE in any case). We asked the flight attendant if they could find someone to ask her to find a different position because she was blocking the views of passengers sitting behind her. She did not speak English (so the QF flight attendant had to call a fellow french speaking fa to explain this to her). She simply grunted and put her hands down. 5 minutes later, her hands were there again. So we complained again after she refused to even acknowledge us. In the end it was fortunate that the aircraft was not full, so they simply moved my dad to another seat. Some people are incredibly selfish when it comes to flying. Thankfully, that's never happened with any degree of frequency. Most people I've found are pretty good.

I'd love to know what the First Bulgarian Center does!

Great shots of downtown Chicago on the return. Very nice indeed.

Thanks again - P/jet



Eastern - Number One To The Sun
User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 5893 times:

Quoting Parton87 (Reply 13):

Thanks for the great story! Really nice pictures. Palo alto and San Fransico looks like really nice places!

Pity about your seat-mate on the flight from ORD. That´s the reason I never sleep on planes in case I do something embarrassing, he he!

Hey Robert, thanks! You know, this is another reason for picking a window seat. Not just for the views but for having something to lean against should you decide to sleep. Even if I'm determined to stay away I pretty much always fall asleep in flights that are longer than 3hrs. Do you stay awake even on red-eye TATLs? I don't think I've ever pulled that off...

Quoting palmjet (Reply 14):
I really enjoyed your tale about about your travels to the tall stick. Thanks for bringing this one together. Some great photos there too.

Hey J, thanks!

Quoting palmjet (Reply 14):
...treat the inside of an aircraft as an extension of their own bedrooms!

So very true. It was annoying at the time but now I can look back at it and laugh.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 14):
As for the guy with his hands behind the seat - mega annoying! I know what you mean. Many years ago I was on a flight with my father out of PPT, French Polynesia and the woman sitting in front of us proceeded to wrap her rather large arms and hands around the back of her seat, which actually meant my father could not see the TV screen (this was pre individual IFE in any case). We asked the flight attendant if they could find someone to ask her to find a different position because she was blocking the views of passengers sitting behind her. She did not speak English (so the QF flight attendant had to call a fellow french speaking fa to explain this to her). She simply grunted and put her hands down. 5 minutes later, her hands were there again. So we complained again after she refused to even acknowledge us. In the end it was fortunate that the aircraft was not full, so they simply moved my dad to another seat. Some people are incredibly selfish when it comes to flying. Thankfully, that's never happened with any degree of frequency. Most people I've found are pretty good.

That's just obnoxious. Can can people be that selfish? Good thing that there were some available seats and you could be relocated. It's a shame that you had to be the one moved and not her. Maybe she could have been moved to the back of the plane so she can stretch all she wanted.

Quoting palmjet (Reply 14):
I'd love to know what the First Bulgarian Center does!

Me too. Maybe I should stop by some time to check it out.  


WideBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineFlyingFinn76 From Finland, joined Jun 2009, 1706 posts, RR: 31
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 5806 times:

Hi Roga,

Good to read about your trip to the Bay area. Those pictures of San Francisco and the Valley remind me of my trips there some years ago when I worked for a company headquartered there. I sure miss those days.

The weather there is indeed quite an enigma just like you saw. One moment it is sunny and warm, five minutes later you are freezing your arse off and everything is covered in fog. But like you saw in Palo Alto and San Jose, just go inland a bit and the weather patterns are completely different and much nicer.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
That would have given me a perfect excuse to fly with Virgin America. However, none of their flights arrived early enough at SFO so that plan had to also be abandoned.

What about the other direction for the return?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
As I mentioned earlier I had to be in Palo Alto as early as possible so inevitably I had chosen a brutally early flight out of Chicago.

Couldn't you leave the previous night and stay one more night at the destination?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The sandwich was a bit dry but it satisfied my hanger just fine.

Hanger = Hangover induced hunger aka "the munchies"?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Cabin view

Man those satellite phones feel so old fashioned these days. I've actually never ever seen anyone using them at all . Must've been a huge waste of capital for the airlines...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
To be honest I find it quite annoying having someone's hands in my face, especially if they have also fully reclined their seat. At least in this case it wasn't the guy sitting directly in front of me.

