I had to go for an interview in San Mateo, just south of San Francisco, and I chose to go on B6 because I had a $200 voucher from a cancelled flight a few weeks before. It was my second time on B6 and I was looking forward to my first trip out to the West.
I got up at 4am for my 6:40am departure. My mom took me to FLL around 5:15am and I arrived there at 5:45am. Terminal 1 is always nicer to fly out from, since it's the newest one (I believe). I've been through Terminal 2 a few times and don't find it as nice. At this time there was already a lot of activity, probably due to the early flights up to NYC. I made use of the check-in kiosk despite the fact that I still had to see the counter agent to drop off my roll-on bag (I had a suit and a briefcase, so I figured I had to check something into the cargo hold).
Boarding pass in my hand, I made my way to the short security line. I went through in no time, being this one of the few times without the dreaded "SSSS" printed on my boarding pass. I made my way to gate B9, not without making a quick first stop at the Coffee Beanery for some water. I'd like to warn anyone buying coffee here. It's garbage. 6:00am and the coffee tastes like reheated sewer water from three days ago. I nearly got into an argument with the Haitian lady after I tried to speak French to her because, clearly, she only mastered the Kreole language.
FLL-OAK via LGB
August 9th, 2006
"The Devil wears Blue..." (Or something similar)
As I was boarding a very beautiful B6 crewmember was making her way down the jetway with a roll-on suitcase. Wow, was she beautiful. She'd eventually make the trip all the way to OAK with me and onto the car rental facility, where she ended up crying for one reason or another and rejecting my aid for help. Oh well.
As I had a suit with me, I enquired about "some closet space" in order for it not to get too wrinkled. Alas, it seems B6 would rather put one or two more rows of seats. Oh well, it's understandable. Now, for a description of the weirdest crew I've ever experienced on an airline (as well as the only all-male crew):
- Carlos: No offence, but he looked like the head of a Salvadorean street gang in LA. Sorry, but the way his facial hair was arranged definitely did not give me a good vibe. No smile or hello on boarding... to anyone. Only non-gay member of the crew.
- John Doe: I just couldn't get this guy's name from the badge. He looked like a mix of Indian and Jamaican. Very friendly, was dancing and prancing as he closed the overhead bins. He was the purser. No offence whatsoever, but quite queer... in a good way though, made the plane laugh a few times throughout the flight.
- Patrick: As Irish as you can get. Reddish hair, freckles... and of course, the name. Looked like he had just murdered his family and his friends... quite unfriendly, and very agressive looking.
- Aaron: A very, very nice guy. At first he was also a bit agressive, but he ended up being really nice, brought me extra water throughout the flight.
The captain came on and told us the flying time for today was 4hrs and 40mins to Long Beach. We were soon taxiing to rwy 9L. We hold for a few minutes while a US 757 landed, and shot up straight to the sky. The flight path today took us from FLL towards Tampa/St Petersburg, the Gulf Coast, Southern Louisiana, IAH (and got great views of downtown Houston), ELP, southern Arizona, and then just south of LA and into Long Beach.
The usual B6 service was provided. Two rounds of drinks and two rounds of snacks, which consisted of Terra Blue Chips, Doritos Munchies, biscottis, cookies, etc. I went for the bloody mary mix twice, and then Aaron brought me three rounds of water. The IFE consisted of the usual 36 channels of DirecTV, which to me were only 4. CNN Headline News, BBC America, CNBC, and Comedy Central. I'll confess I only watch CNN HLN during 6-10am, only to see the beautiful Robin Meade. She may be close to 40, but she looks younger than me. And she's so bubbly... please marry me? Pwetty pwease?
I believe we landed on rwy 7L. I just know I got a view of the Boeing manufacturing area, where a C-17 was resting. I also saw the building where the used to make the B717.
I was very surprised with LGB. For one reason or another, I thought it was much bigger, about the size of SNA. As we approached the ramp, another B6 A320 was parked. I deplaned through the back, following Aaron's advice of stretching my legs. I went outside to find the baggage claim area in the wide open air! Wow, it's hard to still find airports like these, even in developing countries. Nonetheless, a cool experience.
I made my way back to the tiny gate area, past TSA, to find only that I was being denied entry to the gate area because I didn't have a valid boarding pass. Of course, if traveling from FLL-OAK on flt 244 you only get one boarding pass, not two. After some confusion and trying to talk some sense into the 5 TSA agents now gathered around me, I was finally let go. Good thing this was on August 9th, the day before the foiled terrorist plot in London. Else, I would've never made it to the interview.
