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The Next Ten (Leg 6/8): Where The Magic Happens  
User currently offlineTigerguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 978 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5912 times:

Leg 6: Where the Magic Happens – April 21, 2012

Greetings again, fellow A.netters! This sixth leg of “The Next Ten” will see me at the airport through which the happiest memories of millions of children have begun and ended: Orlando International Airport. MCO is the country’s 13th busiest airport, and it is unsurprisingly heavy on tourist traffic due to the Walt Disney World Resort and a host of other attractions that draw people from across the world. Delta and United will again share the spotlight today; the latter will give me another spin in First. (I had a few MileagePlus miles lying around, so I snagged a First Saver award.) Although my proposed plans for this flight changed a few times, everything remained solid after I made the bookings. There was only one question on my mind: would I have to lock any screaming children in an overhead bin?

(Some pictures have been omitted for your convenience. If you wish to see them all, feel free to follow the link: Slideshow for Leg Six)

This Saturday started with another one of those 6:00 AM flights that I said I didn’t want to do again.    Nevertheless, I was able to drag myself out of my house and get to the airport without any trouble. Security went painlessly and I joined the mass of people waiting to board the airplane.

Aforementioned mass of people
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5603.jpg

Aforementioned airplane
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5604.jpg

Delta Air Lines 1540 OKC-ATL
Scheduled: 06:00-09:05
Actual: 06:07-09:01 (wheels up/wheels down); 05:52-09:14 (gate to gate)
McDonnell-Douglas MD-88 (N982DL)

The only remarkable event during this flight was the brief holding pattern we were in due to low clouds in Atlanta. We made one circle and we were out of it. Now, if this had happened in San Francisco, we would probably be able to set the plane down on a country road and start walking and still get there before being let out of the pattern. (Believe me—I know firsthand, and I’m sure a lot of you do as well.)

You should be used to this MD-88 legroom shot by now…
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5605.jpg

The view from the beautiful seat 29E
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5608.jpg

Tinker Air Force Base (TIK / KTIK)
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5609.jpg

The first hint of sunlight on the wing’s leading edge
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5610.jpg

The familiar glow on the horizon…
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5612.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5615.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5617.jpg

Refreshments: Biscoff cookies and some sort of juice that comes from apples. I believe they call it “apple juice”.   
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5620.jpg

Turning as we begin the holding pattern
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5621.jpg

A jet-propelled line streaking through the sky
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5626.jpg
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5628.jpg

Back on course
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5630.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5631.jpg

Our shadow on the clouds
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5632.jpg

A flying buddy on approach to one of the parallels
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5637.jpg

You can see just how low the ceiling was
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5638.jpg

Our buddy about to hit the concrete
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5640.jpg

And here we are, on the concrete ourselves
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5644.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5645.jpg

The window picked that moment to fog up, which was a minor inconvenience for people who were gathering photos for trip reports. Nevertheless, I was able to get some shots where you could at least tell what I was pointing at.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5645.jpg

Singapore Airlines Cargo 744
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5646.jpg

The yet-to-open F Concourse (operations started May 16th)
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5648.jpg

See our reflection?
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5650.jpg

Parked at Concourse E
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5651.jpg

I took the time during the layover to pop over to the food court and grab some things. I claimed a seat with an outlet and the following view:

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5652.jpg

The tail of my previous plane peeking over the wall
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5653.jpg

After my session of eating and typing was completed, I went to the gate where I found this plane waiting for me:

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5654.jpg

Delta Air Lines 2169 ATL-MCO
Scheduled: 10:50-12:25
Actual: 11:05-12:05 (wheels up/wheels down); 10:46-12:15 (gate to gate)
Boeing 757-351 (N591NW)

I was originally going to take this trip in May, but during the time when the plans were still quite fluid, I saw an opportunity to move it to April and reduce a bit of the headache that the May plan would have given me. There was also another bonus: another 757-300 fell into my lap!

Legs
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5657.jpg

DC-9 N675MC at the adjacent gate
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5659.jpg

From the aft Economy cabin (Row 42 reporting in)
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5661.jpg

You’re welcome.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5662.jpg

The weather was slowing things down just a little, but it was nothing that would kill anybody’s plans. As such, we pulled out of the gate and joined the takeoff queue; we were number six. After a few minutes of patient taxiing, we went on to Orlando. The pilot either wanted to be sure to get the loaded plane off the ground or he had a need for speed, because we pretty much tore down the runway like a rocket.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5663.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5665.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5667.jpg

A few seconds pass before we break through the clouds again
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5668.jpg

The flight attendants said this would be a completely full flight. The empty middle seat next to me tells a different story.   
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5671.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5672.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5673.jpg

