Boeing 737-400 N434US (w/TV monitors)
January 4, 2003
Photo © Terry Shepherd
After a night at the Hyatt at MCO, we took the elevator down to the terminal, checked-in, and headed to Gates 30-59 for our flight to CLT. I was tired, and hated getting up at 4:40AM, but watching OSU win, (which I was loving every minute of!!) kept me up until 12:15, leaving me with a little more with 4 hrs of sleep...
We took the monorail over to the airside, and headed for gate 59, where there were already tons of people, both for our flight and the 757 to PHL. My mom headed to the desk & asked if volunteers would be needed, which there was the "chance" that there would be. Boarding started, and we boarded and headed to our seats, in rows 4 & 5 (we didn't get to take a bump), and a few minutes later, we pushed back.
We sat on the ramp and started rolling forward, when they started the safety video (they did this going to SJU- is it common?). I always am entertained by the video, for whatever reason. We then reached the end of 36L, where we immediately throttled up & blasted down the runway. I liked the fact that the engines made a "whine" similar to that of a 757, only higher pitched. We finally pulled up & left COLD Florida..... until July, at least!
We turned left & climbed out. I could see another plane ahead which we followed out, and then we headed North to CLT. The climb was a bit bumpy, and a few minutes after we got up, we got to see the sunrise. We headed out over the Atlantic, and I noticed some scattered clouds below us. It became bumpier as time went on. Drink service started & I took my usual (Ice Water), and enjoyed it, since I had a scratchy throat & headache. As we got closer into CLT, it grew cloudier to the West of the plane (my side), but clear to the East, causing some wild looking colors on the clouds! As I was looking out, I noticed the clear reflection of the plane in the engine, and could find my window, since there was a light on behind us.
After about an hour, we started our descent. One thing that I thought was weird was a really hard, steep turn on the way in, where the pilots cranked up the engines. I noticed we were coming in from the North, so I glued my eyes to the window, in search of the Lowe's Motor Speedway (NASCAR track for those unfamiliar), but didn't find it. Connections were being read over the PA, and we would leave out of B2 for CMH. We were landing straight-in on 18R, racing (and passing) an ERJ landing on the other side. We touched down at 7:40, taxied to a gate at the end of "C" (don't remember which), and got off. We walked to our connecting gate, and the fun really started....
"A Tale of Two A319s"
US Airways 247 CLT-CMH
Airbus A319 N709UW
Photo © Chris Coduto
We got to Gate B2 at 8:15 for our 8:55 flight. We had time to kill, so I walked up & down the concourse before boarding, to see what's going on further down the terminal, including another delayed SFO flight. When I got back, I caught "we will update you in about 15 minutes" I asked what was going on & my mom said "They have to fix something." 'Ok, I'll just sit around for a bit', I thought.
They changed the board to 9:00, and later 9:15. At this point, I asked the lady at the desk if there was time to get something to eat from the food court. She said that they were going to start boarding "in a few minutes". When that "few minutes" was up, they announced that they were still correcting the problem, and would depart around 9:40. I took my brother to get something to eat from Burger King. When I came back, I again heard the end of the PA announcement: ".....B13" We were going to get a new plane. So we headed for B13 for:
US Airways 247 CLT-CMH
Airbus A319 N749US
Photo © Felix Sieder
We got to the gate, where there was no plane. I figured it would be a while, so I got out my scanner & listened to the frequency for 36L. I quietly laughed when an ERJ pilot said "Cleared to land 36L, behind a McBoeing, AirShuttle 5***", referring to a DL MD-88.
We finally boarded at 10:00, I took my seat at 4B, noticed there was an empty window at 4F, so I moved there, and left at about 10:15. I noticed that the US Airways music on the safety video has been replaced by some classical music at the start & end. That sucks. We headed for 36L, and took off after an ERJ landed.
Climbout was choppy, and I looked for the track again, only to find nothing. I again used my US Airways headset to listen to "Hit Mix". Drink service started, with your choice of water, Coke, or Sprite from a hand-carried tray. The F/A looked at me funny, although I'm not sure if she saw my headset- if she did, she didn't care. It was a clear day, and we leveled off at FL310. Our flight route took us just East of the Tri-Cities area, over CRW, and into CMH. As we got over the mountains, it became bumpier, and cloudy below us.
We made our approach, came in over the eastern part of CMH, and landed on 28L. The only unusual plane in at that point was a Champion 727. We taxied into gate A3, headed for baggage claim, where music from "TBDBITL" (OSU's The Best Damn Band In The Land") replaced the typical music. Our bags came off quickly, we picked up the car from Sunpark, and headed home.
Another great trip on US- can't wait for the next one: 99 days to CDG!!