OK, I got to take my first non-rev trip on Wednesday! A short hop yes, but the main thing was that it was for free
UA7975 SFO-STS - 10.3.2001
Embraer EMB-120 Brasilia (N1105G)
Seat 9C (exit row)
Cruising Level: ???
I began my trip the night before, when I asked my parents if I could do the non-rev thing from San Francisco to Santa Rosa. "Sure, go ahead. The car will be waiting for you at the Airporter stop in Petaluma." Sweet! I called up UAL List and listed myself for my first ever non-rev trip. I selected UA7975, San Francisco to Santa Rosa, 7:47 departure. The system responded: "Economy - More than 25 seats open." In a 30-seater plane, this is a very good thing.
The next day I putzed around doing stuff, running a few small errands and a teensy bit of schoolwork. I went and got a haircut from Eduardo, who always cuts my hair perfectly, and for $13 at that! I walked back home and then washed my hair to get all the clippings out, and got ready to go. I put on a pair of khakis with a belt and a green plaid shirt I tucked in. I gelled up my hair until it looked good, and then I put the styling gel in my backpack along with some goodies and an extra shirt just in case this first shirt wasn't good enough to non-rev in (in the end it was fine)
I then put on a helmet and rode my bike to the bus stop, because my mom took my brother and some of his friends to the beach. Fine, didn't matter. I locked up the bike at the stop and waited about 10 minutes for the bus to come. I got on, put on my headphones and listened to Hearsay's "Show Me The Way To Your Love (Almighty Mix)" and other club mixes for the entire hour and 5 minute journey to SFO. I got off at the US Airways stop and poked around the International Terminal and Terminal 1 (the terminals have been renamed as of Oct. 1st) before making my way through the deserted Terminal 2 and eventually into Terminal 3 (United/American). I went through security, relatively painless this time, and made my way to 87A, but not before dashing into the bathroom and fixing my hair with gel and water from the abuse due to the bike helmet, and then on to the bus.
Arriving in the terminal, I went up to where my friends Brie and Jason were at Gate 5. "How are my favorite people?!" Brie knew I was coming but Jason didn't, he looked at me funny. "What in the heck are you doing here on your day off?" "Flying for free!"
Brie checked me in for my flight, and acted all prim and proper.
"Mr. Groves, has anyone asked you to carry an item on this flight?"
"Mr. Groves, have any of the items you are traveling with been out of your control at any time since you packed them?"
"Are you carrying any hazardous materials?"
"Thank you very much Mr. Groves."
I collected my boarding pass, and to my delight, I had been assigned Seat 9C, exit row, window seat. I went and sat down for a second. I went up to Brie again and gave her a Finnish chocolate bar.
"You have to share this with Tom and Jason."
"What makes you think I will?
I went to go sit back down, but then I looked down the terminal to find my ramper friend Tom coming down the terminal. He was surprised to see me as well. We talked for a minute, and then Brie stole him to go walk some passengers out to a plane.
"If you do this for me I'll show you the surprise Kai brought."
"I know what it is already."
"Well still you can do this for me... please???"
The poor guy gave in and walked the pax out. He came back and then they divided up the chocolate, and of course being the nice people they are, they shared with the other agents that were nearby. They all loved the chocolate (Yay!
). So then Tom and I talked for a while, then he went off to do some more work. I had promised Jason earlier I would get him a Jamba Juice smoothie, and asked Tom if he wanted one too. He said yes, whatever I was getting would be fine. Brie wanted a cinnamon roll from Just Desserts. So taking all these orders (and some money as well) I left to go back to the main terminal. I quickly arrived back with the orders. They sat by my feet waiting until they all went on their respective breaks.
Us (minus Jason) went out back and talked while they smoked. There were some weird dialogue, for example:
Tom: "You know, this Jamba Juice is really good with cigarettes."
Me: "I'll keep that in mind."
"Also keep in mind what I said earlier. Don't start."
"I don't want to be blamed for corrupting you or anything like that."
"That's OK, we'll just blame Brie
Brie was talking to someone else, but she turned around a short pause later:
Brie: "Hold on just a second, blame me for what?"
Me: "If I take up smoking."