Montezuma, Georgia and the Dr. C.P. Savage Sr. Airport. You’ll have to ask the fine people of Montezuma just who the heck Dr. C.P. Savage was.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5676.jpg

Lake Blackshear, roughly 70 miles south of Macon, GA
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5678.jpg

Ty Ty, GA (not a typo; that’s the town’s name)
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5680.jpg

Passing over Tifton, GA
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5682.jpg

Adel, GA and the Cook County Airport
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5686.jpg

Valdosta, GA
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5689.jpg

Valdosta Regional Airport (VLD / KVLD)
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5691.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5692.jpg

Peanuts and Coke Zero
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5693.jpg

The flight went as smoothly as one could expect. Much to everyone’s fortune, there were no rambunctious children that needed to be silenced during the flight. I guess you have at least one hour before they start to rebel… Sooner than I expected, we began our descent into Orlando.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5694.jpg

A housing development in Sumter County, Florida
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5695.jpg

Flying over Lake Harris
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5697.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5698.jpg

Orlando Apopka Airport
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5699.jpg

Lake Brantley
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5700.jpg

It’s time to play “Name That Lake”. I will provide the names, and all you have to do is match them up to the proper lake. Here, I’ll make it easy. (picture is looking west) West side of Interstate 4: Fairview, Little Fairview, Orlando, Silver, Weston, Shadow, Hungerford, Lucien, Harvest, Bay, Lovely; East side of Interstate 4: Sybelia, Catherine, Gem, Wilderness, Bell, Killarney, Lily, Nina, Maitland. Be careful, though: not all of those bodies of water have names! Also, one is just barely visible through a cloud.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5701.jpg

Downtown Orlando and Lake Eola
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5704.jpg

More lakes: Conway, Little Conway, Jessamine, Mary
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5706.jpg

Another happy landing
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5708.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5709.jpg

AirTran 717 taking off
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5711.jpg

Sitting next to another 753, N592NW
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5714.jpg

Our 753 taking a brief rest
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5715.jpg

It was then time to see if I could tame Orlando International Airport. There was a minor complication in that I was getting over a case of the sniffles, and they chose to start acting up again shortly before I landed. Thus, I was in unknown territory and I wasn’t at 100% effectiveness. But I wasn’t about to let a runny nose stop me!

The layout of MCO is as follows: plant a central hub, and see how many times you can divide it and how many forks you can put in the road. For the uninitiated, the level of complexity increases the closer you get to the center. But first, I had to look through the fringes.

The usual bathroom inspection was first. Although there weren’t many people there, there were always just enough to make it creepy if they saw me pull out a camera. So, envision a bathroom with plenty of fixtures, a little dark, and covered with little pink tiles. This was just the beginning of the “time machine” theme…

With that out of the way, I went to the end of the hallway containing Gates 70-79. As you can see, it’s still a little dark, but I would chalk most of that up to the overcast weather. Although tile and carpet share the floors, it must be said that I could do without the carpeting.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5717.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5718.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5719.jpg

Each Airside has a central hub that splits off into two or three concourses. The hub contains a large sitting area and some shops and restaurants.

Airside 4 hub
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5720.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5721.jpg

The 80-89 and 90-99 concourses were all but deserted save for a few passengers and employees who used them as hiding places. Part of the 90-99 concourse was cordoned off, as you will see below.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5722.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5723.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5724.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5725.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5726.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5727.jpg

Notice the barricade belt halfway down the hall
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5728.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5730.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5731.jpg

One of the trams that shuttles passengers between the main terminal and the airside gates
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5733.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5734.jpg

With that, I made my way back to the hub to catch one of those trams and see the rest of MCO

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5735.jpg

Tram station
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5736.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5737.jpg

Despite the humidity, I would have preferred to walk, but I was unwilling to risk arrest and imprisonment
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5738.jpg

Control tower
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5739.jpg

Typical tram car
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5741.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5742.jpg

Main terminal station exit
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5743.jpg

MCO has four airside areas, numbered 1-4. Each is accessible by tram, with two airsides sharing each station. It is possible to stay behind security and make a connection, depending on which side your next airline departs from. I made a point of it to fly two airlines that used different sides, but I could still make my way to the other airside that shared my arrival concourse. I walked out and tried to follow the signs to where I needed to go, but I couldn’t really find any. Before I knew it, I had goofed: there I was, outside the secure area.    Oh well, I can only assume that the other concourse was just like the one I came from… I put that mistake behind me and roamed around the expansive landside area of the terminal.

