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Trip Report- MSP-ALB-MSP W/Photos  
User currently offlineCV63 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 106 posts, RR: 4
Posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4025 times:

My first trip report, so be gentle. Big grin

December 29, 2003
MSP-ALB
FLT NW5600
Seat 09-A
Gate A13
2:05 pm Departure
5:37 pm Arrival
Northwest Airlink (Pinnacle Airlines)
Canadair CL-600-2B19 Regional Jet CRJ-200
N8554A


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Photo © Ken Cheung



I checked in at the NWA's self-service Kiosk. I swipe my Frequent Flyer card, and ran through the verification screens. Checked in my two bags and handed it to the gate agent. I hoped my luggage would accompany me to ALB. My sense of trepidation comes from an earlier NWA Airlink flight just the day before. Returning home from BWI, they manage to lose my one and only check bag, but to be fair it was a code-share flight with Delta. NWA prefer to call it "delay" baggage, to me when I arrive home without my luggage, I considered it lost. The luggage was later drop off at my home about 9 pm. The luggage came with a $25 discount code/certificate for my next trip. I didn't even have to complain about it with a letter or e-mail, which was nice.

I went through security without any problem. I remembered to remove my belt with the metal buckle and shoes. I ran the items through the x-ray machine along with my laptop bag, to ensure I didn't get the wand treatment. I started my long trek to Concourse A, where all the regional gates are located at MSP. The NWA Domestic check-in counter was practically the opposite end of Concourse A. I can't image running to the regional gate with less then 1 hour prescribe check-in time especially with check baggage.



The airport was bustling with the post Christmas rush. I made my way through the Concourse C. I notice the TGIF restaurant. It was odd to see a franchise restaurant at an airport. I knew there are quite a number of bars and fast food restaurants at the Northstar Crossing food court. I will have to grab a TGIF menu the next time I am at Concourse C to see if they offer the captive/hostage prices.

The weather forecast for MSP was lights snow and the same old crappy gray cold winter weather. The temperature was near freezing causing some delays. Our schedule flight was to depart at 2:05pm but the equipment didn't arrive until 3:15 pm the CRJ was delayed somewhere in Iowa. Our aircraft finally arrived. It was cleaned and prep for our flight. The snow had stopped and we finally got on board.

The CRJ to me looks like mini DC-9 but with a sleek look to it. They have leather seats but not much cushion for comfort. I can't recall any of my previous flights that caused my rear-end to ache midway thought the flight. I come to the conclusion that the fabric is a better seat compare to leather, at least in a cheap coach CRJ seats.

Around 4:30 pm we boarded the CRJ. After FA closed the door, the CRJ move to the de-icing station. It was neat to see the two trucks maneuver around million dollars worth of aircraft to spray the de-icing chemical spray on the wings and tail. I took some shots of the action of a Mesaba Saab being de-iced. An average passenger would normally be bored by the delay but being aviation enthusiast this gave me a chance to watch the deicing in action. Plus the safety factor is well worth the wait.

MyAviation.net photo:
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © Ken Cheung


We finally departed on runway 12L/30R. I had a good view of the winglet, took some shots of it as we took off. I had put some thought in the seat I selected. I knew I wanted a winglet shot so I choose 19A. On this segment they served a soft drink A whole Can (Mountain Dew) and the usual mini bag of pretzels. The rest of the flight there was not much too sees except clouds and more clouds.

MyAviation.net photo:
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Photo © Ken Cheung


Although the sun setting behind the winglet made some good reflection and shadow for this shot.

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Photo © Ken Cheung


It was getting darker as we approach New York. That's what sucks about winter, the short daylight. Darkness is not a photographer's friend, especially when there is no tripod to be had on a CRJ and I suspect moving about 488 mph doesn't help either. Near the end of the flight I tired some night shots. I took a few shots but it did not turned out as I hope.

The CRJ landed to ALB around 6:00pm. ALB is a small and quaint airport. The plane arrived at the gate. There are good and bad points of smaller airport. The bad point is obviously there are less jets to spot but the good point you have less hassle of a major hub, like lost luggage, long lines and better on-time arrival and departure. Although, I would take MSP over ALB any day, bring on the hassles!

JAN 5, 2004
ALB-MSP
Gate A4
Seat 09-A
FLT NW5623
2:16pm Departure
4:10pm Arrival
Northwest Airlink (Pinnacle Airlines)
Canadair CL-600-2B19 Regional Jet CRJ-200
N8733G


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Photo © Ken Cheung



On the return trip. I arrived to ALB airport with an hour and a half to spare. The line was short but no kiosk check in, it was just the traditional check-in counter. I breezed through the line, check in my luggage. I hop on the escalator to the second level for security check-in. I went through the line, only this time I forgot to remove my belt and the beeper went off. The TSA Agent told me to remove my belt and put through the x-ray machine and I went back through the metal detector again and I was good to go. I think I wear a rope for a belt on the next trip.

