Tues. 12 Feb.2002 GRR-ORD-GRR on Mardi Gras, Chinese New Year, Lincoln's BD and a HIGH ALERT DAY.
Arrived two hrs early at Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Although not an exciting itinerary, it does provide a glimpse of a trip not usually published here and which most of our readers will never fly. Short trips can be interesting too.
Very easy check-in and security although shoes were of interest. Spoke with a couple in the B-1 boarding area who were going to HNL for two mos. Must be nice. Boarded UA Flt 1161 and was blessed with seat 1B next to John, a UA F/O. We had interesting conversation about the Airbus A-319J which is his aircraft. This day were were on board UNITED B-737-322 N347UA Nose No 9947. There is one photo of it at this site. Aircraft was born in 1988. There were 70 SOB and 2 laps on this my 103rd trip to ORD since 1968. Due to traffic at ORD, Capt. Jeff H. had to decide between a 30 min. hold at GRR for our assigned route and altitude to Chicago or a deviated route, much lower altitude but very choppy conditions. He opted to get pax to their connections OT in Chicago so we pushed back at 0925, WU from RW 26 at 0935 against strong winds from the W. I should say that Purser Nick P. did the usual fine UAL pre-light announcements. Cabin crew was LAX domiciled. The fears of "chop" were not realized as one/half way over Lake Michigan the skies cleared and it was smooth "sailing" into Chicago with the usual spectacular views of the Loop. The flt level for this route is almost always 170 but we flew it yesterday at FL 100. Two OJs later we were safely at C-28. F/O John was off to ATL and our aircraft was to continue on to OMA.
A fun day with our daughter in the "Windy City"
(it refers to the "wind" of political speakers not mother nature) although this day there were in fact windy conditions.
A short CTA Blue Line trip brought me back to the airport for Jim's 104th trip to/from ORD on UA 396
For all I've heard about the "problem" of flying in and out of ORD, it has never been my experience. Friendly UA CSRs...no problem at all at security although a serious "wanding" did take place. Shoes this time did not get inspected. In a dozen trips to ORD since 9-11, there have been no serious problems I've experienced. I was on TV (in the background) as a gentleman was being interviewed.(I'm sure about the fact that it was a high alert day) A quick light dinner at the Berghoff Cafe and down Concourse C and a very full C-2 boarding area. I was delighted to see this. I was stricken, however, but the number of empty gates this Tues. night.
Waiting at the jetway was an old friend, UA
737-322 N202UA which I have been on before. It was to be a full pax load for the trip home. I was lucky to get on as there were only several seats un-occupied. Two UA flights currently land in Grand Rapids between 21:00 and 23:00. Most prefer the earlier arrival. I was in 6B and Purser Lynn made the usual plea for attention. She was completely ignored by pax in 6D/F. It isn't so much that THEY don't care....don't "need" to hear...but the fact that it is rude to others who might actually want to pay attention...and I might add, the message being sent to youngsters...that one doesn't have to listen. So they preceeded to shout over the pursers safety announcement.
I believe that TRUE frequent fliers will respect the F/As duties in this regard.
Bravo-Delta took us to position and hold at RW 22L after an OT push. We waited a minute for
turbulence ahead from a "company" Airbus departure. Wheels up at 20:34 CST and and immediate turn to 140 degrees soon after to 070 degrees and over the city and lake. Cleared direct to GRR for FL 170 Seatbelt sign was off for only 8 minutes, which is typical for this route. At 40 miles out captain's discretion to descend to FL 3000. Cleared to land on visual approach to RW 35 with scattered clouds, winds 13 mph gusts to 20 and 26 degrees. Gate B-1 is home to the plane for the overnighter. I doubt that those who fear flying are reading our posts, but this day featured a lot of pax getting safely and OT to destination even on a high alert day.
Clear and Friendly Skies to all as we await the mechanics' vote. --JaO