Note: All times are by my watch. Departure times were times of take off, not boarding or pushback. Arrival times were taken at the time of landing, not arrival at the gate. I took this little trip in order to up my Dividend Miles status. The total air ticket price after taxes was a not-so-low, yet not quite expensive $205.80.
I awoke around 4:45 for a quick shower before making the 20-minute drive to Hancock for my long-awaited trip to Fort Lauderdale. As I walked into the airport, I realized that me, being myself, left my printed boarding passes on my desk at home. Nearly two hours before the flight was scheduled to take off, the counter was virtually deserted, and the friendly check-in agent greeted me with a smile.
“How may I help you this morning, Sir?”
“Well, I left my boarding passes at home,” I said, being mildly embarrassed.
“No problem. Your last name, and destination, please.”
I told her, and she made a comment about my trip being so short.
I thought. “Here comes the SSSS.”
I was wrong. She handed me the freshly printed boarding passes, without a ticket jacket. This is a peeve of mine; I hate not having a ticket jacket. I forgot to grab one, of course.
The security line was fairly short, as there were only a handful of flights on this Saturday morning. A young couple, evidently from Cornell (judging by their sweatshirts) were all over each other from the second I saw them in the security line, until we landed in Philadelphia. I understand a little bit of affection here and there won’t hurt, but come on! I snapped a photo of the dilapidated US Airways concourse quickly, and went to the gate to board. This concourse also holds one Northwest gate, along with a B6
gate, and is in dire need to either be demolished, or completely remodeled.
The seemingly abandoned South Concourse at Syracuse’s Hancock International.
Seat 11A?- Exit Row
Departure Time, Scheduled 7:30am / Actual 7:49am
Departure Gate: 9
Arrival Time, Scheduled 8:36am / Actual 8:47am
Arrival Gate: A18
We boarded five minutes late, at around 7:20. Everybody took their seats rather quickly, and the flight was almost full. I snagged the exit row when I checked in the day before, and was lucky enough to have the B seat empty for the short hop to PHL
The flight itself was rather uneventful. A few bumps on ascent, with a brief, smooth cruise. On descent, we encountered a slight bit of turbulence, as usual on a day with such dreary weather. There was a standard beverage and pretzel service. To my surprise, the flight attendant actually announced the connecting information for all aboard. She seemed to be fairly new at this gig, and kept pausing to make corrections. Oh well- you have to learn sometime!
The captain announced shortly before landing that we would be arriving at Gate A18, which excited me, but not with the even shorter connection I now had.
A shot of the shoddy ‘bird at the gate in PHL
A closer-up shot of ‘445 at Gate A18.
I made the semi-lengthy walk to B15, and still had ten minutes until boarding was scheduled to begin. At this point, I was quite hungry, because I hadn’t eaten before I left that morning. So I walked- briskly, may I add- to the Terminal D to grab a coronary… err, a croissant, and then bolted back to the B gates, just as boarding was coming to a close. I was the second-to-last one on board. And there was still, remarkably, overhead space for my bag!
Reg: N620AU – STAR Alliance Scheme
Seat 26A – Exit Row
Departure Time, Scheduled 9:50am / Actual 10:13am
Departure Gate: B15
Arrival Time, Scheduled 12:39pm / Actual 12:32pm
Arrival Gate: E3
We pushed just a few minutes late, and scooted to the runway at what is thought of as a break-neck speed at Filthadelphia. Only third in line for take off, the delay was symbolic. Behind a United 757, and Darth Vader US Airways 757, we turned onto the runway. As the rain droplets on my window were wiped off by the high speeds of the trademark 757 takeoff, the captain hurled us like a football into the sky. A bit windy upon take off, we swerved from side to side with the crosswinds. Some minor bumps followed, but that’s inevitable when you fly through a storm. My beautifully private exit row space was invaded by a warrior from the bowels a few rows back, who unfortunately noticed a friend that occupied the C seat. The second he sat down, I felt squashed. I’m not a big guy- just 5’9 and 130 pounds, and this guy had to be 6’5 and 200+ pounds, like a football player. Squashed like a bug, I say. I had the opportunity to snap a couple window-view photos, which I think came out pretty well.
A little over halfway through my PHL
leg, presumably over the Carolinas.
Another southbound jet, high above the left side of the 757.
The southern-accented flight attendants handed out pretzels with your choice of beverage; I chose Ginger Ale, which the football player handed me with a smile. We chatted a bit on why we were going to Fort Lauderdale. I told him it was for mileage, and he gave me a weird, but somewhat understanding look. He was going down with some friends to watch the Miami v. Buffalo game, and joked about how his friends stretch out a three hour game into a 4 day ordeal. He was a nice guy, though. A nice seatmate, size aside
Of the countless number of flights I’ve been on, this was undoubtedly the smoothest flight I’ve ever experienced. Excluding the initial few bumps, it was smooth from takeoff to touchdown. The captain set us down some seven minutes early in FLL
, landing from the East.
I wanted to check out the airport a bit, and after walking off the plane, I left the secured area after making a call to my mother, to reassure her that I was fine. The shops at Terminal 3 were neat, and the terminal itself is quite nice. I wanted to go outside for a little bit, but not too long, as I wore pants that day. I walked up to the top floor of the parking garage, to a crappy view of the Delta Connection ramp. It was a piping hot 86°F, and I was dying in my pants. Silly me, I should’ve worn shorts, and enjoyed an hour in the sun
. I quickly took one photo, and went back into the terminal to check in.
Two ERJ-145’s of Delta Connection at the ramp in FLL
I walked up to the self check-in kiosk at the US Airways counter, where the employees seemed to be having a pow-wow between the rush of flights checking in. There was literally one other person checking in. I asked one of the women for the number of my flight; she replied 1220. I promptly thanked her, and grabbed two ticket jackets- one for this round of flights, and the other for my first round.
I decided to grab lunch at Chili’s Too Go, as I didn’t feel like sitting in the restaurant. Some little shit kept running into me, and I nearly snapped at him. I would’ve if his very intimidating father weren’t towering above me. I waited fifteen minutes to be overcharged for a Chicken Fajita wrap with a soda, which was accompanied by chips with enough salt to induce a heart attack, and some crappy salsa. I still ate them though. After that, I went to The Paradies Shop and bought a t-shirt for my sister, along with an interesting issue of Time
. This would come in handy later.
As I walked through security, which had literally one other person going through, the agent had to scan my backpack again. My guess was the digital camera that was inside it sent up a red flag. Once again, I thought I was to be subjected to the dreaded Super Slow Silly Search, but once again managed to elude the authorities
Once I returned to the brightly lit E-gates, I decided to kill some time by taking a few photos.