SECTION 1: POINT of TRIP
Before the 08' recession, the company my father works for used to send him and other executives to Dallas and annually visit the Cooper Clinic for physicals and preventative care. Since 2008, he has not gone due to the company not paying for it, which is understandable. Earlier this year, the division of the company he works for was sold off. Accordingly, this caused much concern about the future of my dad, as such, he became very future/security/health/etc. conscious and decided that he wanted to go back and get a check-up. The physical takes around 8 hours and costs around $4000.00, and you must attend fasting for the blood work, but more on that later. Lucky me, as I will reveal more on later, he asked if I wanted to go and offered to pay for the treatment, professors do not make that much salary. I said yes. Overall, I am/was in good health, albeit a small spare tire around my waist and a 14 year battle with Type 1 diabetes.
SECTION 2: BOOKING
At this point, I must divulge that the adventure was thrown together at the last minute. We decided that the 23rd would work as it was a Friday which my dad has off and I wanted to take a small trip before classes started on the following Monday. In addition to the physical, my dad wanted to pay for the plane ticket to Dallas. I traditionally fly UNITED, but as we all know last minute ticket prices are a bit of a sticky wicket on cost. ON this flight, AA beat out UNITED $469 to $750, respectively.
Also, my dad was flying in from Los Angeles; he was there making presentations to investors seeking to court his division, so AA was also the best respect in this endeavor as there are several non-stop AA flights into DFW from CRP. His flight arrived into DFW on Virgin America at 1005pm. The cheapest flight I could find, on AA arrived into DFW at 1630, so I had a 6 hour wait at DFW for his plane to arrive, only an A-netters dream right, once again lucky me. Please expect a section on how I entertained myself later. I could have taken the later flight into DFW that arrived at 2030 or so, but AA wanted around $800, and if someone else is paying I always use to rule of spend thriftily.
The new AA booking system was very easy to use. Although, two complaints. First, "the extras page" was annoying as it had the option to decline any upgrades hidden, and was very small, way down on the page hidden amongst ads, sorry, no pic. Second, when you select your outbound flight it pops up options to upgrade your flight before even selecting your inbound flight. This causes the inbound flights to fall-off the screen and slow the booking process down. AA, please move this to the extra's page or save it for when I check-in, like most pax I want to spend as little as possible, but would be more likely to upgrade when you already have my money. Please apply the sunk-cost principle here, what's a little more money to me when I cannot get the money priory spent back. Overall though, it is a very good system over the one upgraded from 1 or 2 years ago, I believe or was it with the recent rebranding? It has been a while since I flew AA.
SECTION 3: TO at CRP AIRPORT:
The day started off well in Kingsville, TX, 30 mile south of Corpus Christi where I teach and live. I attended my sunrise Rotary club from 0700 to 0800 hours at Linda's Main Street Cafe, nothing exciting to report here other than a heated discussion about the speaker schedule. Later that morning at 0830 to 1000 hours, the university I teach at, TAMUK, had our annual All-Faculty meeting where new professors on campus were presented by their College Deans and the University President announced happenings at the Legislature that impacted the school. In short, we did not get a new performing arts center, but we all received a 4% raise. I would call the meeting very enjoyable. From 1000 to 1200 I went to my office to work on a few last minute items that needed attention before classes started on the following Monday, which for me begins bright and early at 0800 with Texas Government and Politics. At 1200, I walked the mile back home and grabbed my back-pack with everything I needed for the overnight trip to Dallas, the joys of being a guy. On the way to the airport, I went by my bank to get some cash for the trip to pay for parking and meals, etc. CRP is a very small airport so you could easily get there 45 minutes before your flight without much of a hassle.
SECTION 4: AT THE AIRPORT:
I had no bags to check and I had printed my boarding pass and I was able to sail right to security. On the way in from the long-term lot to the gate, I took the following pictures:
Just guess what state I live-in: ONLY IN TEXAS!!!
The CRP Terminal: In order, the terminal building itself, baggage claim area, check-in counters, after security in the modest 6 gate concourse, and a model of the USS Lexington just before security.
