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USA Travel (Many Trips) - Part One [Long W/pics!]  
User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 26
Posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 7862 times:

My very first trip report- wish me luck!  Big grin The original report was so long that I have broken it into two parts, with the second to follow in a day or so.

------------------------------

The trip began on the 23th of September, 2004. My family took a 20-minute taxi ride to Sydney's Kingsford Smith airport, arriving there around 1230 and checking in at a United check-in desk. Though we usually fly Qantas, we had enough UA frequent flyer points lying around which we wanted to get rid of to upgrade to business class, so we decided to make the trip with them (UA) for once. For the 45-60 minutes before our flight would board, we hung out in the Red Carpet Lounge for a while (faces pixelated for peoples’ privacy):



Our flight was called at around 1405 and we promptly boarded through gate 55. I had never flown longhaul in a class better than economy before, and as soon as I saw the C-class seats we would be sitting in for the next 14 hours, I instantly fell in love. As I sipped the orange juice that was handed out, played around with the 50° of seatback recline, and tried out the comfy legrest, beleaguered economy passengers streamed past. For once I wasn't one of them! Big grin

Before I knew it, we pushed back, started the engines, taxied to the end of 16R, and took-off immediately (of course, I listened to UA’s awesome “Channel 9" all the while!).

Date: 23/09/2004 local
Airport: Sydney Kingsford Smith International (SYD/YSSY)
Gate: 55
Airline: United Airlines (UA/UAL)
Aircraft: Boeing 747-422
Registration: N121UA
C/n: 29167
L/n: 1211
Delivered: 22/04/1999
Flight: UA840
Destination: LAX/KLAX
Seat: 25H
Class: C (business)
Takeoff time: 1506 local
Runway: 16R



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Photo © Morris Biondi




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Photo © Timothy Hannan



It was cold and cloudy, and as we climbed out of Sydney some great vortices were visible off the wing. A few photos of the climb up to our initial cruise at FL300 (they're not edited at all, so please don't laugh!  Big grin):











And, a couple of pics at our initial cruise at 30,000 ft:





As the sun set, very beautifully, the flight attendants passed around pre-dinner warmed mixed nuts and laid out nice grey table cloths.





We were then served dinner. The dinner menu read as follows:

To Begin

Smoked trout and prosciutto ham appetizer
Rock melon, olive and asparagus with Dijon mustard mayonnaise

Fresh seasonal greens
Tomato vinaigrette or Caesar dressing

Main Course

Filet mignon with wild mushrooms and cream sauce
Broccoli florets, custard filled pie with leeks and Parmesan cheese

Roasted breast of chicken with tarragon sauce
Mashed sweet potatoes, herbed green beans and carrot batonnets

Fillet of spiced Pacific Dory with lime butter sauce
Carrots, chives, and jasmine rice with coconut

Dessert

International cheese selection
Blue and Kapiti Cheddar cheese

Pavlova with passion fruit sauce
Fresh whipped cream and fruit


I went heavy and opted for the filet mignon and pavlova. Both were pretty good, excellent relative to most airline food. The meat wasn’t too overcooked and it was surprisingly tender! Sorry, no photos of the dessert...







During/after dinner I watched “The Day After Tomorrow” (the special effects were pretty good, but other than that the movie wasn’t that great) before putting up and extending my legrest and using all 50° of recline to lay back and enjoy the smooth flight. I slept very well and was extremely comfortable. Set up at the front of our sub-cabin was a little buffet cart stocked with sandwiches, chips, fruit, chocolate, etc., from which I got a bite to eat during the night. Through the night we gradually made our way up to FL370.

As we jetted Northeast across time zone after time zone, the sun rose quickly. I woke up to see the beautiful sunrise and take a few photos:





Shortly after sunrise, table cloths were once again laid out and breakfast was served. The breakfast portion of the menu read:

Prior to Arrival

Your selected entree will be served with breakfast breads, butter, and fruit preserves.

Cheddar cheese and spinach omelette
Home fried potatoes, pork sausage and a fresh fruit appetizer

or

Fresh seasonal fruit plate with creamy yoghurt


I chose the former. Unfortunately, it wasn’t very good at all.



