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PVD-MCO-PVD On Southwest

Thu Jul 31, 2003 9:57 am

I took this trip back during April Vacation. My family and I traveled down to Orlando for nine days in both Disney and Universal.

April 21st, 2003
Southwest Flight: 728
Boeing 737-300 N324SW

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Photo © Art Brett

My family and I arrived at PVD at 6:30Am and parked in the C garage. Upon proceeding into the terminal, I was stunned. I had never seen PVD so crowded in my entire life! We made our way to the queue to check in with WN and, surprisingly waited only about 15 minutes to check our three bags. The security line was the longest I have ever seen, for those who are farmilair with PVD, the line snaked around the check in area upstairs and continued down the stairs into more snaking in the baggage claim area. There was even a guy holding a huge sign that said "Line Starts Here", what a crappy job! The line did move pretty fast though, it took about 40 minutes to get through, at the checkpoint, I was pulled aside and wanded, but the TSA guys were actually quite friendly. Finally through check in, we proceeded to gate 15 where there was no plane, yet. Even though we checked in nearly an hour and a half before the 7:50Am flight, we still only got boarding group B. After a while, N324SW pulled up to the gate, bringing the early morning arrival from BWI.

We boarded and made our way to the rear of the plane, I can't remember the exact row, but I think it was 16 or 17, I do remember it was the port side though. All around us was a group of high school kids traveling to MCO on a field trip. I took a look around the cabin, N324SW is one of WN's older -300's (a 1987, I believe) and the interior was a bit worn, but reasonably comfortable. We pushed back on time and taxied out to the main runway. With no wait, we rocketed out of PVD, heading for the warm south. The seatbelt signs were kept on as beverage service commenced. We were served a beverage (I had cran-apple), a bag of peanuts, and a package of Chips Ahoy cookies, not bad for WN! The FAs were also very friendly. The captain kept us up to date on the weather in MCO and our routing throughout the flight. The sign went off for about an hour, but came back on and off twice again, due to light chop. Regardless, people still got up to use the lavatories (surprise, surprise  Wow!). Before long, the engine power was pulled back and we began our decent over the Atlantic Coast. The high school kids were actually pretty quiet during the flight, except during decent when the captain was on the PA and accidentally called an FA Jim when his name was Tim or something, then he went on to say "Sorry Tim, I was just protecting you from that group of 17 year olds in the back." Then he said "It's all good", it was kind of funny. We descended over Daytona Beach, then SFB and straight onto runway 17, where we made a normal touchdown. We deplaned into the new airiest (4, I think) and quickly collected our bags. As we were waiting for my dad to get the rental car at the Budget desk, the fire alarm went off. It was strange though, because no one (including the employees) reacted to it.

April 29th, 2003
Southwest Flight: 1253
Boeing 737-300 N397SW

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Photo © Timothy O'Bryan

After 9 fun-filled days, it was time to go home (I always hate going home from Orlando). We returned the car and checked in quickly. The crowds weren't that bad, we waited 20 minutes to get through security. We made our way to the new airside and waited near the Jetblue gate. After a long wait, we boarded N397SW, which was a noticeably newer -300 (a 1995). Even though we checked in two hours early, when we boarded, the plane was nearly full. We got the last fully open row of three seats, which was row 20 or something (the last seats in the back). We pushed back and headed for runway 35, where we took off immediately. The takeoff was strange though, the pilot seemed to be steering the plane in a zig-zag pattern down the runway, I'm not sure why that was. The seatbelt sign turned off quickly and beverage service commenced. This time we got a drink, a bag of peanuts, and a package of Wheat Thins. The cup we got the drink in was small and they did not give us the whole can, but the FA did come back and ask if anyone wanted refills. As on the flight down to MCO, the FAs were very friendly. The flight was pretty uneventful, but we did get to see the sunset, which was nice. We touched down in the dark at PVD with full reverse thrust and taxied to gate 19, ending a great trip.

Concluding, Southwest was good to us on this trip, except for the fact that I still can't stand their open seating (we arrived 2 hours early and still had a hard time getting good seats). I would definitely fly them again though. The trip itself was excellent, except for a huge problem we had with the hotel we reserved. So that's my report, hope you liked it.