A Big Board
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5744.jpg

The terminal boasts a central atrium that is surrounded by a Hyatt hotel; the guest rooms are visible on the upper floors along all sides
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5745.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5746.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5747.jpg

Below: a diagram of the labyrinthine airport. Terminal A serves airlines in Airsides 1 and 2; Terminal B serves airlines in Airsides 3 and 4. However, passengers must either go to the west checkpoint for Airsides 1 and 3 or the east checkpoint for Airsides 2 and 4. While I was in the main terminal, I found myself trying to catch my bearings quite a few times. Though the layout didn’t seem intuitive at first, I slowly got the hang of it. Or so I thought…

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5748.jpg

A Terminal ticketing
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5749.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5750.jpg

Dedicated 1981, you say? No ****, it still looks like it   
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5752.jpg

If the Big Board wasn’t big enough, try the Bigger Board
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5753.jpg

B Terminal; ticketing also shown below
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5754.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5755.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5756.jpg

I guess the tulip stalwarts haven’t gotten the memo…
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5757.jpg

When I came out of the train tube on the right platform (visible at left of platform), I emerged from the wall—there was the checkpoint. I then incorrectly turned left instead of right; I didn’t notice any signs that would have pointed me in the right direction
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5758.jpg

Looking down on the atrium from the public hotel level
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5759.jpg

Hotel sitting area
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5760.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5763.jpg

I took advantage of the sitting area to type a bit and reflect on the remaining tasks. First up was to revisit the B ticketing area and get my United boarding passes. I tried one check-in kiosk and it rebuffed my efforts. I tried a second, and it acted in lockstep with the first. I went to the ticket counters and tried a machine there. It worked perfectly. Go figure…

Now that I had passes, I attempted to go through security. Seeing a horde of people in what can only be described as the security cattle pen, I was glad that I had special access to the security fast lane. Alas, I couldn’t find one. I asked a nearby TSA agent if there was such a line, and he said there wasn’t. So there I was, in for at least a 15 to 20 minute wait (according to the signs; it looked worse to me), when another agent started calling for people to come into the family lane, which wasn’t as busy. I took the opportunity to scoot over there, and I was spared the long wait. (You see? TSA agents can be reasonable!)

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5764.jpg

JetBlue A320 N613JB, “Bahama Blue”
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5765.jpg

Airside 1 rotunda
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5766.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5767.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5768.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5769.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5770.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5772.jpg

See the sign? That’s where I am.   
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5773.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5774.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5775.jpg

As you can see, I encountered pretty much the same thing throughout the airport. Just as EWR was stuck in the 1970s, MCO seemed to be stuck in the 1980s. On the plus side, that saved me some time since I didn’t have to repeatedly photograph the same thing.

Only Airside 3 remained, and I was feeling pretty good about things. I expected a simple tram ride and a simple walk to the other side. Here’s what happened:

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5776.jpg

Another backlit station
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5777.jpg

Art
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5778.jpg

I exited the train and saw…only one way out. I asked a nearby employee how I could get to gate 44. He told me I needed to exit the area and clear security again.    He did take some of the sting out of the news by telling me I could use the employee and crew line, which would be loads quicker. He was correct about that and I breezed through my second security check. By that time, despite the 15 minute delay for my next departure, I was coming up on boarding time. When I got to the Airside 3 hub and saw this:

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5779.jpg

I was pretty sure that it was more of exactly the same. I made a brief pass by the 30s… (note that Continental still exists here)

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5780.jpg

…and proceeded to my gate, where there was quite the crowd. I walked up just in time to see our plane arrive.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5781.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5782.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5783.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5784.jpg

That was my day in MCO. Despite some of the difficulties I had, I won’t blame everything on the airport itself; I’m sure some of it was my own fault. I was fortunate that I had enough time to correct the mistakes. Otherwise, it might have been one of my more epic failures.

The weather apparently wasn’t being too kind, because our flight and one at the adjacent gate were delayed. Further complicating matters, we were told that TPA had closed due to inclement weather, so we needed to depart quickly lest we should suffer the same fate. There was a palpable tension in the air, but that could just have been the aura given off by a 757’s worth of annoyed Chicagoans.   

United Airlines 994 MCO-ORD
Scheduled: 15:30-17:18
Actual: 16:13-17:26 (wheels up/wheels down); 16:01-17:36 (gate to gate)
Boeing 757-222 (N523UA)

I was kinda ready to be out of Orlando at that point. I hoped that getting the semi-royal treatment from United could lift my mood. Being able to turn left after boarding the plane cleared most of it right up. (If you’re just dying to know, I had apple juice for a pre-departure beverage.)