Overall, security was a breeze; I even flirted a bit with the cute girl checking ID and tickets working for the TSA. While waiting for the inbound flight from DFW, only AA destination served from CRP, I read about 30 pages of Bill Clinton's memoir, My Life (That book is 900+ pages and literally weighs more than a brick, BTW Bill, we do not need to know about every single thing you have done since birth, although the baptismal story was hilarious), talked with the flight/cabin crew (more on them later), watched Jeopardy, and Family Feud. Just before boarding, a small helicopter was taxing around the airport; it looked silly hovering around 4 feet off the ground, no pic sorry. I'll close this section with some pics of the arrival of N479AA as AA 2114 to take us all to DFW. Sorry about the dullness of the pics, CRP has very effective window tinting in the terminal.
This one is funny because the plane looks like a dog trying to hide.
SECTION 5: THE OUTBOUND FLIGHT:
Flight: AA 2115
Cruising Alt.: 29000 ft
CRP Gate: 5
DFW Gate: A9
CRP RWY: 13
DFW RWY: 17C
EFT: 1hr 25min
AFT: 1hr 11min
F Cabin: FULL
Y Cabin: 60% or so.
ROUTE: WORRY V13 PSX TNV LOA CQY CQY7
DIST Flown: 421 SM
Boarding commenced on time and was over very quickly. The only concern that I had was a Ben Stiller moment from the movie, Meet The Parents, when at the end he is the only one standing in the boarding area while the agent handling boarding calls out 2 or 3 boarding groups and nobody goes up to board as the people in those groups just boarded with first, but due to rules they have to follow some pointless protocol. Later at DFW, I learned that AA has seven (7) different boarding groups that were grotesquely redundant. A nice new thing, at least to me, is that after first class and troops are called, they just say "If you only have one carry-on that fits under your seat go ahead and board now." I used that on both legs of the trip to my advantage. Either way, I miss the cattle chutes of WN and the days of now boarding flight so and so to somewhere and people just board as one mass.
When physically boarding the aircraft, there was a F/A the door, for F, but she was having a heated conversation with the employee operating the jet bridge over something and not a "Welcome aboard" was said to a PAX. Also, as boarding went very quickly we had to wait at the gate for about 15 minutes for stragglers to appear. The concern here was a male F/A, for Y, violently stabbing the tray of ice to break it up for drinks later on. He was going at it so much that I and other PAX turned and stared for several minutes before he stopped as the cabin door was closing. Whatever happened to just slamming it on the ground, it is more fun and quicker. I decided to be as nice to the FA as much as possible from that point forward. Once the door was closed we taxied via B3 and then B to APPCH 13. Of note, unless hell as frozen over, RWY 13 is used for all take-off and landings due to it pointing directly at Corpus Christi Bay and the sea winds were blowing in. RWY 17/35 will be used in the future once reconstruction is finished sometime next year. At that point 13/31 will be redone. The following pics are from the sights seen from the aircraft on the way to DFW. In order they are the CRP Tower, located south of the AOA, Cabaniss Field, Waldron Field, NAS-Corpus Christi in the Background with TAMUCC in the foreground on its own little island, Downtown Dallas, The Margaret Hunt Bridge over the Trinity River, and finally, Love Field. DFW was seen by those on the other side of the plane.
Corpus might have one too many close airports.
Dallas from above:
The flight itself was uneventful. A basic drink service was offered. I had a cup of water with frozen water in it. The leg room was respectable, for someone who is 74.5 inches tall with long legs. I was comfortable. I liked the old school call buttons, lights and seat-belt/ no smoking signs. The cabin interior looked new and was very refreshing. I did not use the facilities, hard to on a 50 minute flight. In addition, the flight was equipped with Wi-Fi which I did not use as I have no smart phone and left my laptop at home. Many others did though. Lucky for me, I had the window seat with no one else in the row next to me. Finally, the captain was top notch as along the way he updated us with our airspeed which topped out at 450 mph and identified landmarks for us to look at along the way. We arrived about 15 minute's early landing on RWY 17C. We taxied to A9 via M4, EL, crossing 17R, K and EJ to Gate A9. Overall, it was a very good flight. The following pics display leg room, the lights, call-buttons, and etc.
