717atOGG
Topic Author
Posts: 711
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:10 am

Flying Southwest Airlines - SEA-BWI, BWI-DEN-SEA

Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:42 pm

Introduction: I took these flights to visit family by myself in Delaware. Due to some issues, I was unable to bring my camera with me on this trip so all these photos were taken on my Samsung Galaxy S8 which has no zoom lens, hence the quality of certain pictures aren't that great. While many people love Southwest Airlines because of the open seating, free baggage allowance, and lack of change fees, personally they're not my favorite airline. The boarding process is anxiety-inducing, especially in the late-B group when you're trying to find an open row, and they fly out of my least favorite terminal at SEA, the B concourse. Despite my previous disposition against WN, I was excited to fly them this time, and I purchased Early Bird check-in for this trip, which alleviated my concerns about WN's boarding process. Anyways, without further ado, I'll begin the main portion of my trip report.

This is the itinerary for my flights:
6/16/18 WN flight 5740 depart SEA at 6:35 am, arrive at BWI at 2:35 pm
6/28/18 WN flight 1869 depart BWI at 2:50 pm, arrive at DEN at 4:50 pm
6/28/18 WN flight 2099 depart DEN at 6:55 pm, arrive at SEA at 8:55 pm

Flight 5740: SEA-BWI
At the god-awful time of 3:30 am, I was woken up at the airport hotel where my dad, who was going to escort me to the gate, and I were staying. We got ready, and by 4 am, I was walking into the doors of Sea-Tac airport. I was pleased to see that since the last time I had flown Southwest in 2016 that they had set up multiple self-tagging stations.
Image20180616_040832 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Even though there was a crowd at the bag tagging machines, there was no line at the bag drop, so within 10 minutes, I was on my way to security, which took about 45 minutes. I didn't get any pictures, but I saw people complaining to the TSA agents that they were going to miss their flights and they had to expedite the security process by essentially making everyone have PreCheck, so nobody had to take their shoes off. They also had the bomb-sniffing dogs out, which was pretty cool. Around 4:55 am, I finally cleared security, and got breakfast at Starbucks. I did some planespotting in the B concourse after breakfast since I still had an hour until my flight started to board. I stayed in the B concourse though, so I didn't see anything that was very interesting.
This is the best picture I could get, but it's a DL A321 that was subbed in for a flight to SLC. I thought this was interesting, because DL doesn't normally send the A321 our way.
Image20180616_052026 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
DL 752 that was scheduled to depart for ATL at 6:15 am.
Image20180616_052145 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
After a while, I went back to my gate, which was B8. Here's a picture of the plane I flew, Heart One. This 3.9 year old 737-800 is the first plane that was painted in Southwest's current livery, and it's the plane used in lots of Southwest advertising materials.
Image20180616_051846 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Some better photos of the plane from the database:

While I was at the gate I noticed that there was a group of 7th graders on a school trip that were taking my flight. At around 6 am, pre-boarding was called, and a few minutes later, I, with boarding position A22, stepped onboard the aircraft. This plane had the Evolve tan/blue interior. I took seat 5F, and had this cabin and wing view.
Image20180616_064944 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180616_061118 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
This was the plane at the gate next to us.
Image20180616_063137 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
During boarding, the flight attendants were stricter than I had expected in terms of boarding quickly and stowing carry-ons in overhead bins, which was forgivable given the early hour and the quick turnarounds that Southwest typically does. Towards the end of the A group, an older gentleman took the aisle seat in my row. There was 12 open seats on the flight, according to the gate agent, and I was hoping for an empty middle. Thankfully most of the students took seats in the back, but at the very end of the C group, another student boarded. A flight attendant was in the row behind me, and he wasn't rude, but he was certainly pushy with this kid. The flight attendant gave him a choice of some middles up front, and of course he took the middle in my row. We pushed back a few minutes late, and began our taxi towards runway 34R. Here's some views of planes that I saw while taxiing out.
Delta and United lineup at the adjacent Concourse A.
Image20180616_064421 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180616_064244 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
And some Delta 737s at the end of Concourse B.
Image20180616_064734 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
The plane went directly to the runway from there, so I don't have any other pictures. After a short takeoff roll, we took off to the north and climbed quickly. I was treated to a view of Boeing Field during this, which was pretty cool.
Image20180616_065517 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Once we reached cruising altitude, the flight attendants took drink orders and gave out snacks. I had a Sprite to drink, and I took peanuts (RIP), pretzels, plane cookies, and a pack of Belvita bars from the snack basket. I also fired up my iPad to watch the streaming entertainment. They had streaming TV with just some basic channels, some TV shows, and some shows that actually require an app to watch, which Southwest doesn't tell you about, but thankfully I had it. In addition, they had WiFi, a flight tracker, movies for sale, and free streaming music. By the way, that app is called Airtime Player if you want it.
My snacks, and The Big Bang Theory.
Image20180616_073343 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Around Montana, I started to nap, and I didn't wake up until around Omaha. Annoyingly, my seatmate, who was rather stocky, was trying to sleep too and he was not exactly stellar at understanding the concept of personal space, at least from what I could tell, so he was leaning into my seat space a lot. Once I woke up, I watched some more TV, listened to music, and looked out the window, which was basically what I did for the rest of the flight as well.
Here's another outside picture from somewhere over the rural Midwest.
Image2018-07-11_03-59-03 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
A screenshot from the flight tracker portion of the entertainment:
ImageScreenshot_20180616-093523_Chrome by ian_m.03, on Flickr
IIRC there was some light turbulence over Iowa and Illinois. Over central Ohio, I visited the forward lav, which was clean and full-sized. Shortly afterwards, the flight attendants handed out cups of water. We started our descent over West Virginia, which was slightly turbulent. Our descent brought us over downtown Baltimore, which was a nice change from the monotonous scenery during the flight.
Image20180616_113314 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
A smooth touchdown was made at 2:39 EST, after which we promptly taxiied to gate C13. The terminal was crowded but orderly, and I saw some AA planes during my walk to baggage claim.
PMUS A321 going to CLT
Image20180616_145020 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
AA MD-80 going to DFW
Image20180616_145014 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
The FR24 status for this flight:
ImageScreenshot_20180616-161535_Flightradar24 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Disappointingly, it took about 45 minutes from the time that I disembarked from my flight to when I got my checked bag because there was 4 other flights at the same carousel. It's times like these that I appreciate AS and DL's 20 minute baggage policy. I then met up with my family and had a great 2 week vacation that mostly consisted of non-aviation activities, but I did go to an airshow in Ocean City, MD and got some pictures that I thought you'd enjoy.
A C-5 Galaxy making a low pass over the beach.
Image20180617_123429 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
A parachuter (don't know the exact term) that was landing on the beach as a stunt,
Image20180617_122817 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
A F-something that was passing over the beach. It was deafeningly loud when it passed by us.
Image20180617_135854 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
The Thunderbirds, who did a show that involved skywriting, flying in formation, and flying both over the ocean and the crowd. Even though the airshow announcers only made a noise warning about them, I thought that they were actually less loud than the earlier jet.
Image20180617_153110_030_01 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180617_152855 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Flight 1869: BWI-DEN
After my excellent vacation and time with family, I had to go back to BWI to catch my flights home to SEA. I was flying out of BWI at 2:50, arriving at 4:50 in DEN, then departing DEN at 6:55 and arriving in SEA at 8:55. Or so I thought. I arrived at BWI around noon, and just like SEA except on a larger scale, there was a crowd at the machines but little to no line at the bag drop. I had PreCheck, so I went to a lane at first which was regular screening, so I went to another lane, said goodbye to my family, and went in my lane. I cleared security in 5 minutes flat, which was impressive given that BWI is a busy airport. Both my flights were on time at this point. I stopped by Starbucks and got an iced tea, while exploring the airport and doing some plane spotting.
Here's a lineup of WN 737s at Concourse A. An anecdote I have about this concourse is that there's 4 or 5 gates pictured here and ~10 more in another area that is a short walk and escalator ride away. I feel that it'd be more accurate to call these the T gates (like ATL) or something of the like since they're closest to the central security checkpoints, and have the other area be the actual set of A gates.
Image20180628_125547 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
More Southwest 73Gs in the latter set of A gates
Image20180628_132938 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
WN retrojet
Image20180628_133451 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
AA A320 and B6 E190
Image20180628_131914 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Yet another WN 73G. This was the dominant airline/aircraft type at the airport by far, closely followed afterwards by the 738s of the same airline.
Image20180628_130134 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
The new Lone Star One, unveiled in 2016, which replaced a 733 with the same theme.
Image20180628_133605 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
DL MD-88 arriving from ATL
Image20180628_134525 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
WN 7M8 that was going to SEA at about the same time as my flight to DEN.
Image20180628_133907 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
My plane arriving from SLC. This plane, N8515X, is 1.6 years old and has the Heart (aka the most current) interior.
Image20180628_140049 by ian_m.03, on Flickr