Ugh, and hairy arms too! I'd probably bit those if they were on my face.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Despite my attempts to make her aware of this she did not wake up for even a single second; I would push her gently away and she would just raise her head only to lean towards me again after 10 seconds.

Hmm, I'm starting to have doubts about you. First you want to share king beds with your male colleagues on a "business" trip, and now you are pushing hot young ladies who insist on getting intimate with you away? What's wrong with you?! You know, "what happens onboard United, stays with United".

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
What is this hairy thing on my table?

A hairy crab it ain't!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Caltrain at Millbrae. Those bad boys were huge.

Ahh, I kinda liked the Caltrain. An ugly bastard for sure but I was kind of impressed by the size of it and the double deckers cars, just like you pointed out. You actually passed my old office on your way to Palo Aalto, it was right next to the Burlingame station.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
iThe city of Palo Alto (which means "Tall Stick" in Spanish, referring to the redwood tree after which the city was named) is also very pleasant.

Really? I had no idea, although now that you pointed it out "Alto" does refer to something high...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Hoover Tower

Wasn't it in Texas where a whacko climbed a top of one of these things on campus and decided to snipe he saw down below? Must've been in Texas - that sounds just so texaslike to me!  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
that there is also a bus stop right in front of the hotel with a free bus running to SJC at frequent intervals.

Free public bus? That's socialism dude, not supported! Support private business instead and take the (equally free but paid by your room cost) hotel shuttle.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
SJC's Terminal B looks nice both outside and...

Looks a bit like an armadillo to me! But a very nice looking terminal building.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
An AA 737. I may be flying one of them later in the year, assuming the company doesn't go bust.

Come on, it is the Patriot. It cannot go bust. America will go bust if AA goes. And technically speaking they are already bust so the only way is up!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This is the Silicon Valley. Seats come with power sockets and USB ports...

Handy.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Phoenix was under a sheet of dark clouds and the rain was pouring like crazy. Go figure, I got here the one day of the year they get rain in Phoenix...

Now that sounds just so weird! I thought it never rains there.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Very generous amount compared to other airlines

Hmm, I find it quite sad that these days we are raving about getting a full cup of water instead of just half a cup...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
the Russian guy suffered from what I call "swollen testicles syndrome" where one sits with his legs wide open,

Hah, LOL! Love it, hope you don't mind if I borrow this expression in the future! I know exactly what you are talking about - probably the guy did "adjust" his privates a few times during the flight as well, hopefully you were asleep at that point though!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Interesting carpet patterns at PHX.

Crop Circles!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Getting ready to leave rainy Phoenix for sunny Chicago

Now there's something fundamentally wrong in that sentence.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Downtown Phoenix

Wow, all the pictures I've ever seen from Phoeniz and AZ in general have always had sunshine, cloudless skies and probably 60 degrees Celcius. Are you sure you didn't accidentally fly via SEA instead?

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
A lot of little things to sample

Junk food. I don't really understand why all the American carriers offer these kind of packs for sale. But knowing the American public's desire for variation maybe these indeed are hot sellers. To me it would make sense to focus more on sandwiches, wraps, salads and maybe even a hot meal option for a little bit more money. I actually liked the cheeseburger on Alaska and their BOB selection in general. Was quite impressed by the 100+ cheeseburgers they managed to sell on the ORD-SEA flight I once took.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Staying true to tradition, the Russian guy was on his cell phone within nanoseconds of us touching down.

Obviously.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
First Bulgarian Center? Some kind of cultural center run by my compatriots. Its window displays were in a bit of a disarray and there was also sign that said: 'We fix computers". Your guess is as good as mine.

Haha. When you drive to the Russian border from Helsinki, somewhere two thirds down the way there's this old closed, run down looking building besides the road with the sign "Swiss Motel Bar" (complete with a small Swiss flag) on top and two signs saying "Computers" in Russian out on the front. I've always wondered what the heck that is all about and what kind of business they actually did when they were still in business. I first saw it almost ten years ago and never, ever has there been any activity out there...