SECTION 6: SERVING TIME AT DFW:
As I stated before, my dad's flight from LAX did not arrive until 2205 hrs, so I had some time to investigate an airport that I had not been to since May 2009, when my dad and I went to Spain. He wanted to meet at the gate so I had to avoid leaving security, which as we all know for an A-Nutter, this is not a problem. Terminal A looked very nice. I had dinner at Fuddruckers in D, I do enjoy their cheeseburgers. I spoke with the airport information volunteers and was advised about the Terminal D art trail to enjoy. I did some spotting, the 747 is just beautiful, rode the Skylink, and saw some cool stuff that I will leave to the pictures below. In regards to the sights/pics, in order are the new gate areas at A10, creepy hologram person at a kids play area in A, Skylink boarding area, the new stinger gates in Terminal B, the Terminal E satellite ( did not go to stupidly) leftover from the Delta hub that closed in 2005, Terminal 5 swarmed by AA planes, Terminal E art, the ramp tower overlooking the 9/11 memorial, the new Immigration corridor between B and D to increase to number of such gates for international arrivals, Terminal D art, Skylink boarding area art, Minute Suites ( A perfect place for any A-nutter to get some on the go between flights, more on that later), connector hallway between D and C, Computer and charging station (Thank you DFW!!!), Fuddruckers, and the Terminal D Yoga studio near the escalator to the D-->E walkway.
As DFW is a major airport, the spotting was insatiable. Please see below:
Here, the speedbird is being stalked by the kangaroo.
Republic, I guess?? The DFW airport website listed neither Republic of Midwest serving the airport.
ONEWorld Family Pic (My favorite of the trip.)
I did see UA, US, Spirit and others but was just not able to neither get a good pic nor care enough to. Prior to the trip, my dad just advised me that his flight arrived at 2205 hrs without giving the airline, I assumed UA, his favorite, but guessed wrong when he called saying he arrived and I did not see him leaving the gate where I was sitting at the UA flight that arrived a few moments beforehand. Apparently, he rode from LAX to DFW on Virgin America. So I had to hike all the way across the terminal to meet him at the E 31 bag claim.
SECTION 7: North Dallas Hyatt and Cooper Clinic:
After meeting up with my dad we took a Taxi to our hotel. The terminal E taxi stand outside E31 was a joke with the attendant doing absolutely nothing to control the crowd on the narrow walkway. The taxi took about 40 minutes to get to the hotel and we got there just before 2300 hrs. Of note I have no pics in this section due to the privacy of people attending the clinic and the fact that I was preserving low battery life on my camera. Links to the clinic and hotel are below. After sleeping for about 7 hours I awoke, took a quick shower, put on exercise clothes, required for your physical, and the left for the 10 minute drive to the clinic. The hotel had a very nice breakfast spread that I enjoyed smelling before our shuttle arrived. For whatever reason, the hotel thought that we needed to be picked up at the clinic at 730 as opposed to the hotel for some reason.
Our appointments were both at 0800 hrs on 08/23/13, with different doctors. Prior to arriving you are given paperwork to fill out which includes a food log, medical history of yourself and family, consents, amongst many other things which took about 90 minutes to fill out. The morning started out with blood work and basic body measurements, then a treadmill stress test, dermatology, throat camera (the girls I saw going in here had no real problems, most guys did though based upon the noises I heard coming out of the room, it made me think), a nutritionist, and finally a basic physical with the doctor. Everything came back normal, my A1c was 6.7 which is very good for a diabetic (normal people are below 6). The bad news came when during the physical he found a polyp on my thyroid gland during a physical inspection. A later sonogram showed a 2cm growth. I have an appointment this Tuesday with my endocrinologist for further evaluation. I hope it is not cancer and I am very glad I went for the physical, lucky me. The only real change they requested was for me to lose 20 pounds over the next year. I accept the challenge. I was at the clinic from 0805 hrs to 1630 hours. I had a free lunch at the Cooper's Institute's Cedars Woodfire Grill. Of note, other than the clinic and grill, there is a spa, gym, hotel, and conference center. I had a BBQ chicken sandwich on Panini bread and chips with water and frozen water in it. They served soda which I thought was kind of stupid due to it being a health clinic, but the food was very good.
