Being this is my first post on airliners.net, I wanted to make it count with a nice detailed trip report for your reading enjoyment
Please let me know what you think! (constructive criticism or otherwise is certainly appreciated)
My destination was ultimately Little Rock to visit family, but I choose the idea of flying to MEM
and picking up a rental versus paying the absurd amount of money Delta and other carriers were charging for ATL
. In catching AirTran on a nice sale fare, even with a rental car I saved quite a bit which made the trip all the better. I hope FL
will make it out to LIT
someday, but for now this will have to do.
Sat. March 3 2007
AirTran 536 ATL-MEM
Class: Econ. Seat 23A, boarding zone 3
Gates (Dep/Arr) : C18/C16
Flight time: 1 hour, 2 minutes
After getting settled into the economy parking lot, I made my way into the north terminal at Hartsfield Jackson around 7 AM
with plenty of time to spare. Having already printed a boarding pass the night before, I headed to a special line near the kiosks for baggage check and within a few minutes I said goodbye to my bag and headed to security. As a side note, I think the check in area (in ATL
at least) is where FL
shines the most. Plenty of counters, kiosks, and staff members to assist you in whatever you need.
I was through security within 10 minutes or so and headed downstairs to catch the underground train to Concourse C. After checking the monitors, I walked over to our gate finding it empty with much time to spare before boarding would start. At about 20 minutes till 9, N970AT pulled into C18 from a 6:56am departure out of FLL
. After a quick turnaround, boarding soon began and I settled into seat 23A which gave me a nice view of the left wing.
Now onto some pics:
N970AT which would take us to MEM
after arriving from FLL
FL303 about to be pushed for a flight to Denver at the gate next to us. There was a lot more ground crew members down there than usual which I would assume was for a training session.
View off the left wing with Delta connection CRJ's in the distance
Coming up on 26L as a company 717 taxis into position
In position on 26L as a Delta MD88 holds short
Departure off of 26L
A pic of my leg room in the 30" pitch. Doesn't help when your 6'2, but it was doable. I had thought about inquiring if upgrades were available, but for this short of flight I wanted to save my 40 dollars.
We ended up cruising at FL280 to avoid upper level head winds which the captain noted were pretty bad. They caused enough bumps for the seatbelt sign to remain illuminated for the duration of the entire flight. The captain later noted we had still made good enough time to keep us right on schedule an soon enough we were descending into the Memphis area. A long right turn put us on a base for 36C and we touched down with a couple of minutes to spare.
Final approach into MEM
Over the numbers for 36C as a NWA Airlink CRJ holds short. Small lineup of NWA jets for 36L departures in the background.
Touch down on 36C.
Parked at C16 as a CRJ gets pushed back in the distance.
As soon as we deboarded, I headed outside towards baggage claim and afterwards caught the shuttle to Thrifty rental to begin my 2 1/2 hour journey towards Little Rock.
Thursday March 8 2007
AirTran 529 MEM-ATL
Class: Econ. Seat 18A, boarding zone 4
Gates (Dep/Arr) : C16/C9
Flight time: 54 minutes
The four days since I had arrived flew by quick and it was time to make the pilgrimage back across I-40 out of Little Rock back to Memphis. Leaving by 7 am, I hit a little traffic getting out of the city but it was clear sailing across the wide open spaces between LIT
. 2 hours went by and I was across the big bridge over the Mississippi and navigating through Memphis traffic back towards the airport area. I found a gas station to top off my rental and cruised into the Thrifty rental lot around 11. After hopping on the airport shuttle I was on my way back to MEM
's terminal C.
Entrance to the MEM
Terminal C was pretty much deserted since NWA uses A and B. American was the only airline I noticed in C who had a skycap to check passengers in outside. No one was in line for the AirTran counter so my bag was checked within seconds and I went over to Backyard burger to grab an early lunch (very good burgers by the way.) Security in terminal C was easy since there was only a small line. After walking around for a few minutes, terminal C became very boring as there were only a few planes parked which I took a few pics of.
MD80 heading to DFW
After walking around feeling pretty bored, I sat back down at C16 as more people started showing up for our flight to ATL
AirTran's only gate in MEM
As 1:00 neared, I figured a 717 would be rolling in anytime, and about 5 minutes later the gate agent announced the inbound aircraft would be arriving in a few minutes. I looked out the window and sure enough saw N978AT approaching the gate area. The gate agent also informed us they would be going for a quick turnaround and to have our boarding passes out and ready to go. To speed the process up even more, the earbud headphones which normally are passed out to passengers after take off were being offered during the boarding process. In trying for a quick turnaround, the gate agent didn't really allow much time between boarding zones so I was stuck standing still in a crowded jetway. A good try for efficiency though, AirTran
Once aboard, I was greeted by friendly FA
's and took my seat in 18A.
Once seated I snapped a quick pic of everyone else boarding.
ERJ to the left of us
We soon pushed back and began the taxi towards 36C. Our taxi was quick and I didn't see anyone ahead of us for departure. After entering the runway, take off power was quickly applied and we were off. A few pics of the taxi and departure:
Taxiing to 36C with a NWA CRJ passing by
Lining up on 36C
departure off 36C with a view of terminal C
View of the Fedex ramp. Pictures really don't justify how big their hub in MEM
is. Very impressive!
After take off we made a right turn to join the J66 airway towards RMG
for the ERLIN2 arrival into ATL
. Our climb took us to FL310 and the seatbelt sign came off. I was again impressed by our FA
's who managed to squeeze a nice beverage and snack service for a flight under an hour. After finishing our drinks and snacks, the captain announced we would be be starting our descent and the seatbelt sign was back on within a few minutes.
Descending with the spoilers up
The captain then announced the arrival checks as we made our right turn for a downwind to 26R. Soon enough we made our turns to join base and final. The FA
's made their landing checks and we soon touched down right on time. A few pics of the approach, landing, and the taxi inbound:
Shortly before touchdown with a view of the 26L departure traffic
A smooth touchdown on 26R
A Delta 757 rolling out on 26R as we proceed to hold short of 26L. After we waited for a few departures, we crossed 26L and entered ramp 3 to find our gate.
Entering ramp 3 with a ASA CRJ following us in
A NWA airbus and a COA 737 at concourse D. As I got out to the parking lot I saw the NWA airbus depart right over me. Pretty cool!
Pulling into C9
And as soon as we parked, everyone got up and wrestled around in the cabin. We soon exited the aircraft and entered the busy concourse C. After stopping off at Ben & Jerry's for some nice (but expensive) ice cream, I headed downstairs to take the train to north terminal baggage claim. Picking up my bag, I headed out to the north economy lot and said farewell to the airport.
Again, I was very impressed with the service on AirTran. Great operations, customer service, nice planes, and affordable fares. Aside from raising their business class fares, I still feel AirTran has continued to delivery a great product and look forward to flying them again.
Thats it! Thanks for reading and please leave your comments