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
Is JAT thinking of starting TATL flights to ORD? I know that they considered it a couple of years ago but not sure what came out of it.

That's a helluva long way to go on a 733  . And considering the shabby condition their examples are in they'd probably break down halfway anyway. Granted they did fly BEG-DXB with them (via LCA), which was kinda pushing it already.


User currently offlineCARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 819 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 5783 times:

Good TR Stojan, very cool pics from Alcatraz and the Bay Area, they could make me book a flight to the area immediately. Your flights seemed to be fine, except for the space issue on your last flight.

Too bad more and more national flights in the US are getting flown by A320s and 737s, the same as on our side of the pond, always the same single-aisle-aircraft.


User currently offlineCaptainRed From Germany, joined Oct 2010, 684 posts, RR: 21
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 21 hours ago) and read 5765 times:

Hi Widebodyroga,

thanks for this great report, enjoyed it very much. Also brings back some nice memories on my visits to the Bay area, San Francisco is definitely a wonderful city. Good that you could manage a visit to Alcatraz, that's for sure interesting. Palo Alto looks nice as well.

As for the flights, it seemed that you were very lucky with your seat-mates this time   Some people, but well, there's nothing you can do. Besides that both UA and US looked pretty ok, nothing special, but solid flights. And I fully agree with you, at least a small snack would surely by nice on flights of this length.

CaptainRed


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 5720 times:

Thanks for the additional replies guys,

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Good to read about your trip to the Bay area. Those pictures of San Francisco and the Valley remind me of my trips there some years ago when I worked for a company headquartered there. I sure miss those days.

Thanks P. I didn't know that you spent some time there. But given your professional background it comes as no surprise.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
What about the other direction for the return?

I was flying on my laboratory's dime so I couldn't justify opting for a more expensive flight (Virgin's prices were almost double compared to those of UA/US for that particular day). Plus I was eager to fly out of SJC which Virgin does not serve.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Couldn't you leave the previous night and stay one more night at the destination?

Unfortunately I had other obligations the previous day so I couldn't have done that.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Hanger = Hangover induced hunger aka "the munchies"?

Now that's embarrassing      

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Ugh, and hairy arms too! I'd probably bit those if they were on my face.

I knew that you have "The Stare" but I didn't know that you also have "The Bite".

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Hmm, I'm starting to have doubts about you. First you want to share king beds with your male colleagues on a "business" trip, and now you are pushing hot young ladies who insist on getting intimate with you away? What's wrong with you?! You know, "what happens onboard United, stays with United".

Haha!   

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Ahh, I kinda liked the Caltrain. An ugly bastard for sure but I was kind of impressed by the size of it and the double deckers cars, just like you pointed out. You actually passed my old office on your way to Palo Aalto, it was right next to the Burlingame station.

I liked Caltrain too. I loved the upper deck seats. There is only one seat per row (on each side) so you can enjoy the view undisturbed.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Free public bus? That's socialism dude, not supported! Support private business instead and take the (equally free but paid by your room cost) hotel shuttle.

I know, what's next? Buying bread with tickets? By the way I was born/brought up in a socialist state so It's hard to shed the habit.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Come on, it is the Patriot. It cannot go bust. America will go bust if AA goes. And technically speaking they are already bust so the only way is up!

True. I wonder if/when US merges/buys AA what name the new airline will adopt. Will it be ..."US of AA"?

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Hmm, I find it quite sad that these days we are raving about getting a full cup of water instead of just half a cup...

Sad indeed, but it is what it is.

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Hah, LOL! Love it, hope you don't mind if I borrow this expression in the future! I know exactly what you are talking about -

I'd be honored if you did  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Wow, all the pictures I've ever seen from Phoeniz and AZ in general have always had sunshine, cloudless skies and probably 60 degrees Celcius. Are you sure you didn't accidentally fly via SEA instead?

I'm pretty sure it was PHX. Unless Saguaro cacti now grow in the Pacific Northwest...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Junk food. I don't really understand why all the American carriers offer these kind of packs for sale. But knowing the American public's desire for variation maybe these indeed are hot sellers. To me it would make sense to focus more on sandwiches, wraps, salads and maybe even a hot meal option for a little bit more money. I actually liked the cheeseburger on Alaska and their BOB selection in general. Was quite impressed by the 100+ cheeseburgers they managed to sell on the ORD-SEA flight I once took.