Soon after our plates were cleared, we began our descent into Los Angeles:


^San Clemente Island. Clearly visible is the Navy-owned airport on the island, NUC/KNUC.


^Note all of the airports. Anyone know what specific airports they are?


^A nice view of downtown L.A. as we join short finals.



^Parallel runway ops in progress!


^Landing at a very busy LAX.

No trip report would be complete without a few self-plugs!  Big thumbs up Here’s a photo I took as we taxied to the gate:


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Photo © G.P.K.S.



Date: 23/09/2004 local
Airport: Los Angeles International (LAX/KLAX)
Landing time: 1101 local
Runway: 25L
Total flight time: 12 hr 55 min


Out of 10:
Service - 8 (very friendly crew, always around)
Food - 6 (much better than economy, of course, but still not that great, especially the breakfast)
Seats - 9 (this is of course based on my previous transpacific trips in economy - I was in heaven)

------------------------------

Our next flight, to Philadelphia, boarded at approximately 1240 after a relatively short, 1.5 hour layover. The gate agent managed to fit us into economy plus at the last minute, and we made our way onto the plane. Like on the flight from Sydney, I put the headset on immediately and listened to “Channel 9" as we pushed back, taxied over to 25R, waited in a short takeoff queue, and took-off.

Date: 23/09/2004 local
Airport: Los Angeles International (LAX/KLAX)
Gate: 69B
Airline: United Airlines (UA/UAL)
Aircraft: Airbus A319-131
Registration: N8??UA (sorry about the missing rego, there was nowhere in the terminal where I could go to catch a glimpse of the aircraft’s tail or nose number)
C/n: ?
L/n: n/a
Delivered: ?
Flight: UA96
Destination: PHL/KPHL
Seat: 10A
Class: Y (economy plus)
Takeoff time: 1325 local
Runway: 25R



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Photo © Tom Bukowski




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Photo © Justin Cederholm



We looped around over the ocean and came back over land again, climbing to an initial altitude of about 7000 feet. This relatively low interim flight level provided some great photo ops of the nice scenery and many airports we passed (another self-plug below, hehe  Big grin):




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Photo © G.P.K.S.



After a little while we made our way up to our final cruise altitude at FL370 and were served some pretzels and drinks, followed by a pretty awful dinner of lasagna with iceberg lettuce salad and a little biscuit.







For the remainder of the flight I relaxed, listened intently to “Channel Nine” (and while doing so overheard some sort of interesting engine evaluation/testing being undertaken by a Southwest 737, whose pilots explained what they were doing and requested various specific altitudes from ATC), and gazed out the window at the passing scenery and the eventual sunset.





Finally, once it was dark and all I could see was the dense twinkling of suburban areas, we began our descent into Philadelphia and, after a fairly long holding pattern, landed.

Date: 23/09/2004 local
Airport: Philadelphia International (PHL/KPHL)
Landing time: 2112 local
Runway: 27R
Total flight time: 4 hr 47 min


Out of 10:
Service - 6 (nothing special)
Food - 2 (no explanation needed  Big grin)
Seats - 6 (your standard economy seats, plus a bit of extra “economy plus” legroom)

------------------------------

After a couple weeks of visiting friends in Philadelphia and, more importantly ( Big grin), picking up my new Canon EOS 20D, it was back to the airport to go to Johnstown, PA (via Pittsburgh), to see some relatives. Check-in was quick, and the plane boarded at 1035, soon pushing back and taxiing over to 27L.

Date: 05/10/2004 local
Airport: Philadelphia International (PHL/KPHL)
Gate: C19
Airline: USAirways (US/USA)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-4B7
Registration: N440US
C/n: 24811
L/n: 1890
Delivered: 18/07/1990 (to USAir)
Flight: US598
Destination: PIT/KPIT
Seat: 10A
Class: Y (economy)
Takeoff time:1125 local
Runway: 27L



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Photo © Bruce Leibowitz




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Photo © Yasir Raja



The climb up to our cruising altitude of 20,000 feet was short...







