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LAX-OAK-SEA On WN  
User currently onlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5580 posts, RR: 28
Posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 3348 times:

This is the return trip on Southwest that my family and I made this week following a vacation. Part one, SEA-SJC-LAX on WN, was posted already.

October 19, 2005
Southwest Airlines Flight 1216
LAX-Oakland-Seattle same plane service

B737-300 - no registration.
It was in the new colors.

Terminal 1
Gate 6, changed to Gate 4A
Scheduled Los Angeles departure: 4:30pm
Actual Los Angeles departure: 4:50pm

Seats 15EF and 16EF.

Well, my family (wife and two kids) departed the Disney Grand Californian Hotel at 1:35pm on SuperShuttle, and after making a stop at a residence to pick up another couple, raced to LAX, arriving around 2:20pm - pretty darn quick.

The scariest part of the trip was the last couple hundred feet to T-1, when we were in the far left lane and need to get in the far right lane, with traffic merging and a couple shuttle buses and so forth in between. There was one small spot at the curb that could just fit our shuttle, and I'll be damned if that driver didn't somehow blast us in there without killing us or someone else. I'd call it a miracle, but that'd probably be too strong. Let's just call it lucky.

Check in was very similar to when we departed Seattle. No line, with the person (Carlos) greeting us in a very friendly manner. He joked with our kids and had a very pleasant demeanor. I asked how full the flight was and he said it'd have about 50 people or so - again, good news, and we were in Boarding group A.

We had a lot of time to kill, so we headed out to sit by gate 14. It had great viewing of the action on the north side of the airport, and I snapped quite a few digital shots of flights coming and going. My favorites included an Aviacsa 732, Aero California DC9, as well as the variety of American Eagle equipment, which we dont get in Seattle. Ironically, the Aero Cal DC9 was the noisiest flight to take off - I think it beat the Air France 777!

While waiting, Southwest announced a gate change from 6 to 4A. No problem, we just waited until about 4:00pm then headed down that way. We could have waited longer, though, because the Flight Attendants for our trip were coming in on a flight at gate 3B, but it was running late.

Boarding finally started at 4:35pm. There was a lightbulb out in the cockpit though, so we had to wait for a technician to come and replace it. He was in the cockpit at 4:47pm and out at 4:48pm, with the door closing behind him. Pushback was at 4:50pm, with wheels up at 4:57pm (following an AE ERJ145 out).

Again, the flight attendant on our flight who made the announcements (Jason) pretty much sucked. He had zero personality and spoke as fast as he could. What is the issue with these announcements on airplanes?

At 5:02pm we hit 10,000 ft, and at 5:04pm the drink orders started. 5:08pm the peanuts arrived, 5:10pm my drink order was taken, and at 5:15pm the drink was delivered. 5:17pm we hit cruising altitude of 34,000ft and the captain said we'd be about 10 minutes late into Oakland. He also said that we should have smooth sailing and turned the seatbelt sign off. Within 20-30seconds, we began bouncing around, and he turned it back on and jokingly said he'd lied. Soon it smoothed out, though.

At 5:24pm the f/a passed by and asked if anyone needed anything more to drink. At 5:38pm we began our descent to Oakland. We passed over Niles at 5:45pm (according to the big "Niles" visible on the ground) and at 5:50pm we touched down. We were at the gate at 5:54pm. This is my first time to Oakland - a new airport to add to the list.

What I noticed when we people stood up to get off the plane were that almost all appeared to be business people in suits, skirts, etc. Literally, almost all of them. It seemed true on all of our segments, and it was interesting to hear people talking on the plane. These were not poor folks - most appeared to be way more successful financially than myself, with very few of the "cattle" that so many anti-WN people love to degrade. i would say that I've never been on a flight with a higher percentage of business types than these. Just my two cents.

Only 11 people stayed on the plane at Oakland for the trip to Seattle, and boarding began at 6:08pm for the final segment. The flight was about 60% full, and we stayed in the same seats with no one sitting next to us on either segment.

6:23pm was pushback, and 6:30pm was wheels up, following a B6 landing.