The plane arrived at about 2 pm, and they had to do a fast turnaround so they asked us to get settled quickly once onboard. Half an hour later, I boarded. With boarding position A35, I decided to sit at seat 18A, a few rows behind the wing emergency exits.
Here was my seat.
Image20180628_143336 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
When I sat down, my first impressions were that the seat itself was comfortable and the recline was decent, but the armrests were thin and firmer than usual. This was expected, and I understood that it was the expense I had to take in order to have a wider seat. The legroom was pretty good as well.
Image20180628_144551 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
My outside view
Image20180628_143445 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
My view of the cabin
Image20180628_173955 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
The crew was able to stay true to their fast turnaround promise, and we pushed back only about 15 minutes behind schedule. But right before I turned my phone onto airplane mode, I got this notification.
Image2018-07-11_05-01-41 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
I was worried about being overly tired, since assuming I'd leave DEN at 8:20 (spoiler alert: we didn't), by the time I'd have landed in SEA my body clock would be at 1:20 am, but I was able to brush it off and enjoy my flight to DEN. There was no wait on the tarmac, and the takeoff and climb was uneventful.
Image20180628_151733 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
After we got to our cruising altitude, drinks and snacks were served. I had cran-apple juice, and the only snacks that were offered were Wheat Thins and peanuts, and I had both.
Image20180628_154843 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
This time I didn't use the provided entertainment, instead opting to watch Netflix on my iPad, but I did notice that they forgot to reset the IFE system, as it still had the information from the last flight.
ImageScreenshot_20180628-180358_Chrome by ian_m.03, on Flickr
ImageScreenshot_20180628-151602_Chrome by ian_m.03, on Flickr
I went to the aft lav this time and noticed that they had the same lavatories on AA's 737 MAX, and they weren't bad other than the small sinks. Granted, I have a tall and slim figure, so that might have made it less bad for me. For the most part, the flight was routine, so I don't have much else to say about it. I believe the flight time was 3 hours and 17 minutes, and the flight was smooth other than some bumps on descent to Denver. The descent started over western Kansas and we landed at 4:28 pm MST, docking at gate C49. With that out of the way, I'll share the pictures of descent, landing, and the FR24 stats.
Image20180628_181122 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_182221 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_163427 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
ImageScreenshot_20180629-112808_Flightradar24 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
And here's my failed attempt at getting a disembarking shot, but at least it gets the basic idea across of what the cabin looks like.
Image20180628_164245 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
This was my first time visiting DEN, and I must say that I was impressed. Even though some parts of the design screamed 90's, it operates remarkably well for an airport of its size, and has a passenger-friendly design and plentiful dining and shopping options. I look forward to seeing this airport grow, and I'm excited to fly out of DEN again in the future. I toured the entire post-security area of the airport during my long layover, and I'll try to organize them by concourse. I arrived and flew out of Concourse C, the home of WN, AS, and NK, and it's also the terminal that I have the least amount of photos of since I've already shared a lot of WN pics.
Image20180628_164436 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_165010 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Next, I rode the train to Concourse A, home of F9, DL, AA, and all other domestic and international carriers.
Image20180628_171609 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
BA 744 to LHR
Image20180628_171841 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
LH 744 to FRA. I saw the tail of the A350 to MUC when my BWI flight was taxiing to its gate but it had already left when I got there.
Image20180628_165723 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
FI 752 to KEF
Image20180628_165934 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
I saw this flight and I just had to laugh. Someone was probably having some fun at network planning when they decided on this flight number... :lol:
Image20180628_170203 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
AC CR9
Image20180628_190032 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
A pair of AC Embraers. The left one was going to YYZ and the right one to YUL.
Image20180628_185804 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
To finish off my mini-tour of Concourse A, an assortment of F9 jets. I've always had a fascination with Frontier because of their eclectic network but I've never really seen much of them in SEA and they don't even fly to BWI, so it was fun to see lots of their planes in DEN.
Image20180628_172223 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_172316 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_172319 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_190418 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_190302 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
After I finished touring that terminal, I went to Concourse B, the home of United. I got Chick-Fil-A for dinner and frozen yogurt at TCBY then explored the terminal. This is the longest concourse in the airport, the most crowded, and it has the biggest food court, but it's still manageable to navigate. This concourse isn't completely linear because it has two ground-level RJ satellites at one end. One's accessible to everyone but the other requires you to board via a gate then walk to your plane. The one I could see was perhaps the nicest regional terminal I've seen. It was spartan but not a long walk from amenities, and it had an airy feel to it.
I have no idea what this structure is called, but it's in the center of the terminal. Before the CO merger, the UA tulip used to be displayed on the top of this.
Image20180628_175635 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
This UA 772 was going to either LAX or SFO, I forgot. I think that the novelty of flying such a large plane on a short route was cool.
Image20180628_181532 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
The two most common aircraft types in this concourse:
Image20180628_180443 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image2018-07-11_08-54-42 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
The inside of the regional satellite, and photos of aircraft parked at it:
Image20180628_182702 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_182217 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_182355 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_182600 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_182640 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Flight 2099: DEN-SEA
Once I had finished my comprehensive tour of the airport, I headed back to Concourse C at about 7:45 pm. During my layover, the departure time had been moved back an additional 15 minutes to 8:35. I waited at the gate, which was initially C27, for about 30 minutes, charging my phone and checking for information. Our aircraft had been changed once or twice at this point so I didn't know what was going on. Finally, at about 8:05 pm when there was no aircraft at the gate, the agents were quiet, and it was becoming increasingly clear that we weren't going to leave at 8:35, I checked FR24 for our flight, then looked at our scheduled aircraft and what it was doing, and I saw this.
Image2018-07-12_08-16-17 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Yup, the inbound plane was diverted to Albuquerque. No one else knew that at this point, from what I could tell, so I walked over to adjacent empty gate area to tell my parents, and when I returned I heard chatter among passengers about the potential of a diversion. An announcement that was made around 8:15 pm confirmed my suspicion. Apparently there was windshear in the area, lots of arriving flights were circling over Colorado, and this particular flight decided to divert. The FIDS now showed that the plane from ABQ would arrive at 10:35 pm, which wouldn't have put me into SEA until after midnight.
Image20180628_191732 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
By now, I was starting to get tired and I had the feeling that this was going to be a long night, so I went to Caribou Coffee.
Image20180628_203754 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
When I got back, they were making a gate change announcement to C27, so I went over there. They were able to find a plane coming in from LGA to operate the SEA flight, so the delay was slightly shortened. At about 9:15 pm, the inbound plane arrived at the gate, and the crew did another quick turnaround.
Here's my ride to SEA, N213WN, a 13.2 year old 737-700 in the old livery and the Evolve interior with blue seat covers.
Image20180628_210349 by ian_m.03, on Flickr

