Looking for something to do over the holidays, I decided I would fly omewhere with an aviation or aviation photography in mind. I had corresponded with John Muzic (Continental) about taking a day trip. John has done a few trip reports in this forum and has inspired me to take a trip simply for the joy of flying. I read about the grand opening of the new Smithsonian Air Museum and I happen to find some cheap airfare to BWI for $139 inc tax. I have some relatives that lived in Baltimore and I figure I could save some money on odging. So I thought this trip to BWI would be a perfect plan. I went ahead and book a flight on Delta. I also got an extra 500 miles for booking online for a grand total 2,792 FF miles for the whole trip.
At 11:30 am, I was drop off at MSP by my brother. I was there early because I wanted to get some photos from the observation deck located on Concourse D. I had a slight technical difficulties checking in, this being my first code share flight. I waited at the Delta Kiosk line and the kiosk screen indicated I needed to check in with the Gate Agent. I got in the regular check-in line and I talked to the Delta agent; She mentioned that even though this was a Delta Flight. I needed to check in at the NWA counter. On hindsight, this made perfect sense, chalk it up as a rookie mistake.
I found my way to the NWA counter and I went to NWA kiosk, which this kiosk also inform me that I need to talk to one of their agent. I tired both FF cards to see if this was some kind computer glitch, same response. I got the agent's attention that was behind the Kiosk, he told me I had to check in the regular queue. I think the job function of this agent behind the Kiosk was to attach the destination tag to the baggage and throw it on the conveyor belt. I finally got in regular check in line. They printed out my boarding pass and check in my one bag.
I check into security and I made my way to Concourse D. I headed for the observation deck. I remember back in the days, there were two observations deck, one located at Concourses D and F. My dad used to take me to the observation deck in Concourse F. Although, I think it used to be called the Red Concourse. The observation deck had a turnstyle and it cost 10 cents to enter if my memory serves me right. The F observation deck had a better view. One could see the action on runway 12R/30L and all the NWA heavies parked at the gates. You also could see Western Airlines and USAir, Ozark and TWA aircrafts parked on Concourse E. Now the F observation deck is now closed and the only one left are at Concourse D and only if you have a ticket.
When I got to the observation deck at Concourse D. I immediately could tell that the sun was too bright. It would cause all kinds of photo havoc with the reflection. There was also a TSA Agent taking a break in one of the many lounge chairs. I didn't feel like explaining myself as to why I was taking pictures of aircrafts. With the horrible reflection, I decided to keep my camera in my bag. I settle on just spotting traffic on 30R/12L, which was quite busy at the time. I also reviewed and study my itinerary for the up coming weekend trip. This was my first flight on ARJ and I was excited to get a picture, where the engines were in full view. I sat at seat 13A, which had a good view of the engines, however on closer inspection the window seemed like it was made of crumpled up saran wrap. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed with the quality of view.
This shot taken next to my gate C24. Top right corner a departing NWA 747-400 heading for NRT.
Just before departure from the gate. The ARJ pilot made the preflight announcement. He attempted to make some jokes. He was friendly and he made some off hand comment about our luggage arriving in one piece and that if gravity threw us to the first class area, NWA would have charge us for the First class fare. Haha funny.... Not. I made myself comfortable; the seat was wide enough for my small and short frame body. I figure as long as I am able to turn 45 degree and look out the window comfortably, I was a happy passenger. I got multiple shots of the MSP traffic as we made our way to runway 12R/30L.
An overview of MSP. On the top of the picture runway 12L/30R. Just below Concourse C, B & A dotted with NWA Airlink regional aircrafts Saab 340 and Avro RJ-85A. In the middle of the picture are the new US Post Office, along with NWA's maintenance Building "B" and Hanger. A NWA DC-9 and 757 parked on the tarmac.
Our flight leveled off at 29,000 ft. They served a can soda and a tiny bag of pretzel. Not much in terms of snack but I did gulp down the soda in search of a caffeine buzz. As we approach CVG, I was surprised not see snow on the ground that I am so used to in Minnesota. I supposed 40-degree will provide little snow ground cover. The landing was smooth; I hardly notice the landing because as usual I was concentrating on the outside view.