6:51pm brought a pack of peanuts and a Nabisco Snack Mix.
6:53pm drink orders started.
6:54pm our drink orders were taken.
6:59pm our drink orders were delivered.
7:15pm "We are 375 miles south of Seattle".
7:45pm We begin a gradual descent.
8:06pm the flight attendants made a final pass through for trash.
8:16pm Touchdown, landing from the north.
8:20pm, At the gate. (scheduled arrival 8:00pm)

Again, we walked straight to the carousel and our luggage was already coming off - we've never traveled and had our luggage as fast as we did this time. In fact, from check-in to baggage claim, things just really moved along for us - it was awesome.

Some final observations:

First, I though Southwest did a fine job. Nothing really blew me away, and nothing really disappointed me (other than the announcement crap). No one really ever told the jokes or played the games that everyone always derides them for - they just did their job in a quick, efficient manner.

I was impressed with the second drink offering on the short LAX-Oakland segment, but a little disappointed that the F/A's didn't do anything but read from 7:15pm until 8:06pm on the OAK-SEA segment. I was beginning to wonder if we were supposed to hold our empty cups or something for landing. They could have made another pass through, but they were at the end of a long day, I'm sure, and still had to do SEA-GEG.

In the end, I found myself simply thinking "it was an airplane flight. Nothing more, and nothing less. I wasn't flying to be entertained, I wasn't flying to donate my money - I simply wanted to get from A to B with my family in a safe, reliable manner. Southwest did it well, and I liked their style.

I think the onboard staff could have been a little better, especially in the area of personality. A couple of the f/a's never smiled once, which I found a little sad. But they seemed like a real, approachable staff, and I was very comfortable for our entire itinerary.

The aircraft were clean and comfortable, and the snack/bev was what I expected. Not much to add there.

I'm hoping if someone read these and is either very pro-WN or very anti-WN that you'll add some constructive comments. Not a bash or praise fest, but a dialog about what I experienced versus what you experienced. Do my notes match the norm? I would consider flying them again, but would like to know why someone else thinks I should or shouldn't.

Thanks for reading.

-Dave


Next Trip: SEA-ABQ-SEA on Alaska
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9637 posts, RR: 52
Reply 1, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3195 times:

Thanks for the trip report. It seemed that you had a really good WN experience. None of the typical WN stereotypes of loud, obnoxious, or drunk passengers and long lines came true. You got very lucky travelling at off times. SEA can be a crowded airport on the non sterile side on busy travel days. The ticketing lobby just isn't big enough to handle all of the AS, UA and WN crowds at times. I have seen huge lines and messes at terminal one in LAX more times than not. I would not fly WN out of there. It is so much less crowded in terminal 3 with AS or 7 with UA.

WN is a highly efficient airline. It is amazing at how they can do full beverage services on such short flights. I would not fly WN on the SEA-Southern California flights because they are all one stop flights. It seems like a huge hole in the network to not connect SEA with LAX, ONT, etc. AS and UA offer plenty of nonstop SEA-LAX flights. AS fares tend to be quite good as well. But it is good to see that you flew on WN.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineAtrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5692 posts, RR: 52
Reply 2, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 3190 times:

Your route is a very high business route, which is why you saw tons of business suits.

Your expectations and what you got pretty much matched what I got, and usually do with SWA everytime I fly. Good service, you get what you want, quick and efficient.

Good report again, and Glad you had a great time in LA. I also loved being at gate 14 too. Carlos I think is on Airline, so you may have met a "celebrity"  Wink haha I do recall a Carlos on Airline though, am I correct?

Alex



Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
User currently onlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5580 posts, RR: 28
Reply 3, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3145 times:

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 1):
I have seen huge lines and messes at terminal one in LAX more times than not. I would not fly WN out of there. It is so much less crowded in terminal 3 with AS or 7 with UA.

It wasn't bad when we were there. There were lines, but nothing obnoxious or impeding. It was interesting to observe the "A-B-C" boarding letters above the gate area. I can definitely see how it could get crowded there, but I wouldn't want any other location for quick trips to and from the runway.

Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 1):
I would not fly WN on the SEA-Southern California flights because they are all one stop flights. It seems like a huge hole in the network to not connect SEA with LAX, ONT, etc. AS and UA offer plenty of nonstop SEA-LAX flights. AS fares tend to be quite good as well. But it is good to see that you flew on WN.

I've always kinda wondered if they'd ever add a nonstop, but so far they seem content to route everything through SJC, OAK, SMF, RNO, LAS, PHX, etc. UA used to have many of the same routes, though they still had nonstops.

