Thursday, August 14th, 2003
US Airways Flight 440
Charlotte, NC (CLT)-Pittsburgh, PA (PIT)
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Registration #: N176UW
Scheduled Departure Time: 4:00 PM
Actual Departure Time: 4:23 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 5:22 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 5:27 PM
Departure Gate: C10
Arrival Gate: B30
My Dad and I arrived at the Satellite Parking Area around 2:45 PM, hopped on the shuttle and went to the main terminal. The line for US Airways was surprisingly not long. However, AA, Delta, and United were packed. We went to the E-Ticket Check in kiosk, printed our boarding passes all the way through to SEA. We didn’t check any baggage. We then went and tried to get a later flight out of Seattle on our return, but the guy said there was nothing, my Dad fussed a little, but the guy didn’t seem to care. Went to the Preferred Security Line since we were in First Class. Security went quick, and I decided to walk into Concourse D since I had not seen the new area of the Concourse. WOW…I was very impressed ; the new area is very airy and roomy. I saw a couple of US Airways’ 767’s; the A330 from London had not arrived yet. I proceeded down to gate C10 to wait for our flight to board. It was not long when they called for boarding, I was not paying attention and missed the First Class calling, my Dad was making a business call so I just went ahead and boarded. A friendly flight attendant, Anne, who we will talk about later on, greeted me . I couldn’t believe that I was going to be in First Class and took my seat at 6F. Mind you, my Dad and I can’t afford to pay for a First Class ticket, we used his Dividend Miles Award. The seats were very comfortable, and Anne, our flight attendant came over and asked me if I wanted something to drink before takeoff, I asked for a coke. We were delayed a little bit because there had been some sort of mix up with the seating, apparently they had this couple in First Class, and then a man claimed one of those seats was his, so they had to come to an agreement on that, and he ended up sitting in Coach, don’t know what he got in return. We pushed back from the gate and headed to 23R, and we were first in line for takeoff, little did we know what was happening up north. The safety video was the same, but the US Airways theme at the beginning is a really nice improvement! Takeoff was fast and we made a turn towards the west flying over Gastonia, then turning north and flying over Hickory, from then on I was pretty much lost until we got to Pittsburgh. Shortly after, our flight attendant, Anne, started drink orders, and I got another coke, the whole can! Then they came around with a big basket with some goodies, I got a bag of Cape Cod potato chips and a Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie! Had a few more Milano cookies and a Ginger Ale. Really, before I knew it we were beginning our descent into Pittsburgh, I had never been here, and it looked like a really nice city from the air! We touched down at PIT at 5:22 PM. I was very surprised by the size of PIT, the Airport itself was much bigger than I originally though it would be, and the Terminal was pretty cool! We pulled up to Gate B30. I already knew that this would be the exact same plane that would take us to Seattle. My Dad and I let everyone get off the plane and then our flight attendant, Anne, came up to us and said in a very nice way that we would have to get off the plane even though we were continuing on to Seattle. I asked her if she would be with us, and sure enough it would be the exact same flight crew, even the pilots! I asked her if I could visit the cockpit. She asked the Captain and he said sure. The Captain was a super nice guy! I forgot his name to be honest , I think it was David, but I can’t be 100% sure, if anyone out there might happen to know I’d appreciate it! We chatted a little bit, he told me a little bit about where we flew over on the flight to PIT, and he said that he lived in Matthews (which is a suburb of Charlotte). I asked him if I could get a picture in the Captains chair, and he said sure, but when I went to get my Dad to take the picture, he had gotten off the plane to…….guess……make some business calls. I asked the captain if we could do it before we left for Seattle, he said no problem. So I got off the plane and went into the Pittsburgh International Airport.
This flight definitely gets an A+, great plane, very friendly and professional flight crew, and smooth flight. Good job!
Well, when I got out I learned about the blackout that was affecting NYC, Toronto, Ottawa, Cleveland, Detroit, etc. A lot of people were kind of crossing there fingers hoping that the power would not go out at PIT, I heard a lot of people saying at gate B30 “I just want to get to Seattle” There Customer Service counter for US Airways was really long, I imagine that these people were going to the places where the blackouts had occurred. After getting all the info that they had on the news I decided to walk around PIT a little, it was pretty quiet, and I was really surprised that it was not US Airways’ largest hub, considering that the operations in PIT look larger than the operations at CLT. I guess looks can be deceiving though. I did happen to see a Northwest DC10, which I imagine was diverted to PIT while on its way to DTW.
