I took some pictures, but not being a photographer, they are of dubious quality and therefore I shall not post them . . . .
10/8 and 10/14.
A320 N409UA ANC
Scheduled 2355 - 0615
Arrived at ANC
my usual 2 ½ hours early. Check in took less than 2 minutes including the time taken to get boarding passes reprinted since the automatic check in machine ate the first set.
Bag appropriately tagged with the Priority tag and I handed it over to the TSA
. Silly question I got was, are there any weapons inside? Wonder why he asked that since there was no tag on the bag that said firearms. Maybe I just look like “weapons” type. “No”, I answered. The bag disappeared behind the wall. It was apparently not searched since I had no “Friendly” notice from the TSA
that they had rummaged through my belongings upon my arrival in BHM
With the extra time at ANC
I headed to the nearest establishment from which I could obtain a libation or three. Met some people I know there and consumed mass quantities until 45 minutes before my flight was due to board.
Clearing Security was simple enough, and the Priority Lines for F Class and VVFF passengers made it easier. A single lane and 12 TSA
morons on duty at 11:15 this evening.
Boarding commenced about as soon as I arrived at the gate. Seat 1B. Pre-flight drinks offered and accepted.
Push back on time, and departure was swift off runway 32. Still prefer the climb on the good old B757 but the A320 will have to do.
Twenty minutes after departure the service in F began, fruit and cheese plate, and wine for me. The wine glass was refilled, even if I was napping, and the service was exceptional. The single drawback was one of the Y F/As constantly coming forward to piss and moan about the passengers in the aft cabin. Sitting in 1B it was easy to overhear her constant complaining.
Movie was started and restarted and restarted. Most of the Y Cabin could only listen to “Batman Begins” in Spanish. I didn’t care, I listened to channel 9.
Arrival in DEN
was 15 minutes ahead of schedule on RWY 16L.
A-Net member An-225 met me at the gate and we had a visit. Stand up guy and I appreciate his taking the time to meet me at the plane. He was soon off to work on the UA
Ramp and I had another three hours to kill in DEN
. I didn’t leave B terminal as I had already explored DEN
on previous trips. Further I was tired from the ANC
redeye so I relaxed a bit. About an hour prior to departure to BHM
I hopped the moving sidewalks from one end of B to the other. I noticed a line up of UA
aircraft at the maintenance hanger that included a B777, B767, B757 and B737. Interestingly they were lined up by size. Nope, no pictures.
I did see an AS734 and plenty of UA
aircraft of course.
Check-in: 9 (computer glitch)
In Flight: 9 (movie glitch)
Meal/Snack: 9 (quantity)
CRJ700 N7545SK DEN
Scheduled 10:15 – 14:31
I was pleasantly surprised at the F Seats on these newer CRJ700s. Quite comfortable. Plenty of leg room – enough so that I could not touch the bulkhead with my foot while seated upright. Single drawback – the placement of the windows. In order to look out you must lean forward about a foot. There is a bulkhead directly adjacent to the seat. Otherwise, excellent ride. Very quiet, save the usual air flying by outside.
Departure was off RWY 8, and there was a smooth, quick climb out.
I had intended to checkout the snack box on this flight, but they weren’t loaded. No explanation given, simply “they weren’t loaded”. Unfortunate. Glad I brought a salad on board from one of the over-priced eateries at DEN
I slept nearly the entire flight. Arrival in BHM
was 10 minutes early on RWY 6.
Luggage took a half hour to hit the belt? But I didn’t really mind since I was now visiting with my Mother and my daughter. I did notice the Priority Tag on my bag was rather irrelevant.
In Flight: 8 (Windows in the F Cabin)
Arrival: 8 (Baggage Delivery)
Meal/Snack: 0 (not there)
CRJ700 NXXXSK DEN
Check in was fast and my bags were tagged appropriately (Priority Tag), not that it appears to matter to anyone at UA
how they are tagged. I guess we’re lucky that they arrive at their destination period.
