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GSO-DFW-LAX-ATL-GSO DL/coast-to-coast In 30 Hours

Sat Sep 18, 2004 1:56 pm

Sorry for the slight delay in this…my spotting log book had a little problem (thank you, Microsoft Excel), which basically deleted 500 registrations from my book. Fortunately, I had backed it up the night before as a PDF, but I still had to retype in 500 logs.

11 September 2004
Delta Air Lines 4213 (opb Atlantic Southeast Airlines)
Depart: Greensboro – Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO)
Scheduled Departure: 0640 Local
Actual Departure: 0640 Local
Departure Gate: 47B
Arrive: Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
Scheduled Arrival: 0840 Local
Actual Arrival: 0824 Local
Arrival Gate: E26
Equipment: Canadair Regional Jet CRJ-200 ER
Registration: N813AS
Seat: 8A (Exit Row)

I once again did the old print out the boarding pass from the comfort of home. I got a ride to GSO, getting dropped off at the airport at about 0530. Since I had my boarding pass and nothing but a small bag, I proceeded directly to security, where there was no line (I literally walked up, had my documents inspected, and went through the mags). I must comment on the TSA staff at GSO: they are hands down the best bunch of TSA employees I have dealt with. At such an early hour, they were saying good morning, asking how we were doing, wishing us a good flight. I’m used to BOS, where my experience is a simple move ‘em through.

Not much was happening at GSO at 0530. On the B concourse (which is used by Delta, US Airways, American Eagle, and United/United Express), the first departure was a 0610 737 to CLT and a 0610 MD-88 to ATL, both of which had pretty poor loads (no more than 40%). Planes at the terminal included some US Airways 737s (-300s/-400s), ERJ-145s (about 5), and a Jetstream 41 (one of the ERJs was the all-white one that Chautauqua uses); Delta had a 737-200, 2 MD-88s and about 5 CRJs (4 Comair and an ASA), American Eagle had an ERJ-140, United had a 737-300, but the titles were in the United Shuttle font (just dropped the word shuttle), as well as an ERJ in the new colours. Over at A concourse were a pair of NW CRJs, a pair of CO ERJs, and an Independence Air CRJ.

Boarding started at about 0620 with a short walk to our aircraft. I boarded and popped my head in to talk with the crew; US Airways and Chapter 11 was pretty much the subject of our talk. I proceeded to my seat, 8A, which I was able to grab when I booked the flight. We pushed back right on time, and taxied out to Runway 23. Tradewinds had L-1011 N104NL in; Airborne Express had a DC-9, Fed Ex had a very busy ramp, with an A310 and A300, but also with a few Fokker F-27s, and a bunch of Cessna Caravans.

Takeoff took less than half of the runway, due to the light load (only 25 people or so). On takeoff, I spotted about 5 (yes, 5) United 757s over at TIMCO, getting some work done. One was in the new colours, the others weren’t.

For this flight, I had the row to myself, which is a nice luxury to have on a plane like the CRJ. For a good portion of the flight, I took advantage of this and stretched out and took a nap.

Cabin service for this flight was drink service and a snack mix. I had an orange juice to drink, and left the snack mix alone. The flight attendant, seeing this on her second pass through the cabin, told me that I made the right decision, as she told me that she and several other F/As thought it was nasty. She also said that ASA rotates their snacks on a regular basis, so that might be good news to those on an upcoming ASA flight.

Our flight today took us out to Volunteer VOR (Knoxville), out to MEM and LIT, and into the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex. Flight time was scheduled for 2:23, at an altitude of FL350.

Landing in DFW came out of the north, and we landed on Runway 17L. After a short taxi in, we parked at E26 in the satellite terminal. Our F/A was going on to SNA, I’m not sure about the flight crew.

DFW was an RJ mess…about 10 mainline planes, but about 40 RJs. The satellite terminal was teeming with them, and they were running over into the main terminal. Most of the planes were ASA CRJs, but there were a few CRJ-700s; RP had some ERJ-135/145, and there were a couple of SkyWest CRJs (including one that just said SkyWest on the tail, so it could run both UA and DL routes). During my layover in DFW, I just walked around the DL terminal, grabbing a newspaper and a Pepsi to drink.

11 September 2004
Delta Air Lines 1575
Depart: Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport (DFW)
Scheduled Departure: 0930 Local
Actual Departure: 0927 Local
Departure Gate: E36
Arrive: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Scheduled Arrival: 1040 Local
Actual Arrival: 1036 Local
Arrival Gate: 50B
Equipment: McDonnell Douglas MD-90-30
Registration: N913DA
Seat: 17A
Quickly boarded the MD-90, and once again, there was no one next to me…no complaints there.

