So, I awaken at the ungodly hour of 0100 Alaska Time, 0400 Central Time at the Marriott Cedar Rapids. I am quick to be aware of an empty room save for myself . . . I took my daughter back to her house last night . . . she has school today, and Daddy ANCFlyer is heading back home. Not the best of circumstances, but one we have become used to since her Mom and Step-Dad (both good people) decided to move to Iowa three years ago.
Coffee pot is going, computer is still logged in to A-Net . . . a few more posts on the Croc Hunter, nothing of consequence.
I check UAL.com. All appears to be on time and on target for my ride home today. Check the National Weather Service, ditto the weather. Reasonable in CID and ORD and shitty in ANC . . . I was to be pleasantly surprised in ANC about 10 hours later.
I’m out the door at 0445, there’s a chance I can grab the 0611 departure from CID rather than the 0816 departure – gives me much more time at ORD.
I get to CID, turn in the Rent a Wreck to National (I had a Pontiac something, small – although it’s listed as a FULL size car ) and mosey over to the United counter. The CSA says my chances of getting on the 0611 departure ‘suck’ as it’s oversold by 15 seats . . . oh well, I check in for my regular departure and head off to grab some Iowa breakfast, hunt down a Bloody Mary, and read a newspaper. I accomplish 2 of the 3. No bar open at 0600 at CID . . .
I note the line for the DL and AA departures at the TSA is out the door at 0600 so I find a newspaper and sit on the landside of the terminal to watch the show. By 0600, everyone – save a few – are through and AA is paging them to move their ass. Guess they should have gotten to the TSA line sooner . . .
I note that the crew for today’s flight heads out about 0715 to the a/c. The plane has RONed at CID.
Since I have limited time on target at ORD this morning, and I know the ANC flight will depart from Concourse B or C and we will arrive at Concourse F, I do what I hate to do – get in a line at the gate. I check the departure gate for UA787 to ANC. It’s to go out of C-21 and we are to arrive at F11. Oh. . . . gotta love the OJ effect at ORD.
Boarding is on time. Push from gate C6 at CID is a bit early and with everything else gone, AA, DL and NW, it was an easy taxi on A and C to Runway 27 for a rolling take off. The CRJ is off the ground abreast of the West Cargo Ramp at CID and taking a right turn almost immediately.
We roll back level over the west side of CID. Our scheduled flying time is 23 minutes – good we’ll be early.
No Channel 9 of course on Express but the pilot tells us we’re going in on 9R.
We descend and then the turning and dancing starts. Our early arrival soon rolls past on time to late. We finally touch down on 9R and roll and roll and roll and exit the runway at M6 stopping. Don’t know why, but we take a right on taxiway M and proceed in the opposite direction of our arrival gate – F11. We get past the far end of the International Terminal (Term 5) and finally cross back over to taxiway D at M7! Back tracking now up Delta to taxiway A we finally arrive at our gate (F11) nine minutes late.
Well, this rather sucks. I will NOT miss the ANC, unless I get killed on the way to C21 as it doesn’t push for another 31 minutes, but I hate the race across the airport thing. I am NOT OJ Simpson and I’m not trying to sell suitcases . . .
We park, the door is opened and . . . . . . we sit. We can’t deplane until someone on the ramp can show us the door – 25 feet away.
Four minutes goes by and finally someone says get off . . . we do. I get by the three slugs moving in front of me and make it over to C21 in 8 minutes. Not a bad hike considering I was at the end of F Concourse and had to get through essentially three terminals.
In Flight Service: N/A (No service on this 23 minute flight)
Arrival: 10 for UA, 0 for ATC
United 797 (Mesa)
Schedule Departure 0955 Central Time
Scheduled Arrival 1310 Alaska Time
Seat 1A United First
Y Load: 95%
F Load: 98%
Once again, only water or OJ offered pre-departure. This must be the new standard at UA – bad call. I walk up to the Purser, introduce myself and make my usual offer of my services if there is a problem on board. The purser asks me to tell the Captain as well. I knock and announce and the Captain is glad to hear he has help if it’s needed. He asks what can he do to thank me? I reply, “Turn on Channel 9”. He does.
I am alone on the A/B side of the aircraft. We push back on time and roll down the alley towards E Concourse taking a hard left out on to taxiway A8 to Bravo. I make a mental note the FAs are doing the safety lecture manually, rather than using the Safety Video. I note this because the same thing happened last week on my ANC-ORD flight. Couldn’t get two of the monitors to work in Y. I am determined to check this a/c rego . . . . what are the chances I’m on the same aircraft. Turns out – yes, I am. The same plane that flew ANC-ORD on 8-31 is now returning me to ANC. I’m sure this happens a lot – I’m sure I’ve flown every F100 and 737 US Airways ever had, but interesting on this trip.
We line up behind an AC E175 – very nice looking airplane. I am at this point kicking myself . . . my camera is in my briefcase over my head . . . I missed the AC aircraft and I missed a great close up of N179UA, a B747-400 in new colors that passed abreast of us. I will remember to keep camera in hand in the future. I missed some great a/c photos this morning.
As I suspected we enter Runway 32 at T-10 and with a rolling take off we use about 6500 feet of runway before lifting off. The IFE is not on, consequently, Channel 9 is not on . . . !!! Finally, as we fly over MKW the IFE comes alive as does Channel 9.
The pilot explains our course for today’s trip: over Duluth, over Winnipeg, over Prince Albert, over Whitehorse and in to Alaska. And that’s essentially what we did.