I made my way to Terminal A. The terminal also has UA and AA gates. I waited for the equipment to arrive. In ALB there is not much to see; including my CRJ that I was supposed to take me back to MSP. I was tired from the trip an anxious to get back home. The jet finally arrived and it was clean and refueled. I always debate if it wise to come to the airport so early, considering there is so much waiting involved especially with delays. But watching people scramble to get to the gate with no minutes to spare convince me being early is the way go. I boarded flight 5623. I sat in the same seat 9A but on a different CRJ.

We lifted off from ALB and it was quite and dreary and gray, sounds very familiar. As we were rolling down the runway, I could see several cars park along the runway spotting the action at ALB. With the weather, I could see it was not good for any photo ops. It was quite cloudy and the visibility was poor.

The rest of my flight were pattern of dozing here and there and interrupted by the in-flight snack service, the usual can of soda (Mountain Dew) and a small bag of pretzel. The view started to get interesting when the flight begin it descend to MSP. The familiar snow covered farm fields.

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Photo © Ken Cheung


Near our short final, landmarks begin to look familiar. I could see South St. Paul, as we were heading to either 30L or 30R. The wind must have been blowing from the west.

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Photo © Ken Cheung


We landed on runway 30R. The landing was uneventful. I was more focused on watching the scenery. We turned off runway 30R.

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Photo © Ken Cheung


The CRJ made it way to the terminal A. Now viewing the other side of airport, I could view the traffic on 30R.

MyAviation.net photo:
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © Ken Cheung


We waited for about 10 minutes for a gate change. Notice the gate with my flight number to the far left. An empty gate, yet we still were waiting.

MyAviation.net photo:
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Photo © Ken Cheung


Finally we pulled into our gate, and I got this shot of a flock of winglets and tails.

MyAviation.net photo:
Click here for bigger photo!
Photo © Ken Cheung


Nice!

I got to the baggage area and waited for quite awhile, checking and rechecking the monitor for any changes to the baggage carousel, thinking to myself, here we go again. After waiting for about 20 minutes, my luggage magically appeared in the next carousel. Go figure.


16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineCOAB767 From Guam, joined Nov 2003, 1377 posts, RR: 9
Reply 1, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3636 times:

Nice trip report love the photos. How are the CRJ's by the way?


Continental Micronesia: "Fly With The Warmth Of Paradise"
User currently offlineCV63 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 106 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks ago) and read 3519 times:

Thanks, COAB767

Being a customer of smaller height and size, the CRJ was a comfortable ride on both segments. The only complaints again, were the leather seat, which I thought could use more padding. Being a COS you may find the height and width to be tighter on a CRJ than say an A319 or DC-9. You would have to expect give up some comfort for the nonstop flight. Northwest offers nonstop on the CRJ and larger equipment but connecting through DTW.

The CRJ ride was quite smooth, we did not encounter any turbulence and the landing was uneventful. I guess, I was too focus on the outside the window to notice the interior of the CRJ.  Nuts


User currently offlineContinental From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5499 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (10 years 1 month 2 weeks ago) and read 3507 times:

Excellent report Ken! Glad to see you finally got a name on airliners.net. I was wondering for quite a long time why you didn't have one...

co


User currently offlinePilottim747 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1607 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3426 times:

I absolutely hate CRJs! Being 6' 3" in that small plane sucks. The seats are small, little legroom, and the low windows. When I get out of the plane I've got a sore back from looking out the window and I've got sore legs and knees from no legroom. The only thing good is that I'm skinny, so I can fit in those seats.

If you like the CRJs, however, you've got something I don't. I'm guessing that you're much shorter than I am, right Ken?

pilottim747



Aviation Photographers & Enthusiasts--Coordinate your life.
User currently offlineCV63 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 106 posts, RR: 4
Reply 5, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3380 times:

Yep Tim, much shorter and I am also skinny. I don't think they had you in mind when they design the CRJ. Big grin

Say, where are the APE's (Aviation Photographers & Enthusiasts) pictures from Imperial Hill?





User currently offlinePilottim747 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1607 posts, RR: 5
Reply 6, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3352 times:

Unfortunately, it was raining during APE's first visit to LAX. We found other spots to take photos from that were closer to the action. It looks like most of the other spotters/photographers during the rain, but APE stayed on.

pilottim747



Aviation Photographers & Enthusiasts--Coordinate your life.
User currently offlineChuckles1225 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 160 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3345 times:

i can see how the small cabins might suck for tall people but i love crjs. They are small but very powerful and fun. Sometimes it it nice to get away from the big boeings and airbuses with 100's of people and have only 50 or so. Also there is a much better chance of getting a window seat! Big grin


ask not what your pilot can do for you, ask what you can do for your pilot
User currently offlineAviatorTJ From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1838 posts, RR: 7
Reply 8, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3335 times:

Don't expect much from Imperial Hill, at least from me. I would prefer not to have my work assimilated into the norm of any airport's shots. Something better, and more creative, is a great improvement on more of the same.

