From Caracas To Vail: Pt. 1 CCS-MIA (pics+vids!) (by 797 Dec 19 2006 in Trip Reports)
Hope you enjoy it!
Day 2: Ft, Lauderdale, Dec. 23rd, 2006.
Trip Report FLL-DFW
Our day started normally, without any hurry since we had to leave to the airport at 10.15 the latest. I woke up at 08.30, had some breakfast and packed my camera and laptop inside my carry-on bag.
We left home after loading our truck at 10.18 and got on the highway a few minutes later on an easy morning, without the daily traffic stress. As a result, we got to the airport area where I was able to use my Christmas Present to me, for the very first time: a Canon EOS Rebel XT. I was indeed very excited!
After I took a few shots, we were already inside the airport, where a huge traffic line was being formed to enter the terminals. We, luckily had to park our car in the long term parking lot, so didn’t catch any of that ugly queue. However, as soon as we got inside the parking lot, we realized how full it was and took us approximately 15 minutes to find a spot where to park. As soon as we found a magnificent spot to park, right next to the elevators, we used the electric stairs to go down where the people can access the terminal. That’s the moment when our nightmare started: We were on Terminal 1, and our flight was on Terminal 3 (where AA is). As we got inside the Terminal, with 4 big and three carry-on bags, I asked to a staff member how to get to Terminal 3. She kindly replied that I had to either take the free shuttle or walk. We chose to walk just because that horrible traffic outside.
We then walked for about 10 minutes (outside) and arrived to T3. When we got there, had to walk up where the ticketing counters are. That’s when my mouth got wide opened. I had never seen so much people together in an airport. USAirways’ line was massive. It rounded the whole terminal. It was a never-ending queue, poor people!
I walked around it and got to the AA counters, and went into the AAdvantage/Platinum section where there were two other people in front of us. That place was a total mess. Everything was tight, disorganized and CROWDED! Very uncomfortable, I must say. Then, after we received our boarding passes at about 11.20, had to take back all of our bags to another queue: The screening one. Spent at least other 12 minutes there to wait for the non-english speaking agents to take our luggage.
After that hustle, we went to the security check point to go to our assigned Gate: F8. It took a few minutes to go by without too many problems. Then, at 11.42 we were finally able to perhaps relax a bit and wait for out flight.
I went to our Gate and noticed that our aircraft had just arrived and it was being unloaded. As a logic result, I concluded that the flight would be naturally delayed since scheduled boarding time was at 11.55, and by that time the jet was being cleaned. It’s important to state that we have a connecting flight to EGE at 15.20 (DFW time) and that we theoretically have 40 minutes to make the connection. Anyhow, I wondered around the airport to see if I could spot any interesting event. Here’s what I caught:
After my walk-around, I went to buy some sandwiches, since AA doesn’t offer any food service on their domestic flights. There, I got impressed when I noticed that most of the attendants at the stores spoke disastrous English. That bothered me a lot since in a US airport, attendants must speak and, most of all, understand perfect English!
Oh well, as soon as I paid, my flight was called for boarding at about 12.07 (about 20 minutes behind schedule). I ran to the Gate to board with my dad’s Platinum status, and was stopped by the AA Staff lady because ‘Coach was still being cleaned and they were only boarding Business’. As a consequence, my parents went in and left my sister and me waiting to board.
American Airlines Flight 2203
Scheduled Departure: 12.25
Arrival: 14.52 (DFW time)
Photo © Ryan Pastorino
Photo © Phil Derner, Jr. - NYCAviation
We spent some 12 minutes sitting until they called coach to board. My sister and I were on Group 4, so boarded at 12.23 (exactly one hour after hour scheduled take-off). As soon as I went inside the aircraft noticed it was an ex TWA 752, which were good news, since it would be my first time to fly in one of those.
We got to our seats: 21C & 22C… yes, no window for me. What a yippee! ¬¬
I sat down waiting for my companions to arrive, and YES!, a couple of elder grandparents arrived. I quickly offered them my aisle seat so ‘they could be more comfortable’ and they gladly accepted my request. Therefore, I became really happy and moved to my window seat!
Seat pitch was ok, even though their ‘more room through coach’ seems quite a bluff to me!
Here are our boarding-passes:
Meanwhile, a storm was taking place outside my window, so the aircraft got delayed service & cargo. In the end, we pushed back at 13.01, taxied with the usual announcements: flight time would be 2 hours and 28 minutes and altitude of 36.000 feet.
I got to see a brand new JetBlue EMBRAER and some other aircraft standing-by for take-off:
22 minutes after we left the Gate, at 13.22, we finally took-off Runway 28, an hour and 32 minutes behind our schedule. Very bad for our connection process at DFW!
The flight was completely packed, as usual. As soon as we reached our cruising altitude the captain apologized for the delay and said that they were flying as fast as possible in order to arrive the earliest so none of the pax would miss their connection. He also said that arrival time would be approximately at 15.00 (very tight for my connection, still).
Anyhow, during the flight, they offered drinks for free and a snack for purchase (peanuts, crackers, etc). I ate the sandwich I bought back at FLL with a Diet Coke.
The entertainment was the usual CBS Eye on American, which I didn’t take advantage of just because I had to make the report and read some university stuff.
However, I got to take a picture in the middle of our flight:
At 15.32 (Eastern Time), we started our descent from a very quick flight.
The procedure at the beginning was a bit bumpy as we went through some clouds. During our descent, the FA announced all the connecting Gates at DFW and ours was the scheduled Gate C37. We’d be arriving as expected at Gate A23, therefore would have to change from Terminal A to Terminal C.
After a pretty fast descent, the captain asked the flight attendants to prepare for landing. We made a parallel approach to an AA Mad Dog and landed smoothly at 14.52, local time.
As soon as we landed, the captain seems that requested to go to the Gate A.S.A.P because we did it in a quite speedy way! As a result, we arrived at Gate A23 at 15.00 sharp.
Our way to the Gate:
When the aircraft set its parking breaks, the FA announced that all Vail passengers should remain on the jet-bridge as soon as they exit the aircraft so a bus could take them to their assigned Gate. That was a very refreshing announcement!
As we left our jet, an AA staff member took us out of the jet-bridge and led us through the stairs to go to our assigned bus. I got to shoot very nice pictures on my way out:
Captain’s office on my way out
After we got on the bus, the driver took us to our Gate a la Michael Schumacher! I admit it was a fun ride.
After the delightful DFW sight-seeing tour, we arrived to our 757 which was parked at Gate C37.
We boarder through the jet-bridge stairs and went to our way-in-the-back seats: 26A and 26B, confirmed window seat for me this time!
End of Part 2.
Go to Part 3 (DFW-EGE) by clicking the following link: From Caracas To Vail: Pt. 3 DFW-EGE (last) Pic&Vid (by 797 Jan 4 2007 in Trip Reports)
Thanks for reading!
[Edited 2007-01-04 17:21:00]