Yep, another quickie domestic trip out into the scenic world -- my return was to BUR because I was meeting up with the fiance (who drove down) for more wedding-planning-stuff.
Flight 2486, SJC-DFW, 2:10pm
MD-80, Seat 26A
Getting to the airport from home was, as usual, pretty routine. Call a cab, walk out in front, and 10 minutes later, get out at SJC. While there were significant lines at the curbside checkin, coach checkin, and even the first-class/elite checkin, there were no real lines to walk through the metal detector (since I was carryon-only this flight), and then off to the gate.
Since I was travelling with a couple of others I work with who couldn't upgrade, I decided to ride along in coach and not bother with the upgrades. Of course, as it turns out, at least on the this leg, we weren't sitting close to each other anyway. Ah well. Seat 26A is in the last row before the bulhead for the emergency exit/galley combo on the left side of the aircraft. We had, of course, the good old AA 'bistro' service, which really wasn't too bad -- I consider it a significant improvement over the old food served on trays, but then again, I'm a simple eater. A sandwich that's bread, ham, and cheese and nothing else is to my personal liking.
There were perhaps 3 or 4 empty seats in Y, all middles, of course. We pushed back at 2:08, and the lead f/a announced that we'd be 3:08 in flight at FL330. As we were pushing back, I could see the Eagle EMB-145 being pushed back from the other side of the terminal to follow us out. During the taxi I saw all the usual suspects; a couple of Kitty Hawk 727's, the Express.net A300, a BAX DC-8-73, and then one unmarked 727 freighter with a black tail (almost like a FedEx layout just with everything painted to black) and the Valson -2xx engine conversion.
As we were taxing the engines weren't very synced (moreso than normal) and the rumble back and forth across the cabin was very noticeable. At 2:15pm we got to the end of the runway and swung right around for takeoff. It was a typical SJC departure (I forget the name of the departure) where we circled around as we climbed and then headed off after we looped back across the SJC VOR. During the initial climb I could see Moffett Field, my apartment building, and the salt marshes. As we were departing the Bay area at the end of our loop, I could see both SFO and OAK off in the distance (although downtown San Francisco was covered in fog, as normal).
The beverage service came about at 2:40pm, I asked for a coke and got the can (true for all the beverage service I had on this trip). As soon as the beverage service was finished, the f/a's came back through again with a second beverage service, so I decided to have coffee to wash down my bistro meal with.
On this entire trip, I should mention that, unlike some earlier trips, we didn't get the draconian "you must stay in your cabin, and you cannot congregate around the galley, etc." message. Nor did the seatbelt light stay on all during the flights. Bravo!
At 5:00pm a third and final beverage service began to my surprise...very nice on a trip this short. A few minutes later, at 5:05pm, the power came off, and we started our descent. We turned slightly at to such an angle that the shadow of the tail was tossed right onto the left wing in front of me, which was cool. As we descended, the pilot started jinking about to avoid the T-storms which were building -- several of which had already begun to anvil high above us. The pilot came on and told us we were into the final descent phase. other than a little bounce here and there, we had an uneventful descent to our 5:21pm touchdown, accompanied by heavy t/r use and braking application. Then we started the long 15 minute taxi to our gate. During out travels, I waved to Alpine's 1900c's on the cargo ramp, and also spotted a KE777, and a Sun Country 738 -- I have to same I love the bold blue livery Sun COuntry has gone with. As we were coming to the gate, even saw a CRJ in the old putrid Mesa colors. Of course, as we got to the terminal, the FO cam on to let us know someone was still in our gate, and it would be about 10 minutes until we were able to pull in, thus putting us right on our scheduled arrival time. I still say we should have just pulled up to one of the other open gates! Ah well, still, at our scheduled arrival of 5:48pm, we pulled up to the gate.
While sitting around at DFW, saw a couple of DL B764's, and MD-11
Flight 1210, DFW-IND, 8:59pm, MD-80, Seat 23B
When we arrived at our gate they were already annoucing that our flight would be a bit late, so we went over and have some fine airport food. On this flight, I'd be sitting with one of the fellows I was travelling with, although the other person had decided he wanted an exist row, and, as the flight wasn't very full, he was able to get it. The plane finally arrived at 9:15pm, and they hustled the people off, and had us start boarding at 9:27pm -- pretty doggone quick for AA! It looked like the flight was going to be truly, incredibly empty, until right before they closed the doors at 9:50pm, when a large group of people appeared, making this merely a 'somewhat empty (60 percent loaded) flight.
After the doors were closed at 9:53pm, the f/a announced that our flight time would be 1:40 at FL330. The engines started up and then, without any announcement, at 9:58pm we rolled a little forward, then powered back all on our own! Very cool. By 10:05 were were at the hold short line, and at 10:07, we watched another AA MD-80 swing across from another intersection and take off, and then we went out and after a brief paused, followed it into the air. Just as we lifted off, it seemed like we might have caught a touch of turbulence from the previously departed aircraft; a brief wing rocking, and then we were on our way!