Met another A-Net Member, BHMBAGLOCK, at BHM
for lunch. Great guy. We visited for about an hour, and then it was time to put my daughter on her NW
flight to MSP
with my gate pass to escort Miranda to her plane. Interestingly the TSA
did a hand search on her bag. Apparently they had never seen a Clarinet before? (My daughter had her clarinet in her carry-on). Alas, we’re still saddled with the TSA
Once my daughter’s plane had pushed I had to change terminals, which of course means another bout with the TSA
idiots. I watched my daughters CRJ200 depart and within seconds my UA
Express CRJ700 arrived.
Boarding was quick, and I occupied seat 1A once again for the three hour ride to Denver. Departure was off RWY 6 and we climbed quickly with a wide sweeping turn over the city and headed directly to Memphis. No IFE on these CRJs, so no Channel 9. But it was a very clear day and dead reckoning navigation was easy.
Interesting note. Once again, excuses from the F/As that the snack boxes hadn’t been loaded in DEN
. This must be the standard save money tactic by SkyWest and/or UA
. . . “don’t load any snack boxes . . . we’ll save thousands of $$”. Fortunately, I had the smarts to eat prior to boarding, so the small bag of cheese crackers was sufficient, along with the ample supply of Vodka.
Uneventful flight back to DEN
. Great cabin crew, nice new CRJ700. Arrived 18 minutes early in Denver on RWY 16L. A welcomed additional 18 minutes to get to my next gate.
In Flight: 8 (Windows in the F Cabin)
Meal/Snack: 0 (not there)
A319 NXXXUA DEN
United substituted an A319 for the scheduled A320. That meant there were 4 less F seats. Anyone in row three in F was now re-accommodated in Y. There were 4 unhappy passengers. This is one reason I always ask for row 1 or 2 in F. Preferably row 1.
The 319 was clean and looked reasonably new. Great seats. Especially the wings on the headrest that keep ones head from bouncing around. I didn’t need to inflate my neck pillow on any leg of this trip.
Pre-departure glass of ice water (everything was offered by the F/A). A quick glance at Hemispheres to check the entertainment. It wouldn’t matter, as I listen to channel 9. Hemispheres continues to be one of the best in-flight magazines in the industry I believe.
We pushed from gate B46 a few minutes early and were soon airborne off RWY 25. We climbed out over Wyoming and got clearance for direct to Whitehorse. This effectively cut out 30 minutes of flying time.
Cabin crew on this leg was awesome, efficient, friendly and attentive yet not intrusive. One of the best F/As I’ve had in a long while. My last trip, on NW
, I’d have sworn we had a Drill Sergeant in the F Cabin . . .
Dinner service began with mixed warm nuts. A glass or three of wine to accompany the nuts and the chicken I selected for the entrée. Everything, except the desert, came on the tray at once. It was not bad at all. Ice Cream for dessert with another glass or three of wine. I fell into a welcome sleep as we crossed over central Montana. I awoke abeam the town of Yakutat Alaska on a clear night. I could identify Valdez, Alaska in the distance and eventually, the small hamlet of Whittier Alaska. We got clearance to begin our decent and were told to expect arrival on 7R.
A clear night afforded great views of Anchorage and other air traffic. Smooth landing 35 minutes early, and we were done. Baggage took almost 40 minutes to hit the belt, and apparently, United’s rampers still haven’t figured out that Big Orange PRIORITY Tag on baggage means it should be on the belt first. Everyone that flew in the F cabin with me, save one passenger waited until the last bags hit the belt to claim their luggage. So, 52 minutes after landing I finally had my luggage and headed to the taxi stand. So much for the early arrival.
In Flight: 10
Arrival: 5 (Time waiting for luggage and irrelevant Priority tag)
FOR THOSE THAT FOUGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A FLAVOR THE PROTECTED WILL NEVER KNOW OR UNDERSTAND