Photo © Mark Abbott
DL337 B757-200 N647DL April 17th 2003
PHL-CVG Gate 3E
Got to the airport early and used DL kiosk to do the check in. I was worried about the seating but I guess when you don’t pay the airline you get good seats: 26A on this leg and 27A on the CVG-SEA leg. I did the quick check in with one bag to check. When I checked my notes about the best seats on this aircraft I noticed that I was in one of the best seats on this all 757 trip according to www.seatguru.com
The aircraft was arriving from CVG. When it fast taxied to the gate I was shocked to see how beat up, dirty and bad this aircraft looked. It had the classic color scheme, the one before Ron Allen.
The aircraft was full but we boarded with ahead of time with some time to spare. We pushed back at 5:55 and captain told us that there was a bit of ATC saturation, so we will have to taxi to 9L and hold there for about 16 to 20 minutes. We taxied to that area which game me nice view of the other aircraft taking off on the same runway that were assigned. I saw a nice AirTran B717 (err, MD95) take off. Also behind that there was a Lufthansa A330-200 D-AIME. This was my first time seeing an LH 330. After being used to A340s all the time, looking at A330s makes you feel like there is an engine missing on each side of the aircraft. One thing that drew my attention was that the port side engine cowling was blue on the first ring. Looked like that was a quick fix for some mx issue. It did really stand out compared to all grey engine cowling on the other side of the aircraft.
Once airborne, drinks and pretzel were served. I went for tomato juice and turned down the pretzels. They passed the headsets for some DL entertainment thing, but I didn’t even bother watching.
I was dozing off due to long week of work and extra hours I put. Before I knew it the purser was announcing the gate information of connecting flights.
DL1493 CVG-SEA Same aircraft, same gate
The flight attended on the previous flight was reading the connection gates. When he read the arrival gate and the departure for the SEA flight being the same, that was the sign that there was going to be an equipment change for the Vegas passengers. I really couldn’t decide if that was the good news or bad news for me, but I didn’t want to wait inside the aircraft almost an hour.
I got off the plane and headed for the food court as I didn’t have anything to eat entire day. I had my eye on the Cheese steak place. (I know working in Philly and having cheese steak in Cinci doesn’t make much sense). There was a huge crowd waiting for the orders before the place. It seemed like only the manager was busting his derriere to get the orders filled. I ended up waiting for 25 minutes for the order and it wasn’t even worth the wait.
I was assigned seat 27A but I moved forward to have one of the empty rows. That was the norm in the aircraft and pretty much almost everyone got a single row to themselves as the load was extremely light.
We made a left turn on taxiway K to take off on runway 27. After that it was all history for me and lots of snoring for the other pax I woke up when we were approaching SEA from the North. We landed on 1025pm local, 0525 Z on runway 16R and taxied to gate B7.
My wife, who works at the airport, was at the gate. It was a nice sight after being away from home for 2 weeks.
Photo © Andy Graf
SEA-PHL US106 April 20th 2003
Gate S4 Seat 4F N733UW
This time I was returning to PHL on US Airways, again thanks to Mileage Plus.
Interesting observation was that despite US code sharing with United the Lav Truck that was serving the aircraft was a DL machine. I would hope that US would move to N gates in SEA and consolidate their SEA operation to United. They cut back a lot since the downturn on the economy/airline travel. At this time they are serving SEA from PHL and PIT only. They used to have CLT non-stop, which is gone for some time; and they reduced the number of flights to/from PIT and PHL. (For instance no more red-eye to PHL).
We pushed back at 19:25 Z, 12:25 local.
We had a runway heading departure on 16L with quite a steep climb rate. We turned east towards Spokane. Once at the cruise altitude we had a very small Turkey sandwich, Cape Cod potato chips and a sugar cookie.
This was my first flight on US Airbus. Couple of things that are different compared to United A319s that I am used to fly:
1. Seats are harder,
2. They don’t have headrests like in UA
3. Back part of the seats is harder also,
4. Even the coach seats have power source for laptops. (I have a huge one, so I don’t use it in flight. And Dell is a pain in the neck, as they are the only ones with unique power jacks)
I don’t remember what the movie was. It was something not worth paying $5 for.
The flight attendant that served us made it feel like she really wanted to be there. Also, there wasn’t a single announcement from the cockpit until we were over PIT and getting ready to trade some altitude for landing...
Almost 6 hours of flight time wasn’t that great even though I had the best seat in the house (4F). I think going through DEN or ORD is much better option as I get to walk in the terminals which helps me to stretch my legs.
We landed on runway 9R at 8:22 pm local, 00:22 Z time.
I was disappointed with US’ lack of service. I know they were just coming out of Ch.11 and the morale could be low, but at least they can try. A319s or any A320 series aircraft still is my choice when I am crossing the continent. US’ 319 were clean, very new but the seats were not as comfortable as the ones I have been on UA, NW and HP.
With the way the fares are running these days I may still take US on non-stop flights. They are usually cheaper then UA connecting ones. My threshold still happens to be about $50. If the ticket price is more expensive till $50 of difference I still take UA over anybody else, as I think they have better product line with Econ Plus, Ch.9 and free movies/headsets