Photo © Radomir Zaric
Photo © Royal S King
Photo © Robert Maturski
US Airways flight 781
Pittsburgh, PA (PIT) – Seattle/Tacoma, WA (SEA)
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Scheduled Departure Time: 6:25PM
Actual Departure Time: 6:47 PM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 8:31 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 8:10 PM
Departure Gate: B30
Arrival Gate: S11
By the time I got back to the gate, they started calling boarding for First Class passengers, I went ahead and got. It was not too long before Anne called me down to the cockpit and the Captain took a picture of me in his seat! One of my life goals has been checked off now thanks to him .The co-pilot was seated but he looked busy so I did not disturb him.
I took my seat, which was once again 6F. We waited for the luggage to load, and considering that it was a 100% full flight, it loaded quicker than I thought. In fact, all the passengers were seated before all the baggage was on. Once the cargo door closed, we pushed back, and went straight to the runway for takeoff. Now let me tell you, I was pleasantly surprised with this takeoff, it was very powerful, and you might not believe me, but I think it was the most powerful takeoff I’ve experienced. It kind of threw me into the back of the seat. The only other aircraft that I have felt this kind of takeoff in was a 777. We took off and started heading northwest.
It was really nice having the same flight attendant again, Anne was without a doubt the best flight attendant I had ever seen, she was always smiling, very friendly, funny, and professional. There was my Dad and I, and two other people that were on the flight from Charlotte. She came around asking what I wanted to drink, by this time I think she knew my preferred choice, Coke. She asked what we would like for dinner; the choice was between a Chicken with some sort of stuffing with potatoes, mushrooms, and tomatoes on the side with a salad and chocolate swirled cheesecake for dessert. The other was Salmon with Rice and beans, with the same salad and cheesecake. By the time she got to us, all they had left was Chicken, as almost everyone else had chosen the salmon, which was fine, since I would have chosen the Chicken anyway. They brought the Salad and cheesecake first. The salad came with a side of Italian vinaigrette dressing. It was very good! Then she brought our meals, the chicken, potatoes, mushrooms, and tomatoes
were all very good. The cheesecake was the best though! Well…we were all stuffed, and the flight was pretty much uneventful from then on, we passed over Cleveland, flew just to the south of DTW, flew south of Milwaukee, and south of the Twin Cities. Anne came through asking everyone if they would like something to drink, and got those, and then came around with a basket of the same goodies that we had on the flight to PIT, I again got some Milano cookies! As far as anything out the window, it didn’t really get interesting until we flew over western Montana. As we flew over Western Washington, and the beginning of the Cascades we began our descent into Seattle. People on the opposite side of the plane had a great view of Mount Rainer. We flew just to the east of downtown, where I had great views, and saw Boeing field, and SeaTac, we flew all the way south and made a right turn over Tacoma and approached SEA from the south. Landing was smooth! I saw more Alaska Airlines jets that I had seen in my life. SeaTac was actually a little smaller than I expected it to be. We taxied over to the South Satellite, and pulled up to gate S11. We got our stuff and as I was about to exit the aircraft I thanked Anne for everything and told her that I would write US Airways and tell them how great she had been, and she said she appreciated that very much. Thanked the Captain, and co-pilot for the very smooth flight and told them I would write US Airways and commend them as well, they were very thankful. I told the Captain maybe I’d see him around Charlotte sometime. Got off the plane and went down to catch the train to the main terminal, got our rental car and went into Seattle.
I give US Airways flight 781 an A++, the service was excellent, the food was good, flight was smooth, flight attendants were friendly and helpful, and the Pilots were awesome! Definitely the best flight I’ve ever had! Wait to go US Airways!
Thought this next part is not a flight, it does do with commercial aviation so I thought I’d add it in here.
BOEING Everett Tour! Friday, August 15th, 2003-
We headed up to Everett for a 10 AM tour on Friday morning. As we approached I looked into the hangars, I saw a KLM 777 in the 777 building. It only had the tail markings. Since we got there a little early, I decided to go into the gift shop, well, went in and let me tell you that I could have spent at least 200 bucks in 5 minutes, the problem was figuring out WHAT to buy. I had go back after the tour.
The Tour began with an introduction from the Tour guide, who was very funny, and a couple of videos. One about the history of Boeing, and the making of a Boeing 747-400 in high-speed motion…very cool! Then we got on the bus and went and rode around the paint hangar, and the delivery/test line. I saw a Vietnam Airlines 777 waiting to go into the paint hangar, and 4 Singapore Airlines 772’s, a Singapore Airlines 747 Cargo. A Japan Airlines 767-300 in the new colors, a Korean Air 772, a Hawaiian Air 767-300 that was actually getting ready to go into be repainted and refitted for an airline in Uzbekistan. Then we went to the factory where they make the 747’s. This was AWESOME!!!!