We pushed back a few minutes early, and held for the safety video. During this time, I spotted a seemingly endless stream of American MD-80s come in; additionally, a Sun Country 737-800 arrived from MSP. We taxied out past the Delta terminal, where even more ASA and Chautauqua RJs were spotted, as well as a few more Delta MD-90s, a couple of Delta 737-300/800s, and a couple of MD-88s. Taxiing past the American terminals was pretty much a mobscene of AA MD-80s, with some 738s, 757s, 767-300s and 777s sprinkled in. We also taxied past the American Eagle terminal, which was mostly ERJs and Saabs, with a couple of Canadairs sprinkled in there. We crossed midfield on Taxiway Tango and past Terminal B, where there were a few United planes and a Frontier 737 parked near the taxiway. I was quite happy to see the Frontier 737; I haven’t seen any for a while (it had been A319s for me).

We taxied out to Runway 18L, where we were third for takeoff behind a United Shuttle 737-500 and an American MD-80. Behind us were a few Delta Connection CRJs and American MD-80s; right after we started our taxi, a major push must have started, as there were about 10 planes behind us.

We took off, and it was quite quiet, one of the quieter takeoffs I had experienced. We climbed out with an American 757, with us heading up to FL310. Our route took us out to the El Paso region, over the Phoenix area, and into the Los Angeles basin.

Service for this flight consisted of a Coke and pretzels at first, pretty much standard Delta service. Toward the end of the flight, bottles of water were distributed, which I gladly accepted. On this flight, I was able to spread out a little, and I read a book and stared out the beautiful scenery that was under me for most of the flight.

Once we got over New Mexico, we started to follow I-10 all the way into California. As I mentioned, we went over Phoenix, and I got a great view of the “boneyard” at Goodyear Airport just west of Phoenix. Later in the flight, as we were descending into LAX, I spotted a B6 A320 descending into ONT; I later found out that this plane was ferrying over from LGB. We came in over the 405, and landed on Runway 25L, and exited the runway at Taxiway Kilo. I spotted a boatload of United planes over at Terminals 6/7/8; Singapore had a 744F there, World had a couple of DC-10Fs, Qantas had a few 744s, and Delta had a 733 and a bunch of 757s/767s. We parked at Gate 50A, and I was quickly getting on my shuttle bus to Orange County.

I had a great time in California…looking forward to getting out there again soon…but, I only had a total of about 13 hours to spend in Los Angeles, and I was soon getting ready to go home.

11 September 2004
Delta Air Lines 1660
Depart: Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Scheduled Departure: 2350 Local
Actual Departure: 2345 Local
Departure Gate: 57
Arrive: Atlanta – Hartsfield International Airport (ATL)
Scheduled Arrival: 0653 Local+1
Actual Arrival: 0629 Local+1
Arrival Gate: A24
Equipment: Boeing 767-332 (ER)
Registration: N176DZ
Seat: 17A

I checked in using the kiosk at LAX, and then proceeded to security. No one in line at the kiosks, only one person ahead of me for security. I guess I could have stayed at the Dodgers game a little longer…

Anyway, Terminal 5 was dead at this time of night. The only thing open was a McDonald’s (which I refuse to eat), and a gift shop (where I bought a mug, since I have this thing for mugs…I buy too many of them). I wanted to go over to Terminal 4 or 6, since I heard there was an underground passageway, but alas, it was closed. Anyway, I just spent the hour staring out the window. Not much was going on; there were a few United Express EMB-120s and some Pacific heavies leaving, but that was it. In the Delta terminal, there were a lot of 757s; an MD-90 and a few 767s were also present.

Boarding started on time, and we pushed back early. The flight was about 85% full, and I had a seatmate for the first (and only) time on this trip. We pushed back early, and we ended up nose-to-nose with a Qantas 744 headed to MEL. Also spotted were an Air Pacific 744, an Air China 744, and a bunch of American birds.

A note about the crew here. The purser was a bit hyper for a red-eye flight, but at least he was quiet for most of the flight. He did say this was a codeshare flight with “SkyTeam partners Continental Airlines and Air Jamaica”. Of course, CO would be joining in about 36 hours; and of course, JM hasn’t even signed an MOU for SkyTeam yet (unless he knew something we didn’t know). Lights were dimmed right after push-back, and remained dimmed or off for the remainder of the flight. I didn’t get any flight details, because they didn’t give them, and I was too tired (I had been up 24 hours straight at this point, been walking around all day, and on my third flight of the day). Anyway, during taxi, I saw a bunch of DL and UA birds parked for the night; I also saw a Hawaiian 767-300 parked. We took off on Runway 25R, and went over the Pacific before heading back east.

