Just a few days ago I returned from a fun trip to Chicago, IL and Cleveland, OH. My family and I went mainly to visit friends and family. The flights were as follows…
December 21, 2000
We departed on United flight 108 on an Airbus 319 (N829UA). It was supposed to depart LAX at 3:50 PM but ended up leaving around 5 PM and was supposed to arrive @ ORD around 9:45 but got in at about 11PM. There were problems with the wind @ O’Hare which originally prevented us from taking off, since they did not know whether or not we could land @ our final destination. Finally they cleared us to board but then we had to sit on the tarmac for a ½ hour because of the long line of departing flights along with heavy fog, a nice way to start of our vacation. I got to go up to the cockpit and I talked with the pilots during our wait on the tarmac. It was cool to talk with them. At LAX I saw quite a few jets. America West 737, 320, Southwest 737s, US Air 767, Air NZ 747, Air Canada 767, KLM 747, JAL 747, Mexicana 320, American MD-80, 757 & 767, Delta 767 & 757, TWA 757, Alaska 737, Northwest DC-10, Fed Ex DC-10 & 727, Kitty Hawk 727s and basically the entire United fleet except the 727 and DC-10 (319, 320, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777). The flight was nice and smooth. From my window seat (17A), I could see both the door of the cockpit and the rear galley of the plane, which is not so common flying United usually. We had some pretty bad Turkey with good potatoes and a choc chip cookie. I saw some of Toy Story 2. It was funny but it wasn’t as good as the first one. Once we got to O’Hare there weren’t many people, or planes except for some United jets (mainly 727s) and some AA MD-80s. Oh yeah, and I also saw an ATA 727 at the int’l terminal. I guess it must have been a charter, probably to Mexico. I still don’t understand why they fly IND-CUN instead of MDW/ORD-CUN. They have MDW-Bahamas and ORD-HNL.
December 24, 2000
We departed on Continental Express flight 3910 from Chicago Midway (MDW) to Cleveland Hopkins Int’l. At Midway I saw a lot of Southwest 737s (including Arizona One) ATA 727s and 757s (I saw both models in the 25th Anniversary livery, along with the new colors and the old ones), Air Tran 717s (A first for me), Frontier 737, and Vanguard 737 (another first for me). Our flight was on an Embrear ERJ-135 (another first, we don’t get them out @ LAX) It was a really smooth flight and pretty short. Less than 45 minutes flight time. Before we took off the pilot said something pretty funny, “I know some of you might be afraid of flying on such a small plane but just remember this, you can’t stand up in your car and you can’t drive to Cleveland in 45 minutes.” I thought that was funny. I sat in seat 2A. I had a 7 UP and a little pretzel mix on the flight and before I knew it we were on the ground in Ohio. The flight was a tad bit bumpy but nothing out of the ordinary. On the ground I saw a United Express CRJ, Northwest DC-9, US Air 737, Metro Jet 737, CO 737s, CO MD-80s, Co 757s, CO Express ATRs and Beech 1900s, and last but not least at least 12 ERJs. Since we got in so early we had to wait about 10 minutes on the tarmac for our gate to open.
December 27, 2000
We departed on Continental Express flight 3909 on another ERJ –135. The D terminal is a sort of neat building. It is dedicated only to Express flights and is filled mainly with Regional Jets and the few prop flights that they still fly out of Hopkins. The flight was supposed to take off at 2:30 but ended up leaving the gate around 2:50. We were then in line to take off for about another hour. We were in line behind like 5 other CO ERJs, a TWA Super 80 and a Metro Jet 737. I saw mostly the same planes this time except I saw Comair and ASA CRJs, and a UA A320. We finally took off and were off for about an hour flight to Midway. I sat in seat 12A. I had a 7 UP again and a Ginger Bread Cookie. It was pretty good for that kind of snack food. BTW, the new 7 UP cans look pretty cool. We finally arrived at Midway a little before 4 PM. We were scheduled to get in at 2:40. At least we didn’t get snowed into Cleveland. At Chicago I saw mostly the same planes as before including the TZ 727 25th anniversary colors and the Arizona One. I also saw a 757 at the ATA gate that was totally white. Also, the shops and food stores at Midway really suck compared to those at O’Hare or even Hopkins.
January 1, 2001
Happy New Year! This day we departed on United Flights 253 & 39. We got to the airport a little before eleven to be ready for our 12:05 flight. There were huge lines at O’Hare. Even for the Premier/1K check in it still took 15 minutes until we got to the desk. My dad used some coupons and got us all bumped up to first class. It was really cool that we got up in First for practically nothing after buying these really, really cheap tickets from 1800 airfare. (Which by the way is a very good and reliable company.) Then suddenly on the check in person’s computer it flashed up that the plane went in for repairs on the flaps. She figured that the plane wouldn’t be out for a while and that we should try a new set of flight because we’d probably miss our already tight connection. She looked at booking us through SFO, SJC, SAN, LAS, PHX, IAH, DFW, a later connection through DEN and at the 4PM nonstop. Then after we had agreed to go for the 4 PM flight in coach the screen flashed up that we could start boarding in like 10 minutes because they got a new 767-300. It sounded ok to us so we ran to the gate under the cool underground link. It’s cool, if you are a Premier, Premier Executive, 1K, Business or First passenger you get a gold boarding pass vs. a blue one. I sat in seat 5A. I watched a really funny episode of Friends and then did some reading. I dined on some very tasty Turkey with a Caesar salad and cheesecake. It was quite the opposite of the inbound flight’s food. The seats were very comfortable. The only annoying thing was that there were no PTVs. There was a big screen in the front and two small TV monitors (also in the front row). We had about twenty minutes to make it to our flight in Denver but we made the connection after all since we were in the 5th row of the plane. It turned out though that there were about 15 other passengers connecting from our flight and they all made it, or so it seemed. There were a lot of United jets there. I saw some BAe 146s and some Dornier 328 from the Express fleet. I saw a Mexicana 727 and an Allegro 727. I noticed an AA 767, US 320/319, and an ATA 727. I sat in seat 29A on this cramped, full 757. After take off I tried listening to the show on the small TVs the row ahead of us but the sound system wasn’t working. I was really exhausted from being up late the night before and I just fell asleep. I woke up when we were somewhere over Arizona with about ½ hour of the flight left. I had a Frappucino and some peanuts to try to wake me up. We finally landed in LA on a few minutes before 4. I didn’t see many non-common jets at LAX; the only really interesting one was the AOM Airbus 340 which I had never seen before.
Well that’s it. I had a really nice flight. A bit of advice, if you have a chance to fly first/business for just one segment of 2 flights, fly the first one in coach and the second in upper class (unless it’s like Hong Kong-SFO and then SFO- Portland). I felt really, really cramped in coach after being in those new seats with lots of legroom. Cheers, I hope those of you who took the time to read this all enjoyed this.