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UA ORD To SJU… Caribbean Cruise Part 1(pics)  
User currently offlineMkeflyer717 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 431 posts, RR: 12
Posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 8579 times:

This trip occurred a couple weeks ago, but I have not had enough time or should I say motivation to put this report together until now. Well here it is, I hope you enjoy, its umm a quite interesting story...

During March, with Spring Break quickly approaching, my parents and I decided we really needed a vacation from this undesirable Wisconsin weather. We booked our cruise with Royal Caribbean about three weeks prior to the departure date. Air was booked separately and at that time air was particularly hard to find. The most appealing flights we found were on United and US Airways out of ORD. On the departure trip we were scheduled to fly UA from ORD-BOS and then US from BOS-SJU. Little did we know that we should've spent the $20 more per person to fly the same airline all the way... you will soon see what I mean. The few days before we left Wisconsin's weather really went down hill with highs in the 30's and snow in the forecast. Knowing I would be leaving all that behind, I couldn't but help to give my friends who were spending break at home a hard time.

After spending some time packing my FAVORITE* clothes my parents and I loaded the car and drove down to Chicago Friday evening. Usually when flying out of ORD we just drive down the day of our flight but this time we didn't feel like leaving home at 1 AM so we went down the day before and spent the night at the Four Points Sheraton near the airport. We ate at the very nice Mirage restaurant in the hotel and then pretty much just got some sleep. My wonderful 4 hours of sleep came to an end as our wake-up call sounded at 3AM. It didn't take long to get ready and go down stairs to wait for the shuttle to take us to the terminal. As we waited I explained to my mom how we were flying a code share flight and that I thought we had to check in with United because that was the airline of the initial flight, but I wasn't 100% sure so she called both United and US and they both said to check-in with US. I didn't think that was right, but didn’t really question it either.

The shuttle dropped us and a few others off at terminal 2, US Airways' location. Once in line a not so friendly US employee asked to see our tickets and she rudely said how we were supposed to check in with United. Right there I pretty much returned a harsh response in the same tone of voice as hers. Why did both airlines tell us to check-in with US? A little upset, us and some others, made our way to United's terminal 3 by the tram. At this point we were a little angry but that was probably the least significant problem we would encounter that day. The United ticketing was bustling with activity that morning and once we were done checking in we proceeded straight to security. Despite the high volume in the rest the terminal, security was unusually quiet. No more than five minutes passed before we were through security. Our gate, B10, was not far away. While we sat at the gate the flight boards showed our flight to BOS delayed over a hour. That was a cause for concern keeping in mind that our connection in BOS was only 1 hour and we were switching airlines there too. With an hour delay we would've not made our connecting flight unless the second flight were to be delayed as well. My mom explained this to a UA agent and she put us on a different flight. Now we were to be on UA 1065 from ORD-STT-SJU. My mom made this change with out me so I was shocked when she returned with the news. We picked up our stuff and made the huge move to B8... 2 gates down. When we got there another flight before ours was boarding. My mom told me that the lady said our plane was going to be a A320. I have nothing against the 320, but for some reason I had an urge to get on a 757. Our flight wasn't supposed to leave until 8:30ish so I had some time to do what I do best... eat and spot. After a great breakfast I walked concourse B and took a few pics...

Wasn't expecting to see this one




All the way down to the end I was happy to see a UA 777


preparing for its flight to Hawaii






Our original flight to BOS getting ready to leave about 1 hour and 15 minutes late. It felt kind of weird watching it leaving thinking I was supposed to be on it.


Across to C


I believe this Airbus was going to Aruba.

Back at the gate to my surprise I watched a 757 pull into our gate, not a 320. While I was gone my mom tried to get me a window seat knowing that I wouldn’t be to happy with out one. The gate agent said there were none open. Just when I thought things couldn't get any better the lady came over to us and said something changed and we got 17A, B, and C.

Friday April 7th, 2007
United 1065
757-200 (new colors)
ORD-STT
Load factor: 100%
seat: 17A emergency exit

The zone boarding began on-time and we headed for the gate when zone 3 was called. The bite of cold air as we passed from the jetway to the airplane would be the last I would feel... well for a week at least. I have never sat in an emergency exit seat before (well United either for that matter) and I really liked the extra legroom. As the people packed in the aircraft we got out first taste of the excellent crew. The flight attendants and pilots made some humorous comments while everyone was getting situated. There was not a single open seat on this flight so it took a few minutes.


UA A319 at the gate next to us

With the cabin door closed pushback began and suddenly we came to a stop about half way backed out. After a brief moment of waiting the captain came on and said that our tug had broke down and they were in the process of replacing it with another. In the meantime I just watched all the ground traffic scramble around our aircraft blocking their path.


