I apologize for taking a while on this one...I was busy over the past month, so I didn't get to write it for a while. And when I did write it, it would be in parts, so it might not flow nicely, and since some parts were written weeks after the flights, it isn't as detailed as some of my other posts.
28 May 2004
American Airlines 1517
Depart: Boston – Logan International Airport (BOS)
Scheduled Departure: 0853 Local
Actual Departure: 0850 Local
Departure Gate: B31
Arrive: New Orleans – Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY)
Scheduled Arrival: 1127 Local
Actual Arrival: 1140 Local
Arrival Gate: C10
Equipment: McDonnell Douglas MD-82
Seat: 16A (Economy/Group 4)
The night before, I decided that I would print my boarding pass out on my computer, just to save me some time at the airport. This, in my mind, is one of the best things the airlines have done. It allows me to save quite a few minutes at the airport, and thus, I can sleep in longer (I can wake up at 5 for this flight instead of 430). Security was a little lengthy, but the line moved continuously. There were quite a few flights leaving at the time my flight left (777 to Heathrow, MD-80s to O’Hare and DFW, ERJs to STL, JFK, and quite a few more destinations). When I got up there, they let me use the Elite line (for some reason, I don’t know, I’m Elite on SkyTeam, Gold on Star Alliance, but nothing on OneWorld), so that did shave about 10 minutes off my wait. I did some spotting from the terminal...there were the aforementioned 777s and MD-80s from American, plus you could see the America West ramp, where they had quite a few Airbuses running around (I saw 5 America West planes that morning...there were times that I felt I was at PHX or AS / KLAS), USA - Nevada">LAS instead of BOS because there were 3 AW movements in a row, followed by an AS movement...it didn’t feel like I was in the Northeast). I also saw quite a few of Delta Connection’s RJs, mostly ACA FRJs, but there were a handful of Comair CRJs there too. This was one of my last times to see the ACA FRJs on a consistent basis, but I prefer Comair for two reasons...(1) I like the CRJ more than the FRJ, and (2) it will allow me to see some new registrations (the only ACA FRJ that escaped me was N430FJ, 401-429, 451-452, and 500 were all spotted...32/33 isn’t a bad percentage though). While waiting, I saw the aforementioned Alaska Airlines 737-990; now I have seen this wonderful plane with 2 airlines (CO and AS). British Airways had G-VIIU on the ground (the largest plane spotted, along with the AA 777 N788AN), and Delta had 767-400 N831MH there as well, which completely overwhelmed the Cape Air ramp next to it.
Boarding started a little late, but it didn’t make a difference, as we were all on board within 12-15 minutes, and pushed back immediately. We taxied past Terminal C, where Delta had a few more 767s (N176DZ and N118DL), a few Song 757s, and when we reached the United pier, we just sat. We were about number 10 for take-off, so we had to wait a while for our turn on Runway 15R. However, I did see my first TACA plane (N471TA) leave, and I saw a handful of JetBlue A320s and the Aeromexico 737-700 XA-AAM take off. I must saw that those winglets make it one impressive airplane. Northwest had a CRJ that was due out at 618 that morning, but I later found out it was delayed for more than six hours – I’m glad I wasn’t booked on that flight. Anyway, it was finally our turn on the runway, and we immediately took off on Runway 15R, where we used about 7000 feet of the 10000 foot runway. We climbed up to FL310, and our route for the flight today had us going over TEB, down toward Washington, out over LYH and ATL, then turning down to MOB, and following the Gulf Coast over Gulfport/Biloxi and into New Orleans.
Service for this trip consisted of a baked apple granola bar and a drink service. I requested a Coke and was given the whole can, with our flight attendant smiling the whole time. Later in the flight, they came around with a juice or water service, with about 30 minutes to go until landing. The crew was a pleasure to fly with. They were constantly smiling, were making small talk with passengers, and giving excellent service. As for the seats, this was my first experience with MRTC. For this flight, I didn’t really notice it (I did on the other flights). I did note that it was a little bit more than what Delta or US Airways gave, but not by much. The winged headrests were excellent though, and very comfortable. I wouldn’t mind seeing this amenity on other airlines.
