26 February 2003
US839 Boston (BOS)-Charlotte (CLT)
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Photo © James Richard Covington, Jr
I had decided that getting to Florida early was key, especially as this was going to be a rather short vacation, so I opted for flight US1053 that left Boston at 0520 and with my connection, I would be in Florida by 1030. It took me a late night to pack and get everything all set for my trip. I fell asleep at 0200 to wake up at 0300. Well, to make a long story short, my dad woke me up at 0510. Oops! Well, I got up and was at the airport by 0550. After looking at my new options to get to Fort Myers, I decided the best option was to take flight US839 to Charlotte. As the flight had seats available, I was able to get a seat assignment at the check-in. I was happy to get a window seat, 10A, which was the 4th row of the cabin. I milled around the US pier for a while, just watching some planes. A few DL Shuttle 737-800s, another US Airways 757 to Philadelphia, and a few RJs, but nothing exciting. Hung around my gate which was B10 for a while before boarding. The flight was boarded on time at 0825, but was delayed at the gate due to a problem fuelling that plane. We finally left the gate about 25 minutes late. We taxied out and had an immediate take-off from Runway 9. We took off and flew to the west-southwest. We flew between Boston and Providence, then north of Hartford, then turned south, flew west of New York, to the west of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. Then flew down over Lynchburg, Virginia and began our descent over Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We flew in over the cloud covered city of Charlotte, and made a hard 180, broke through the clouds and made a nice touchdown onto Runway 36R. A quick taxi to gate B10 (ironically the same gate number I left from at BOS). Only a snack was served on the flight, but the flight attendants were friendly and sociable, especially during the delay in Boston.
26 February 2003
US1052 Charlotte (CLT)-Fort Myers/Southwest Florida Int’l (RSW)
Aircraft: Boeing 737-400
Photo © Ben Wang
My original itinerary had be arriving in Charlotte at 07:35 with a connection onto flight US1761 which left at 08:40. A smooth 65 minute transit through Charlotte, an airport I had never been to. Unfortunately, due to my sleepy tendencies, the next flight I could make didn’t depart until 14:30. So, now I had roughly 3 hours between flights. While taxiing into the gate, I saw a 737-400 still in the old livery and though to myself how only a handful of planes still remain in those colours. Only when I got to my gate would I know how ironic this thought was. I was very pleased by CLT. It had a very spacious central terminal with lots of shops and restaurants. Anyway, I managed to pass the three hours, and 14:00 rolled around fairly quickly. Boarding began on time through gate C4. Whereas my first flight was had some seats, this flight was full, so gone was my ability to have a seat assignment. I had to wait until general boarding had begun, and then about 8 people get their passes before me. In the end, I got my seat. 8B, middle seat. Oh well, c’est la vie. I was just happy to get onto the flight. The flight departed about 5 minutes after I took me seat. We had a speedy taxi and departed after an A321 and Dash 8 departed, and another Dash 8 landed. We took off from Runway 36L and shortly after take-off, we made a turn to the right and flew south. As there was limited contact from the cockpit and a thick overcast until we were over Florida, I can only guess on our route. I believe we flew south over western South Carolina, then over central Georgia down just to the east of Tallahassee and south parallelling the Gulf Coast. Around that time the clouds parted and we got a nice view of St. Petersburg, Tampa, and Tampa Bay. We continued off the coast, had a nice view of Port Charlotte and descended over the Gulf of Mexico. We made a turn to the East and flew in overland. We flew to the south of RSW and then made a hard turn and lined up for a smooth landing onto Runway 24. A quick taxi to the gate, A3, was over and I was off the plane in two minutes. Now, for such a small airport, their baggage claim is a mess. They have six belts, but feel they only need 3 when 5 flights arrive. So, Continental from IAH and Northwest from MEM shared a belt, my flight and American from DFW shared a belt, while Delta and jetBlue got their own. It was chaotic.
Despite arriving 6 hours late, the 75 degree Fahrenheit difference between when I left Boston and when I arrived into Fort Myers was appreciated.
Part two will be posted when I arrive home in Boston in a few days.