Legroom, brought to you by seat 5F
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5785.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5786.jpg

Sitting next to N530UA
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5788.jpg

We hold to allow this American 738 to land
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5789.jpg

The takeoff on this go-round isn’t quite as powerful, but it still lets you know what stock you’re flying
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5792.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5793.jpg

Assorted pictures of the Orlando area
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http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5796.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5797.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5799.jpg

Clouds again
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5800.jpg

The entire flight would be marked by periods of light to slightly-less-than-moderate turbulence. There were indeed some weather systems in the eastern part of the country, and they were leaving their mark as I listened to various reports over Channel 9. As such, the seatbelt light got a good workout, pinging on and off every few minutes. The flight attendants were asked to be seated on at least three occasions. As long as my head wasn’t cracked against the wall, I was fine with whatever nature had in store for us.

[Edited 2012-07-15 11:23:03]


Flying friendly for a while, but is that a widget I see in the rear-view mirror?
4 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineTigerguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 978 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5896 times:

Once it was reasonably smooth, our beverages (I had the white wine) and hot towels were distributed. I saw the basket come out and there was so much steam coming off of it that it appeared as if it was on fire. Shortly thereafter, the meals were presented. Actually, it was referred to as a “snack”. There was one option which we could accept or decline at our leisure. Here’s what I accepted:

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5801.jpg

Contents: chicken breast over pasta salad, a bowl of fruit, cheese, crackers, and a brownie. About 20 minutes later, here’s what I thought of the food:

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5802.jpg

The chicken was juicy and had plenty of flavor. The pasta salad could have done with a little more sauce, but it was also still good. The fruit looked and tasted fresh; I would have been extremely disappointed if they had found a way to mess that up. After that, it was standard packaged cheese, crackers, and brownie. The wine was nice enough for me to get a refill. Overall, I was pleased with the product. Honestly, I was expecting some lackluster, tasteless offering. (Or, in Family Guy parlance: shallow and pedantic.) I don’t sit up front often enough to know if United is improving in that area, but they did right by me on this flight.

From that point, it was just me and a comfy seat, a window, and Channel 9, which can be just as amusing as it is informative. There was a point when we contacted Chicago and ours was one of a few flights making contact. The controller responded, “Okay, I have three flights making contact, and I’m not talking to any of you.”   

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5804.jpg

North Judson, Indiana
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5806.jpg

Look closely and you’ll find the Starke County Airport
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5807.jpg

Porter County Regional Airport (VPZ / KVPZ), on the outskirts of Valparaiso, IN
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5809.jpg

As you can very well see, we were well into our descent at this stage. I would be treated to nice views of Lake Michigan and downtown Chicago as we made our way down. It was the first time I’d flown into ORD on a clear-ish day, so I tried to make the most of it.

Signs of civilization
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5812.jpg

Gary, IN
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5814.jpg

Gary/Chicago International Airport (GYY / KGYY)
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5818.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5822.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5824.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5827.jpg

Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD / KORD)
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5828.jpg

Coming in over a rail yard
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5830.jpg

A very gentle landing on Runway 4R
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5832.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5833.jpg

International flavors: Swiss, American, United
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5839.jpg

Turkish, Ethiad, Royal Jordanian, Aer Lingus
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5840.jpg

Yukon the caribou (N201FR) attempting to stare me down
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5841.jpg

Whole LOTta plane   
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5843.jpg

Here we are at Concourse B
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5845.jpg

As a result of the departure delay, I had a little less time to mess around. I tried to enjoy the scenery as best as I could, though—I’d never been at ORD with the sun shining through the windows.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5847.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5848.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5849.jpg

Our CRJ; I think the new livery suits it well, though you can’t tell here
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5850.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5851.jpg

United Airlines 3745 ORD-OKC (operated by Mesa Airlines dba United Express)
Scheduled: 18:24-20:33
Actual: 18:39-20:09 (wheels up/wheels down); 18:21-20:18 (gate to gate)
Canadair CL-600-2C10 Regional Jet [CRJ-700] (N513MJ)

The only thing that stood between me and an early end to the day was a cute Canadian jet. I was up front again for this flight home. I knew not to expect 757 service, but I was still curious about what I would receive.

Economy cabin
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5853.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5854.jpg

It appeared as if my seat was previously occupied by an agitated hedgehog
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5855.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5856.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5859.jpg

And who should pull into the neighboring gate but the venerable N503MJ? I say that because…
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5861.jpg


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Eric Brown

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5862.jpg

Anywho, we got on our way back to OKC with no fuss. I’ll shut up and let the pictures do most of the talking.

