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David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Sun Feb 09, 2003 4:52 pm

In December, I took a trip to North Dakota from San Francisco. I went to visit a college that is out there that I am applying too. This trip was very significant to me, in that it was my first post UA bankruptcy flights, my first NWA flight, my first DC9 family airplane, and my first time checking into a hotel with out a parent or a friend.

The morning that I left, there was a really bad rainstorm in San Francisco. The usual flow control was put into effect. SFO was using runways 1-0 Left and 1-0 Right for departures and 1-9Left 1-9 Right for arrivals. We were scheduled for pushback at 8:50am. I got to the gate around 7:30 after little hassles at security. I checked in and saw that there was no airplane at gate 87. I was thinking to myself that the plane would be in shortly with a tight turn in order to make its 8:50am flight to Chicago. The departure monitors listed the flight as on-time.

I left for a little while and walked down to gate 78 where Anne-Marie, one of my favorite SkyWest gate agents was working that morning. We hung out for a while. At about 8:15, I was going to head over to my gate, when Anne-Marie told me that the flight was delayed until 9:10.

I went back over to the gate to find that no airplane was there. I asked the agent about my connection at 4:45pm to MSP. She said that as of right now that I would make the flight.

The departure time kept being pushed back and back. The reason was because SF Ground wouldn’t allow that airplane to be towed from the M.O.C. to the gate as it would go against the flow of airplane traffic that morning. I ended up talking to Chris and Dorothy our pilots. Chris, the first officer went to SIU. Dorothy and I were going to make the same connection to MSP. I requested that they turn on channel 9.

At 9:35 a 767-300 pulled up to the gate and the entire gate area began to clap. The crew went aboard. 10 minutes later, the boarding process began. All of the passengers had been cleared to the flight, so it made the boarding process go by really quickly. The gate agents had cleared me an hour ago to seat 1A for this morning’s flight.

Boarding was conducted by row numbers beginning with first class, then business class and then coach from back to front. I was one of the first to board, and I did not get selected for random! J

After stowing my bag, I began to get comfortable in my seat. The first class seat on the 767 is not as comfortable as the Business class seat on the 767, 747 or the 777. Pre-departure beverages were offered. The flight attendants passed out headphones too.

At 10am, the entire boarding process was done, and the gate agent came on the PA congratulating us for such a quick and efficient boarding process. The door was closed at 10am, and our departure time was scheduled to be at 10:15. Chris called up Clearance Delivery and got a release on our flight plan. We pushed shortly after.

The safety demonstration commenced, before we started our push back, and finished shortly there after. United has PTVs on their widebodies. This makes it so they must do a live demo on the three cabin planes.

After we pushed, we taxied to Alpha and held. Our captain Dorothy came over the PA to welcome us aboard. She thanked us for flying United, and said how she was really sorry about the delay, and that she would do everything that she could to make up our delay enroute. She commented that because of the storms, the winds were good, and that this was actually going to be a very quick flight to Chicago.

We then continued our taxi to runway 10L. At 10:20am, we rolled onto the runway and began our take off roll. The 767-300 is very very quiet upfront. Shortly after take off, we were in the clouds. We made a left turn at the Dumbarton Bridge, and continued to climb.

Service this morning was Breakfast in the premium cabins and a breakfast snack in the main cabin. The main cabin’s snack consisted of the “Breakfast Sandwich” with a few other things. In First and Business class, there was a choice between a fruit plate with Cereal and Yogurt or you could have the egg soufflé with pancakes. By the time that my meal order was taken, that was all of what was left.

Along with my breakfast, I had a Pepsi. At first United’s switch to Pepsi sort of bothered me. Now, I don’t mind at all. Pepsi isn’t bad. It is a bit different than Coke, but I actually drink more Pepsi on UA now than I did coke. With the meals, the bread basket came around. I took a croissant.

Breakfast was served on a single tray as with all UA midcons. Table linens were laid before the meal. Beverage refills were constant. Our purser did a good job. Before breakfast, personal videos were distributed. As I was eating, I was enjoying Spider Man on my PTV.