As I said, I don’t really remember the details of the flight. About 15 minutes in, F/As did a beverage service, and I took a water. They also came around with headphones, in case anyone wanted to watch The Stepford Wives. I however, tried to go to bed. However, the moron behind me had one of those anti-seat-recline devices, so I couldn’t recline (if I hadn’t been so tired, I might have told her to remove it, or I’ll call an F/A). Alas, I tried to sleep, and got about 2 hours. I awoke somewhere over Louisiana/Mississippi, and just gazed out the window the rest of the flight. We landed on Runway 8L, and had a very quick taxi to Concourse A.

During my 3.5 hour layover, I had a long breakfast at Chili’s Too (ended up taking 1.5 hours), where I spotted mostly Delta planes move around. After breakfast, I just walked around the airport, visiting every Concourse. Terminal E had Spirit of Delta there adorned in the 75th Anniversary Colours, as well as 777s N860DA and N861DA, plus SAA A340-600 ZS-SNG. Terminal D had mostly Delta Connection, as well as a few CO 737s and ERJs, an Independence Air CRJ, an AC Jazz CRJ, a couple of NW DC-9-40s and an A319, and an America West Airbus. Terminal C was where I saw three AirTran 737s and the AirTran 717 in the new colours, plus the standard AirTran 717 and Delta CRJ assortment. Concourse A and B were all Delta, with basically every fleet type (M80, 732, 733, 757, 767, 763, 764); the DL half of Concourse T was like that as well. AA had a bunch of MD-80s there; UA had some 737s and RJs as well.

12 September 2004
Delta Air Lines 1080
Depart: Atlanta – Hartsfield International Airport (ATL)
Scheduled Departure: 0955 Local
Actual Departure: 0950 Local
Departure Gate: B10
Arrive: Greensboro – Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO)
Scheduled Arrival: 1113 Local
Actual Arrival: 1051 Local
Arrival Gate: 49
Equipment: Boeing 737-247 Adv
Registration: N238WA
Seat: 15A

I was a bit disappointed the Hooters Air flight didn’t show up, since it would have been next to our gate, and I would have had a perfect view of it. Oh well, maybe next time on my travels through ATL (as of right now, November…)

I had the emergency exit row for this flight, and with no seat in front of me, I had plenty of legroom, which was nice. The flight was about 2/3 full, with the middle seat open between me and my seatmate. We pushed back early, and taxied to Runway 9R, where we had to wait for an ASA CRJ to take off. Behind us were a US 733, and Independence CRJ, and an ASA ATR-72. I got a good view of all the concourses as we took off as well.

This flight had us following I-85 pretty much, going over the Greenville/Spartanburg area, over CLT, and up to GSO. Cruising altitude was FL290. Service for this flight was Fast Break, and I had a Coke. I don’t really mind Fast Break – I only drink Orange Juice, Water and Coke on flights; all are Fast Break options, so all is good with me (then again, the only things I drink are water, Coke, OJ, and milk). Pretzels were served with the drinks as well.

Before long, we were descending into the Greensboro area, coming in over Winston-Salem, where we got a great view of the area, including Wake Forest University, NC School of the Arts, and downtown. We followed I-40 and headed right into GSO, landing on Runway 5. A Tradewinds 747 was on the ground, and a United ERJ (N290SK) was on the ground. Speaking of N290SK, it seems like this plane wears a new livery every year. 2002 was America West. 2003 was Delta. 2004 is United…go figure. The only other planes on the ground were Fed Ex and UPS freighters, and a Delta Connection Comair CRJ. I deboarded pretty quickly, and I was headed back home minutes after deplaning.

Well, that was the report for my first Mileage Run. Of course, I planned it so I would be able to do stuff in California, but I still did a coast-to-coast round trip in under 30 hours. I’m planning on doing a couple more of these, probably one in January/February and one in April/May. The flight was only $224.90 all in, which is a really good fare overall, and especially for GSO, which is pretty expensive.

Next trip is next month on Independence Air; flying up to IAD for the day. That $78 airfare with the $25 discount included was too tempting for me to pass up. Thus, I will experience my first true flights with an LCC (unless you count Delta Express, which I don’t). Look for a report in about a month…knowing me, I’ll be typing it exactly a month from now…

Thanks for reading,

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