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Southwest PHX-LAS-RNO-LAS-TUS (pics)  
User currently offlinemke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2458 posts, RR: 5
Posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 7428 times:

Alright everyone I'm back again with another trip report. Ever since I went off to college I haven't been able to accompany my family on as many vacations as I had before, and understandably so, especially since we don't really go anywhere during the summer. However, in early June my dad approached me with the idea of going to Lake Tahoe the week before my fall semester of school started. He had a medical conference there and wanted to take the rest of us with for a little family vacation. Now I go to school at the University of Arizona in Tucson, and for some reason my dad wanted me to fly down there the day before and move into apartment, drop my stuff off, and so forth. Apparently he thought my luggage would take up too much space in the hotel room, or something like that.   Then the next day I would fly out to RNO and meet up with them. Sure it sounded a little tiring, but have you ever known me to pass up on a few extra flights?   WN and US were the obvious choices for this trip and since I decided to go with US ORD-PHX-TUS on the way down, I went with WN for my flights to/from RNO. I decided to fly from PHX and save my dad some money since the flights were a lot cheaper than the ones out of TUS. I know you're probably thinking I just made it hard on myself by opting to connect through LAS, but both of the n/s flights from PHX that day didn't match up at all with my family's arrival time into RNO, so I just went with that one to avoid any long waits. Now with all that explained, on to the report...(Aug. 12-18)
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As previously mentioned, the day before my trip to RNO I flew in on US from ORD, but since I've already covered/addressed similar flights in my previous reports I'm going to leave that part out. Now since I was flying to RNO from PHX I was going to have to take the airport shuttle up from Tucson. My flight's departure time was 9:30 AM and usually they have shuttles that leave every hour, but as my luck would have it they decided not schedule one for 6 AM... This meant I'd have to get up even earlier and catch the 5 AM, because if I left at 7 that'd be cutting it way to close in terms of time. It only became worse when I didn't get to bed until around 1 AM that night, mostly due to the fact that I locked my keys in the car at the grocery store and then had a huge mess to clean up in my kitchen after I dropped a can of Pepsi and it exploded everywhere.    So anyways I woke up that morning at 4:30 AM, tired, and starting to regret the decision of having to trek up to PHX for my flight   . Nevertheless I got up, showered, and walked a few blocks from my apartment to get picked up for the one hour and forty-five minute drive to PHX. It’s a drive I've done quite a few times now, so it actually went by somewhat quick.
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After getting dropped off at terminal 4 I headed inside to the WN counters to check-in. There was a decent line, but since there were plenty of kiosks I obtained my boarding passes and dropped off my bag in no time. From there it was off to the security check point, which also didn't take long, and I was now in the gates area with still over two hours to go until my flight to LAS. I grabbed a coffee from Starbucks to keep me awake and then walked around the concourses to check out some of the action. Here's "Lone Star One" getting ready to fly PHX-BNA-TPA.
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Obviously on this side of the airport WN is the dominant force.
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Down at the west end of C concourse I stopped for a while to watch some of the departure traffic.
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With less than an hour to go until my flight I decided head over to my departure gate C7, and not too long after I got there I saw the 735 for my flight rolling in. WN's website originally said this flight was going to be with a 733, but since the 735s are in the process of being retired I guess it was a welcome surprise.
http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/2913/hyhehthr008.jpg

The turnaround was pretty quick and soon I headed aboard. This flight was completely full and I always make sure to buy the "early bird check-in" to get put in the A boarding group whenever I'm flying WN, that way I never have to worry about getting a good window seat.
http://img269.imageshack.us/img269/8098/rno2.jpg

After everyone had boarded there was about a twenty minute delay as a mechanic came aboard to fix some sort of switch up in the cockpit. Once that was taken care off we pushed back, made a quick taxi out to runway 7L, and then took off after waiting for a few planes to go up before us.
http://img850.imageshack.us/img850/4031/hyhehthr012.jpg

The flight attendants started taking orders for drinks right after takeoff and I opted to keep the caffeine flowing with some more coffee. It was a short flight and not too long after what looked like to be parts of the Grand Canyon came into view, we started our descent into LAS.
http://img31.imageshack.us/img31/9715/hyhehthr014edited1.jpg

Our decent took us over Lake Mead and then we made a left turn to line up for landing on runway 25L.
http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/2765/hyhehthr018.jpg

http://img14.imageshack.us/img14/2875/hyhehthr019edited1.jpg

We taxied over to gate C21 and parked right next to one of WN's new 738s. It was my first time seeing one of these in person and even though to me it seemed like they got their first one only a short time ago, I was surprised to find out that they already have over 20 of them in the fleet!
http://img40.imageshack.us/img40/2685/hyhehthr022edited1.jpg