Mmmm forbidden donut.
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RE: PVD-MCO-PVD On Southwest

Thu Jul 31, 2003 11:04 am

Good report.

Have you flown their -700s? I like the -700. I have flown Conti's and Southwest's. I generally, though, prefer an A320 to a -300. How do they compare, the -300s and -700s, over at WN? Does the -300 really show it's age?

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Joined: Mon Mar 05, 2001 7:24 am

RE: PVD-MCO-PVD On Southwest

Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:19 pm


AA737-823, I have flown the -700's and they are wonderful, and they feel very new. I have flown on their 5th oldest 737-700, and the seats on them however were as worn as those on an old -300, but comfortable. In regard to your second question, it compares. The last 6 times I have flown southwest, I have had all new interiors, and 4 with new paint schemes. They are as comfortable as the -700's, but they were not upgraded to -700's interior, so there is the little light instead of the bathroom symbol, and the -200 type roofs are still in place. However all the walls are sparkling white, so they are nice. The answer to your third question would be yes, but consider -300's were coming in until 1998 or 9 so there are big differences. The oldest -300's though have wheegear that jerk on bumps, engine variations, showing engine age, but this is engine life, not plane life, and paint is chipped as well as cabin walls, but none of it is worse than any other major. Thanks

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Joined: Wed Jul 04, 2001 12:57 am

RE: PVD-MCO-PVD On Southwest

Thu Jul 31, 2003 9:39 pm

I had the same thing happen when I flew on U N I T E D from Orlando-Washington-Burlington, that voice as the fire alarm went off, but nobody reacted. This was in like 1999.....
An A319 and a CRJ took me on that voyage up to Burlington.
What now?
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2000 11:10 am

RE: PVD-MCO-PVD On Southwest

Fri Aug 01, 2003 9:03 am

I recently flew their -700s, and was waay impressed. I made a trip report- go read it. It compared to Continental's.

I haven't been on one of their -300s since 1996. I just wondered how they were holding up.

Seats worn? I don't really like that. Not that it's dangerous or anything, but... come on.

But then, they did say that the switch to all leather was partially due to increased seat life.

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Joined: Mon Jul 07, 2003 11:33 am

RE: PVD-MCO-PVD On Southwest

Fri Aug 01, 2003 10:15 am

Hey! I am really siked that you had a great flight with Southwest Airlines. I wish I could have had the service you had because my travels with them were ALL terrible. That fact that you stated that your flight attendants were really friendly gives me some good sense of hope for if I have to fly them in the future.

Be glad that you had an uneventful flight. I like it whenever the flights are just cruising throught the air without bumps or anything because it just lets you gaze out into the wonders of the sky. It's so beautiful when the sun is rebounding off of the clouds making them have a crystalline effect. Turbulence just distracts me from that.

I haven't gone to Disney World for a while, but I figure I'm far too old now (15), but I would not mind spending a few days at Islands of Adventure. Glad you had a fun trip, and as I say, "Flying to your vacation destination makes it 150% better!" God Bless!!!

Ne vous inquietez pas. Je ne vous hais pas . . . . encore, mais faites attention !
Topic Author
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RE: PVD-MCO-PVD On Southwest

Sat Aug 02, 2003 4:21 am

Glad you all liked the report, here are my responses.

AA737-823: I unfortunately have not flown on the -700 yet, I was hoping to fly on one this trip, but with WN you don't know exactly what kind of 737 it is until it pulls into the gate. I read your report though, and from your description, the -700 sounds nice. About the -300's condition, I didn't see anything serious, there wasn't any peeling paint or anything, but the seats were fairly worn and there were some broken tray tables. The seats were still moderately comfortable though (no worse then the majors).

UN_B732: It happened when you were there too? Perhaps they were testing the alarm?

Catholic2006: I'm sorry you didn't have any good experiences on WN. Hopefully if you try them again, your experience will be better. Also, don't ever worry about being to old for Disney, it is not nearly as kiddish as it used to be. I would also recommend Islands Of Adventure though, as it is also an excellent theme park.


Mmmm forbidden donut.
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RE: PVD-MCO-PVD On Southwest

Sat Aug 02, 2003 4:31 pm

I'm 17 and disney is still friggen awesome.
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