I had to go to gate C10 for the next segment. To get to C terminal you had to hop on a shuttle that scooted cross the CVG tarmac. You were up close and personal with Delta jets parked at the gates. You could almost touch some of the Delta 767, if you stuck your hands out the window of the shuttle. The C terminal must be where the regional gates are located. I was schedule to fly on Comair CRJ. When I got to terminal C. I debated if I wanted to check out the other terminals but decided against it. I grab a lounge seat and waited for my flight to depart. The Gate Agent made an announcement that the flight was overbook and they were looking for volunteers. I ponder for a moment, a free flight, hmmm let see I paid $139 inc. tax for my ticket. I can get a $200 coupon to take another flight 1 1/2 flight later. I decided to go for it. I went to GA and informed her of my intention. She told me to hang around the gate and I wait for the announcement for boarding. I went back to my seat and begin to think over my decision. I figure 1 1/2 hour would be no big deal. I had a rental car, so I wouldn't inconvenience my Uncle and Aunt if I were late. By the way the ComAir CRJ was 1/2 hour late for departure.
I was getting hungry and so I made my way to Mickey D's. I was pleasantly surprised by the price it was $3.64 for a Chicken sandwich meal deal with my favorite drink, Dr Pepper. I expected to pay the Hostage/captive prices for an Airport meal. I finished my food and waited to see if I was going to get bump. I was excited that it would be on a DL 757. After talking to Gate Agent and finishing the paperwork for a new ticket and flight coupon. I was back on the shuttle and heading back to Terminal A. When I got to Terminal A. I waited and I noticed the Delta's flat screen tote board with Gate and flight info. I wish I had one of those for my PC. I also noticed that they were offering upgraded to First class for $50, except my ticket class did not qualify. The one faux paux, I made when I offered to be bump, I should have bargain to be upgrade on this flight. Another rookie mistake. I know better next time around. It would have been nice to sit in First Class for the first time.
I finally board the plane and sat in seat 34A and I sat next to a restless child (the seat kicking kind) along with his father, who tried to calm him as best he could. It was quite dark outside the window and nothing to see. I eventually fell asleep and missed the in-flight beverage service. We arrived to BWI and had a really hard landing. The flight arrived to BWI early but we had to wait on the tarmac because the gate was still occupied by another jet. It was quite dark but I could make out several Southwest 737s roll by. At this point the restless child was getting more restless, his brother sitting behind me was trying to distract his little brother by calling out the airlines that rolled by. After waiting for about 15 min we rolled into the gate, so much for the early arrival. The terminal at BWI had a nostalgic decor and feel to it. It reminded me of a train station back in the 50's with silver stacked trimming along the corridor. I went to baggage claim and my baggage had arrived on the Comair CRJ. I went straight to the baggage counter, where I saw my bags already sitting there. I told the Agent that the baggage with the NWA tag was mine. I grab it and headed for my rental car. The rental car area was at an offsite area. You hop on a shuttle bus and it takes you to this large parking complex. I grab my rental car and I was on my way to Uncle and Aunt's house.
December 27, 2003
National Air and Space Museum (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center)
11:40 AM Arrival
04:30 PM Depature
I arrived to the new National Air and Space Museum (Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center) just before noon. I got a bit lost by following my instinct instead of following Map Quest’s suggested route. I ended up at IAD airport; the Smithsonian is located just off IAD. I looped around IAD and eventually found my way to the Smithsonian. I got off the exit to a long line of cars waiting to get into the museum property. At least there was some entertainment there; arriving aircraft flew over the area while the long line of cars slowly crept closer to the Museum. The museum parking cost $12, which I thought, was kind of steep, but I suppose that they do not charge a fee to get into the museum. I finally got in the parking lot; it was jammed with other cars looking for a spot to park. I believe this was the opening weekend and that was the reason why it was so busy. After wandering aimlessly, I was lucky to have found a vacated spot. I grab my gear and headed for the Museum. Again the line was just as long to get in the museum. When I got in, the place was packed and buzzing with visitors. I wandered the museum for 2 hours taking shots when I had a good composition of an aircraft. It is hard to shoot in the museum because it’s so many people getting in the way and the aircraft are so tightly packed together. I was able to get some goods shot by getting real close and also zooming out from a far.
