We had two outings we definitely wanted to do while we were there, so we did have some date limitations. The first was to see a Dodgers baseball game (more on that later), and the second was to attend the Airliners International 2004 convention at LAX. With those in mind, we made our flight arrangements with Southwest.
Saturday, July 3, 2004
Southwest flight 299
Aircraft: N710SW 737-7H4 27844/34
Scheduled departure: 9:25 am
Scheduled arrival: 11:20 am
We got to the airport around 7:45 am and breezed through the baggage check in and security screening process, and made our way to gate 2B. Our airplane showed up a little before 9:00 am from FLL. We knew previously that it would be a 737-700, and were pleased to see that it was an aircraft that had been fitted with the blended winglets.
Photo © Brian Bartlett
Being that I had my daughter with me, we were able to pre-board the aircraft after three wheelchair passengers, along with the other families. We took up residence in the front bulkhead row, on the right side, in what would be seats 1E and 1F.
While we were settling in, my daughter asked to see the cockpit (a recurring theme on this trip…..not a bad thing). The head flight attendant got her request approved, so up we went. She was able to sit in the pilot’s seat, and the copilot took time for a quick briefing. Of course, pictures were taken.
We pushed back on time, and departed westward on runway 28 into a partly cloudy sky. After a couple of slight course deviations for developing weather, we set a course which took us just south of Lake Charles, LA, near Beaumont, Texas, and up over the top of IAH. When I leaned against the window, I could see the northernmost runway of the airport. We made a slight turn to the right, flew over Austin, and a bit south of San Angelo. We could Midland and Odessa in the distance, and then we saw the southern entry into the Guadalupe Mountains.
During the flight, we were offered the usual choice of drinks, and the box of snacks, including Cinnamon Teddy Graham Cubs, Lornadoone Short Bread Cookies, and Planters Toast Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers.
The next 300 or so miles were flown over a high cloud deck. When we next saw the ground, we were in southeastern Arizona. We were then treated to a beautiful view of the entire Phoenix area, including PHX, the Bank-One Ballpark, Scottsdale, etc. We crossed into California, and tracked over the Joshua Tree National Monument.
We descended into a cloudy Los Angeles Basin. The ‘late night and early morning low clouds and fog” were making their presence known. The mountains above the cloud deck made for an interesting view. We broke under the clouds just over the Harbor Freeway for our final approach and landing on runway 24R.
We made the taxi back to Terminal 1, all the while pinned to the window shooting pictures of all the Qantas, Mexicana, ANA, Air Tahiti Nui, etc aircraft parked on the north side of the airport. We pulled into gate 10, deplaned the aircraft, and readied ourselves for the crowd at baggage claim, and for the ride over to the Alamo rental car lot.
Our week in SoCal included a number of great activities: July 4 festivities in Claremont, an extra-innings Dodgers 6-5 win vs the Diamondbacks (the game where Eric Gagne’s save streak was broken), a day at Legoland outside San Diego, a trip to the beach at Carlsbad, and a downtown San Diego visit which included a stop at the Padres’ new Petco Park, the Aerospace Museum, and lunching on the hill overlooking Lindbergh Field (New Mexico One was a visitor).
We also attended the Airliners International 2004 convention at the Sheraton, and took my dad (who worked for 35 years with Lockheed) with us. While there, we met up with fellow a.netter, and excellent trip report writer, Jsnww81, and we all went over to the Sepulveda In-N-Out Burger for some burgers and plane watching in the park across the street.
All in all, a great visit, but it was time to head for home.
Our return trip report can be found at http://www.airliners.net/discussions/trip_reports/read.main/46078
Tom at MSY