Breakfast is served about an hour into the flight. A vegetable Quiche with potatoes and sausage links. Not bad really, but I prefer the good old UA cheese omlet. For whatever reason the Purser just blew by row 1 with the bread, and the coffee? I’m already not overly impressed with today’s cabin service, and he’s not making it better. I still have my jacket, which is folded on the seat next to me, rather than hanging in the closet – this is where it stays for the duration of the flight.
After the mediocre breakfast service I decide I want one of the Snack Boxes from Y. What the hell, every time I’ve been on a flight where I was supposed to get one, someone seems to forget to load them . I give the Y F/A a $5er and she brings me a snack box. Not half bad at all – in some ways much better than the F meal I just had.
We’re soon cleared to direct Winnipeg and cleared to FL350 which is to be our cruise altitude today.We fly through a clear morning right up betweenthe two Great Slave Lakes in Winnipeg. Absolutely beautiful country. We get handed off to Edmonton Center about 0900 Alaska time, and we’re soon out of radar service. We are to report over Whitehorse.
We get two movies today, the Poseiden Adventure (the shitty remake) and Mission Impossible 3. I opt for MI3 after we run into cloud cover near YEG and the scenery outside becomes nothing but clouds.
Now, I mentioned that I’mnot overly impressed with this F service thus far, and I get even less so when the F/As disappeared from 0915 until 1125. I got up to get another cup of coffee – twice. That is simply unacceptable.
The clouds break long enough to get a view of YXY below us. And in the distance a great shot of Carcross,Yukon, a place I’ve been to many, many times on the train and in my BAFDT. We cloud up again until we begin our descent into ANC.
Fifty five minutes before landing the F/As appear again with cookies and milk. I have the cookie. No milk on top of the Bloody Marys, coffee and breakfast.
Things are getting busy at ANC. Arrivals are on 14 using the Elam 2 arrival today. Must have some strong wind. All manner of a/c are in the area. FedEx has a couple heavies about, China Airlines, Korean Airlines, Condor (surprise), Northwest, Alaska (naturally), USAF all are inbound to ANC/EDF. We’re slowed to 250 knots and cleared to begin our descent to FL160 turning left to 220. We progress down through to clouds and see a display of glaciers – what a sight to behold.
Anchorage Center passes us off to Anchorage Approach and the pilot indicates we’re descending at Fl140 for Fl110 with Information Hotel. We’re turned to 220 and vectored for sequencing into ANC on Runway 14. We come in over Chugiak, eagle River, Ft. Richardson and make a hard right turn while descending to FL 70 back out over Makenzie Point. To the right of the aircraft we fly over Merrill Field, downtown and can see other Runway 14 arrivals on short final.
All the vectoring, slowing ,etc, added ten minutes to our flight time. We finally get wheels on the ground and I snap a shot or two of the NW cargo ramp, the FedEx ramp and grab a shot of the Condor flight – an unusual visitor for ANC.
We pull up to Gate B9 at ANC and I’m home . . . always a good feeling being home.
In Flight Service: 2 (Coffee, Coat, Disappearing Act, Bread, unacceptable for F, even domestic F)
Breakfast in F: 4 Bland, nondescript
Arrival: 10 for UA
Baggage Claim: 0 (My priority tagged bag showed up near the end of the bag run).
Thanks for reading, photos are attached in the next couple posts. I had a great weekend with my daughter and my sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews. But really, it was my daughter I went to visit. She’s a great kid.
PHLstudent From United States of America, joined May 2006, 498 posts, RR: 7 Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 1 week 3 hours ago) and read 4582 times:
first of great report, I enoyed reading both, and the pictures were excellent.
Second I was on a United 757 about a week ago and 2 of the monitors did not work in Y, yet they still played the safety video. The registration was N522UA, could have been the same plane, it was from PHL-ORD though 8-26-06
I knew about the FAi servie - but didn't know they were coming in to ANC regularly this summer. According to Ch9 info that was Condor 066 . . .
Quoting Xjramper (Reply 5): I was sitting where you were a little while ago in august in ORD. We were watching the planes take off and land in the F concourse.
That's a great spot to watch departures from G E F B &C Concourses . . . I didn't see a great many mainline departures there, only a 777 and a 767 (both UA) but every manner of RJ . . . no wonder there are slot problems at ORD!
Alaskaqantas From New Zealand, joined Dec 2005, 901 posts, RR: 4 Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 months 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4478 times:
I personally would have opted for AS on the CHI - ANC flights.. but I guess if you want the full connecting deal then UA's not bad... better then some airlines you could have been on
Anyways nice report and good pictures.. looks like it was alot of fun down there! Also that picture of the glacier is awesome!
Its a real bummer that the meal service on pretty much ALL american airlines have slipped a great deal! I think that the airlines in the USA should learn from Europe concerning food, and Europe should look into airlines in America for the seats!
to some people the sky is the limit, to aviation enthusiasts, its home!
Charlienorth From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 1098 posts, RR: 5 Reply 12, posted (7 years 3 months 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 4338 times:
C21 my favorite gate!! Mostly 757's,I feel like the Maytag repairman!Nice and close to the employee cafeteria and Starbucks,ANC,thanks for flying UAL..your business is appreciated,I don't understand the preflight drink service either,it's nice to start a morning with a Bloody Mary and an evening with a scotch and soda..suggest you write UAL about that part of the service.
AeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20322 posts, RR: 64 Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 months 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 4225 times:
Nice report and great pictures as always! Now a question ... if you're spending all this time in the tundra, how do you maintain such a nice tan? Is it all reflection off the ice, or have you been stealing tips from George Hamilton? Come clean!
(BTW, did you know that our CastleIsland/Logan pronounces your name as if it was AntsyFlyer? I think you should have a talk with the boy.)