All things being equal, I would have preferred a nonstop, and that's always how we go. AS is great for that. UA is too, but we haven't flown them in years - in fact, I can't remember the last time I flew on UA. It might even go back to a 1990 SEA-SMF-LAX-OAK-SEA routing. (LAX-OAK-SEA was late and we were going to misconnect in OAK, so we flew DL LAX-PDX-SEA).

This trip really was dictated by the package that we bought at Southwest Vacations. Were it not for that, we most likely would have been on AS or maybe UA. I wouldn't have booked us on WN most likely since I like to know where my family is going to sit. Were it just my wife and I, then I'd be happy to have tried them.

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 2):
Carlos I think is on Airline, so you may have met a "celebrity" haha I do recall a Carlos on Airline though, am I correct?

I haven't watched the show in ages, maybe a couple of years, so I don't know. He seemed like a very friendly fellow, so it probably was. He was an older fellow I think - it's hard to picture him now. Funny thing is, I never once thought about watching the show Airline before going - could have been fun.

As said by Redflyer, it really was an average (good) experience - nothing wierd or bad or out of this world - I guess I'm missing what everyone hates about them. My thought is that they seem to meet a lot of peoples needs just fine, and if they don't it's pretty easy not to book them - they don't even show up in the GDS's so you have to seek them out if you want to fly them.

Thanks for the feedback guys!

-Dave



Next Trip: SEA-ABQ-SEA on Alaska
User currently offlineAtrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5692 posts, RR: 52
Reply 4, posted (8 years 11 months 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 3139 times:

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Reply 3):
- they don't even show up in the GDS's so you have to seek them out if you want to fly them.

Cost is cheaper for them to do so. want low fares? www.southwest.com is basically the advertisment.

start clicking, start saving  Smile)


Alex



Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
User currently offlineF27XXX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 17 hours ago) and read 3030 times:

Quoting PlanesNTrains (Thread starter):
6:23pm was pushback, and 6:30pm was wheels up, following a B6 landing.

6:51pm brought a pack of peanuts and a Nabisco Snack Mix.
6:53pm drink orders started.
6:54pm our drink orders were taken.
6:59pm our drink orders were delivered.
7:15pm "We are 375 miles south of Seattle".
7:45pm We begin a gradual descent.
8:06pm the flight attendants made a final pass through for trash.
8:16pm Touchdown, landing from the north.
8:20pm, At the gate. (scheduled arrival 8:00pm)

Ummm ... please tell me you don't sit there with your watch out writing these things in a notepad. Do your wife and kids notice and nudge each other and turn away like they don't know you sometimes? LOL

Just kiddin . . you obviously enjoy flying and travelling (ALOT) and your reports were fun to read!

Tony  wave 


User currently offlineJohnboy From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 2592 posts, RR: 7
Reply 6, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2990 times:

I flew WN from LAS to OAK this past Tuesday (delayed in LAS due to rain/thunderstorms over So Cal and Vegas).

Flight was fairly turbulent until about 20 minutes before landing at OAK. I would have completely understood if the F/A's didn't have any service (since they were ordered by the pilot to keep their seats almost the entire flight).

But they hustled out a water service, and passed out peanuts, gave some refills and cleaned the cabin in that 20 minutes on a packed flight.

Great job Southwest!


User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 11 months 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2961 times:

Quoting Johnboy (Reply 6):
But they hustled out a water service, and passed out peanuts, gave some refills and cleaned the cabin in that 20 minutes on a packed flight.

We used to have OKC-TUL flights, and they were not much longer than that and they still served...  Wink


User currently onlinePlanesNTrains From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 5580 posts, RR: 28
Reply 8, posted (8 years 11 months 23 hours ago) and read 2946 times:

Quoting F27XXX (Reply 5):
Ummm ... please tell me you don't sit there with your watch out writing these things in a notepad. Do your wife and kids notice and nudge each other and turn away like they don't know you sometimes? LOL

Actually i was already writing in a notepad, so it wasn't a big deal to jot a note in the left column or something. My wife did roll her eyes a little, but she knows me so accepts my "odd" behavior.  Smile.

-Dave



Next Trip: SEA-ABQ-SEA on Alaska
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