Junk indeed but at least it satiated my hUnger until we landed. And I agree on the burgers...

Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
Haha. When you drive to the Russian border from Helsinki, somewhere two thirds down the way there's this old closed, run down looking building besides the road with the sign "Swiss Motel Bar" (complete with a small Swiss flag) on top and two signs saying "Computers" in Russian out on the front. I've always wondered what the heck that is all about and what kind of business they actually did when they were still in business. I first saw it almost ten years ago and never, ever has there been any activity out there...

Sounds sketchy. No surprise there  
Quoting FlyingFinn76 (Reply 16):
That's a helluva long way to go on a 733  . And considering the shabby condition their examples are in they'd probably break down halfway anyway. Granted they did fly BEG-DXB with them (via LCA), which was kinda pushing it already.

I thought there was a plan for a 767 but it was probably shelved.

Quoting CARST (Reply 17):
Good TR Stojan, very cool pics from Alcatraz and the Bay Area, they could make me book a flight to the area immediately. Your flights seemed to be fine, except for the space issue on your last flight.

Thanks CARST. If it's feasible I think you should go ahead and book some flights there. You won't be disappointed.

Quoting CARST (Reply 17):
Too bad more and more national flights in the US are getting flown by A320s and 737s, the same as on our side of the pond, always the same single-aisle-aircraft.

It is getting a bit boring in that respect indeed. And following all those major airline mergers soon we'll be having only 2-3 airline choices to fly around domestically adding to the overall "boredom".

Quoting CaptainRed (Reply 18):
thanks for this great report, enjoyed it very much. Also brings back some nice memories on my visits to the Bay area, San Francisco is definitely a wonderful city. Good that you could manage a visit to Alcatraz, that's for sure interesting. Palo Alto looks nice as well.

As for the flights, it seemed that you were very lucky with your seat-mates this time   Some people, but well, there's nothing you can do. Besides that both UA and US looked pretty ok, nothing special, but solid flights. And I fully agree with you, at least a small snack would surely by nice on flights of this length.

Thank you M! If Megabus can offer a little snack on a bus ride (see Gabriel's Glasgow report) then why can't major airline carriers do it too. I know that the associated costs are different for airlines but still.

WideBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlineabrelosojos From Venezuela, joined May 2005, 5088 posts, RR: 55
Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5665 times:

Your report made me chuckle throughout. Really well written, and thanks for sharing it. I agree with some of the other posters - the whole hand thing is not just Indian sub-C. People do it constantly here in LatAm. I must try it before judging  . Thanks again for the report, and for the awesome pictures.

Saludos,
A.

PS: Haha ... it is a small world I think, but that "cultural center" is run by a crazy woman from Stara Zagora.



Live, and let live.
User currently offlineCARST From Germany, joined Jul 2006, 819 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5663 times:

Quoting Widebodyroga (Reply 19):
It is getting a bit boring in that respect indeed. And following all those major airline mergers soon we'll be having only 2-3 airline choices to fly around domestically adding to the overall "boredom".

Perhaps the mergers don't lead to boredom, but to a more exciting experience. If six legacy airlines each had 10 flights a day between the NCY airports and LAX (making it 60 flights) it could result in 30 flights on larger aircraft on the three post-merger legacy airlines (NW-DL, UA-CO, AA-US). So I hope to see 777s, 767s, 757s, 787s, A330s again on inner-US flights between the large hubs.


User currently offlineWidebodyroga From United States of America, joined Sep 2008, 613 posts, RR: 16
Reply 22, posted (2 years 1 month 1 week 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5631 times:

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 20):
Your report made me chuckle throughout. Really well written, and thanks for sharing it.

Thanks again for the report, and for the awesome pictures.

Thanks Alex. It's an honor to get such positive feedback from you.

Quoting abrelosojos (Reply 20):
PS: Haha ... it is a small world I think, but that "cultural center" is run by a crazy woman from Stara Zagora.