Since the flight was over bad weather most of the way, I didn’t really bother looking out the window, as all I would have seen would be clouds. Thus, I played Monopoly on my Palm Pilot for the flight. Around Mobile the clouds cleared, and I got a nice view of the Gulf Coast. I saw the Air Force Base in Biloxi, but I didn’t get to see KGPT. We followed the I-10 to the Louisiana border, where we went over Lake Pontchartrain as we descended. I could easily see Lakeshore Airport and downtown New Orleans, including the Superdome. We turned for finals on to Runway 19 just after crossing the Pontchartrain causeway, and came in over I-10 to MSY. The pilot overshot the runway a little bit, and we ended up touching down around Taxiway Uniform, with about 5000 feet of runway left. However, we slowed down enough and turned at Taxiway Sierra. We continued on Sierra until Echo, and turned onto that until we reached gate C10. There wasn’t a ton on the ground at this time. Northwest had a couple of DC-9s, there were a couple of Southwest 737s, a Continental MD-80 and ERJ-145, a Delta MD-88, a couple of United 737-300s, and a Air Wisconsin CRJ. We ended up deplaning at 1143, the only reason us being late was the wait for takeoff in Boston. I walked down to the Budget counter in the terminal, which of course there were delays, due to computer problems. After spending a good half hour there, everything was set. By this time, a Chautauqua ERJ-145 N292SK had landed, and there was a Delta 767-300 in from Atlanta as well. At the car rental place, I saw what could be my final FedEx 727 (I had heard there were only 10 left) N190FE, and I also saw an DHL DC-9 in the new colours. Since when does DHL have DC-9s? Just wondering, because I have never seen them before.
During my stay in New Orleans, I did manage to do some spotting for a couple of days at MSY. I also went to a jazz club, ate at Commander’s Palace (had the roasted trout, it was pretty good, but not the best seafood I’ve ever had), and did a few other things. Tuesday came, and after a farewell beignet at Café du Monde, it was time to go home.
1 June 2004
American Airlines 497
Depart: New Orleans – Louis Armstrong International Airport (MSY)
Scheduled Departure: 1301 Local
Actual Departure: 1257 Local
Departure Gate: C8
Arrive: Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
Scheduled Arrival: 1437 Local
Actual Arrival: 1437 Local
Arrival Gate: A10
Equipment: McDonnell Douglas MD-82
Seat: 23A (Economy/Group 3)
I arrived at MSY at about 1130. This time, I decided to check my bag (and I’m glad I did), so I stopped at Curbside checkin, which took 5 minutes, and I received my bags and headed to security. The line was short, and took about 5-10 minutes. They didn’t have an express line there at this hour (I would have been eligible due to Star Alliance Gold status), but it wasn’t a big deal. I had to endure a wait at security because they had to hand-search my briefcase for some reason, but it only took an extra 2 minutes, as the screener was very thorough but quick. I proceeded into the C concourse, where I grabbed a pizza from Pizzaria Uno, and sat while watching the movements. US Airways had a 737-300 and Airbus A320 N110UW there, Northwest had a couple of DC-9s, there were 2-3 Southwest 737s, a couple of United 737s (N347UA and N362UA), a Continental MD-80 (N15841), 737-300 (N14345) and ERJ-145, and a Delta 767-300 and MD-88. A SkyWest CRJ also arrived during this time. During lunch, our MD-80 arrived about 10 minutes late from DFW as AA1204, which was joined by a company 737-800 from Miami a few minutes later. A quick turnaround ensued, and they were boarding 10 minutes after the last passenger deplaned. I got on and took 23A, where I immediately noticed the MRTC, as these were the 35 inch pitch seats (I think). The plane was a little dirty, but it was alright (there were pretzel crumbs on the floor, etc.). We managed to pushback early, and we took Taxiways Echo and Sierra to Runway 19, where we were cleared for immediate takeoff. We got into the clouds over Lake Pontchartrain, as we headed west to Lake Charles. Our route for this flight had us going to FL310, going from Lake Charles over to Houston, and up to the Metroplex. I was a little surprised with our routing (I would have thought we’d go up to SHV and over to DFW), but it wasn’t a big deal. Service for this flight was drink service and pretzels. I asked for the full can of coke and received it. Otherwise, this flight was pretty uneventful. I just read my USA Today and did a little work, and we were descending into the Metroplex before we knew it. Along the way, a Southwest 737 in the new colours went whizzing below us while we were 20 miles out, the plane was probably climbing out of DAL. We circled over Dallas to get into position, and we came down t Runway 18R. Terminal B had British Airways 777 G-VIID, Lufthansa A340-300 D-AIGU, America West 757 N915AW (in the Nevada colours) and a handful of US Airways and United planes. I then got my first glimpse of the new Terminal D, which I must say is quite impressive. We turned at Taxiway Whiskey-Lima, and took Taxiway Foxtrot toward the terminal area. N241RY was parked at a remote stand in Funjet Vacations titles, and we took Taxiway Alpha toward the American and Delta side of the terminal. Upon reaching terminal E, I was greeted by an onslaught of Delta Connection ERJs and CRJs from mostly ASA, but also from SkyWest and Chautauqua. The satellite terminal was bustling with activity, and as we made our way down, there was some action on the mainline end, with Delta have about 5 planes (MD-90s or 737-800s) there, as well as a couple of Northwest Airbuses and Continental 737s. We then made it to American Land. Terminal C was bustling with MD-80s (I think I saw about 50 MD-80s at DFW alone), and as we taxied past Terminal A, I saw several 757s, 767-300s, and 777s. TACA Peru had N471TA there (if only they could have sent another plane...I had just seen this one a few days earlier) and we finished our tour of the airport by parking at Gate A10. During descent, they had announced my connecting gate was C27, which was at the other end of the airport. However, during the taxi in, American did an automated call to me saying that my gate was now C3...saved me some walking (I would have taken the Traain to C27, but not C3). I got off the plane and started my run to C3 while making phone calls during my layover. I made it to C3 in pretty good time, and ran to the bathroom and went to grab a paper. However, I saw an Airliner World in the bookstore, and I just had to grab it. I made it back to the gate just in time for boarding.
