ERJ-145 N277SK Seat 9F
November 22, 2003
Photo © Terry Shepherd
We got to the "new and improved" (new flight info screens, etc.) CMH at about 1:30, and, after checking in, made our way to Concourse B to join the crowd of at least 30 people at the Big Ten store to watch the OSU-Michigan game. I got there as Chris Gamble made his interception, which let out a nice yell from the crowd. He then scored a few seconds later, adding another deafening roar...the last we'd hear in that game. After that unenjoyable last few minutes of the game, we went to Max & Erma's & ate lunch, and later made our way to Concourse A.
Once we got there & cleared security, the fun began...
A few minutes after we reached gate A1, the announcement was made that this plane was fresh out of maintenance, and thus, had no beverage or snack items. A few people entered the Damon's resturant to get bottled water & then we boarded. I thought I was going to go deaf as we crossed the ramp & had a DC-9 go by us. We then entered the cabin, which had an odd smell, and I headed to my seat. The captain then came on & introduced the flight crew, noting that the F/A was awesome. He also said that the flight would be 1 hr, 6 mintes & that we'd be going to FL 270.
We pushed back & the F/A turned on the tape-recorded safety instructions, and we taxied to 10R. At this point, for the 2nd straight leg to PHL for me, we had to sit at the end of the runway for 10 minutes due to an ATC delay there. Once we got rolling, it was a great flight. I wished I had my camera, to say the least. We flew over my hometown of Zanesville & directly over the Downtown Pittsburgh area, going directly over Heinz Field, which was all lit up. A Russian couple in front of us (part of a group of 15 who had been in CMH) asked if they were going to be able to make their connection to CDG. I saw the itinerary & their final destination was Kiev, Ukraine. I found it interesting that there were a total of 27 people headed to CDG on that flight, and with the four of us, gave a total of 31 headed to Europe.
As we started into PHL, everything was smooth until we abruptly were jerked around for about 10 seconds. I really couldn't think of any way to explain it....it was weird. The approach took forever, and I wondered what we were doing when I saw PHL pass on our right side. (I had forgotten about their intersecting runway). We then cycled around & landed, err....slammed into that runway, which caused a few screams from the cockpit & me letting out a decent "What the hell...?"
We taxied to F37, and as people began to get off, I said to the guy across from me who had been talking about what a weird flight it was "I wouldn't be surprised if they lost one of our bags." For a few minutes, they did. My dad & I headed into the terminal, and as he proceeded to look around the gate area, I took off in a dead run toward the bus stop (F10), with no luck. I then walked back & they had the carry-on. Crisis averted.
We then made the long & tiring hike from C17 to A21 for the connection to LGW. My dad picked up a bottle of Glenfidditch for our friends who we're staying with now & my mom also picked something up from Duty Free. In the past, I had been on three different A330s (N670, 674UW & 675US)...would I repeat on one of those?
I walked over to the window, where N670UW, reminiscient of my first A330 trip (PHL-CDG) was sitting, waiting for passengers for our flight to LGW. I thought this was cool....I've never been on the same plane more than once!
US Airways 126 PHL-LGW
November 22, 2003
Photo © T Silgrim
It was a quick boarding process, and seemed like we were getting on a Disney ride, for whatever reason. We were told that we were slated for 6 hrs & 30 minutes of flight & soon after, pushed back & saw the live safety info demonstration. As we headed out, I saw an ex-AA F-100 on the cargo ramp. I also saw one at CMH, which I thought was weird.
We then entered the line of about 5 planes, took our turn, and the A330 reall came to life. After a decent roll, we were up & climbing out. The highlight was, as always, when the IFE came on. We bought our headsets (the clip-on kind), and put it to use. I turned to the Drew Carey episode & then the dinner service started. The choices were:
-Three Cheese Tortellini
I took the chicken, not too fond of the other dish. I then switched to Bruce Almighty, which had a somewhat quiet soundtrack in my headphones. I could hear it, it just had to be all the way up. That movie was OK...the only one I really wanted to watch on the flight. It was bumpy on & off, and from this point, not a lot happened. I did notice that there was a tied-off towel separating Envoy & Coach classes. I tried to sleep, but couldn't, prompting more fun with the IFE. I watched an episode of Frasier, (which coincidentally, was the last episode I had seen on TV before I left.), a few music videos off of VH1, a History Channel show & listened to some of the music options.
As the sun rose, I decided to start "Pirates of the Caribbean", which was alright for what I had seen of it. The F/As turned the lights on (which had only been off for a short time) and started the breakfast service, which was a donut & a drink. I looked around & noticed that most people had their PTVs off & were able to sleep. I was able to look down & Ireland appeared below, later followed by England. I saw two other planes at this point, both flying at the same FL we were. Interesting to see the contrails from the airplane instead of on the ground.
It got a bit rough on the way into LGW. We entered the clouds, which lasted a while & popped out on final to Gatwick. I could see the streaks of rain running down my window as the "gentle giant" A330 touched down & we slowed to a taxi speed & cleared the runway. Taxiing to the gate, I saw a variety of planes I wasn't used to seeing in person, such as easyJet, Thomas Cook, Virgin & Emirates planes. We then taxied into gate 36, parking between a Monarch A300 & a VS 747-400.
We deplaned, walked through the terminal & entered the immigration area, which was a bit run-down, IMO. After a while, we then entered the meeting area outside, met our friends (who we're staying with) & headed out.
The return next week!
[Edited 2003-11-28 10:48:14]