My only regret was I did not have a wide-angle lens for The Concorde. After making my rounds at the museum. I decided to check out the control tower, but when I saw the line, I changed my mind and instead I headed outside. I figure that this was golden opportunity to do some spotting of IAD traffic. I walk out the museum and the first jet was an Air France Boeing 777-228/ER Reg. S-GSPC. The weather was clear skies and it was warm enough for spotting, about 60 degrees F. I got all excited and headed for my rental car to retrieve my 75-300 zoom lens. After getting my lens. I scope for location to spot. I finally decided to spot in front of the Main Building about 100 yards towards the parking lot there is art like object, that was dedicated to all the monetary donors for the museum.
I sat on the curb that surround the artwork and waited for the IAD flights to arrive. I had pack a light snacks and a soda for a cheap lunch. After spotting for about an hour, I met a fellow spotter who was also on vacation from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He had just bought a Canon Rebel film camera and we discuss our interest in aviation and I gave him tips on the camera equipment. In between conversation I caught various exotic birds from Lufthansa 747 to BMI A330. It was exciting to see and photograph these birds. You almost never see these types of heavies at my home airport MSP.
4:00 am blinks ominously on the alarm clock.... Good lord, that's early! I got up and said my goodbye to my Uncle and Aunt and I made my way to BWI. I managed to find the rental Parking facilities in the dark no less. I gotten slightly lost when I got to the rental garage because I could not find the entrance for my particular rental car company, bigger signs HERTZ! I end up doing a go-around. I wasn't the only one who made the same mistake; the car that was behind me did the same detour. I drop off the rental car and headed for the shuttle to take me back to the BWI's main terminal. I headed for the Delta Counter. The line was quite short and I check in security and to my gate. I found out that they couldn't print my NWA segment of the flight. I think there are still some wrinkles to their code share system. I got to the gate with about 1 ½ half before departure. The equipment for this flight was a MD88. The flight was full and they didn't need any volunteers, as I hoped. I got a seat 28A right along the edge of the wing. I am getting good at selecting windows seats. I sat and observed the pitch darkness waiting for the flight to take off. I was hoping for a sunrise shot. When the DL flight begins to roll to the runway. I could only see a yellowish tint glow along the horizon, but not yet a sunrise.
Pre-dawn touchdown at CVG with the spoilers and flaps deployed. In view a MD-11F Gemini Air Cargo ship and the DHL building and tarmac.
DL FLT 1608 landed at CVG without any problems. I saw the Delta 767 that was landing parallel to us come into the gate. I got off the plane and I checked with the gate agent to find out where my next flight since they still couldn't print out the NWA boarding pass. Let see here, NWA could print out the Delta Segment to BWI, but Delta couldn't print the NWA segment. It didn't make much sense to me. I was able to at least get them to point out where the NWA gates were located. I got to the gate but there was no gate agent so, I patiently waited for him or her to arrive. I was less than comfortable that I didn't have a boarding pass. I was finally able to talk to agent and she printed out my boarding pass. I went back to the lounge and waited for the plane to depart. I got on board, what was odd was they actually took the bigger half of the board pass, where the previous 3 flight they just scanned the pass. I counted on the other half to do a full report with the gate info in CVG.
We finally departed just before 9:00Am, right on time. This time my seat was 05F, which I had a better view of the engines. I was anxious to get home, the very next day I was to take off to ALB for a week (see my other trip report). The segment CVG-MSP, there was not too much to report either, the usual soda and pretzel, which must be standard on all AIRLINK flights.