I boarded at about 9:45, with position A30, and I took seat 7F. Here's my seat and my wing view.
Image20180628_212754 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_213015 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
The cabin view. This plane didn't have the Boeing Sky Interior like the others, but it was clean and comfortable.
Image20180628_215321 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Legroom was ok. This shot doesn't really do it justice, but there was about an inch between my knees and the seatback, and I could fully extend my legs under the seat in front of me.
Image20180628_222037 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Boarding wrapped up quickly since by this point everyone just wanted to get out of Denver. The crew gave a bottle of champagne to a couple who was celebrating their 15th anniversary while we were waiting to push back, which I thought was nice. An uneventful, somewhat sluggish takeoff was made at 10:07 pm, and there was some bumps during climb, but other than that it was routine.
Image20180628_221121 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Image20180628_220852 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Snack service was the same as on my BWI-DEN flight, and I had the same beverage as before, while watching this iconic episode of The Office.
Image20180628_224345 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
I fell asleep an hour into the flight, and woke up just as we were beginning our descent into SEA. We made out approach from the north over downtown Seattle and made a smooth landing at 11:28 pm, parking at gate B14.
Image20180629_002436 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Here's the FR24 stats for this flight.
ImageScreenshot_20180629-112751_Flightradar24 by ian_m.03, on Flickr
Bag delivery was swift, and by 11:45 I was out of the airport and on my way home.