We saw the assembly line, and we saw a complete 747 minus the engines and the paint job, which will be going to Thai Airways. And the other 747 that was almost put together was going to be going to Virgin Atlantic. There was a wing, and 2nd floor cockpit area of one 747 being built, but she didn’t tell us who it was for. After that I went to the gift shop and finished my shopping Jand then headed out.
Among other aviation related things we did included the Museum of Flight, a Kenmore Air seaplane tour of Seattle, and a Helicopter tour of Mount St. Helens. All were very cool, especially the Helicopter tour of Mount St. Helens.
Now for my return flights:
Sunday, August 17th, 2003
Seattle/Tacoma, WA (SEA) – Denver, CO (DEN
United Airlines flight 1168
Aircraft: Boeing 757-200
Registration #: N584UA
Scheduled Departure Time: 6:00 AM
Actual Departure Time: 6:01 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 9:29 AM
Actual Arrival Time: 9:24 AM
Departure Gate: N6
Arrival Gate: B43
Photo © Tim Samples
Photo © Douglas McRae
Photo © AirNikon
We stayed at a Ramada Inn right next to the Airport so we would be close. We got up at 4:30 AM, freshened up, and we were at the Airport by 5 AM. I went ahead and got in line, and I had never seen an airport that busy so early in the morning. Some Airlines were more packed than others, Alaska and Delta looked to be the most packed. United was crowded, but not as bad as I had expected. We were in the first class check in line, and I was greeted at the counter by a friendly Asian woman. She got us checked in and printed our boarding passes all the way through CLT. We then took our bags to the TSA line, and then headed to security. Security went by quick, no more than 5 minutes. Then we headed down the train station to catch the train to the North Satellite. We proceeded to gate N6, and we weren’t there but for 2 minutes and they began boarding for First Class passengers. My Dad and I boarded and a flight attendant greeted us, she must have worked the coach cabin because I only saw her once during the flight. I saw down in 3C, and another flight attendant, who would be our flight attendant the whole flight came over and asked us what we would like to drink, she was very friendly, and was always smiling, very professional. I took some orange juice. We waited for everyone to get onboard, and I looked down and saw my bag being loaded into the cargo area of the plane. As soon as everyone was on board as well as all the luggage, we closed the doors and pushed back. They showed the safety video, which said, welcome aboard in all of the languages of the countries that United flies to, very nice professional touch. The rest of the video did seem a little bit old though, like from the early 1990’s. In fact, the aircraft in my opinion had sort of a late 80’s feel to it. Except for the seats, and the overhead bins. Not complaining, just saying what I observed J. We were first in line for takeoff, and as we were taxiing I saw a couple of nwa planes in the new colors, a 757 and an A320. People are right; they actually do look better in person than in pictures! We took off to the north and flew right over Boeing field, downtown Seattle was on the other side of the plane so I didn’t see it, there was overcast in Seattle, and as soon as we popped up out of the clouds, I had an Awesome view of Mount Rainer! I took some photos, then reloaded my film, and took more photos; I also was able to see Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Hood. Really, really cool! Then we headed southwest toward Denver and I listened to channel 9, which I really enjoyed! I wish they would have this on every airline.
Shortly after takeoff, the flight attendant asked us what we would like to drink, I again got orange juice. Then she brought out breakfast, never taking that smile off her face.
The breakfast was a Croissant sandwich with scrambled egg, ham, and mild cheddar cheese. It was very good! One of the best croissant sandwiches I’ve ever had! It also came with a small bowel of fruit, and some sort of raspberry sweet bar that was not very good. I continued listening to channel 9, dosing on and off. The flight was pretty uneventful, it started getting a little bumpy when we began our descent into Denver around 9 AM. It was pretty cloudy on the Rocky Mountains, so I couldn’t see them much.
We touched down in Denver and taxied over to gate B30, a couple of gates down from a 777. I enjoyed seeing all the United jets! I asked the flight attendant if I could visit the cockpit, she asked the captain as he was walking out and he said sure go right ahead. The co-pilot was in there and he greeted me and turned on a few little gizmos, and asked me if I had any questions, I just said that I wanted to see the cockpit. I thanked him and made my way out, the Captain asked if he explained everything, and I told him yeah he told me what I wanted to know, then the FA asked if I could fly it now, and I laughed and said no.