Another UA 319


I think UA has quite a presence here at ORD

Once the new tug was acquired we continued backing up and the flight attendants resumed talking… something they were really good at. Before we even left the ground the male FA had talked for nearly 30 minutes about various safety procedures and other random things. During this ‘lecture’ we made our way towards 32L.


Aero Mexico with a nice view of the tower in the background.


Passed this AA 767 also taxiing to 32L.


This line really didn’t take as long as it looks like it would. Those ORD controllers are great at getting those planes out quickly but efficiently.

After getting a glimpse of about 12 aircraft zooming past the opposite side of the plane to me, it was eventually our turn to depart.


I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary with this takeoff, but I sure do love 757 takeoff’s a lot.




Following the rotation we made an almost immediate left turn and in a few minutes got a nice aerial view of ORD.


Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
18 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineMkeflyer717 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 431 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 8573 times:

Shortly after departure the guy flight attendant proceeded to talk for about another 30 minutes… about what? I’m not to sure as I focused my attention on what was going on outside of my window. Don’t get me wrong however, the FA was very nice, but he could’ve talked everyone to sleep. The entire crew seemed very professional and caring. For the first few minutes after taking off I tried to get channel 9 to work, but I got nothing which made me a little upset. Then the pilot came on and said they were having an audio issue and that they hoped to have it fixed soon and they did just that. I really enjoyed listening but after a while I switched over to my ipod. Somewhere around IN/TN drink and snack service came around…

Something a little more filling would have been nice on a 4 hour flight but o well I didn’t care too much.
The majority of the flight was pretty smooth and our route took us over ATL and JAX before we headed out over the Atlantic.


During the middle of the flight I snapped a quick shot of the entire coach cabin.
When we were under an hour away from St. Thomas I began listening to Channel 9 again and found that SJU center’s controllers spoke excellent English; I barely even heard a Spanish accent.




As we descended we passed several islands with stunning water.

Lining up for runway 10 at STT, I heard on Channel 9 that we were #4 for landing which kinda shocked me… I wasn’t expecting the airport to be so busy. The STT controllers seemed very relaxed and patient and at that moment I thought of how nice it would be to be a controller down in STT someday.


We came in from the west and passed along side the beautiful St. Thomas coast.
Landing was smooth and we took up the entire runway’s length to stop. During the taxi to the terminal the captain said we had to wait because “the plane in our stand must be running on island time.” There were a good six 757s parked all around the terminal so room was limited. We sat on the taxi way for about 10 minutes then unexpectedly taxied back onto the runway and went all the was down to the end again where we turned around and sat again. I felt like we were driving in circles all over STT.


As we waited a NW A320 arrived most likely from DTW maybe MSP?

When nearly a half an hour of waiting passed the Delta jet in our spot left and we taxied back onto the runway for a third time…


This time we got closer to the terminal and I was able to take some pictures of all the activity.




(Coincidently this exact US 762 was the one we took home from SJU 1 week later)

When we parked ,the flight attendants reminded the passengers that were continuing to SJU to remain on the plane. There were about 20 of us who stayed on while the other 150+ got off. This felt a little weird since I never stayed on the same plane during a layover. I, as well as most of the others onboard, got up and watched a little to stretch as the crew cleaned the aircraft.


View of the empty cabin

Before long passengers going home began to board the aircraft. I’m sure they could tell we were already on the plane because of our pale white skin. It was easy to tell apart the passengers from their appearance: 90% of them were tan and wearing sandals and shorts. The other 10% were not. I would tell you what time we left STT but by now I completely lost track of time and didn’t even notice… heck I was in the islands where time doesn’t really seem to have the same significance as back in the US. Once everything was set to go we pushed back and began taxiing to Runway 10 for the 4th time in an hour.


NW leaves as AA comes in.

Taxiing to the runway another minor glitch arose; the TV’s were not working so we waited (something that became a permanent part of my lifestyle on this trip) on the taxiway as the Flight attendants did a live safety demonstration instead.


Where water meets runway..


Takeoff from STT
I have no clue what happened to the sound! Sorry I know it isn’t the same without it. After departure we turned westward and made our 26 minute flight to SJU at a cruising altitude of 8000ft, pretty low for a 757.


There’s something I love about these nice shiny-blue engines.


Our approach to runway 8 at SJU took us past a big cloud of smoke that caught my attention .


As we got closer it became clear that a large bus was on fire.

The landing was a very rough conclusion to a mostly peaceful flight. The plane touched-down hard and swayed from left-to-right for a brief period. We taxied straight to our gate this time and we passed the major construction on SJU’s other runway.


Our gate took us right next to a couple small Cape Air props.