Haha, is there anyone in Chicago that you don't know?   After a bit of searching and reading the "cultural center's" website it is apparent that the lady that runs the place is somewhat ...interesting. The Bulgarian version of the website (the text of which was written by the lady in question) is a bit melodramatic and over-patriotic to say the least.

Quoting CARST (Reply 21):
Perhaps the mergers don't lead to boredom, but to a more exciting experience. If six legacy airlines each had 10 flights a day between the NCY airports and LAX (making it 60 flights) it could result in 30 flights on larger aircraft on the three post-merger legacy airlines (NW-DL, UA-CO, AA-US). So I hope to see 777s, 767s, 757s, 787s, A330s again on inner-US flights between the large hubs.

Perhaps you are right CARST, even though I'm sure that regardless of the number of carriers available the frequencies of certain routes get adjusted to match demand for particular time slots. But I'm not an expert in the field -far from it  . I'd love to see some bigger birds for domestic routes!


WideBodyroga



Visit my aviation page: http://widebodyroga.weebly.com/
User currently offlinedeltamartin From Sweden, joined Dec 2010, 1061 posts, RR: 7
Reply 23, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 5393 times:

Hi WideBodyroga!

Nice report, good to see that you enjoyed your visit to Palo Alto and your day in San Fransisco, I've always wanted to go there! Maybe now is the time when SK starts nonstop flights from CPH.  
Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
So, if one arrives at SFO on a weekday before 7pm and wants to use public transportation to get to Palo Alto (or anywhere in the Silicon Valley), one needs to do the following: 1) Take the SkyTrain to the SFO BART station. 2) Buy a ticket and ride BART north one stop to San Bruno Station. 3) At San Bruno take another BART train and head south one stop to Millbrae. 4) At Millbrae buy a Caltrain ticket and take a train heading for San Jose. All of this despite the fact that the Millbrae Station is just 1 mile away from SFO. Surely not the most efficient of configurations. There used to be a free shuttle bus between SFO and Millbrae but that's not the case anymore.

Doesn't sound good at all. Very confusing.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
The Golden Gate Bridge in all its foggy glory

Haha, that's actually a really cool picture. But yeah, too bad you couldn't see anything of the famous landmark.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
SJC's Terminal B looks nice

It does indeed.

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
This is the Silicon Valley. Seats come with power sockets and USB ports...

Cool!

Quoting Widebodyroga (Thread starter):
I opted for the CafePlus snackbox and I was not disappointed. For $6, it contained a bag of sesame sticks, peppercorn Parmesan cheese, a bag of almonds, a bag of delicious turkey jerky, a bag of cookies and a mint

Looks really nice. I like snackboxes!

Martin


User currently offlinedc9northwest From Switzerland, joined Feb 2007, 2281 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days ago) and read 5305 times:

Hey WideBodyroga,

Finally I get to read your report in detail and comment on it.

Regarding security not being open--come on, you must know US security can't act in any predictable way--they'd be making terrorists sure of what to expect, who cares that there are 10^-19 terrorists for every normal passenger who just wants to gett o their destinations.

Regarding the poor connection to the Caltrain--what else would you expect in the States? As I said before, poor service in public transit is almost a given.

Hey, great pics from the Tall Stick and SanFrancisco--that cell in Alcatraz looks better than some hostels--at least they had an ensuite toilet.

SJC looks nice--but what is this, rain in PHX? I thought it never ever rained there, or perhaps like in LA, only in winter. Yeah, it's never good to not be able to see your aircraft--a shame how airports are designed sometimes...

Great report WideBodyroga, hope to see more soon--you know, that Alabama connection looks fun--so I'll be on the lookout for that later this year  


25 Post contains images Widebodyroga : Hey Martin, thanks! That route starts sometime next year right? Quite an appropriate route, linking two very hipster cities. I guess I can use this a
26 Post contains links PlaneHunter : Hi Widebodyroga, great report with countless nice pictures! San Francisco is one of my favorite cities, your pictures bring back memories of my visit
27 Post contains images Widebodyroga : Hey PH! Thanks for your comment. That's a great report and some really nice photos. How nice that you got to see the bridge from up close and on such
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