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


Sun Dec 28, 2003 12:17 pm

My visit to the bay area was all too vacations usually are. I did get the chance to drive out to Napa this time around, which was very beautiful. Didn't have time to tour a winery, but we had lunch out there and took some pictures. Nice outing when all is said and done. Also, I went to this place called the Metreon and saw the new Jack Nicholson flick...ate some good food....drove up to the summit of Mt.Diablo....and went to the grand opening party of a classic car club in downtown SFO.

December 19, 2003
Air Tran flight 12, operated by Ryan International
Airbus A320
ETD: 12:45pm
ETA: 8:05pm
Push back: 1:05pm
Wheels up: 1:13pm
Wheels down: 8:20pm
At gate: 8:27pm

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Photo © Ryan Gaddis - SPOT THIS!

I got dropped off at the stunning International terminal at SFO at 10:45am. Check in for my flight was painless. Even though the flight was booked to capacity, no one was in line at that time. I got a window seat (30A) and proceeded to visit the nice aviation store, located next to the aviation museum. I killed a good 20 minutes in there, and left with a Boeing 727-200 model as well as the latest edition of Airways Magazine. Since the security line was very long (several Asia flights left around this time), I decided to just go into the concourse and take some pics. Our flight was due to arrive on-time at 11:45am. I got around seven nice shots of a JAL 747-400 which was loading for NRT. I could never get tired of seeing a 744...much more impressive than any plane flying today in my opinion. The 744 was parked next to a Northwest DC10, also NRT-bound. I bought a small sub sandwhich at the Firewood Grill to take on the flight with me, since there is no meal service on the long 4-hour flight back to ATL.

Boarding began promptly at 12:10pm, as did the KLM MD-11 flight to AMS which was parked at the gate next to ours. I stepped on board the A320 and noticed a different seat pattern on this aircraft, although I was not able to take note of the registration. I made my way back to row 30 and sat down. My first impression was not a good one. The seat was tiny...legroom was horrible...the plane looked liked it had seen better days. And to make matters worse, there was definetely going to be somebody sitting next to me, so no chance at all for me to stretch out a little. Oh well, that's how it goes sometimes.

Push back was a few minutes behind schedule, but we were quickly airborne, overfyling a JetBlue A320 on finals to OAK as we cruised over Oakland and Emeryville before making a turn to the east. Climbout was bumpy and visibility was poor, but everything cleared around twenty minutes after takeoff. Drink service began about 45 minutes into the flight. I had a Vanilla Coke and gladly accepted a bag of pretzels to go along with my overpriced ham and cheese sub sandwhich. After thinking about it, I realized that the seating on this plane was no worse than Delta's 757 coach seating...maybe a tad better....although Delta has Ryan beat in terms of aircraft appearance and overall service.

I was once again glued to the window for the first 2 hours of the flight, as we crossed the Sierra Nevada range and the Rockies without a cloud in sight. Once our mountain crossing was complete, I decided it was time for a nap. I woke up somewhere over Arkansas. A second limited drink/snack service (Coke, Diet Coke, water, Biscoffs) was offered one hour prior to arrival. By this point every person on the plane appeared to be dying of thirst so everyone took something to drink from what I could tell. Water and a Coke for me. Night approach into ATL was interesting as usual, seeing the dozens of aircraft take their spots for landing...very, very interesting. Touchdown was pretty smooth, as they usually are on the Airbii. We parked at gate C20. Overall, this was a good flight. Certainly not the most comfortable coach seating and the service was just adequate, but it was not bad by any means.

Air Tran flight 161
Boeing 717-200
ETD: 9:05pm
ETA: 9:42pm
Push back: 10:02pm
Wheels up: 10:23pm
Wheels down: 10:38pm (central time)

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Photo © Daniel Wojdylo

The aircraft arrived late from ICT due to an ATC hold over Hartsfield. We commenced boarding at 9:15pm. The flight, like the previous one, was booked to capacity. It took us awhile to push back due to late arriving bags from other flights. Looking out at the rampers do their thing, it looked like utter chaos out there. I had seat 18F, which I found to be comfortable. Leg room was minimal, but shoulder room was amazing for a window seat....possibly the best coach shoulder room I've ever had on any flight. We finally pushed back about an hour late. Taxi time was the time we got to the end of the runway, we were number two for takeoff behind a Delta 757. On the way I spotted around six or seven Delta heavies at the maintenance hangar, including MD-11 ship 802 with the blown engine, and a couple of 777's. Takeoff roll was about 25 seconds and, just like the flight from MSY, we rocketed skyward. Extremely steep takeoff. The 757 would be proud of its younger sibling. Flight time was 1h15m at flight level 370. Service consisted of beverages plus pretzels. Clear skies afforded us a nice view of BHM, MEI, JAN in the distance, and finally the MSY metro area. The flight was very smooth and quiet. The captain did a good job narrating the route of flight, which is something I always enjoy. We landed to the North on runway 1. Taxi time was about five minutes and we parked at gate C-9 next to a United A320 at gate C-7.