1 June 2004
American Airlines 1272
Depart: Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
Scheduled Departure: 1521 Local
Actual Departure: 1521 Local
Departure Gate: C3
Arrive: Boston – Logan International Airport (BOS)
Scheduled Arrival: 2002 Local
Actual Arrival: 1951 Local
Arrival Gate: B35
Equipment: McDonnell Douglas MD-82
Seat: 22A (Economy/Group 3)
After my sprint through the terminal, it was time to board. I got to the gate during Group 2 boarding, so I had little wait before boarding. I went down the jetway, grabbed my bistro bag, and boarded the plane. We had an ontime departure from American Land, and we took taxiways Lima and Yankee to Runway 17C, where we took off immediately. Along the taxi, I saw the American Eagle terminal, where it was nice to see an Eagle Saab, as I hadn’t seen one for three years. We rotated around taxiway Mike6, and turned left after departure. We were allowed to use our electronic devices when we reached Texas Stadium, a mere 3 minutes after departure.
For this flight, we were initially cleared to FL290 to burn off some fuel. Our route had us going to FL330, with us going to LIT, over to the Ohio River over CVG and PIT, up to SYR, ALB, and into BOS. The service for this flight consisted of a bistro bag that we picked up at the gate in DFW, as well as a couple of drink services. The bistro bag contained a not-too-appealing ham sandwich (then again, I’m not a fan of ham sandwiches), a brownie, and a bag of chips. Since I wasn’t too hungry (I normally eat at about 9-9:30 every night…), I just snacked on the chips. I also had Cokes at each drink service, once again getting the full can.
Not much happened on this flight. I read Airliner World for a good hour, and then passed another hour reading the Dallas and Fort Worth newspapers. I read American Way magazine a little bit, and I also did a little work on this flight. Finally, we came in over the Hudson River, and it started to get pretty cloudy. We descended down from FL330, pretty much following Route 2 over Gardner/Fitchburg. It was raining on the ground in Boston, so we did have to circle around a little bit before emerging from the clouds south of Boston over Braintree, at the big I-93/Route 3 split. We continued by Quincy, and shortly thereafter we were right over Castle Island and about 10 seconds after that we were on Runway 4L at Boston. There wasn’t a ton of traffic on the ground, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t highlights. A US Airways Express/Mid Atlantic EMB-170 was just taking off (N806MD). The international terminal was also crowded, as it was just before the 2000 international push. British Airways had a 744 in, American had a 777 (in from Heathrow), Lufthansa an A340-300, Virgin had a 744 in, Icelandair had a 757 in, and I got my first SATA log, CS-TKI, an A310. Domestically, American had a couple of 757s (one going to MAN – N189AA) and a 737-800, America West had a pair of Airbuses (821AW and 647AW), Delta had a 767-300, MD-88, and 4 FRJs, Continental had a lone 737-300, US Airways had a pair of A319s leaving for LGA and DCA, and JetBlue had a pair of A320s. All in all, standard Boston movements domestically.
After getting off the plane, I headed down toward Bag Claim B, where I picked up my bag (it took a few minutes…) and then headed home. The bag claim in Boston is nothing spectacular, it’s better than Terminal C’s, but it’s still not great. It’s pretty boring and basic, but it’s a bag claim…
I don't know when I might right another report...I'm moving soon to North Carolina, so I don't know how much I'll be flying. I want to do a day trip to PHL from MHT or BOS before I go, but who knows.