Today I flew to TPA to pick up a car for one of my mother's coworkers and drove it back to New Orleans for him. The only reason I did this was for the $$$. It was worth it as there were no out of pocket expenses for me at all.
I was booked on the following flight:
Scheduled Dep: 11:30am
Scheduled Arr.: 2:10pm
Photo © Nathan Zalcman
The flight originated in BNA and was running about twenty minutes late. It was a new color 733 that looked like it was just recently painted. Since I checked in about two hours early I got an "A" boarding pass. The flight was about half full, with all the pax getting on in MSY, there were no through passengers, surprise surprise. BNA-MSY-TPA is kind of out of the way. Pushback was at 11:52am and we made a long taxi to runway 10. Short takeoff roll of only about 25 seconds and we were airborne. There weren't any clouds in the area so I got a great view of the entire MSY area. We flew right over downtown New Orleans and you could see the Superdome's newly repaired roof quite clearly...also I saw the two Carnival ships that are being used by FEMA docked on the riverfront...hundreds of blue roofs...and the utter devastation of the 9th ward area. It was easy to make out since everything was just brown. It was an excellent flight overall. We hugged the Gulf of Mexico coastline, flying directly over GPT,MOB,PNS, and TLH before making a right turn to head down the coast. Not one single "bump" for the entire flight. Service included a pack of snack mix and peanuts, and a drink service...refills were offered with a smile. Excellent SWA service as usual. The approach into TPA was very scenic. Even though we departed about 25 minutes down, we made up all of that time, and we came to stop right on schedule at 2:10pm. As I deplaned, I noticed that this same aircraft would go right back to MSY and BNA. Huge crowd in the gate area for the reurn trip.
BTW, I love WN's TPA terminal. Very neat!
I hopped on the train and made it to the main terminal, where I caught a cab to the guy's house, picked up the 1999 Buick (with a bad tire, bad breaks, inop CD player, and a hood that shook more than one of those vibrating beds...of course, he told me it was in excellent shape, go figure!), and drove her home. It was exactly a ten hour drive. I took I-75 up to Lake City then took I-10 to New Orleans. I could have made it quicker but I had to pretty much stay close to the speed limit since I was sure the car was going to fall apart. Luckily, it didn't.
Take care, ya'll!