I thought Air Tran did a decent job overall. Service wise, it was nothing overly memorable, but it was good enough. The 717's are great aircraft. It is a shame that they are not as popular as they should be. Connections in ATL were a breeze, but the terminal really needs an upgrade.

Steve/New Orleans
Posts: 4261
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:23 pm


Sun Dec 28, 2003 2:01 pm

Good report!!!

I want to try AirTran so bad but they have yet to start service to STL so ill just get the views from trip report like yours. Was it cheaper then Southwest and the other airlines or what was your reasoning for choosing AirTran?

Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
Topic Author
Posts: 7543
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:52 am


Sun Dec 28, 2003 2:17 pm

Well, I flew nonrev going to SFO, so it didn't cost me anything. I purchased a seat on the way back because the flights were booked solid and I had to be home that evening. I had never tried Air Tran before and the flight times were perfect.  Smile

Steve/New Orleans
Posts: 2604
Joined: Wed Aug 18, 1999 9:09 pm


Sun Dec 28, 2003 9:03 pm

I had no idea that Air Tran was flying out of the Int'l Terminal @ SFO.

I had some grub at the Firewood Grill prior to departing for LHR about a month ago...maybe you paid $$$$ for the Black Forest Ham and Havarti cheese with dill  Big grin
Posts: 4127
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2002 8:55 pm


Sun Dec 28, 2003 11:55 pm

Hmm... if this is a domestic flight, why did you depart from the international terminal in SFO??

Great report, btw...
Welcome to my starry one world alliance, a team in the sky!
Posts: 6442
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2000 4:07 pm


Mon Dec 29, 2003 8:31 am


This is very nice trip report and next time that if you will meeting with my friend Ryan Gaddis at work by AirTran in the concourse C and stop by to say hello to him, ok? I already met with him by last couple months ago and I was flew to ATL and for the connecting to PHX flight.
Posts: 4830
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 3:49 am


Tue Dec 30, 2003 7:20 pm

Ryanair!!!-- The International Terminal at SFO is not strictly international. It can (as shown by AirTran and others) be a joint-use facility. Hawaiian, as well as several charter airlines have operated out of there for some time now (Hawaiian has since moved terminals), and United has been known to have domestic arrivals into concourse G.

Alaska's Mexico flights arrive into Concourse A, and I think for some reason a select few PDX/SEA flights (continuation leg) operate out of Concourse A on their domestic runs.

Plenty of room throughout the gate rooms, the concourses themselves, as well as the ENORMOUS check-in lobby.

Great facility, though. I much prefer Concourse A to G, though. Seems like a better variety of food, and you for sure can't beat the views afforded by Il Fornaio.

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L
Posts: 1637
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:23 am


Thu Jan 01, 2004 7:51 pm

quick anti ual question......why was ryan intl op the flt to atl??????have done ryan intl charters from den and found them to be more cramped on the a320 than ua or nw a320 and dl 57s are cramped but not that bad as ryan...oh i forgot ryan is not in the market for comfort but to cram as much people in a a320 as possible.....nothing wrong with ryan but the ani ual squad needs to take a flt on ryan to truely appreciate a a320.....air tran should be ashamed of them selves for offering this type of service..........
Bus Driver
Topic Author
Posts: 7543
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2005 12:52 am


Fri Jan 02, 2004 12:59 am


All Air Tran A320 flights (to LAS, LAX, SFO) are operated by Ryan International aircraft. The flights crews were apparently staffed by both Ryan and Air Tran personnell.

It was easily the most uncomfortable A320 i've ever been on (in coach) and up there next to Virgin Express as the worst ever probably....although I did find it similar in pitch to Delta's 757's, Delta's seats were more comfortble. Overall, not a pleasant way to spend over four hours, but you know, the price was right, and so were the flight times. I'll try any flight once.  Smile

Steve/New Orleans
Posts: 1349
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 6:09 am


Fri Jan 02, 2004 3:25 am

Actually, the way the Ryan Intl A320's are configured for us, there is more leg room the further forward you are. So if you're stuck in the last two or three rows you have far less than if you're in the first 5 rows of coach, or even in the middle of the bus.
Posts: 6525
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 9:30 am


Wed Jan 07, 2004 7:10 am

Awesome Trip Report MSYTristar. ATrude777, AirTran is a great airline. They may start STL soon.

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