SmAlbany From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 286 posts, RR: 0 Posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 6470 times:
Welcome to my first trip report! I enjoy reading the reports that folks post here but I haven't flown for a while so this is my first chance at contributing.
My wife and I planned our first week's vacation since before our son was born. He is 18 months old now. We found a nice place to stay in Orlando and then had to book our flights. We wanted to fly direct ALB - MCO since we figured we would be on borrowed time as it was with a baby. I thought that we would be flying WN since they fly direct 3 times a day. I had forgotten that US flies direct to MCO from ALB one day a week during the winter (Saturday). The prices were comparable (at least to fly direct on Saturdays) so we chose the US flights since my wife has the majority of her frequent flier miles with them.
US used to fly direct to MCO more often but once Southwest started up at ALB ...
April 1, 2006
US Airways 819, ALB - MCO
Boeing 737-300, N577US
Scheduled departure 11:55 Actual departure ?(about on time)
Scheduled arrival 14:44 Actual arrival ?(about on time)
We had booked 2 economy seats opting to not buy a ticket for our son. At the time of booking, we picked an empty row taking the window seat and the aisle seat hoping that the middle seat would remain empty. No such luck. As we were checking in, we inquired and they reported the flight overbooked and yes, the middle seat had been claimed. We proceeded through security. No big problems though it is interesting going through with a stroller. Take the baby out, fold up the stroller and on through the machine it goes with the rest of the carry-ons (the stroller, not the baby).
I took a quick pic of the waiting area at the gate at ALB:
Thunderstorms were rolling into the Northeast that day and it was raining pretty hard while we waited for our flight. Our gate was at the end of the concourse and there is a nice window at the end. Unfortunately, they have tinted the window a horrible blue. That, combined with the rain made for a bad picture ( I did my best to correct the color in photoshop)
While we were waiting, there was an announcement asking if anyone wanted to upgrade to first class for $100. We went for it - not looking forward to 2.5 hours in a packed coach holding a baby. So we moved up from row 21 to row 3
The flight was pretty uneventful except for the holding a baby part. He cried on and off for the first 1.5 hours of the flight and then finally fell asleep. Cocktails for mom and dad at that point
Here's a picture of me holding our son - he looks a little old for his age
Food was pretty disappointing. Even in first class it was nothing but the snack basket and drinks. I guess that is standard on domestic first these days
Once the baby was asleep I had a few chances to take pictures out the window
Here's some airport we flew over on the way into MCO (somewhere near the east coast of florida)
Some nice cumulus clouds
We pulled into the gate next to a 734 with the control tower in the background.
We did some cool things while in florida. One of these was a side trip over to St. Pete. We went to The Pier which has a 5 story building with restaurants and shops etc. The top floor has an open air restaurant that looks over the waterfront. It also happens to have over-looking views of the St Petersburg - Albert Whitted Airport (KSPG). Perfect spot as far as I was concerned. They were using runway 18/36 which is only 2864 ft long. Mostly just small single engine airpcraft - many doing touch and go's. I tuned in the tower on my scanner and had a good time listening and watching. Even a little Cherokee was using every foot of runway on its touch and go.
Here's the view from the restaurant
April 8, 2006
US Airways 612
Boeing 737-300, N588US
Scheduled departure 15:40 Actual departure 16:30 (approx)
Scheduled arrival 18:28 Actual arrival 18:48
We anticipated another full flight so this time we upgraded to first class by phone before we left for the airport. Same seats as on the way down. We checked in and made our way to security. When they checked IDs at the begining of the line, I was told that I would be receiving the Super Stupidly Slow Screening - my wife did not. So off my wife and son went to one line while I went in the other. I felt bad that she had to deal with the baby and the stroller and other carry-ons without my help . The only difference I could tell in the SSSS was that I got a pat down and they did more swipe testing with my carry on (camera bag, scanner, GPS, etc). In the end, it only took me a few more minutes than the rest of my family.
I had my camera with me in the terminal which was good but the windows were pretty dirty and most of the aircraft I could see were backlit. Not the best of shooting but here are some that I like enough to share
We saw this AC A320 land while we were pulling into the airport. I like the color scheme of the tail.
Here's the only heavy that I got a shot of this day.
I had seen a VS 744 but only from a distance
I also saw my first TED aircraft in person
There was a traffic jam at our gate. The flight before us was just pushing back as our aircraft was inbound to the ramp. They didn't waste any time. As soon as the one pushed back, the next swung in from the other side.
We also saw a former America West A320 in the new colors
While waiting for our flight (we had about an hour to kill before our scheduled departure) my son became restless so I took him for laps around the terminal in the stroller. I noticed on the TV monitors that our gate was changed and the flight delayed. Turns out there was a strong wind from the South and our plane, which was inbound from ALB, had to make a tech stop in RDU for fuel because of the headwinds so it was an hour late. The good news was that those winds were in our favor on the return trip so all told, we were only about 20 minutes late in arriving at ALB.
Some nice clouds on the trip
We came up over the Hudson River on our way into ALB
We left 90 degree weather behind. It was in the 40s when we landed. We were still in our shorts and Tshirts. Brrrrrrr
Alaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 906 posts, RR: 4
Reply 3, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 6256 times:
Quoting SmAlbany (Thread starter): there was an announcement asking if anyone wanted to upgrade to first class for $100
thats a bit of a rip off. number i guess the airline was smart in asking if any one wanted to pay 100 bucks to upgrade... the only thing is that on most airlines if they over book they will upgrade high FF, for free... ohhh well I guess they got some extra $$$.
Also 100 dollars, on AS it would only be 50 for the distance. ohh well I guess first class with a baby for 100 is well worth it!!!!!
bummer on the no food thing.
to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
SmAlbany From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 286 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 10 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 6103 times:
Quoting 767747 (Reply 5): That's interesting that US Airways uses the 737-300 on the trip; I'm surprised nothing bigger.
Well, Albany not that big a place (hence my user name) and I think that the flying public in the USA has demanded more flight frequency rather that bigger planes. Wide bodies rarely come into ALB usually only for a divert. The fact that the runways are only 7200 feet could play a factor.
They are currently lengthening the main runway by another 1200 feet. We'll see if that brings any different aircraft types.
Actually, my wife flies US quite a bit and she had some upgrades banked so we used those rather than pay cash but $100 for the upgrade definitely would have been worth it for us. Interestingly enough, even though they told us that they were overbooked, first class was half empty. I guess not many people with FF standing were aboard. Same thing for the return flight.
Thanks! There's a few of us ALB guys floating around these forums. I'd like to see that WN pilot do a trip report some time when he flies into ALB. It would be nice to hear about the approach and airport from a pilot's perspective
Tmarch291 From United States of America, joined Mar 2006, 147 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5678 times:
Great First TR,
I've been to ALB a few times, I lived in East Greenbush for a year. I, like many of the other posters here were very surprised that you did not food in First. Even though ALB-MCO is a moderately short flight, I do not know of any other legacy carrier that doesn't offer food in domestic first.
Mke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2489 posts, RR: 4
Reply 11, posted (8 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 5575 times:
Good report and pictures. I really like the wing shots lookin out the window. Just curious but how many airports are in St. Petersburg cause I know they have comercial service to that city on some airlines.
Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
As far as I know there is one other airport in St pete - the larger international airport. There was a lot going on over the bay during our lunch there. In addition to the little airport, there was a KC-135 doing touch and gos across the bay at McDill AFB and there was commercial traffic turning final for what I assume was TPA. I loved it!
Here's a map I pulled off of Google Earth. We were at the bottom center of the map.