__TJ__


User currently offlineNWA Man From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1828 posts, RR: 12
Reply 9, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 3199 times:

Nice report... liked the pics and the giant map of MSP, which was a nice touch.

A tip to save a little bit of time... check your gate before you head out to MSP. If it's toward the end of the G Concourse (G15-G22) or in the A/B/end of C concourse (C11-C27), check in at the underground transportation center (there's NW e-ticket machines, counters, and TSA luggage screening down there) and take the train to the skyway/rental car center. You can clear security up there, and do it rather quickly, as there's never a line. Then just take the skyway to your gate. There's still a bit of walking involved, but it sure beats the mile-long walk from main check-in to A14.



N-Dub



Create your own luck.
User currently offlineCV63 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 106 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3144 times:

NWA Man, Thanks for the tip. I have been so condition to check-in at main terminal, I didn’t realize that there was check in at the underground transportation center. You would think NWA would advertise the convenience with more emphasis to reduce the lines in the Main Terminal. I have to give it a try the next time I fly an Airlink flight.

I checked out NWA's airport map on their website.

http://www.nwa.com/

http://www.nwa.com/travel/trave/airports/MSP.shtml

It's confusing and backward in its orientation compare to the MAC's map, shown in my report. Concourse A & B should be on the top right corner. People usually do not read a map looking south.  Nuts


User currently offlineBa319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8430 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 3134 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Nice report.

I am impressed with the $25 discount due to 'delayed' baggage,that is proactive customer service.



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333,342
User currently offlineSouthwestMDW From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 303 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 3024 times:

Excellent Report and Great Pictures!

Patrick


User currently offlineNWA Man From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1828 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 2925 times:

CV63-

No problem... that's what the board is for.

Just a quick heads-up... they close the luggage check/E-service centers at the Ground Transportation Center early (around 7 or 8pm), so if you have to check bags after 8pm, your best bet is to check in at the main counter first, then go down to the Center and catch the tram to the skyway. I just realized this a few hours ago, before I got on my trademarked 10:11pm flight to MKE.

If you don't have luggage, the E-service centers outside the Skyway Security Checkpoint remain open 24/7, so you can print your boarding pass there and clear security with ease (three bored TSA agents "ensured my safety" at the checkpoint earlier tonight).

Or, maybe the MAC could finally operate the train that runs from C1 to A14. The last date I heard for its opening was early May, but I'm not going to hold my breath.

For non-MSP a.net users, disregard everything I just said... it's gonna be like deciphering hieroglyphics if you're not familiar with the wonderful features of our quirky airport.


Regards,


N-Dub



Create your own luck.
User currently offlineAviatorTJ From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 1838 posts, RR: 7
Reply 14, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 2920 times:

I think "quirky" might be an understatement. I do not think the tram will be up in May, considering they continue to have operating computer troubles. I suppose it is good that they have not crashed since reinstalling it! For more MSP information, be sure to check out http://www.mspupdate.com/

__TJ__


User currently offlineCV990 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (10 years 1 month 1 week 12 hours ago) and read 2917 times:


Hi!

A very nice report for me, specially taking in mind that I've never tried NWA before and it was good to see your opinion. Like others said here the CRJ200 is a very hard airliner for tall people like me to watch by the windows, very low and if you want to take some good shots you have to slide down has much has you can. I felt that when I flew from FAT to PHX with HP, but the plane is quite confortable. I also was curious about ALB. I used that airport in 1998 when I was with some friends that lived in Vermont, we drove from Orwell to Albany and took there our flight to SEA via ORD and DEN with UA. We flew N7448U a 727-200 from ALB and I must tell you that the runway looked quite short for that beast, but we became airborned nicely and had a nice flight all way to ORD.
Regards


User currently offlineCs03 From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 412 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (10 years 1 month 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 2864 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Thanks for the positive comments about my "home" airport, ALB! MSP/ALB is sort of a new route, and I hope it does well! ALB used to have very high airfares, but when WN came in, that all changed! ALB may be small, but it is a very modern facility. Aircraft spotting may not be what it was, but I can tell you UA used to have 737s and 727s to ORD, as AA had dc9s and 727s, and TWA flew a 707 to STL in the 1970s. (briefly) Now mostly smaller A/C!

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