We then ate breakfast, and took the monorail to the airside with Gates 31-38. While on the monorail, I looked out the window & through the fog, I could see CO's Peter Max 777 & NW's N234NW....the same DC-10 I had flown CO / LIRF), Italy">FCO-DTW in 2000. We got to the gate, where, for the second time (for me), N674UW was at the gate. I had previously flown on this A330 CDG-PHL in November 2000. I sat down at the window, and watched VS's "Jersey Girl" park at gate 35....still a cool feeling to see a 747 pull up right in front of you. Boarding began, and as I got in the line, I saw DL's 763 N1200K taxi back to the gate area, which left me wondering what was going on.
US Airways 99 LGW-PHL
A330-300 N674UW Seat 12H
December 3, 2003
Photo © Julio Ribeiro - IBERIAN SPOTTERS
I got to my seat & then headed to the boarding door, where I asked if I could go to the cockpit. For the first time in a while, and to my disappointment, I wasn't allowed to the front. I went back to my seat & got comfortable. I took our digital camera & started shooting out the window....got several VS 747 pics, a BA 777 shot with an ERJ behind it & a few others. This was my entertainment during the delay, caused by computer problems at the crew's hotel, which carried over to check-in being screwed up. We were slated to leave at 11:50, but pushed at 12:20. By this time, the fog had lifted to the point that I could see other terminals & other planes. The captain then came on & said that the flight would be 7 hrs 33 minutes.
As we approached the end of the runway (8R I think), I looked out & saw the oddest thing I've ever seen. I'm guessing it was a fire trainer, but it was a DC-10 tail on a shortened 747 body, with Airbus (slide out) & Boeing (swing out) doors on the fuselage. I knew this thing wasn't airworthy, but if anybody can tell me what the hell this thing was, I'd appreciate it...lol. Unusual to say the least.
We then held short, and after a DBA 737 landed, we were on the roll. We rotated & had some condensation shoot over the wings as we entered the clouds. We broke out of them quickly, and the PTVs were then turned on. I got my headphones, and started with my "traditional" Drew Carey episode, followed by "Matchstick Men" with Nicolas Cage, which was pretty good. It got a bit bumpy at this point, but the captain came on & told us that "it should end in 40 miles, which is about 5 to 7 minutes.", which I found interesting. As we climbed to FL360, it ended up being a smooth ride for the most part.
Lunch was served....choice of Chicken or Ravioli, my choice being the chicken. It wasn't too bad....I don't complain about airline food, I'm just happy to get it with the service cuts these days.
I watched the IFE for most of the Atlantic crossing, considering that it was cloudy from Ireland on. (This is all that's worth mentioning from this part of the flight) "Matchstick Men" ended, and I went over to the Frasier episode, followed by finishing "Pirates of the Caribbean" which I started on the way over & fast-forwarded to where I left off. By this point, boredom was settling in...
A ham & cheese sandwich was passed out at this point, and I watched ESPN's "The Life" featuring the Ravens' Ray Lewis, and started the VH1 video. I tried to skip through to the episode of "Pop-Up Video" when the PTV suddenly shut off. I rang the call button, and the F/A came & said he'd try to reset it. It didn't work, and he offered me seat 10F to use the PTV, which I did. I watched "Scrubs", and moved back to my seat. We entered the US just South of BOS, and made our descent into PHL. We had a great view of downtown as we came in, flying just south of the Eagles' stadium, and landed on 27R. We were able to clear the runway quickly, and taxi to A26 within about 2 minutes of landing. We deplaned, cleared customs, and a great trip started to suck.
After clearing customs, we went to the baggage claim area, where we waited a good 35 minutes before the bags came back. Next, we gave our bags to the men at the conveyor belt in the next area, and headed the the security checkpoint. We didn't have any tickets with us (we weren't told to check back in) & had to head to the ticket counters, where it was discovered that my mom had the tickets for the PHL-CMH leg (she's still a rookie at e-tickets...) the whole time, which pissed the rest of us off. We then used our one-time passes to the US Airways Club, stayed about 5 minutes & left, and then headed to B9 for...
US Airways 743 PHL-CMH
Photo © Michael Nikel
I'll keep this part short & sweet. We boarded through B9 (the same gate I went through for PHL-LAS last year) & I sat down. This seat was hard in comparison to the A330s....something I never thought about. The cabin also seemed worn out for a decently new plane. We pushed back, and the flip down screens showed the safety video. The problem was two of the screens flipped up & down several times. I finally reached up & was able to stop the one above my head. It was a quick takeoff, bumpy off & on, and after a quick drink service, we started our descent into CMH. I was able to see Zanesville again from the air, and as we made a downwind approach for 10R, we flew right overhead LCK. After a long, hard right turn, we entered final & landed on 10R. We taxied to A3, and that was it for this trip. I was impressed with the number of planes lined up behind us on 10R....I counted 4.
That's it for this trip....later this month, back to DAB!