10:20 was the start of beverage service, which for me, was apple juice -- hey, what the heck! Our buddy in the exist row cam back and took the aisle across from us so we could chatter back and forth, and it was an uneventful flight. As we got closer to IND I could see the lightning from the thunderstorms off in the distance, but it didn't seem close enough to matter for us. Our descent started at 11:23 as the seatbelt light came on, and then it was just late, dark, and quiet (except for the three of us) as we smoothly touched down at 11:54.
On the taxi in I saw the FedEx maintenance hangar with a DC-10 and a 727 in it, about 4 billion Lockheed TriStars with ATA markings (yay!), and then into the gate at 12:03am.
6/28/02, Flight 1401, IND-DFW, 4:01pm
MD-80, Seat 7A
While waiting to board, in the daylight I could clearly see the ATA ramp, with more TriStars and an all white DC-8-63 -- couldn't tell from my angle if it was a freighter, but I assume it was, since I'm not aware of any passenger DC-8's left.
We boarded at 3:52. On this trip back to BUR, I was traveling with just one person from work, who happens to live in Los Angeles. Others had gone home to SJC via ORD earlier in the day. Row 7 is the first row oy Y in the AA MD-80's, and when we boarded at 3:52pm my buddy took the window seat, but that was okay with me, since, after all, while in Indy I had been the one that got the upgraded 'mansion suite' at the hotel since they had run out of smaller, less palatial, single-bathroom rooms.
We pulled back right at 4:01pm, pushed back by a tug (no powerback this time!), and during the taxi we saw the TriStar that had taxied out before we'd begun boarding was still out in the middle of the airport -- I assume they were doing engine tests or something. At 4:10, we powered up, and launched into the sky. Beverage service started right at 4:25, again, the whole can. By 4:45 I could see significant thunderstorms forming out the window as my friend slept away. But no real banging on our plane.
At 5:35pm the Captain comes on to let us know we are 20 minutes out, but that we're going to be delayed once we get on the ground, as there have been lightning strikes in the DFW area, so the gates have been closed for a while. Indeed, after descending through chop which we picked out way through (very cool!), and then touched down at 5:56pm, there were lots of planes just sitting on taxiways and stuff. The Captain again comes on the PA to inform us there's been another strike within 10 miles of DFW, so there's again another 10 minute hold, and that pattern will continue as long as there are lightning strikes. Good news was, that was the last lightning strike.
At 6:20pm, The Captain tells us that our gate is open, and that as soon as we can be extricated from all the other aircraft (there are aircraft in front and behind us now) we'll get to the gate. After taxing around a bit, we manage to get to our gate at 6:32pm and head off in search of our connection to BUR.
6/28/02, Flight 598, DFW-BUR
MD-80, Seat 13E
Well, just as inbound flights were delayed by the lighning, so were the outbound. But it wasn't too bad, and we started boarding at 7:17pm. This was to be a full flight, and I was assigned a middle seat. Oh joy! What was I saying about not upgrading being smart? Actually, as we went in, my buddy (who snarked the window seat to sleep on the last leg) jumped into the middle seat, so I had the aisle. Very cool, in my book. And we got much cooler looking bistro bags this time, as compared to the plain design of the ones you get at SJC.
7:40pm brought the doors closed, and the F/A announced our flight time as 2:48 at FL310. Again, without announcement, following engine start, we powered back on our own, and made the long, dark, taxi to the end of the world. Well, maybe not the end of the world, but it felt like it, as we crossed over to the other side of the airport. We were in a line, but it didn't have anything interesting in it. By 8:04, we got to the head of the line and blasted off into the sky. By 8:10, my buddy had his laptop out and started playing Civ III while I half-watched and half-read a book. Beverage service started at 8:20, and then came back around at 9:00pm. Neither of us actually felt hungry enogh to eat the bistro meal (although I had the carrots), so I'm not sure what was in there.
At 9:25 we picked up some chop and the pilot runed on the seatbelt light for a while. It went off at 9:40pm. At 10:05pm we crossed the Colorado River at Needles (EED) and I could see almost forever to the north; I could see Lake Mojave and even Lake Mead farther north. WHen the pilot banked slightly, I was even able to see my childhood home, which is just about 1/2 a mile from the EED VOR.
A few minutes later at 10:11pm a bit of power came off as we started our descent, followed a few minutes later at 10:17pm by pulling more power off in a bit more aggressive descent. 10:22pm brought the PA alive with a final approach annoucement, as the F/A's picked up the last bit of our garbage (including our two untrouched bistro bags). 10:36pm had us just abeam to the east of Castaic Lake (identifiable by it's 'V' shape), and then we sumng over the Newhall Pass, into the San Fernando Valley, and then over the top of VNY for a very nice 10:44pm touchdown (solid braking action on the fairly short runway at BUR). Then into our gate, and down the stairs and into the terminal (BUR has no jetways).
All in all, not a bad trip! Nothing special, but since I had a few minutes, I thought I'd write it up for ya'll!