First off...this is probably the longest report in A.net history, lol, a lot of pictures, and 4 legs isnt the lightest load of a trip report. I included a hell of a lot of pictures since I feel thats what interests a lot of people the most. Therefore, I hope you enjoy this report
Well I had some free roundtrip tickets leftover from Spring Break 2005 (Volunteered on oversold flights)...so I decided to take a drip down to LAX
to visit some family members. I've been meaning to do this trip report and others for such a long time but, either I never had time, or, I just didnt feel like it.
Reading through tons of trip reports today I finally have the urge to write this one, sorry for the delay!
Anyways, getting down to business, here we go:
August 5th, 2005
Flight 261 (TRS261)
Seat Assignment: 18A
Load Factor: 95%
I arrived into FNT at about noon time for my departure to Atlanta. The flight was scheduled to leave around 2pm if I remember correctly. There was a small line of maybe around 15 people or so checking in. The agents here in FNT, once again, just like my past experiences, very extremely friendly (they were actually some of the same people that gave me my vouchers a few months before). Checked my luggage and was on my way.
Went ahead and passed through security, wasnt "selected" for additional screening fortunately, but they were VERY curious about my digital camera (Sony F717). "Sir, you're going to need to turn that on". I thought that was pretty weird...Then, they wanted to look through the lens. I ended up removing the lens cap, even snapped a photo for the guy who was looking at it. He then ok'd it and I proceeded to the gate area.
I was surprised to see what appeared to be my plane (an AirTran 717) already at the gate. It was only about 12:30 or so and I expected it to arrive about 1hr-1hr15mins before departure. I figured it might have came in early. It was parked at Gate 4, but my tickets said Gate 5 (which was empty)...I wasnt sure what the deal was, and the gate area was also heavily packed, so I sat near Gate 3 (Which in August is vacant, now its used by American Eagle). I trolled up to Gate 4 and sure enough, 'Atlanta' was the destination.
I went back to Gate 3 and relaxed. Spotted a couple C-172's land, though no traffic at all really. Then, suddenly, an AirTran 717 appeared rolling down the runway, full flaps, thrust reverers deployed... I was confused. Why is there an AirTran 717 parked at Gate 4, and one that just landed? The one that landed parked at Gate 5. Surely there is not 2 Atlanta-Bound AirTran flights around the same time...there was still an hour before departure.
I checked the aircraft at Gate 4, whoops... "DELAYED", it was the 10:30am flight! Still hadn't left the gate and was Delayed for almost **3 HOURS!!**. My flight was the one that just landed. This explains the heavily (heavily for FNT) packed area around the gates.
Boarding began about 25-30 minutes before departure, almost a couple minutes after the flight from Atlanta pulled into Gate 5 and deplaned. As they were deplaning, the delayed 717 at Gate 4 was boarding to Atlanta. They ended up pushing back and taxiing to the runway about 10mins before we pushed, and at the same time an AirTran 737-700 landed from Vegas and parked at Gate 4 (luckily the delayed 717 left just in time). I managed to see everyone get off the 737 just before I boarded - it looked like the flight was pretty loaded for being a new route in the system. Anyways, I asked the gate agent if the flight was looking oversold (I wanted more vouchers, lol), she said it wasnt and there was a couple seats left. I boarded the aircraft and was greeted by 2 young-Fa's (Probably in their twenties?). I was surprised to notice we had an all african-american fa's onboard and even an african american first officer too who was outside walking around the plane.
On the ramp parked at gate 5 shortly before pushback
About 5 seconds before we were rolling during pushback
Northwest DC-9-30 Taxiing to runway 27 bound for DTW
I was excited to see XM
Satellite Radio installed on this aircraft and couldent wait to get in the air to try it out. We pushed back from the gate just about right on time. Shortly after pushback, Engine #1 started, along with #2 shortly thereafter, and we did a 270' right turn to taxi to runway 27 for departure.
Swinging around about 270 degrees
Fedex's 727's, one from Indianapolis, the other from Memphis
Almost to the runway, if you look closely you'll spot the AirTran 737 parked at Gate 4, way left side of the picture
We taxied to the hold short line of runway 27...not even coming to a complete stop, and were cleared for takeoff. I was surprised when one of the pilots said ' Flight attendants prepare for departure ' when the engines were throttling up and we were already rolling. Not much time to prepare ehh? lol...
