This is the first part of my 20 day trip bringing me in Los Angeles, Tijuana, Hermosillo, Sydney, Brisbane and New York. Enjoy!
As United had a very attractive offer for Amsterdam-Australia flights with 2 stopovers possible in the US, I took their flight at
Saturday 30 March, 777 N774UA, AMS-IAD, UA947, actual TO 13.00, landing 15.06 (flying time 8.06).
This is already my fourth transatlantic United trip, so I was happy to have yet another 777 which I didn't flew yet. While I had confirmed seats for all the other 6 sectors, on this flight it wasn't possible, and even while I arrived at the airport at 9.30, I was lucky to get the final window seat available, 36J. The flight was 95% full, as United has a smart policy of filling the left over seats with very very cheap packages.
The flight was very comfortable, I must admit it gets a little routine for me... The meals (I chose chicken, baked potato, applepie, salad, crackers, had a Bailey's and before landing a cheese tosti, fruitsalad and cheesepie) was OK, the F/A's not too friendly (compared to my earlier UAL flights) but the IFE excellent, I really like the PTV selection. Again I could enjoy the southern Greenland tip on the moment the clouds broke. Then we headed over Toronto, Uttaca (NY) to Washington to land just in time.
Saturday 30 March , 777 N766UA UA947 IAD-LAX, actual 18.44-20.40 (flying time 4.56 hours) 21J
Even while the flight number remains the same, we had to change planes and wait quite some time. The flight number thing has more flying rights and PR reasons I think, as it doesn't seem to make sense to have the same flight number if both the aircraft, crew, (most) passengers and routing is different. While arriving on time, we ran late from our 17.50 departure as we had to wait for the incoming aircraft.
I was lucky to have a seat in the economy plus which had excessive legroom due to the crew block of seats was just in front of us.
Again the service was quite good, a hot meal with beef, brocoli and breadsticks, and another drink serving with pretzils an hour before landing.
We had quite some turbulence about half way , around Oklahoma and we took a small rerouting to avoid more. Later on in the news I heared there were thunderstorms in the area at the time.
Most of the time, the weather was quite good, and while we took off in dawn, we almost kept pace with the sun until approaching in LAX when it got really dark.
I took a small detour via San Diego to Mexico to fly two of my favorite rattlecrates.
Tue 2 April Tijuana-Hermosillo, Aerocalifornia DC-9-10 XA-LAC 4E, actual 12.44-14.42 (actual flying time 58 minutes).
The DC-9-10 series was the only mark of DC-9 (apart from the DC-9-20 which I consider sort of the same) I never flew yet so this short flight was many the final opportunity to get it in my logbook.
The flight was 100% full (my original ticket was lost in the mail and I could only obtain a new one after reporting the loss so my own seat became available again). We boarded at 12.15 and after a wait till official departure time (12.35) we pushed back and were on our way. Our climb was over the center of Tijuana (I already noticed al these noisy DC-9s and 727s over the town on the day and night before), then we turned east. Weather was good so I enjoyed the view of desert-like area, the Baya California and some mountains before descending. Service was a selection of softdrinks, pretzils and coffee. The aircraft (one of the ' newer' DC-9-10s, of 1968) looked quite good from the inside, only the pink seats look a bit dated 70s.
Wed 3 April 727-200 Aerolineas Internacionales XA-TPV Hermosillo-Tijuana, 15A actual 11.00-11.00 (flying time 60 minutes)
While I booked this flight on Internet, local procedures weren't in match with this convenient way of booking. The manager was called, a confirmation fax had to be signed and stapled four times and it took 25 minutes and three staff to get me the boarding pass.
It was free seating and a F/A blocked the last half of the cabin as there were only 35 passengers or so. I chose 15A. Again the air was bright (except for the smoggy Tijuana) and I enjoyed the view. There was only a cold drink service.
OK, my credit (Internet cafe) is up, so it's a bit shorter than usually. Feel free to ask anything.
Coming up: continuation of United flight to Sydney (747), to Brisbane by Virgin Blue, trainingflights with Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer, returned to Sydney by Qantas 763, a sightseeing flight with DC-3, Sydney-LAX-JFK (744/762), JFK-IAD (J-41) and to AMS (772).