Short final; in view the mighty Mississippi and the RJ85’s mighty mini engines.
We landed on 30L/12R at MSP and I headed down to baggage claim, to my dismay my baggage was not at the carousel as the monitor said it would be. I waited and waited. I finally decided to ask an Airlink agent but the office seemed to be closed. I hike myself down to another baggage claim further down the baggage area. I requested the location of my baggage and I was informed to head back where I just came from. So I headed back again, still no baggage. I had my friend to pick me up at the airport and he had been circling the airport for a while. After about 45 minutes I went to agent again to fill out the paper for the lost luggage, they gave me a tracking number and I headed home without my luggage. As I reported earlier on another Trip Report, my luggage arrived around 9pm with a $25 certificate for a future NWA flight attach to my luggage, which was nice.
Overall, I had a good trip, except for the delayed baggage and minor code share issues. I manage not to get too lost in the DC area. I got to visit the Air and Space museum and I received a $200 coupon for a future trip. The trip went well as I expected, "I love it when a plan comes together!" Col. Hannibal Smith (A-TEAM)
Chuckles1225 From United States of America, joined Mar 2002, 160 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (11 years 1 month 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 7539 times:
Very nice report. The pictures really spice it up. Must have taken a while to do. I was at the air and space museum a few years ago and it is just awesome. You really cant see it in 1 day, you need a few days to get the full experience.
ask not what your pilot can do for you, ask what you can do for your pilot
CV63 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 106 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (11 years 1 month 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 7454 times:
It did take awhile to get all the pictures up in both site but well worth the effort. I think the museum you visited was the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) located at the Mall in DC. I thought about visiting the Mall museum but like you said you need more than a day to fully enjoy either museum.
Does anybody know how to edit the trip report post? I was fixing the paragraphs so they would the line up but end up cutting off the first letter on some of the words.
NWA Man From United States of America, joined Jun 1999, 1828 posts, RR: 12
Reply 3, posted (11 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 7388 times:
Excellent report, Ken - I really liked the shot of the NW744 taking off to NRT in the background with the Airlink planes in the foreground... really captures the essence of MSP.
Sounds like the codeshare is still in its "teething" phase. It's nice to be able to check in for Continental flights on NW's e-ticket machines and vice-versa... if the Delta option was implemented, it would save a lot of hassle. You can probably chalk up the baggage delay to codeshare problems as well... interlining with checked bags is always an iffy proposition.
Well done with the bump voucher, too... it's always nice to get paid for taking a trip, as it looks like you came out of this one +$61, even if it is in Delta Dollars.
CV63 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 106 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (11 years 1 month 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7073 times:
That was a great deal, being paid to visit the The Nat. Air And Space Museum. I wish all my trips involved a bump. I made a total of $86 including the extra $25 dollars for the delayed baggage on NWA. I already spent the NWA on another ticket. I defiantly like NWA's process to redeem the NWA certificate. You can use the credit to purchase the tickets on line and you do not need to be the passenger. Although I am not sure if this process applies to NWA bump ticket.
I've already spent the Delta Dollars on a day trip to ATL for an air show. I had to call Delta's reservation and book the ticket and redeem the ticket at Delta counter at MSP because you can't redeem it online. Quite the hassle.
Jeremy, yep great weekend. I try to maximize my vacation days.
Mark, The museum is a must see for an Aviation enthusiast. Concorde, Space Shuttle, SR-71 and 707 all classics.
"Over the next few years, the facility will continue to grow as more air and space artifacts are added to the displays. Eventually, over 200 aircraft and 135 spacecraft will be on display, including the B-17 Flying Fortress named "Swoose" and many more.
Future expansion of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center will also a new restoration area where the public can watch as specialists restore air and space objects.
Eventually, restoration and preservation of historic aircraft (currently performed at the Garber Facility in Suitland, MD) will occur at the Udvar-Hazy Center, where the public will be able to watch skilled museum specialists at work in the restoration hangar. There will also be space for museum archives and collections storage. "