During some turbulence, I started talking to one of the flight attendants who then sat down in 1B next to me and we chatted for a while. She used to fly Helicopters. She almost never works domestic trips. She wanted X-Mas off, so she picked up this trip. The crew was MIA based. The pilots were ORD based.

Prior to landing, Beverages were offered again. The crew served a Biscotti along with that. I personally don’t like Biscotti’s, and I declined on taking it. What ever isn’t served and is still in its packaging can be re-used later on. I saved UA a penny! Go me!

We landed around 4pm in cold and wet Chicago. We wanted to exit quickly to make it to our gate C10. Tower told us to roll to the end. We taxied back from the area near the International terminal. During that taxi, we taxied around to the other side of the airport, then down the alley between the B and C concourse.

I grabbed my jacket and carry-ons and was the first passenger off of that plane. I exited as the door was still going up. I checked the T.V. screens, and saw that the 4:45 MSP flight was on time and leaving out of gate C23.

I ran through ORD’s C concourse and down to my gate. I got to the gate all out of breath and most of the passengers had boarded. I got there right before the twenty-minute cut off at 4:25. BTW: We got to the gate in ORD at 4:15, but had to wait 5 minutes for the jetway.

The agent cleared me to seat 2C on the A319. As I boarded the plane, I stowed my bags in the bins, and took my seat. The first thing that I noticed was that there were no curtains. United has removed the curtains on all of the single aisle planes to save weight. They will be removing them off of the widebodies soon. Since 9/11, United hasn’t been drawing the curtains, so this in a way makes sence. Did you know that for each pound of weight you remove from the plane, you save about $12,000 a year in fuel costs.

Pre-Departure beverages were offered on this flight. I took some water. I chatted with this pilot that was in 2D, and this other pilot who flies for ACA in 1C. It was an un-eventful flight. I drank water.

We landed early. I had close to three hours to kill before my NWA flight.

My NWA flight left at 8:55pm. It was a DC9. It was my first time on a DC9. The gate agent working the flight was very friendly.

When I boarded, I noticed the 717 style interior, although the plane had this really dark and eary feel to it. I took my seat 10B. My seatmate was this cute non-rev girl who’s mom is a NWA flight attendant.

We taxied over to the de-icing area and got de-iced. We then taxied to the runway and took off. The plane was a lot louder than the previous UA planes that I had been on. I could hardly hear the frail old flight attendant over the PA when she was giving the after take off announcements.

Service on this flight was water and orange juice. That’s it. Then the crew disappeared until they went to collect trash. I walked back to the bathroom, and with each step back, it got 10 decibels louder. In the bathroom, the floor was vibrating. I got out of there as fast as I could. Airplanes arn’t supposed to do that.

We landed in Grand Forks, and I got off of the plane as quickly as I could. That flight, even though it was only 50 minutes in the air felt like it dragged on and on. We got into Grand Forks a little after 10pm. One of the guys from enrollment services met me, and drove me to my hotel.

It was a fun trip. On my way home, I took Messaba and the Avro back to MSP and stayed with family then came home the following day.
I’ll try something new now…ratings.


Check In:
9/10. The agents were friendly and helpful and informed me about any possible delays.

7/10. When you wonder what you are eating the rating goes down, but it was still good.

Beverage Service:
10/10. The crews kept refilling the beverages

Seat Comfort:
7/10. The first seat needs more padding. I like the Business Class one more.

10/10. Channel 9, Airshow, Personal Televisions with a personal tape player.


Check In:
10/10. The agents were very friendly and gave me a nice welcome aboard Northwest


Beverage Service:
1/10. It was nice that we got something, but UA can service a whole can of soda on the same flight. I don’t buy the line “Due to the short duration of our flight” crap. I know that NWA doesn’t provision those flights for anything other than that, but I still think it was cheap.

Seat Comfort:
1/10. United’s coach seat is so much more comfortable than this board with a piece of cloth on it.

