Although I've flown several times in the past few months for the military and my civilian job from MKE I haven't posted a trip report on any of them (DTW-NW, UA, AA; BNA-AA; BWI-YX; DCA-YX; ATL-YX; LAS-AA; CLT-UA, TZ), because frankly nothing really out of the ordinary happened on them - all pretty much uneventful. This report was a bit more eventful, so here it is.
Sunday, Nov. 2, MKE-ORD-SAT, AA
I arrived at MKE at 10:30 a.m. for my 11:30 a.m. departure for SAT through ORD. Going to SAT for a week-long military class. All the AA flights on the monitor said 'on time' except my flight, which said cancelled. Since I was in no big hurry - let the fun begin.
The female agent said I could get on another AA flight that arrives in SAT about three hours later than my originally scheduled 5:30 p.m. arrival. But since I wanted to get settled in my hotel room and watch the Packers kick some ass, I asked about some other options. I knew YX had a flight leaving about 1 p.m., with about the same arrival time. I asked her about getting me on that flight and in a few minutes I was heading down to the YX counter.
Since I now had about three hours before my new 1:30 p.m. departure I thought I'd make a few calls. Unfortunately I left my cell phone at home. So I called my wife and she agreed to turn right around (she had just dropped me off) and make the 15-minute trip back to the airport to give it to me. She picked me up and the three of us (3-year-old daughter) went to Culvers on Layton for lunch and then to the Cudahy library to kill some time. About 12:30 p.m. she dropped me off again (and my daughter, Rachel, cried again) and I left for a second time. Getting past security was a breeze and made my way down to the gate.
MKE-MCI-SAT YX Flight 114 1:30 p.m. departure
I was disappointed the YX plane was a DC-9-30 (N203ME) instead of their new 717. I did fly one of their new birds (N907ME I think) to DCA in August - very nice plane. I took my seat in the exit row (I always ask for it and nearly always get it). Flight was about 90 percent full. I was also excited about the airline switch as it allowed me to fly through MCI. Always heard about the strange terminal setup, so was anxious to form my own opinions.
With everyone on board and anticipating pushback I see a gate agent appear at the door with a manifest chatting with the flight attendants. Soon the agent began walking down the aisle. Noticing her out of the corner of my eye she was eyeing my row as she appeared.
"Mr. (X)?" she asked me.
"Yes that's me," I said.
"Can you come with me?"
So with that she told me to grab my belongings (computer) and we marched off the plane. My ticket had a strange set of "Ss" on them - four to be exact, and I managed to slip past security without getting the full pat-down treatment. Those of you who work in the airline business probably know what I'm talking about. For those of you who don't (like I did before Sunday) here's what happened. Source is the YX agent who escorted me off the plane.
When AA bumped me to YX, in the TSA's eyes I was a walk up to YX and purchasing a one-way ticket on the spot, and that sets off whistles in TSA's eyes. So I was suppose to get extra security, but TSA missed it and somehow it didn't get noticed until the flight was ready to leave. I assume it's a controled item that has to get check off - which didn't. So I waited outside the gate with the agent for about five minutes until TSA arrived to give me a thorough patdown. The whole time this is going on I see all the ground workers just standing by waiting for me to get back on the plane. About 10 minutes later I walked back on the plane. I didn't make eye contact with anyone as I made my way back to my seat. That was kind of interesting.
Took off on 7R and turned west for MCI. Flight was about one hour and 30 minutes. Have no idea which runway we landed on in MCI. Very poor weather. On-board cookies were fantastic - as usual. Indeed the terminals in MCI are as I've read. You walk out the gate and walk right outside. Of course I had to go through security and the whole nine yards again - no big problem. We were only on the ground for about 20 minutes. Next to us was another YX DC-9-30 heading to YX. In fact we taxied right behind him. Flight 114 took off about 3:30 p.m. and continued on to SAT. This leg of the flight was about 70 percent full.
Both flights were rather uneventful. On-board service was fine and cookies were great. Leg room on YX is typically good, but since I was in exit row I had prime realestate. Landed in SAT on time at 5:30 p.m. As the shuttle bus took me to Dollar rent a car we past the AA terminal and I could see a F-100 sitting there. I knew my original AA flight out of ORD was on an F-100 and it was suppose to arrive at 5:20 p.m. - I suspected that was my plane sitting there - kind of wierd.
Stayed at the Radisson Hotel near the Riverwalk. Trip was great. Wednesday night drove over to Lackland to see my old digs from 1991 - nice to remember such fond times. Also spent two nights at Howl at the Moon? (the piano bar - lots of fun).
Heading home on Friday, Nov. 7 on AA flight 1001, departing SAT at 4:43 p.m. I drove a classmate to the airport about noon Friday as he was also on AA for an earlier flight - thought I'd try to get standby on his and get home a bit early. Since I fly enough I know Friday afternoon is pretty busy. Nonetheless I tried anyways. The agent said every flight was booked and standby was probably out of the question. My checked suitcase came in at 60 pounds, but he offered me a bag and suggested I through some of the stuff in there to make it lighter and avoid the extra charge. That saved my $25 - kudos to him.
AA seemed to have a flight every hour heading to DFW, which is where I was changing planes, and for each flight leading up to mine the agents were soliciting volunteers for a later flight in exchange for a $150 voucher. About 4 p.m. I asked the agent if she needed any volunteers for my flight. She said probably and took my ticket. She did offer to get me on either NW through MEM or UA through ORD so I could at least get back to MKE Friday night. I said that would be fine, plus would still get the $150. Shortly before boarding she called me to the podium and said she didn't need my seat and thanked me for volunteering.
As boarding commenced on flight 1001's MD-80, first class boarded first. I happened to notice a very tall black man hand the agent his ticket and disappear into the jet way. Did one of the Spurs get traded? So when group 5 was called to board I made my way on the plane and saw former Spur David Robinson sitting in first class! He was wearing a brown gym-type suit with some type of gold trim around the neck. Although it was just a gym or workout suit, it looked pretty expensive - so that was neat.
Not familar with SAT, but think we took off to the east. Ceiling was low and quickly disappeared in the clouds. Flight was full and uneventful. Excited about going to DFW as I've never been there. Landed in poor weather at dusk so I have no idea which runway we were on. Parked at C-19 and made my way over to B9 for my Eagle flight to MKE. After I took the TrAAin to B Terminal and found my gate, walked a little further to McDonalds for a sandwich, on my way back I walked past the lone YX gate, which had a flight back to MKE leaving at 7 p.m., 10 minutes after my flight. Walked up to the window but the plane had yet to arrive. Got a good look at the passengers as I thought I might recognize them again when we get to the baggage area in MKE.
AA Eagle flight 3735 was a CRJ-700, first time on this plane. Seating was tight as I forgot to ask for a exit. Flight was nearly full but fortunately I had row 12 to myself. As we taxied out we rolled past the YX plane that appeared to be leaving as the strobes we all illuminated. Again have no idea which runway we took off from, but I think we were heading east. As we lifted off I saw the YX plane pushed back from the gate, so figured he would be about 10 minutes behind us. Flight was great and with a full moon, views were nice once we got above the clouds. Flew north over St. Louis (clouds had cleared), over Chicago and made touchdown at MKE on 7R at 8:55 p.m., a full 20-minutes early. My buddy was late picking me up, so I waited with my bags near the information booth and sure enough about 9:20 I saw a bunch of people from the YX flight from Dallas walk past to the baggage area.
All in all good flights on both YX and AA. I have FF on both of those carriers, so both accounts got padded a bit.
Thanks for reading