Takeoff Video! Go here:
Shortly after departure we did a 180 to the right, went straight east, then a straight shot south (Most likely overflying DTW
). Our cruise altitude was FL330 for this flight. Very smooth climbout and flight.
Just after the 180 to the right
View of some homes on the ground
Turning to head almost straight south
Leveling the wings, though still climbing
Getting closer to Detroit...
There it is-Downtown!
About 10 minutes after takeoff...We just about reached 33000 feet. I was trying to figure out what the deal is with my XM
Radio and the asterisk it was displaying. I was expecting some kind of number (like a channel), not an asterisk...I hoped that the system was not broken. As the FA
came around distributing our in flight snacks, I asked her and she said the whole plane's XM
Radio is not working except in First Class. I was pretty disappointed...But oh well.
This is what I saw:
Our in flight snack consisted of AirTran-packaged Pretzels, a tastey napkin, and something to drink. I always ask for a -can- of pop, not for the tiny cups they distribute. I asked the FA
for a can and she gladly said "Sure!" and gave me the can and a cup full of ice, which was nice.
The in flight snack
About 10 minutes after snacks were distributed...the FA
's came around and collected our trash. The flight was pretty uneventful so far...We were somewhere over Cincinatti I presume (in Ohio for sure because it was shortly after departure) that I noticed clouds...I started to wonder what the whether was like in ATL
I started noticing CB
's and towering cumulus clouds ahead of our plane. About 5 minutes later the captain came on and said we're going to do some maneuvering around thunderstorms surrounding the Atlanta area. I was pretty excited that between then and our arrival to Atlanta...it was going to get a bit interesting.
Photo of the towering cumulus clouds...shot in conjunction with a rear-engined aircraft cruising at high altitude (I have a couple closer shots that I didnt post here, but it looks like a private jet from what I could make out)
All the weather phenomenon and maneuvering through them as we progress towards Atlanta.
A PSA US Airways Express CRJ-700 passes below us around Atlanta. I'm venturing a guess that this plane probably is from CLT going somewhere west of the state of Georgia (BNA, IAH, etc.)
Descending into Atlanta
We were just about lined up for an 8L approach into Atlanta...The descent through the clouds actually was not that bumpy. I started the video and...you can go here to see it!:
The landing was smooth...we exited to the right, and taxied past Concourse E (International Concourse)...I spotted this Delta 767-300, and, when seeing that lone container next to the engine, it caused me to remember that picture floating around on the internet with the L1011 Delta aircraft with a container stuck in the engine. Almost looks like this 763' is about to share the same fate!:
A Memphis bound Mesaba Avro-RJ-85 staring us down as we pass by
A Milwaukee bound Midwest 717 Lookin good in blue
Visible in this photo: Delta 763', KLM 763', Omni Air DC-10-30, Delta 772', Mesaba ARJ85', Midwest 712', and in the far distance, World Airways MD11'
I'll have a medium, small, and a large to go.
Random taxi shot
Tail shot of another AirTran 717'
ASA CRJ cruising on by
Continental 737-700 bound for Houston, ready to roll
Northwest A320 bound for MSP
Another ASA CRJ, waiting for us to pull into concourse C
[b]Engine Shutdown next to N998AT - Welcome to ATL!
We finally pulled into the gate in concourse C after our nonstop taxi...This was my first time in ATL
, I waited till everyone offloaded before I exited the aircraft. I entered the concourse for the first time...WOW is this place *PACKED*! People sitting on the floor, crowded as hell, crowds of people walking, seats all taken, babies crying, sheeeez! No wonder its the #1 busiest airport in the world. I trecked my way through the massive crowds of people scattered all over the place to the farthest south-end of Concourse C. I knew there were windows there from shots on airliners.net, so I wanted to spot for the 5 hour layover I had.
I sat there for about 3 hours, spotted tons of aircraft depart and land. Not going to list them all of course, you get the picture, though the most significant are: Omni Air DC-10 depart, KLM 763' depart, Fedex 727 land, couple Delta 772's departing, etc. Also watched the earlier flight to LAX
, flight 43, depart.