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5866.jpg

ORD again
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5867.jpg

Bolingbrook's Clow International Airport
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5870.jpg

The complimentary snack box. Again, I was reasonably pleased with the offering.
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5872.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5873.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5877.jpg

A Southwest 737 jetting with us over central Missouri
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5882.jpg

Stillwater, Oklahoma; Stillwater Regional Airport (SWO / KSWO) is also visible
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5884.jpg

Lake Hefner; we probably flew right over my house a few seconds before this shot
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5885.jpg

Last landing for the day
http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5886.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5889.jpg

http://i33.photobucket.com/albums/d63/247evergreen/The%20Next%20Ten/Magic/DSCF5890.jpg



Flying friendly for a while, but is that a widget I see in the rear-view mirror?
User currently offlineTigerguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 978 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 5896 times:

Airport Conclusions

MCO: I must start off by saying that the interior could use a refresh. I felt like I should have been wearing a pastel suit jacket with shoulder pads and a headband while carting around a giant boom box and a My Little Pony toy. The only thing missing was the big hair. My note to the airport authority: looking like the 1980s was good three decades ago. The airport can be tough to navigate if you don’t know what you’re doing or if you’re not paying attention. Provided I didn’t miss anything, I think the signage could be clearer, especially at the trains. Granted, that appears to be more of a problem if you’re connecting than if you’re starting or ending your journey there. It obviously wasn’t my first experience in a new airport, but I’ve never goofed as many times anywhere else as I did in Orlando. It definitely pays to know the place in and out beforehand. As for security: just brace for large crowds. It comes with the territory. On the plus side, it’s actually pretty easy once you make it to the proper Airside, and there are souvenir shops to last until doomsday. In the end, if you give yourself plenty of time and don’t care that you’ve stepped into a time machine, you should be alright.

Coming up next: Motor City Madness

Tigerguy’s Tales:

The Top Ten (Leg 1): Texas Two-Step (by Tigerguy Jun 26 2011 in Trip Reports) Featuring: DFW, IAH
The Top Ten (Leg 2/7): How To Book... (by Tigerguy Jun 29 2011 in Trip Reports) Featuring: LAS, with SLC
The Top Ten (Leg 3/7): Masochism For Dummies (by Tigerguy Jul 2 2011 in Trip Reports) Featuring: ORD, JFK, ATL, with LGA
The Top Ten (Leg 4/7): Phoenix Rising (by Tigerguy Jul 5 2011 in Trip Reports) Featuring: DEN (A/C), PHX
The Top Ten (Leg 5/7): Dash To The Rockies (by Tigerguy Jul 8 2011 in Trip Reports) Featuring: DEN (B)
The Top Ten (Leg 6/7): SoCal (by Tigerguy Jul 11 2011 in Trip Reports) Featuring: LAX
The Top Ten (Leg 7/7): NorCal (by Tigerguy Jul 14 2011 in Trip Reports) Featuring: SFO
Jet Be Nimble, Jet Be Quick! - A DC-9 Story (by Tigerguy Oct 6 2011 in Trip Reports)
The Pacific Northwest, D.B. Cooper, And Me (by Tigerguy Dec 4 2011 in Trip Reports)
Paying The Piper: A Mini-TR (by Tigerguy May 12 2012 in Trip Reports)

The Next Ten (Leg 1/8): Triple Seven, Twin Cities (by Tigerguy Jun 30 2012 in Trip Reports) Featuring: MSP
The Next Ten (Leg 2/8): Masochism For Dummies II (by Tigerguy Jul 3 2012 in Trip Reports) Featuring: LGA, CLT
The Next Ten (Leg 3/8): Miami Nice? (by Tigerguy Jul 6 2012 in Trip Reports) Featuring: MIA
The Next Ten (Leg 4/8): ...Two If By Sea-Tac (by Tigerguy Jul 9 2012 in Trip Reports) Featuring: SEA
The Next Ten (Leg 5/8): Beasts Of The East (by Tigerguy Jul 12 2012 in Trip Reports) Featuring: EWR, PHL



Flying friendly for a while, but is that a widget I see in the rear-view mirror?
User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 16
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5024 times:

Hi

Interesting report, thanks for sharing.
MCO is the only airport I was without exiting the aircraft last year. Read full review here:
Losing My Southwest Virginity! (by MSS658 Dec 18 2011 in Trip Reports)

Nice to see you got the upgrade on the MCO-ORD flight.


Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlineTigerguy From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 978 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4854 times:

Quoting MSS658 (Reply 3):

Ah yes, I remember that report well. Not only that, but I've remembered the little suggestion you had for me therein. Stay tuned for that...in the meantime, thanks for still following along!



Flying friendly for a while, but is that a widget I see in the rear-view mirror?
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