The only complaint I had was the nutritionist. Reason being was that she felt Diet Sodas were ok for you and that she did not know the difference between a simple and complex carbohydrate. She may have, but that was the impression I received. This is very important information to know for a diabetic to manage our sugars correctly. As I am on a pump using Humalog, a simple sugar (Dr. Pepper or candy bar) needs the insulin right away, while a complex carb (rice) needs the insulin over a very long period of time as it has no sugar in it so it digests slowly. Overall though, the Clinic was top notch and I would recommend any person reading this post attend. I believe they do FAA medicals as well. The check-in/host/concierge girls were gorgeous and friendly as ever. They put concierges at the finest hotels to shame.
At 1700hrs, I took a cab to DFW and arrived at about 1800hrs. The taxi driver was from Ethiopia here as a refugee. He spoke very good English and knew his way around town, the In'N'out was a great treat along the way. Don;t worry it was just a fun last meal. We had a great discussion about politics as he was very interested in the subject. As a political science professor, I gave him more of a lecture than he bargained for. He dropped me off at Terminal D near the Hyatt.
SECTION 8: Serving time, for a second time, and flying back home:
DATE: 08/23/2013 Aircraft: UKN
Flight: AA 2130 Cruising Alt.: UKN EAT: 2136
CRP Gate: 5 EDT: 2040 AAT: 2158
DFW Gate: C37 -->A14 ADT: 2052 EFT: 1hr 25min
Seat: 31F EBT: 2010 AFT: 1hr 6min
CRP RWY: 13 ABT: 2025 F Cabin: FULL
DFW RWY: 18L DIST Flown: 384 SM Y Cabin: 90% or so.
ROUTE: NELYN3 SAT J25
I cleared security near D22. Be advised this is the security line that people arriving on international flights clear when connecting to further flights so it is very full. Therefore, it was full of varying tongues and chaos due to tight connections. If arriving in the afternoon, I would at least have a 2 hour connection time. Avoid at all costs if coming from the street..The TSA was pulling people out of line to go ahead of people or sending the back of the line to another nearby check-in counter to keep waits down. I assume the other checkpoint was over staffed. The bigger issue here was the four lines that went through two ID checkers, 4 bag prep tables, 2 x-ray machines and only one of the new body scanners. Does anybody else see a clog developing here? A traditional metal detector was available, but you had to be under the age of 12 to use it or be very short, WTF? I guess they did not want to produce child porn or something. Therefore, everybody had to go through the sole body scanner. It took about 35 minutes to clear everything. The following are pics of the Grand Hyatt, Terminal D for AA check-in, a view of a D atrium from the Skylink station above, and a self-portrait on the train. Any good spotting pics or other terminal photos were included above.
After clearing security, I went and checked my email, rode the Skylink, walk-around again, took in the food court smell. A highlight though, when spotting the BA flight pushing back, I started talking to the most beautiful FA I have seen in years. She brought the flight attendant back to the good ol days of stewardesses, if you know what I mean. Felicia, thank you very much for the wonderful conversation before yours and mines flights. After about an hour I went to C37 for the flight. Once there, I took out Clinton's memoir for some reading. About an hour before departure, the gate agent came on and announced that our flight had moved to A14. It took about 10 minutes to get there. After this, I had had enough of escalators for a while. Our a/c was towed form a hard stand after sitting for a while during the day. I was not able to find out what a/c it was nor get a pic due to the A gate configuration blocking a respectable view of the plane. Boarding commenced at 2016 with the Captains wife boarding first, followed by first, and then everybody else. Once again, no F/A was there to greet people, although the ice was already broken up at this point, thank god. Once we all boarded the plane, we pushed back at 2052, 12 minutes behind schedule. We taxied to RWY 18L via JY, Y, G, and WG.
Take-off was, I feel, very steep. But other than that, it was a very quick smooth flight. I used the facilities, had a glass of water with frozen water in it and looked out the window. Out the window, I saw AT&T stadium and thought the place so beautiful at night all lit up that I need not take a photo or violate some cardinal sin. Either way, GO TEXANS, ROCKETS, ASTROS, DYNAMO, and AEROS. After about an hour's flight we landed at CRP, 8 minutes behind schedule. Once in the terminal, I walked to my car, got in, paid the $14 parking tab, and drove the 40 or so minutes back home to Kingsville. Here are some final photos from the flight: my view, my seat and luggage, my throne, and the standard legroom shot.
Little airports with the big jets are the best!! Floyd