8/10. I loved the Audio Entertainment of the rising decibels with each step. Go DC9s!

In all fairness, Northwest treated me very well, and I liked my flight. It is not what I am used to with United. It was a unique change.

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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Sun Feb 09, 2003 5:30 pm

Great report Dave,
haven't heard from ya in a while!! Still pursuing your passion to be a flight attendant I hope!!
What are you planning on studying at uni??

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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Sun Feb 09, 2003 8:39 pm

Excellent post as usual!

Glad so see your still posting,thought you'd left us!

Flying UA all the time,i guess is must of been great to fly on an old '9' - until you found out how onld and noisy they are!

I must admit my last '9' flight was some time ago, back on 6/11/97(N16521),a CO flight from IAH-DFW.

Fancy posting your return?


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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Mon Feb 10, 2003 1:58 am

Good report!!!!! Looking forward to hearing more UA non-rev adventures!

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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Mon Feb 10, 2003 5:29 am

AirNewZealand wrote:
Great report Dave,
haven't heard from ya in a while!! Still pursuing your passion to be a flight attendant I hope!!
What are you planning on studying at uni??

Mike, Since I have started my flight training I've decided that it is way to fun to stop at my private so I am currently pursuing being a pilot. At UND (University of North Dakota) they are one of the best flight schools in the country.

Drop me an email when you get a chance.

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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Mon Feb 10, 2003 10:41 am

David ~~

You really should consider Pan Am Flight Academy in Ft. Pierce or ERAU in Daytona...

you may see some of our planes!  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

Plus I'll let you non-rev on us *lol* (as long as yer dad is w/ UA)

~ ~ ~ ~ pRoFeSsIoNaL hUrRiCaNe DoDgEr ~ ~ ~ ~
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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Mon Feb 10, 2003 12:19 pm

Very good report Dave,

When you said that the first class seat needs more padding I thought about what you said about how airlines save $12,000 a year when they lose a pound. With United in dire straights I am sure they will be subtracting weight wherever they can get away with it. God bless.

God bless through Jesus, Jeff
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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Tue Feb 18, 2003 5:53 am

I just started flying United last weekend again and I'm flying United over Northwest all the time. United also gives me more miles.
Fly the friendly skies.
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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Tue Feb 18, 2003 11:38 am

I haven't heard from you in ages!...and i realized when I transfered my buddy list, you were lost in the cracks so to speak  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
I am about 5 wks from getting my PPL...hopefully moving up to my instrument this summer. Drop me a line at
Glad to know you are still there hehe
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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Tue Feb 18, 2003 12:37 pm

hey David! So what did you think of UND? That is where i am going to end up next year, hopefully in the aviation management program while also enrolling in their honors program.

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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Thu Feb 20, 2003 5:01 am

I'm only a sophomore in HS, but I am already looking heavily at UND for the aviation management looks totally amazing! If Dave, or anyone really who has visited/attended/or is attending UND, especially in the aviation management program, could drop me a line at, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Sat Feb 22, 2003 1:46 pm

I am currently a sophomore at UND. The flight training is great here! It's lots of fun. I hope you liked the visit. Any questions about this place, I'd be happy to answer.

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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Sat Feb 22, 2003 5:36 pm

Brilliant report!

What's Grand Forks like?

RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Wed Feb 26, 2003 1:59 pm

Hey David, long time no talk.

I was just in MSP last weekend... I took the red-eye out on NWA and I'd agree with your rating of their drink service. On the entire 3 hour flight I only got 1 cup of water... bahhhhh

Rest of it was great though.
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RE: David Goes To North Dakota!...dontchya Know

Wed Feb 26, 2003 4:36 pm

I thought Jacksonville University was the only university to offer an aviation management degree, I guess UND does as well? JU's program is in partnership with the Comair Aviation Academy. I will be going to JU this fall pursuing either a major in Flight Operations and Aviation Management or just Aviation Management. Good luck at UND.

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