Here's the 735 that had just brought me from PHX. Its next flight was to OAK.
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With less than an hour to go until my flight to RNO I checked the departures screen and saw that I had a bit of a hike ahead of me over to the B gates. When I finally got down there I checked the monitor again to confirm my departure gate, only to see that it had been switched back to gate C25   ...So I walked all the way back and got to the gate right as they were about to start boarding.
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Now unlike with other airlines, WN's gate agents keep your boarding passes after scanning them instead of giving them back to you. I don't really have a problem with this, except when I got halfway down the jetway I realized my luggage claim sticker was inside the ticket jacket that I had given to the gate agent. I stopped for a second and thought about going back to get it, but then I said to myself "Eh, I've never had any problems with airlines misplacing my bags, surely it won't happen today, right?"   
http://img821.imageshack.us/img821/7300/rno1.jpg

So I went aboard, took my seat, and then this time the flight attendants came through the aisle taking drink orders even before pushback. When we finally did push back we taxied to runway 7L and took off. I guess the winds must have shifted around or something because when we came in from PHX just over an hour ago all flights were going east to west instead of west to east.
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http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/5767/hyhehthr029.jpg

Once we got up to our cruising altitude it was a smooth flight and eventually the flight attendant brought out the coffee and ginger ale that I had ordered before takeoff. Like the previous flight this one was also just about full, and it went by pretty quickly as well. During our descent into RNO it got kind of bumpy as we got lower, probably due to the rocky terrain I'm guessing.
http://img685.imageshack.us/img685/1043/hyhehthr032.jpg

It wasn't the smoothest approach, but the pilots did a pretty good job greasing the landing and after exiting runway 16R we taxied over to gate B3.
http://img834.imageshack.us/img834/7461/hyhehthr033.jpg

http://img259.imageshack.us/img259/4102/hyhehthr035edited1.jpg

The rest of my family had flown in on AA from ORD an hour earlier, and sure enough my dad was waiting for me outside concourse when I got down there. Now all we had to do was get my bag and then it was off to Lake Tahoe. It sounded easy enough, but as time went by and my bag didn't show up on the luggage belt I started to get ancy. Eventually there was just a few of us left and then the belt shut off. At that point I pretty much was like "crap". My dad obviously got kinda pissed and he didn't get any happier when I told him that I didn't even have my luggage claim sticker. The few of us from the LAS flight who didn't get our bags went over to the WN office next to the baggage claim area and after answering a few questions about my bag they said they'd call me about delivering it to the hotel once they found it. Fortunately about 15 minutes after we left the airport I got a call that they'd found my bag and would deliver it to my hotel later that evening. Apparently for some reason that had put it on a flight to SLC, though I'm thinking it might have had something to do with that rather late gate change for my flight to RNO. Anyways, with that taken care of it was time for some relaxation!
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The hotel we stayed at was called the Resort at Squaw Creek. It was in Squaw Valley, and to be honest up until that point I had no idea this place had hosted the Winter Olympics back in 1960.
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On our second day we went rafting out on the Truckee River. It was nice and relaxing, probably the sort of "outdoors" type of stuff Lake Tahoe is known for during the summer. I always figured Lake Tahoe would be more busy with tourists during the winter because of all the skiing, but then I was told it’s actually a lot more packed during the summer. Any truth to that? Here's me in the raft.
http://img69.imageshack.us/img69/507/016qyv.jpg

We drove over to Tahoe City to check out some of the beaches, though I must say I was a bit underwhelmed because even the beach back home in Racine, Wisconsin is better than most of the ones we saw out here.   
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The best beach we saw was the one at Emerald Bay. This is also a nice place to go if you just wanna get some nice scenic overviews of the lake.
http://img96.imageshack.us/img96/4003/hyhehthr042.jpg

And then here's a picture of our hotel.
http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/9646/hyhehthr058.jpg

The week actually didn't go by to quick, which was good, but eventually it was time to head back to Tucson for my fall semester of school.
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My flight from RNO was at 11:55 AM, so we got up at 7 AM and then stopped to eat at McDonalds before driving to the airport. We were going to eat breakfast at the hotel, but my parents claimed that the restaurant had doubled their prices from the day before, so for instance it was now like 20 bucks for a stack of pancakes! Anyone else encounter anything like this before? Anyways, it was about a forty-five minute drive from our hotel to RNO. When we pulled up to the airport the way it looked and was set up really reminded me of MSN.
http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/9510/hyhehthr059edited1.jpg