Conclusion: I enjoyed these flights more than I thought I would, and I like Southwest more after this trip than I did before. They have a perfectly adequate product and service, and they got me where I needed to go in relative comfort and safety. Maybe not on time, but that's not their fault. My only (minor) complaints are that their streaming selection could be better and the FA's only doing one full drink service on longer flights. Thank you for reading my trip report, and I hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to leave feedback, comments, etc in the replies.
 
jasoncrh
Posts: 638
Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:29 pm

Re: Flying Southwest Airlines - SEA-BWI, BWI-DEN-SEA

Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:31 am

Overall great report with nice pictures. I always like Southwest and as long as expectations are in line they're totally fine.

One thing - we are NOT on Standard time right now. Standard time is the time of the year when we are not on daylight savings time, which is what we are on now. I noticed references to "EST" or "MST". The "S" is for "Standard". We are only on standard time during the 3-4 month period when we are not on daylight savings time. That's usually November - March or so. The appropriate way to handle this is simply say "Eastern time" or "Eastern Daylight Time". You can say "Eastern Standard Time" during the November - March period when we are actually on Standard time. We simply are not on Standard time now.
 
717atOGG
Topic Author
Posts: 711
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2015 2:10 am

Re: Flying Southwest Airlines - SEA-BWI, BWI-DEN-SEA

Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:09 am

jasoncrh wrote:
Overall great report with nice pictures. I always like Southwest and as long as expectations are in line they're totally fine.

One thing - we are NOT on Standard time right now. Standard time is the time of the year when we are not on daylight savings time, which is what we are on now. I noticed references to "EST" or "MST". The "S" is for "Standard". We are only on standard time during the 3-4 month period when we are not on daylight savings time. That's usually November - March or so. The appropriate way to handle this is simply say "Eastern time" or "Eastern Daylight Time". You can say "Eastern Standard Time" during the November - March period when we are actually on Standard time. We simply are not on Standard time now.

Ah. Thanks for the correction, I'll remember that for next time. I only included the "EST" and "MST" designations for those not familiar with American time zones.

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