The flight crew that I encountered on this flight were all very nice and professional, the flight was smooth, service was good. Definitely an A+ for United flight 1168
I also forgot to mention, that this was my first trip on United!
Denver is a very neat airport! I really liked it, I managed to see several United 737’s, A320’S/A319’S, about 4 or 5 777’s, and a Boeing 747-400. I wrote down the registration # of one of the 777’s, N209UA. The 744 I’m still trying to figure out, my eyes were bothering me and I could not get a clear look at the registration. I do know that it was leaving for ORD around 11:45 AM, if anyone knows the registration# of this 744 on this day, I’d really appreciate it!
US Airways flight 124
Denver, CO (DEN) - Charlotte, NC (CLT)
Aircraft: Airbus A321
Scheduled Departure Time: 11:45 AM
Actual Departure Time: 11:42 AM
Scheduled Arrival Time: 4:48 PM
Actual Arrival Time: 4:47 PM
Departure Gate: C43
Arrival Gate: C15
Photo © Radomir Zaric
Photo © Royal S King
Photo © Robert Maturski
After walking around Concourse B and seeing the Main terminal, we went back to the gate and saw that they were boarding. I took a photo of the plane, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that the exact same aircraft (N176UW) that I had flown from CLT to PIT, and then to SEA was the same plane I would be flying back to CLT. My Dad and I boarded the aircraft with me taking 2A and him taking 2B. We were greeted by a friendly flight attendant, who reminded me a lot of Anne (the flight attendant on the flight to PIT and SEA). The Captain welcomed us aboard and told us that it would a little bumpy on take off but should smooth once we reached our cruising altitude. After all the passengers and baggage were onboard we closed the doors and pushed back. As we were taxiing, I saw the United 744 taxiing as well, as well as a couple of Frontier jets, and an Air Tran 717 was behind us. I honestly don’t know what runway we took off from. But it was to the north and right after takeoff we made a turn toward the east. The captain then came on again saying that we would be flying over Kansas, just south of Kansas City and St. Louis, right over Nashville, and Knoxville. The flight attendant got us something to drink, I had a coke. Then she began asking what snack we would like. It was those in-flight café meals that you buy if you’re seated in coach. It was a choice between a Roasted turkey sandwich with Monterrey Jack cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, and a side of potato chips, and a Lemon cookie with White chocolate chunks or a Caesar Salad with croutons and the same cookie. I chose the turkey. How was it? Not that great, in fact my Dad and I had an upset stomach when we got home, the cookie was the best thing! I would have not paid $10.00 for it; I think that is kind of a rip-off. I did notice that a lot of people bought their own food in Denver and took with them on the plane..smart move!
After the little snack, I got another coke, and some Milano cookies! I dozed on and off a little. The captain came on and said that we might be delayed a little because it was looking like we were going to have to fly south down to Atlanta and then turn northeast to Charlotte from their in order to avoid some bad storms between Knoxville and Charlotte. Well, when we were near Knoxville the captain came on again and said that the storm had broken up and that we were going to wind our way through it. He asked everyone for the safety of everyone that we finish up any beverage or food we had and ordered the flight attendants to go through and pick up any trash from the passengers and return to their seats for the remainder of the flight. Everyone in the plane started looking around and preparing for some turbulence. No doubt about it, it was bumpy, but not nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be. The final approach was the biggest ride as far as the bumpy part, I saw a lightning strike in the distance, and we kept going and eventually landed on 23R. We must have been coming in fast because we used the whole runway. I had my camera out during the approach and thinking that I would see nothing interesting put it back up. A Delta MD-80 took off, but guess what landed, and didn’t have enough time to get my camera back out of the bag to take a picture of it? The US Airways A330 from London. Just my luck. I did take a picture of though taxiing to Concourse D once I was out in the airport. We taxied over to gate C15. After we parked at the gate I got my stuff, thanked the flight attendant for her wonderful service and headed out, I was pretty tired so I bypassed the cockpit this time. Went down to baggage claim and waited for about 15 minutes for my bag. Then got on the airport shuttle, which was actually filled with passengers from the flight that I had just been on.
Got in the car and headed home!
My journey was over…
I give US Airways flight 124 an A, the service was very well, no doubt, but the food was a little bland. The flight was bumpy but I don’t count weather against a flight, it’s uncontrollable.
Flying First Class was definitely different, and I loved every minute of it! The flight from Pittsburgh to Seattle was definitely the best flight I’ve ever been on! US Airways did a fantastic job. The United flight was also enjoyable and I am glad that I finally got to fly them!
I hoe you enjoyed my trip report, please feel free to comment or ask questions