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Posts: 7543
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:52 am


Sun Dec 21, 2003 1:12 am

Well, I just got back from a short trip out to beautiful SFO. Air Tran took me out there this time, as they had a good schedule featuring a noon arrival into SFO and a 12:45pm flight back to ATL/MSY. Overall, Air Tran did a nice job. The service was not anything really special....seemed to be inconsistent at times....but it was nothing to really complain about. The aircraft (for the most part) were clean and fairly comfortable, and all of the flights (except for one) were right on time. I'd fly them again.

Air Tran Airways
Flight 150
Boeing 717-200
New Orleans,LA to Atlanta,GA
ETD: 6:15am
Push back: 6:10am
Wheels up: 6:17am
Wheels down: 8:14am
At gate: 8:22am

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Photo © Ken Cheung

Check in for this flight was a breeze. I arrived at gate C-9 for 5:30am, and about fifteen minutes later, boarding commenced. Only one gate agent worked the flight this morning, and while it was not overly full (62 passengers, 7 in Business, 55 in Coach), she was running around quite a bit. I took my seat 3F, last row in Business, and was immediately offered a beverage...OJ all the way. I found the seats to be very comfortable, but not as much as Northwest's domestic DC-9 First Class, which is about the best thing I could reasonably compare it to. We did a powerback a few minutes before scheduled departure time, and taxiied out to runway 19, behind a Delta 767-300 also bound for ATL. Taxi time was about five minutes, and we we were quickly number one for departure. Takeoff roll was about eighteen seconds, and it was one of the steepest departures i've ever experienced. After cruising South over the marsh lands for about two minutes, we made a swooping turn to the Northeast, overflying downtown New Orleans and the brightly lit Crescent City Connection bridges, City Park, the upscale Lakeview district, as well as the New Orleans Lakefront Airport. We then proceeded over Lake Pontchartrain itself, before crossing Slidell,LA en-route to ATL.
We passed through a cloud layer at this point which would remain with us until we reached the ATL area. Another drink service was offered around twenty-five minutes after takeoff, along with a choice of Oatmeal/Cereal bars. After that, the friendly f/a came around with some coffee. The flight was only scheduled for 58 minutes, so it passed very quickly. We made a quick descent into ATL under a clear sky. Final approach was a bit bumpy, as it always tends to be for some reason while landing at Hartsfield. Touchdown was firm, and we quickly slowed to taxi speed. After a short taxi passing the usual assortment of Delta aircraft, we parked at gate C-8. This concluded my first-ever flight on Air Tran, and I was fairly pleased. The real test was yet to come...a flight on their longest segment on the wings of a Ryan International Airbus 320.

Air Tran Airways
Flight 11
Airbus A320
Atlanta,GA to San Francisco,CA
ETD: 9:30am
Push back: 9:30am
Wheels up: 9:40am
Wheels down: 12:23pm
At gate: 12:28pm

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Photo © Michael F. McLaughlin

Pre boarding for flight 11 to SFO began at 9:00am. I was anxious to board obviously. Entering the aicraft, I noticed a blanket and a pillow on every Business Class seat...nice touch. I took my seat...same one, 3F. Let me tell you, even though this was an older-style Business Class seat, it was extremely comfortable...tons of padding and excellent recline. The load on this segment was as follows: 12 Business, 91 Coach, for a total of 103 out of 156 seats available. A drink service was offered to us during the boarding process. During the safety demonstration, I noticed that the lifevest used by the f/a during the overwater segment had a big "MEA" (Middle Eastern Airlines) written on it as well as the logo of that airline. That's something you don't see everyday! Push back was on-time, and taxi time was minimal. I spotted a Korean 747-400 just arriving from Seoul as we made our way through the short takeoff line. Takeoff roll was around thirty seconds, and off we went. Initial scenery on the first portion of the flight was hampered due to lots of clouds. After the drink and snack service (snacks consisted of a basket of assorted items...cookies, pretzels, cereal bars, etc), I decided it was time to take a nap before we made our way over the grand scenery between Colorado and California. It was easy to fall asleep in those seats. I woke up about an hour and a half later, just as we were overflying COS. I got my camera ready and got a great shot of the city as well as of Pike's Peake, which we crossed without an obstucted view of any kind. In fact, there was not a cloud to be seen in the sky for the last half of the flight. After taking some more pics of the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada range...and after getting one more round of drinks and snacks one hour prior to landing...we started our initial descent. For a flight nearly five hours in length, it went by quickly, thanks in large part to the magnificent scenery. As far as landing is concerned, we came in over Martinez, arriving in SFO from the South after the scenic "bay approach". Touchdown was smooth. Lots of heavy action in SFO at that time, right up my alley. We parked at gate A-2 at the stunning International terminal. Good flight overall. The plane was sort of showing its age (which is kind of sad for an A320), but the service was adequate, and the seats were very, very comfortable. Good job Air Tran!

Well that's all for now. I will do a report on my return flights sometime later this evening or tomorrow. I hope yall enjoyed the read!

Happy Holidays to everyone!

Steve/New Orleans
Posts: 273
Joined: Sun Jan 23, 2000 11:18 pm


Sun Dec 21, 2003 4:54 am

Good report. I'm happy to see someone else enjoys Air Tran. We fly them often and haven't had a problem yet. I look forward to hearing the return leg.

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