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

A Long Day In Birmingham; Southwest BHM-MSY

Sun Jul 25, 2004 2:28 am

Well after enjoying an incredible 6 hours 50 minute ride on Amtrak's Crescent from MSY to BHM (a trip report on that can be found in the non aviation section) I hailed a cab and was off to BHM to catch a Southwest flight home.

The airport was only about a ten minute drive from the station. I got out the cab and made my way inside the terminal, which at first glance I found to be VERY nice. Bright, open, modern. I checked in with a friendly CSA at 2:50pm. I was listed on the 4:45pm nonstop to MSY but she said it was oversold and suggested I try to make the 3:30pm, which had a few seats left on it. I figured might as well. Unfortunately for me, the security line was hella long, and by the time I got to gate C12, the flight had closed. So, with the 4:45pm flight being oversold (by about 15 as I later found out), I listed myself on the 6:30pm flight, which was said to have about 30 open seats. I liked the sound of that. As a bonus, the 6:30 was going to be operated with a 737-700, with any luck one with winglets. I've yet to get on a wingleted-equipped 700, so I was kind of looking forward to that. I grabbed a chicken wrap from one of the food court vendors and had a seat next to a huge window overlooking the ramp. BHM had a good amount of activity. AA MD-80, DL MD-88/737-200, a few Comair CRJ's, Continental Express ERJ-145's, a couple of US Airways Express ERJ's, Plante 727-200, Northwest DC-9...not too shabby.

Once the gate counter opened for check in at 5:30pm I handed the CSA my standby pass and she went ahead and cleared me a seat. I had pass #71, in the "B" boarding group. The chances were good, I figured, of at least getting an aisle seat.

At about 6:00pm, the announcement was made that our flight (which had originated in BWI) was running late and would not arrive here until 7:25pm. Wonderful. At least I had a seat, I figured. In the meantime, over at gate C14, flight 179, the scheduled 7:20pm flight to MSY, was announced that it was running over two hours late. Uh-oh. Not good. Sure enough, a large group of people, who were originally booked on the 7:20, were moved to the 6:30. This meant...drumroll please...I would have to give up my seat. And that's what happened. The agent called me up "Sir, we need your seat, but you're now confirmed on the 7:20 flight." My response "It's not leaving at 7:20 though correct?". Her response "Correct, more like 9:45."

The delayed 6:30pm flight pulled into the gate at 7:30pm. And wouldn't you know it, it was a brand new -700 with winglets.  Sad I spent those next couple of hours listening to music and dozing in and out of sleep.

Finally, mercifully, our flight pulled to the gate at 9:25pm. It was indeed an old color 737-300, but luckily it was equipped with the new seats, which are really a big improvement over the old ones. About 50 people got off the plane here (which as it turned out had a mechanical in RDU), and about 30 people boarded for the flight to MSY. There were only about 50 people total on the plane go I got a row to myself behind the wing. Pushback from the gate right at 9:48pm. Short taxi but we had to wait for three aircraft to land, including a FedEx 727-200. After a 27-second roll we were airborne at 10:02pm and shot up like a rocket. We made a big circle around the BHM metro area before making a bee line for MSY. The captain never informed us of a cruising altitude but said the flight time would be a short 45 minutes. Once round of drinks was served. Before I knew it we were starting our initial approach. It appeared we would be landing on runway 19, but as it turned out, we made a turn and lined up for 10 instead. Typical hard-as-a-rock Southwest landing. I swear they use auto land or something. Fun, however. Parked at gate B-9 next two a few 73G's.

The end.

 
WidgetBoi
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RE: A Long Day In Birmingham; Southwest BHM-MSY

Sun Jul 25, 2004 3:59 am

great report!

too bad you didn't get on a 73G with winglets  Sad but there's always next time  Big grin

jeremy
 
GSPSPOT
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:44 am

RE: A Long Day In Birmingham; Southwest BHM-MSY

Sun Jul 25, 2004 5:13 am

So, apart from spending WAY too much time at BHM, did you like it OK? Did you get up to the top of the parking deck?
Finally made it to an airline mecca!
 
MSYtristar
Topic Author
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RE: A Long Day In Birmingham; Southwest BHM-MSY

Sun Jul 25, 2004 7:27 am

GSPSPOT, even though I was there longer than planned, I had a good time. I thought it was a very nice airport. I would not hesitate to fly through BHM again. In fact, call me crazy, but I think BHM would work well as a regional jet hub for some carrier...the demand sure looks like it's there...the place was packed all afternoon!

And no, I did not make it to the top of the garage. Hopefully next time!
 
GSPSPOT
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Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2003 1:44 am

RE: A Long Day In Birmingham; Southwest BHM-MSY

Mon Jul 26, 2004 12:53 am

Cool! I've always thought that the rotunda at the end of the main concourse would be a great little "mini-hub" for connecting.
Finally made it to an airline mecca!

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