This time it was our turn to get off while the others stayed on and continued back to IAD. Walking into the terminal at SJU felt very refreshing and I wasn’t aware of how nice the concourse looked. Us 20 passengers walked down to the baggage claim. As a few bags came around I quickly realized that we were the only ones not getting any luggage. We all stood and waited for a while and nothing else came out! All 3 of our suitcases were gone! Four other families were experiencing a similar problem but we were the only ones to not have any of our bags, most of the others were only missing 1 or 2. At about the same time all of us frustrated passengers piled into the United baggage service room and filed our complaints. Every single one of us was going on a cruise that night and really wanted our clothes. As you may have noticed earlier my italicized and capital letters in favorite clothes. What I was stressing by that was I packed all my really good looking clothes, people don’t typically pack their ugly stuff when going on a cruise do they?. So my main concern at this point was to at least just get the stuff back sometime. With the switching of our flight and odd connection in STT, I was a little worried about this problem happening before it even did. But still, the lady back in ORD said our bags would be on the UA 1065 to SJU and that we would have no problem. Then all the questions began to take form: Where are the bags? Back in ORD? Did they go to BOS on the original UA flight? Are they sitting in STT? Are they continuing on to IAD? We wanted answers, but no one had any. I myself went to check with US while my parents stayed at UA, to see if they might have came all the way to SJU on US but I had no luck there either. We filed the claim with UA because they took us to our destination, but I had a gut feeling they were with US most likely in BOS. UA said they scan all their bags and even with that they had no location on ours and the UA worker said they may have been scanned to go to BOS but never actually went there. Back at the US counter one of the ladies said she got a message sent to our baggage numbers that they were on a different UA flight number (I forgot what it was). When we told the UA lady she said that flight number was from IAD-DEN!? Nothing seemed to make sense and even though we were extremely frustrated and tired I still credit the airline employees in SJU for their effort in locating our luggage. It was not their fault it was missing and they did everything they could to try to help. From there we played the waiting game as we left the airport for the port. We hoped the bags would come in that night because our ship didn’t leave till 10pm, but that never happened. As we drove to the port we passed over the charred area of highway where the burning bus was that I saw while landing. No regular traffic was being let through but the police did let our bus through probably because he understood that we had to get to the port.

The 30 minute bus ride ended with our massive ship, the Serenade of the Seas, coming into view.
Getting onto the ship didn’t take long because all of our paperwork was already filled out and because most of the people were probably already on the ship.

In my next part I will have many pictures and lots information from our cruise and return trip including the rest of the never ending luggage dilemma. I hope you liked part 1 and I will try to get part 2 up when I have some more time.

-Gaston



Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
User currently offlinePILOTALLEN From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 656 posts, RR: 3
Reply 2, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 8564 times:

good stuff man! the bus on fire made for an interesting approach eh?


Thats not flying, thats falling with style -Woody
User currently offline767747 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 1967 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8452 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and pictures!!

767747


User currently offlineLuv2fly From United States of America, joined May 2003, 12150 posts, RR: 49
Reply 4, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 8445 times:

Always a good read and GREAT photos.


You can cut the irony with a knife
User currently offlineMke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2465 posts, RR: 5
Reply 5, posted (7 years 8 months 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 8395 times:

Very nice report and pictures!!! I went to Punta Cana for spring break, and I agree it was good to get away from the chilly weather. Can't wait to read the return leg!


Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
User currently offlineOA260 From Ireland, joined Nov 2006, 27342 posts, RR: 60
Reply 6, posted (7 years 8 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 8293 times:

Hi there , cool TR so far. Cant wait to see the cruise ship photos. United and Royal Caribbean the perfect vacation !! I love them both. Royal Caribbean definately are the best as you can see from my pics :

FlyBe To See The Worlds Largest Cruise Liner! (by OA260 Apr 24 2007 in Trip Reports)

Cant wait to see what Serenade looks like , lots of photos I hope  Smile


User currently offlineMkeflyer717 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 431 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (7 years 8 months 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 7862 times:

thanks everyone for the nice comments.

Quoting PILOTALLEN (Reply 2):
the bus on fire made for an interesting approach eh?

yea it sure did! lol

Quoting Mke717spotter (Reply 5):
I went to Punta Cana for spring break

that's cool. I've been to The Dominican Republic before but not to the Punta Cana area. I'd like to check it out someday, it seems nice too

Quoting Mke717spotter (Reply 5):
agree it was good to get away from the chilly weather

Unfortunately I got sick the week we got back probably because of the temperature contrast. Coming from 90's all week to 40 really kills the body!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 6):
Royal Caribbean definately are the best

They are fantastic!

Quoting OA260 (Reply 6):
Cant wait to see what Serenade looks like , lots of photos I hope

Well I do have some good shots of the ship but not nearly as many as in yours. Most of my pics are from all the different islands we went to and of all the excursions we did.