While I was back home in Wisconsin for the summer I was able to find a job working for the Dollar-Thrifty car rental company at MKE, so when we dropped off our car it was somewhat interesting seeing some of my counterparts. My family was taking AA back to ORD, so when we got inside the terminal we split up and I headed over to the WN counters. Even though there was that minor incident with my bag being misplaced on the way over here, I didn't really have any second thoughts about having them check my luggage again. After all, it’s free and I'd rather not have to haul it around with me when I'm walking around spotting in the gates area. WN and AA operate out of separate concourses at RNO, so after saying our goodbyes we headed our separate ways to the security checkpoints. The screening didn't take too long and I was now back in concourse B with under two hours to go until my flight to LAS. WN and DL share this concourse, though I'm pretty sure DL only has a few flights a day to SLC so it’s mainly WN's. This flight was going to SAN while the other 737 pushed back in the background was an earlier flight to LAS.
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Here's my flight on short final from PDX, another 735.
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UA CR7 to SFO.
http://img861.imageshack.us/img861/778/hyhehthr068.jpg

Once everyone had deplaned from the PDX flight they started boarding and I headed aboard. The flight was completely full, and the University of Hawaii's women's soccer team was on here too (no smoking hot babes unfortunately   ).
http://img853.imageshack.us/img853/2576/rno3.jpg

After pushing back we taxied back to runway 16R and took off through the somewhat murky weather that had rolled in. It was a little bumpy during the climbout, but once we got above the clouds it was mostly smooth. I got a cup of ginger ale and then for the rest of the flight just looked out the window. During the descent into LAS we dodged a pretty big storm right outside the Las Vegas Valley, and then had a great view of the airport and Strip during the downwind leg for landing.
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About to line up with runway 25L.
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The final approach was a bit bumpy as we bounced around a little bit, but eventually we landed taxied over to gate C16.
http://img571.imageshack.us/img571/8269/hyhehthr078.jpg

I now had about a two hour layover until my flight to TUS, so I got a slice of pizza and then walked around the airport. It was nice to see that there was some refurbishing in progress, but I think the A/B gates could probably use that that the most.
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Obviously the abundant amount of slot machines is what makes LAS unique.
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I walked over to A/B gates to check out some of the non-WN action, and there was this NK A319 pushing back for its flight to ORD.
http://img440.imageshack.us/img440/4318/hyhehthr088.jpg

There was also this grey 762 with dark red engines/tail, but I couldn't really tell what airline it was. Anyways, at that point I had pretty much seen all that there was to see, so I started walking back to my gate, C9. My flight's on the left with the one of the right going to DEN.
http://img842.imageshack.us/img842/6468/hyhehthr093.jpg

I was a little tired from all the walking around, so I decided to stay in the gate area and just wait for boarding.
http://img607.imageshack.us/img607/6682/rno4.jpg

Once everyone had come aboard and taken their seats it was clear that this was going to be a fairly open flight. I'd estimate only about 60% of the seats were filled. Now remember how during our descent into LAS we flew around that storm not too far out from the city? Well, as we were taxiing out to runway 25R that storm finally started creeping into the western part of Las Vegas and I was starting to think that we were gonna be stuck on the ground for a while. To my surprise we actually took off right into the direction of the bad weather and even though there were flashes of lighting going off, the captain did a pretty good job going around it and it was a pretty smooth climbout.
http://img208.imageshack.us/img208/8606/hyhehthr094.jpg

I was hoping to get some good views of the Grand Canyon on this flight, but instead we passed right over the Hoover Dam.
http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/2250/hyhehthr095.jpg

We pretty much maneuvered around storm systems all the way down to TUS, which I'm guessing is probably typical during the monsoon season in the Southwest. As we passed over the PHX area we started descending into TUS.
http://img402.imageshack.us/img402/8243/hyhehthr096.jpg

Downtown Tucson clearly visible and then it might be kind of hard to see in this picture, but just to the right of that those red buildings is actually the U of A campus where I go to school.
http://img19.imageshack.us/img19/6282/hyhehthr098.jpg

We flew past the airport and then lined up for a smooth landing on runway 29R at TUS.
http://img844.imageshack.us/img844/7017/hyhehthr099.jpg

http://img534.imageshack.us/img534/9632/hyhehthr103.jpg

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And then here's my flight at the gate, it was heading back up to LAS about thirty minutes later.
http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/9730/hyhehthr106.jpg

I headed downstairs to the luggage claim hoping that it'd be a lot easier retrieving my bag than in RNO, and luckily for me mine was the fourth one to come out!   
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With that taken care of I headed outside, got in a cab, and drove back towards campus for the start of my junior year of college!
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Well this is my 25th trip report and I hope you enjoyed reading it!!! I had a good time in Lake Tahoe, and while I wouldn't mind going back there again during the summer for a nice laid-back vacation, I'm also looking forward to going back there during the winter for some skiing. Even though WN temporarily misplaced my bag, it wasn't a big deal and overall I was satisfied with all four flights. They've certainly become my carrier of choice lately, especially with their now increased presence at MKE. Thanks again for reading!!!  


Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineHA_DC9 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 653 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 7074 times:

Quoting mke717spotter (Thread starter):
There was also this grey 762 with dark red engines/tail, but I couldn't really tell what airline it was

That would be Omni Air International's 762 that does the charter for Boyd's Vacations Hawaii LAS-HNL flights. Their 762's are former CO aircraft.


User currently offlinegjunnar From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 155 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 7064 times:

Quoting mke717spotter (Thread starter):
To my surprise we actually took off right into the direction of the bad weather and even though there were flashes of lighting going off, the captain did a pretty good job going around it and it was a pretty smooth climbout.

Wow, that picture is really fantastic. One can really see the power of nature here.
Overall a great trip report, thanks for sharing.


User currently offlineMSS658 From Belgium, joined Oct 2010, 2474 posts, RR: 15
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 6327 times:

Hi

Interesting report, thanks for sharing!
did not realize that WN has classic 737s
RNO and LAS look great as well

Greetings
Marc



Next trip report: Well worn A330s and Hassle free MUC transfer
User currently offlinemke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2458 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 6123 times:

Thanks for the comments!

Quoting HA_DC9 (Reply 1):
That would be Omni Air International's 762 that does the charter for Boyd's Vacations Hawaii LAS-HNL flights. Their 762's are former CO aircraft.

Ah ok, that clears it up. I guess I was only used to seeing their white paint scheme.

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Stefan Sonnenberg




Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
User currently offlineoldman55 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1525 posts, RR: 32
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5398 times:

Nice report; as usual Mike. I have to agree that was a pretty awesome shot of the storm clouds. Almost missed this as I am not on Anet too much anymore.


too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
User currently offlinemke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2458 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (2 years 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 5213 times:

Quoting oldman55 (Reply 5):
Nice report; as usual Mike. I have to agree that was a pretty awesome shot of the storm clouds. Almost missed this as I am not on Anet too much anymore.

Thanks for commenting!



Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1942 posts, RR: 24
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 4894 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Good report!

Quoting mke717spotter (Thread starter):
The flight attendants started taking orders for drinks right after takeoff and I opted to keep the caffeine flowing with some more coffee. It was a short flight and not too long after what looked like to be parts of the Grand Canyon came into view, we started our descent into LAS.

Nice views! I'm also amazed by the flight attendant taking drink orders on the ground at LAS. Pretty rare in my mind ; never seen this before for Economy Class!  

Thanks for sharing!

Matthew (767747)


User currently offlineadamspotter From Netherlands, joined Feb 2011, 1162 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 4655 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Hi Mike717spotter,

Nice report, thanks for sharing.
The last time I flew WN was when I was a small kid. Booked 2 flights to them in the beginnning of November on my little US trip, really looking forward to that!

Quoting mke717spotter (Thread starter):
To my surprise we actually took off right into the direction of the bad weather and even though there were flashes of lighting going off, the captain did a pretty good job going around it and it was a pretty smooth climbout.

Great picture!

cheers,

Brendan


User currently offlinemke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2458 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (2 years 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4449 times:

Thank you for the extra comments!

Quoting 767747 (Reply 7):
I'm also amazed by the flight attendant taking drink orders on the ground at LAS. Pretty rare in my mind ; never seen this before for Economy Class!

Yeah, I've never experieinced that before either. I'm sure it had something to due with the fact that the flight was completely full and the flying time was rather short.

Quoting adamspotter (Reply 8):
The last time I flew WN was when I was a small kid. Booked 2 flights to them in the beginning of November on my little US trip, really looking forward to that!

I've been flying them for a few years now and I've never really had any major complaints. The only thing I worry about is the possibility of not getting a window seat, especially during a tight connection.



Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
User currently offlineairjamaica From Jamaica, joined Aug 2006, 2535 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (2 years 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4378 times:

Great TR as usual MKE. Especially like the shot of HA's B767 climbing out of PHX.


greenheart
User currently offlinemke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2458 posts, RR: 5
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 4217 times:

Quoting airjamaica (Reply 10):
Great TR as usual MKE. Especially like the shot of HA's B767 climbing out of PHX.

Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed reading it!



Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
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