Went to Checkers in Concourse B for some food...damn I havent had checkers since I lived in Florida, was good. They dont have it in Michigan. Went back to Concourse C where my plane was already waiting, N267AT. I believe it was at gate C16 or so, right in the middle of concourse C. The gate area was pretty packed.
August 5th, 2005
Flight 41 (TRS41)
Seat Assignment: 31E (The only 2 seats in coach, I had the window last row right side)
Load Factor: 100%
The flight was 100% booked and wasnt oversold. I believe it was about 97% booked but standbys took the rest of the seats. I heard the FA
in the galley behind me (I had the last row right side, window seat. The window seat is actually missing, so there was TON of space to put stuff. I could almost fit a carry-on suitcase in that spot but cant cause of the curvature of the fuselage) stating that this is the first time this flight is leaving on time for the last week. I knew she was right, because I tracked it for about a week (to get route information and on time performance information)...usually it ran 1-2 hours late. Today, though, 100% on time.
At the gate parked alongside some compan7 717's
Concourse B behind us
We pushed on time...engines revved up and we were rolling for a departure on 9R
. Small line ahead of us, a Delta MD
-88, couple Delta 767's, a 737-800 Delta. After taxiing, the crew dimmed the lights. I was stunned at the beautiful cabin during night - WOW! The night lighting in these 737NG's (at least the new ones or AirTrans planes) is just awesome. This was my first night flight in a couple years.
What I believe to be a Delta 737-800 taking off 9R
We taxied into position 9R
and held. I had flown the 737-700 before with Continental and already knew the sound of a 737NG takeoff. Doesnt really sound like an engine when near full throttle...more like a rocket. Engines revved up, very slight whining sound when halfway throttled, though when near full power it sounds more like a rocket/space shuttle.
The takeoff roll was quite long, we rotated past the 'FLY DELTA JETS" hanger close to 8R. Our cruise altitude to be was 37000, FL370. *NOTE* - Sorry no videos! Flightlevel350 doesnt accept night-videos! I have the takeoff video and landing video in LAX, all night time, but cant find a place to put them on the net?!
Night shot during climbout from ATL, hard to see anything
In flight service began about 20 minutes after reaching FL360. We had the same thing we had on the ATL
-FNT flight, pretzels and a can of something to drink. The flight was ultra smooth. The air conditioning was set just right, the lights were beautiful in the cabin, I think i'll become addicted to night-flying on AirTran. The flight attendants were nice, but one was pissing me off. She saw me with a camera when landing in LAX
and she said "Uh excuse me sir...no electronics can be on, please turn that off". I was thinking about saying that its a camera and that it doesnt interefere with anything on the plane, therefore it can stay on. I agreed and turned it off. I waited till the pilots said 'Flight attendants please be seated for arrival', then I turned it back on when they were strapped in, haha. So I did get the landing video at LAX
at night, though, flightlevel350 wouldent accept it.
Flight was about 4hrs 45mins in length. We began our descent into LAX
. Previously we flew the PDZ4 arrival into LAX
, I could sense by the turns that we were flying it this time. We landed on 24R in LAX
, cleared the active, and began our taxi to Terminal 3.
Couple shots include a Mexicana A319 or A320, 2 Quantas 747-400's a China Airlines 747-400, and a Midwest 717 we parked next to.
We parked at the gate in Terminal 3 and exited the aircraft. Upon exiting I saw someone standing in the gate (about 5ft from the door) who looked like a pilot though he was young. I asked "Were you one of the pilots for this flight?", he said yes, first officer. I said "Oh really, how was the Paradise 4 arrival into LAX
?"...he had a surprised look on his face, and said "It was pretty fun! We were above the glideslop for 24R so we had to use the spoilers a bit there and slow her down to descend a bit more...then we captured it more accurately". I ended up in a discussion with him for about 10 minutes about being a pilot and a pilot for AirTran and such. It was awesome to speak in a casual conversation with a pilot, a lot of them seem to have power-trips or think they're superior than others (i'm an aspiring airline pilot, training right now for my PPL, and i've noticed this with some guys even flying 172's), this guy was cool and would talk to anyone with a casual conversation. He was probably 25-28 years old or so, quite young to be flying the 737NG (versus the 717 in the fleet)!
It was a nice way to round up those flights
Flying a plane is no diff. from riding a bicycle. Its just a lot harder to put baseball cards in the spokes. -'Airplane'