Sorry I don't have any pictures for the departure leg, as I didn't have my camera with me. But I got a few on the return leg, and this is my first TR with pics, so bear with me.
30 Jun 2004
US Airways 959
) - Orlando (MCO
Airbus A321 - N163US
Seat: 18F (economy)
Departure Gate: B29
Arrival Gate: 56
Scheduled Departure Time: 8:20 am
Actual Departure Time: 8:21 am
Scheduled Arrival Time: 10:31 am
Actual Arrival Time: 10:21 am
I arrived at Pittsburgh Int'l shortly after 6:30 to the US Airways check-in counter, to which the line didn't seem to be all that long, which is a bit surprising for a weekday morning. In less than five minutes, a self-service check-in kiosk opened, and I was able to check in. No trouble with the kiosk, and it confirmed my assigned window seat of 18F. A male agent then walked up to behind the kiosk and asked "Orlando nonstop?" I affirmed, and he attached the baggage tag to my one piece of luggage and checked ID
. I made an offhand comment about Orlando weather, which he checked for me, and added Mileage Plus miles, which I failed to do during when I made the reservation. I collected my boarding pass, which I noticed was on this very thin and flimsy paper, not the used card-like boarding passes.
I proceeded down the escalators and to the security checkpoint, which also surprisingly was not very long. Just as I made it to the front of the line and the TSA
agent checked my boarding pass, I looked to my left and heard another TSA
agent yell "You better get the horn!" A different agent raised an airhorn and sounded it several times. Then all of the TSA
agents began screaming at everyone "Get back!" "Get back!" Turns out some guy tried to sneak around the secure area through the arriving passengers hall. They questioned him and eventually let him go.
Over on the airside terminal, I made my way to B29, where the A321 was just arriving from the SFO
redeye. Nearby, flight 441 to ORD
and flight 117 to DCA
were boarding at B27 and B26. The gate agents announced a "possibly overselling situation" and needed volunteers. They offered free roundtrip airfare anywhere in the continental U.S. or Canada. What the hey, I wasn't in a hurry, so I hurried to the podium and gave up my seat. They ended up only needing two seats, which they got from a couple, so I was still in 18F.
Boarding began shortly before 8:00 am, and I took my seat at 18F. I expected the flight to be full of screaming children going to Disney, but there weren't that many. It's not that I don't like small children, just not when they scream for two hours to MCO
Pushback was shortly thereafter and the safety video began on the dropdown monitors. Engines started, and we made a short taxi to runway 28R. Along the way we passed several A320 family on the B concourse, with a lone Embraer 170 sitting at B48. We were number one for departure, and made a powerful takeoff down 28R.
Close to cruising altitude, one of the F/A's announced the option to buy one of two $7 breakfasts from In-Flight Cafe. Breakfast isn't important enough to cough up $7, so I declined and had a Coke. The F/A's were very friendly, even though there was little service to offer.
The path brought us through central West Virginia, western Virginia, down through the Charlotte area, off the South Carolina coast, landfall again on the east-central Florida coast, and into the Orlando area. Descent began approximately 25 to 30 minutes before landing, with a smooth arrival on runway 35L. During the short taxi to the terminal we passed a United 757 and the Northwest ramp which featured a mix of A320's, 757's, and a lone DC-9. Our A321 parked at gate 56 next to a 757 loading for PHL
6 Jul 2004
US Airways 1222
) - Pittsburgh (PIT
Boeing 757-200 - N626AU
Seat: 10F (economy)
Departure Gate: 53
Arrival Gate: B28
Scheduled Departure Time: 8:30 am
Actual Departure Time: 8:38 am
Scheduled Arrival Time: 10:43 am
Actual Arrival Time: 10:40 am
Returning home, I arrived at Orlando Int'l around 6:30. I pulled my bags to the elevator and went up to the ticketing level. The US Airways line was pretty long, compared to adjacent Northwest, which was nearly empty. The line turned out to be about 10 minutes long. There was a middle-aged woman standing at one of the kiosks screaming at an agent about something. Later, the guy in front of me would complain to the same agent that he can't get a seat on any of the day's flights. He claims Delta, for some reason, sent him to US Airways. The agent explained to him all flights were overbooked, and he stormed away.
I checked in at the kiosk and confirmed my window seat, 10F. I took my flimsy boarding pass and proceeded to security, which was chaotic to say the least. There were 7-year-olds wondering around with people everywhere. After a 15-minute wait in the security line (which wasn't as long as I had assumed), security wasn't a problem and I took the transit to the airside terminal. I stopped for a muffin at Miami Grill, and headed toward gate 53, where 757 N626AU was parked across from the hall from a 737-400 which was just pushing back as flight 624 to CLT
I knew the flight would be oversold, and I thought about volunteering, but there was a mad rush as soon as the gate agent showed up. The heck with that. I walked around the US area and hoped to see the 767 that arrives from PHL
, but I realized that it doesn't arrive until a bit later in the morning, around 10:30.
The agent announced 'boarding for flight one two two two, service to Pittsburgh' shortly after 8:00. We boarded through the 2L door and I took my seat at 10F which was just behind 2L. This 757 looked like it had seen better days. It wasn't even one of the ex-Eastern birds, but it wasn't too bad. Much better than some of the 737's I've flown. Every seat was full onboard, and we pushed back after a 'minor maintenance problem' was taken care of. Pushback was around 8:35, the engines started and we taxied toward 18L. A safey video was shown on the overhead monitors, and with no traffic, we were number one, the RB211's spooled up, and we made a powerful takeoff down 18L and into the sky above central Florida. I'm always impressed with the power of the 757 every time I fly it.
A sharp bank to the left was made (as we were originally facing 180°) and we headed over the Atlantic Ocean near Daytona Beach.
A neighboring 757 loaded up for US 1044 to PHL
. Sorry about the condensation on the window. It'll eventually go away. The 752 did an all-nighter in MCO
, and built up a bit of condensation during the night.
Taxiing to Rwy 18L.
Shortly after departure from MCO
. Sorry about the spot, there was some blue paint on my window.
The Eastern Florida Coastline.
Near Daytona Beach.
Like the departure leg, a F/A announced the options to buy $7 breakfasts. My muffin was good enough, so again I declined, and had a Coke.
and the new napkins US has started using.
Our path took us just east of Georgia coastal waters, into South Carolina, through central North Carolina (again over the Charlotte area), over western Virginia, through eastern West Virginia, and into southwestern Pennsylvania.
Passing over Charlotte-Douglas Int'l:
The Appalachain Mountains of West Virginia:
The F/A's collected trash several times, and decent into Greater Pittsburgh began, which was a bit bumpy. The captain announced our position and that we would 'be landing to the west' (which means a 28L arrival). A bit different from the usual Rwy 32 arrivals, but I think PIT
ATC generally tries to keep 757's away from 32.
Initial descent into Pittsburgh:
The Monongahela River:
Short final for Rwy 28L:
Touchdown on 28L (sorry for the poor quality - arrival was a bit shaky):
We touched down on PIT
's Runway 28L a few minutes ahead of schedule and taxied onto taxiway F, passed the heavy maintenance hangar (where there were 3 737's parked), crossed 28C at taxiway V and parked at B28.
Looking down from B28:
Typical U.S. carrier domestic service. Not good, but not bad either. Hope you enjoyed. Thanks for reading.
[Edited 2004-07-06 22:55:03]
[Edited 2004-07-06 22:56:01]
[Edited 2004-07-07 18:08:54]
[Edited 2004-07-07 18:20:28]