Then it was about time to go. I said goodbye (of sorts) to both of them. I asked Tom if he was going to board my flight to STS. He was like, OK... even though he was supposed to be on his lunch break. Such a nice guy!
I waited a couple of minutes, joking with the two agents working Gate 4. Soon enough, "For those passengers travelling to Santa Rosa on United Express flight 7975, we are now boarding out of Gate 4." I was last in line of all 3 passengers for this flight, and gave them my boarding pass, and received the stub. We waited for about 15 seconds and then Tom walked us out to parking position 2-Bravo, where our plane N1105G was parked. We boarded, and Tom and I said our last "vocal" goodbyes.
I took my exit row seat, in a very comfortable leather seat. The f/a asked me if I would be able to assist in the event of an emergency, I said yes, of course. Tom was doing whatever rampers do when they are inside the plane, giving the F/A the paperwork and speaking to the flight crew. Our flight attendant, Amanda, began her welcome announcement, and Tom waved at me from behind her. I waved back at him. Amanda finished her announcement as the plane started up and moved away from it's parking position. Sure enough, there was Tom, marshaling the aircraft out. One last wave, and he went off to go have a cigarette
As we were taxiing, you could feel almost every bump in the taxiway, but that was fine with me. Amanda came back and took beverage orders. I ordered a Sprite (my inflight drink of choice). We reached 1L, and came to a stop.
Almost immediately, the go-ahead was given and the engines sprang into action. We started down the runway, lifting off before even reaching the first crossing of the perpendicular runways. We lifted off into the beautiful San Francisco evening sky at 7:57pm. We climbed up over San Francisco. Over the Golden Gate Bridge, my drink was served. Soon after that, the famous SkyWest snack basket came through, and I selected my personal favorite, the SkyWest 2000 Snack Mix. I munched on the contents and sipped on my drink as we passed over the familiar countryside below. I picked out where my dad's work was, San Quentin, Northgate Mall, Vintage Oaks shopping center (highly visible due to the large Target sign placed on the respective store), and my relative's house. Unfortunately, the fog started right as we started to see Petaluma, but I kind of figured out where my house was. Over Petaluma, we began our descent into Santa Rosa. I watched as we dipped closer to the layer of low clouds, keeping my eyes attached to the beautiful golden moon sitting close to Mt. St. Helena. I bid a silent farewell to the moon as bumps in the cloud layer would obscure it for a second, then it would appear again. Soon enough, we dipped completely below the fog layer. About 10 seconds later, the ceiling of the fog layer gave way, as we approached Charles M. Schultz - Sonoma County Airport. The runway soon appeared, and we hit the runway firmly at 8:17pm, exactly 20 minutes after takeoff from San Francisco. The landing wasn't rough, perfect I'd say. Brakes were applied and turned off the runway. Amanda came on the PA and welcomed us to Santa Rosa, where the local time was just about 8:20pm. She thanked us for flying SkyWest United Express on behalf of the Sacramento-based flight crew. The plane taxied for a while until it came to a stop in front of the terminal. We waited a few minutes after the props were turned off. Amanda offered us all a complimentary Thank You mint. Then the door opened, and all three of us stepped off the plane.
I entered the terminal, and went up to the United Express desk. In SFO I had been given the very
important job of COMAT'ing material (SkyWest blue employee trip passes
) to Santa Rosa, as the station is closing October 30th and they aren't ordering any more, thus dependent on us for blue passes
I gave them to a person, and then stood around until the plane was turned around for it's return as UA7976 to SFO. Then they came back out to the desk, and I talked with them for a while, as I was waiting for the airporter back to Petaluma which left at 9:15. All of the 3 I talked to are planning to transfer to SFO, working on a part-time basis. So I taught them how to do a few things they don't do in STS, such as sending bag messages. I also saw them sign for fuel purchases, something CS Agents don't do in SFO
Then it was time to go, and I said goodbye to the very nice ground crew in Santa Rosa and boarded the bus. 45 minutes and 3 stops later, I got off the bus in Petaluma, found the car, unlocked the bike and put it on the bike rack, and drove home.
That's my first non-rev experience, hope you all enjoyed reading it!
Comments are of course welcomed!!!
Head in the clouds... yet feet planted firmly on the ground.