...and after a very short cruise we soon landed in Pittsburgh:




^Note the military aircraft - a KC-135?

Date: 05/10/2004 local
Airport: Pittsburgh International (PIT/KPIT)
Landing time: 1208 local
Runway: 32
Total flight time: 0 hr 43 min


Out of 10:
Service - 6
Food - 4 ( I think we may have gotten some pretzels)
Seats - 5 (average)

------------------------------

There was no significant layover so we had to go to our connecting flight to Johnstown pretty much immediately. We made our way down to the inter-terminal “people mover” tram/train and took it to the terminal E stop, where we got off and proceeded to our small gate. While waiting for the flight to be called, I took some pictures with my new 20D:





Finally, the gate agent announced that we could board, so we made our way out onto the ramp and into the waiting Beech 1900. After a bit of a wait, the props were started and we taxied over to rwy 14 for takeoff. We waited for some traffic, including a spiffy bizjet, before finally taking off. The props were quite deafening.

Date: 05/10/2004 local
Airport: Pittsburgh International (PIT/KPIT)
Gate: E12
Airline: USAirways Express - Colgan Air (9L/CJC)
Aircraft: Beech 1900D
Registration: N136MJ
C/n: UE-36
L/n: n/a
Delivered: 29/01/1993 (to USAir Express - Commutair)
Flight: US4908
Destination: JST/KJST
Seat: 3A
Class: Y (economy)
Takeoff time:1332 local
Runway: 14



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Photo © Art Brett




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Photo © James Fullworth



We quickly climbed (bounced, more appropriately - it was quite a bumpy ride) up to cruise at around FL160 or so, cruised for all of five minutes, and soon descended into tiny Johnstown. I didn’t really enjoy the flight, as I had a cold and one of my ears was completely clogged up, making for a very painful descent. On top of that, the bloody B1900 felt so cramped and dark (due to the tinted windows which the 1900 has in place of window shades).  Sad Sorry about the lack of photos, I figured it wasn’t worth shooting any through the aforementioned dark tint. I did, however, take some photos after we landed:





Date: 05/10/2004 local
Airport: Johstown (JST/KJST)
Landing time: 1352 local
Runway: 23 (?)
Total flight time: 0 hr 20 min


Out of 10:
Service - n/a (what service?  Big grin)
Food - n/a (what food?  Big grin)
Seats - 3 (narrow and uncomfortable)

------------------------------

Part Two will follow shortly!

Cheers,
QantasA332

14 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAAplatnumflier From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7714 times:

WOW!! Awesome!!! Cant wait to read the second one.

User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3204 posts, RR: 10
Reply 2, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 7713 times:

Nice trip report QF332

but where on earth did you end up? Johstown? Where the bloody hell is that and whats there? I thought my trips ot Ostersund sweden were a bit odd and headed for the middle of nowhere.


User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 26
Reply 3, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 7600 times:

Glad you guys liked the report!

Lufthansa, yeah, Johnstown isn't your average U.S. "destination" city. It's East of Pittsburgh - this map should help you visualize where exactly "East of Pittsburgh" is (you may have to open the map in a new window - right click, properties, and copy the URL into another window - because it's a bit distorted here):



What's in Johnstown? Pretty much nothing. Other than the relatives I was seeing, of course...  Big grin

Cheers,
QantasA332


User currently offlineLfutia From Netherlands, joined Dec 2002, 3334 posts, RR: 27
Reply 4, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 7311 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

ooh... I love JST... i go there every year to the U of Pitt @ JST for a camp for 5 days  Smile ... nice TR!!!


Leo/ORD -- Groetjes uit de VS! -- Heeft u laatst nog met KLM gevlogen?
User currently offlineContinental From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5507 posts, RR: 18
Reply 5, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 7271 times:

Nice report! I flew on that UA 747-400 N121UA from LAX to ORD on April 30th of this year!

User currently offlineBushcheney2004 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 7255 times:

WOW! What a great trip report. This has to be one of the best ones ever. Great pics.