-Gaston



Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
User currently offlineMke717spotter From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2465 posts, RR: 5
Reply 8, posted (7 years 8 months 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 7806 times:

Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 7):
I've been to The Dominican Republic before but not to the Punta Cana area.

Cool, I'm guessing you probably went to Puerta Plata, no?

Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 7):
Coming from 90's all week to 40 really kills the body!

Well 40's isn't to bad, but when we arrived at MKE it was in the the low 30's with strong wind and a some rain/snow mix coming down! On top of that I only had on shorts and a sweatshirt!  cold 



Will you watch the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions on Sunday? Only if coach Eric Mangini resigned after a loss.
User currently offlineEchster From United States of America, joined Sep 2004, 400 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (7 years 8 months 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 7607 times:

Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Thread starter):
When we were under an hour away from St. Thomas I began listening to Channel 9 again and found that SJU center’s controllers spoke excellent English; I barely even heard a Spanish accent.

Puerto Rico being an American territory they are FAA employees.


User currently offlineMkeflyer717 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 431 posts, RR: 12
Reply 10, posted (7 years 8 months 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 7419 times:

Quoting Mke717spotter (Reply 8):
I'm guessing you probably went to Puerta Plata, no?

no actually it was more on the southern coast near Santo Domingo. I don't remember the exact name of the area.

Quoting Echster (Reply 9):
Puerto Rico being an American territory they are FAA employees.

yea I guess that makes sense lol. I dont know what I was thinking.



Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
User currently offlineOldman55 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1525 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (7 years 8 months 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 7255 times:

Quoting Echster (Reply 9):
Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Thread starter):



Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 10):
Quoting Mke717spotter (Reply 8):

Whoa 2 different people!! Now I am getting confused LOL. Anyway Nice report, I am looking forward to part #2



too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
User currently offlineSJUBoeingGirl From Puerto Rico, joined Nov 2004, 274 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 6502 times:

Hey, you just took a picture of PR's most beautiful beach, "Flamenco" and another one of the whole Culebra Island, very nice!
Also controllers here get their trainning with the FAA so we get to speak very good english.



If it's not Boeing, I ain't Going!
User currently offlineMkeflyer717 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 431 posts, RR: 12
Reply 13, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 6300 times:

Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 11):
Whoa 2 different people!! Now I am getting confused LOL

hahaha, I always wondered how long it would take until someone would say that!

Quoting SJUBoeingGirl (Reply 12):
Hey, you just took a picture of PR's most beautiful beach, "Flamenco" and another one of the whole Culebra Island, very nice!

Hey, thanks for the information about the beaches/islands. When we were landing I could not figure out what they were because I did not realize that we flew so close to Puerto Rico.

Quoting SJUBoeingGirl (Reply 12):
controllers here get their trainning with the FAA so we get to speak very good english.

yup, I understand that now  Smile



Avoid the Chicago ORDeal!! Fly MKE!
User currently offlineOldman55 From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1525 posts, RR: 31
Reply 14, posted (7 years 7 months 1 week 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 6273 times:

Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 13):
Quoting Oldman55 (Reply 11):
Whoa 2 different people!! Now I am getting confused LOL

hahaha, I always wondered how long it would take until someone would say that!

So do i win a prize for being first?  Cool Just not a trip to MKE Please LOL



too bad most of us get too soon old and too late smart
User currently offlineBA319-131 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2001, 8596 posts, RR: 54
Reply 15, posted (7 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5962 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Great report and photo's, many thanks - the burning bus pic is amazing!

Rgds

Mark



111,732,3,4,5,7,8,BBJ,741,742,743,744,752,762,763,764,772,77L,773,77W,L15,D10,30,40,AB3,AB6,A312.313,319,320,321,332,333
User currently offlineEvan767 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 2957 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (7 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5934 times:

Doesn't UA at least toss a bag of 25 cent pretzels or peanuts at you to keep your stomach at least a little filled for a flight that long?


The proper term is "on final" not "on finals" bud...
User currently offlineBA777 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2001, 2181 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (7 years 6 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5921 times:

Good report, I love STT...flew in on an AMM 763 back in 2002 i believe...great takeoff/landing!

User currently offlineReguPilot From Puerto Rico, joined Jan 2004, 495 posts, RR: 24
Reply 18, posted (7 years 6 months 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 5334 times:

Great Report!! I don';t recall that bus incident in the news... but it was surely a nice shot!

Quoting Mkeflyer717 (Reply 13):

Hey, thanks for the information about the beaches/islands. When we were landing I could not figure out what they were because I did not realize that we flew so close to Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is composed of one big island, 2 smaller islands and several other tiny islands. The first island shot of yours is Culebra's Island, Puerto Rico's third biggest island.


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