A trip to Orlando and Disneyworld on WN. This was a replacement trip for a cancelled MSY trip in early September, right after Katrina hit. I was able to reuse my WN credits for a trip to MCO. PHX has only one daily nonstop to and from MCO on WN. In order to fly later in the day on the return, I chose to go through MCI since I’ve never been to that airport.
November 9, 2005
WN 1426 PHX-MCO
both on time
I had an ‘A’ boarding card and after checking out the new ‘D’ concourse at PHX Sky Harbor, I took a seat near the gate. There were a few A card holders there including a woman who I will call “Uber Flyer”. At the risk of stereotyping, the UF is an dubiously enlightened passenger who shows up for a flight early, hovers around the gate area, is dressed head to toe in leisure/athletic wear, with headphones around neck, a bottle of water and a pillow, and a stack of magazines to last a week. UFs truly believe they have an advantage over everyone one else on the flight. UFs can can be parents, business people, senior citizens, or even college students, although these are rare. UFs are not airline or aircraft enthusiasts, thankfully. This is usually demonstrated by them ringing their call button to ask "what time do we land?"
UFs are always ‘A’ card holders on WN and make it their personal crusade to identify and banish those holding the B or C cards away from the A boarding area. I detest those who knowingly loiter in the wrong boarding area, but this woman took it upon herself to ask two men seated if they were A since the line had formed between rows of seats in the gate area. I found this amusing since the men she was exposing couldn’t have cared less about which boarding group they were. The UF made it clear that this was the A boarding area and the men moved without conflict. This was followed by her asking her husband (in a wacky yellow jumpsuit getup) if he wanted a window or an aisle, how the full the plane might be, why it’s taking so long for the incoming pax to disembark, and remarks about the two hour time difference between PHX and MCO, which I'm sure she knew already, but felt the need to discuss out loud. Upon boarding the aircraft, I was directly behind the UF and her silently obedient spouse. Just as I was about to take a seat and stow my luggage, she backtracked and asked the FA for not one, but two more blankets and pillows, causing the aisle to clog behind me for a minute or so. Shame on you, UF. You should know those kinds of little selfish actions compound and cause departure delays. Because of my patience with the UF, I felt I was rewarded with no one taking the middle seat of my row. I considered this lucky since every other seat was taken for the four hour flight. We took off on time on runway 7L. I was unable to identify many landmarks over Texas and the southern USA, but I do believe we took a slightly northern route and passed just south of JAN and then over the panhandle of Florida. We banked 180 degrees and landed on 36L at MCO. Saw a few VS flights come in from the UK, but mostly saw DL and FL aircraft. Ho hum.
My girlfriend was coming in later on an HP flight. Since HP is now US (almost), the incoming flights from PHX no longer use the Terminal A gates. MCO is one giant terminal divided into two halves for the A and B designations. Terminal A is the on the north with two satellites and Terminal B on the south also with two satellites. This makes for a challenging road system and you can see people pulled over in random places unable to negotiate another go around. The problem was that I’d told my girlfriend that the HP flights coming into the A side and I’d pick her up there or wherever the baggage claim is for HP. I learned this from the MCO website which has not been updated with the HP move. While driving in from the north to A, I noticed the HP name removed from the Terminal A sign, so decided to park and make a call. She was sitting on the B side waiting.
November 13, 2005
WN 308 MCO-MCI
After a brief taxi, we left on 17R and banked over Orlando toward the northwest. It was soon dark and I had an aisle seat, so I read and enjoyed a cocktail. We approached the greater Kansas City area and began our descent, landing on 1R. After a longer taxi than expected, we pulled into gate 33 in Terminal B. This was my first time to MCI and I was impressed. Not by the many different airlines and aircraft of course, but by the layout of the terminal. Each gate, or small groups of gates have individual security, so no long lines, and you can leave the gate areas and roam. I found a Mexican place had some decent tortilla soup and a few tastes of fine tequila. Outside it was a bit chilly as I was still in shorts and sandals, so waited out the rest of my layover inside.
WN 2632 MCI-PHX
A comfortable flight with not many on board, so I was able to get a seat just behind the wing on the right side of the aircraft with no one else in my row. We took off a few minutes late on 1L, turned toward the west and south toward Arizona. Just under three hours later, we landed on 25R at Sky Harbor and pulled into the D concourse gates at T4. My longest trip on WN was a success. While I prefer assigned seating, and normally only use WN on short flights, if you’re will to battle the lines and Uber Flyers, WN makes up for it with reliable service.