User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 26
Reply 7, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 7042 times:

Thanks again for the kind comments, everyone. And sorry about the pics not showing...stupid bandwidth limit... Embarrassment

Cheers,
QantasA332


User currently offlineKaran69 From India, joined Oct 2004, 2885 posts, RR: 18
Reply 8, posted (9 years 8 months 1 week 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 6955 times:

Nice report especially the leg on business class where u seemed to have enjoyed yourself so much

User currently offlineUafan17 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 120 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 6321 times:

Great Report, word of advice never ever ever eat lasagna on a plane, its usually half tofu and doesnt make for a tasty nor satisfying meal. I once had lasagna on a flight from ORD to PUJ and i got sick it was awful and it turned out to be the tofu.

User currently offline9V-SPF From Germany, joined Sep 2001, 1375 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 6275 times:

Awesome trip report and great pictures, QantasA332 !  Big thumbs up
It´s about time for me to finally book a flight to LAX (having flown many, many times into SFO, but never into LAX) as the views on final approach seem to be great, especially with that NW757 on finals for the parallel runway  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Channel 9 is indeed a very nice feature. Unfortunately, when I flew UA the last time (MIA-IAD-FRA in 2002, luckily no lasagna  Big grin ), it was switched of on the whole MIA-IAD leg and for the most part of the transatlantic flight  Sad

Once again, a very good report!


User currently offlineRyan h From Australia, joined Aug 2001, 1532 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 6266 times:

Interesting report.

I beg to differ on the Beech 1900. When I flew Great Western Aviation between Adelaide and Kingscote earlier this year, the flight was very smooth and I found that the seats were comfortable.

Have any trouble with cops hassling you around airports?



South Australian Spotter
User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 26
Reply 12, posted (9 years 7 months 1 week 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5970 times:

Thanks for the continued comments, everyone!

Nice report especially the leg on business class where u seemed to have enjoyed yourself so much

Hell yeah I did!!  Big thumbs up  Big grin

...word of advice never ever ever eat lasagna on a plane, its usually half tofu and doesnt make for a tasty nor satisfying meal.

Yeah, I definitely know for next time! I think I was quite hungry, though, so what I was putting into my mouth didn't matter all that much at that point...  Big grin

It´s about time for me to finally book a flight to LAX (having flown many, many times into SFO, but never into LAX) as the views on final approach seem to be great, especially with that NW757 on finals for the parallel runway

The views you get on approach into LAX are indeed quite fabulous, not only because of the parallel approaches but because of the multitude of other airports you pass. You never realize how many there really are!

Channel 9 is indeed a very nice feature.

Definitely...that's why I really want QF to adopt a similar feature!

I beg to differ on the Beech 1900. When I flew Great Western Aviation between Adelaide and Kingscote earlier this year, the flight was very smooth and I found that the seats were comfortable.

Hmm, okay. I think my attitude towards the aircraft probably reflected a lot on how bad I was feeling at the time.

Have any trouble with cops hassling you around airports?

Surprisingly, no. Then again, I only really went spotting twice - once at the place where we picked up our rental car in L.A. (which was very conveniently right under the 24L/R approach paths) and a second time at Burbank Airport.

Thanks again for all of the comments, guys! I'm glad you like the report!

Cheers,
QantasA332


User currently offline3201 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 13, posted (9 years 7 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5616 times:

Good report!

Regarding the tail number for your LAX-PHL flight, it was N814UA, according to http://www.bts.gov/programs/airline_information/airline_ontime_statistics/ (which I learned about from other threads on a.net). Another tip, though, if you can't see the nose or tail number -- there's a certificate that has the reg number on it, and it's generally posted somewhere in that cabin where you can see it. On UA 737/319/320, it's just above the 1L door, so as you board, you can stop and look up over your shoulder, and get the reg number, c/n, l/n, etc. I was on N814UA on 11 Jun 99, UA1753, DEN-SJC.


User currently offlineQantasA332 From Australia, joined Dec 2003, 1500 posts, RR: 26
Reply 14, posted (9 years 7 months 23 hours ago) and read 5476 times:

Thanks for that, 3201! I knew that the plane's certificate plate would be mounted around the 1L door but I missed it nonetheless...

Thanks again!
Cheers,
QantasA332


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