My flight to OAK was called and I managed to grab a couple of pics while in the ramp area
HP CRJ just about to push back
My airplane's wingfence
Sorry about the quality, as these were taken with my cellphone. Flame me as you may, but I find it very embarassing to take lots of pics during air travel. I find it amateurish, but kudos to those who don't care and have inspired me to write this report. Those pics were taken with my cell phone, and I would've taken more, if my stupid phone had a memory card and each message didn't cost me $0.15
Anyway, moving on. The same crew operated the flight to OAK. The captain announced that our flying time would be 52mins. We took off on the same rwy, and I got a chance to see some really nice private jets at the Gulfstream ramp.
A limited drink and snack service was done during this sector, which consisted of water or coke and Terra Blue Chips and Doritos Munchies. I opted for the water and the Terra chips, although I was quite disapoined. They were not as tasty as the Terra Mediterranean chips, which IMHO are delicious!
We landed uneventfully at OAK, but we did have to wait for ages at baggage claim. Once I got my bags I took the shuttle to the car rental facility. Unfortunately they did not have any SUV's left, so they gave me the choice of a Dodge Magnum or a "convertible." I stupidly took the convertible without knowing I was getting a Sebring. God, I hate those cars. Ugly, horrible interior... plus nothing says tourist louder than those contraptions. Oh well
As far as the interview goes, it went really, really well. It's in the finance industry. Unfortunately, I have decided I do not want to work in the finance industry at all and I want to pursue a career in the field I have already some experience in... hint: username.
Some pics of San Francisco, to make up for the lack of air-related pics
August 10th, 2006
As I had finished my interview early and managed to get to know a bit of San Francisco, I decided to head out early to the airport due to a)the things happening (or better, not happening) at LHR and b)the fact that I wasn't entirely familiar with the area and didn't want to be stuck in traffic and make it late for my flight.
I did arrive about 4hrs early for my 11:30pm departure, and found that there was no National Guard, even though CNNRadio said the Governator had deployed them to OAK. I found a very short line at security. However, I did find a long line at the baggage drop-off counter, many people checking their small carry-ons in order to avoid throwing away expensive perfumes, colognes, and lotions. During those 4hrs I just listed to some tunes on the iPod and finished my second David Sedaris book. I've you've never read his stuff, he's got some 4 books which each consist of an average of 20 autobiographical essays written in the most witty and satirical form I have ever read. Quite comical, great for a medium haul flight. I read about 3/4's of it on the flight over and finished before the flight back. I also got a chance to mingle around the three news crews that had gathered at OAK due to the news out of London.
I went through security without a hassle and was soon at gate 9, where I wated for another 1.5hrs for my flight. The flight left right on time and the captain announced that we would be getting into Ft Lauderdale about 40mins ahead of schedule. Great, I thought. Except for the fact that I had set a pick up time with mom of 8:10am, which meant spending nearly an hour waiting, something I cannot stand and wish I was more patient with.
Anyway, onto the flight. One of the members of the crew, Michel, I believe, was a very good looking young man in his mid-20's. However, his attitude just showed that he totally hated his job. As a matter of fact, he was so good looking I assumed he was a model, going through some downtime, and figured he could make it as a flight attendant in the meantime. I'm sorry, but... you may not need a degree to be a F/A, but it does take a special someone, a caring person, someone whose duty is to serve people. This guy just didn't have it. His attitude was somewhat along the lines of "I'm so much better than you people and I'm just doing this for the meantime, but once I make it in the modeling business I'll be looking down at you from my shoulder." As you can tell, I like to make little stories about the people on the plane. It just makes it more interesting. I could write an entire book just based on the little stories I make up on my head for all the people I meet and interact with when I fly. At least he made up for his attitude by a quirky remark: "Ladies and gentlemen, for those of you seated in the left side of the aircraft, we would like to please close the window shades so as to not disturb those passengers sleeping when the sun comes up. And besides, we're in Oakland. There's nothing to see here." That got a laugh from the whole cabin!
But in any case, this report has gotten quite long, and the lack of pics is not helping. The flight turned out to be quite uneventful, save for the lady across the aisle from me, whose hips had been induced with a heavy dose of afro-latin rythms from her CD player, with a little infusion of Yoga therapy. I'm telling you, this lady was dancing excitedly in her seat with her eyes closed. Truly a sight! About an hour before landing at FLL, she positioned herself in the floor for some pre-arrival Yoga. The flight attendant was so amused she let her go through the whole rutine!
We arrived on the usual 9L to the sights of rush hour on I-95 NB and SB. We deplaned quickly and I made my way to the baggage claim area on the basement floor. I picked up my bag, and was on my way... to a good night (read: day) sleep in my own, comfy bed.
That's it for now. Comments, criticism, praise, hate-mail greatly appreciated!