Here's my second SHV-departing trip report that I'm posting today. I just posted the SHV-ORD re-inaugural which was on April 10, 2007. This trip was on April 15, 2007. I actually work for American Eagle, and my plans were to work until very late Friday night the 13th, then catch an early DFW-SHV flight on Saturday to be at my 4-yr-old nephew's b-day party at 10:00am. Then on Sunday the 15th I was going to Orlando. Rather than flying standby, I thought I would pay the very reasonable $69 Allegiant was charging on the nonstop MD-83 SHV-SFB. I had been wanting to fly Allegiant for some time now, so here was my chance.
April 15, 2007
Allegiant Air 704
MD-83 N863GA former OY-KHL of SAS
Scheduled Departure 11:50 Actual 12:50
Scheduled Arrival 3:00p, Actual 3:50p
Contracted Gate/Checkin through Delta
Only about 60% full
Photo © Jose Muniz
Photo © Danny Hill - WorldAirlineImages
Photo © Aviantex - Alexander Jonsson
Livery previous to that!
When I originally booked the flight, I experienced all of Allegiant Air's extras. I purchased a seat assignment for $11 and I prepaid to check a bag for $2. I knew I shouldn't have done either when I paid, but I did it anyway. I picked seat 16F on the flight, which looked empty, because there was already someone in 16D, so I figured 16E would remain empty. They said they charge for each checked bag, and it is more expensive at the airport. I was planning to just bring my 22' carry-on, but I was unsure about how big the overhead bins would be. If you buy a seat assignment on Allegiant, you get "priority boarding" so they board everyone with seat assignments first, and then the rest of the plane fills out with the open seating pax.
Before leaving the house, I checked the Allegiant website which said the flight SFB-SHV departed on time. I checked flightaware.com and saw that it showed an ATC delay and there was a strong line of thunderstorms between TPA and MCO moving toward MCO. I went ahead to the airport anyway, as I wanted to be checked in on time.
I arrived at about 10:30 for this 11:50 departure, and the Delta agent told me that it was an hour late, which I was expecting. There wasn't much of a line. I went ahead to the departure gate, which is on the other side of the airport from the side I frequent. I work for American Eagle and commute all the time out of SHV. The Eagle/CoEx gates are on the opposite concourse from the DL/G4 and NW gates, so I got to see some different scenery at my "home" airport.
Here are the big banners on the front windows of the "new" terminal check-in baggage claim areas. The Allegiant one is the lower one, and the one that was kind of loose and hard to read is the American Eagle one announcing the ORD service. They have since fixed that banner (as of today when I saw it)!
At SHV they rebuilt a new terminal a few years ago where all the airline check in areas are together. It's big, spacious, and rather nice. In building it, they closed off the old check-in areas. Walking to Gate 10 I got to see where DL, US and TW used to have their check in areas.
In this blurry picture, you can just make out the TWA contract of carriage, still there!
Here, though it is walled off, is the vacant Gate 12. The last occupant of this gate was USAirways Express, where they flew about five B1900Ds to MSY each day. Prior to that, DL had gates 9-12 and gate 8 was their Crown Room. Now the Crown Room has been taken down and it's a shop, and gate 11, which became the TWA gate is now the NW gate. Recently, NW built a jet bridge and they have painted a line for DC9, though none are scheduled to fly to SHV.
Down at the bottom there is the former Delta check-in. That's from when it was really Delta and not ASA.
At the gate there is an ASA CRJ loading up for ATL.
When this plane pushed out, they moved the jet bridge way over to the side of the building, about a 120 degree angle from where it was here, to park the MD80 on the side of the building and allow a simultaneous ATL CRJ park out front using stairs.
All the ATL flights were running about an hour late, causing some commotion in the gate area. There was a huge weather system that was creating a line of thunderstorms from Florida all the way to New England, creating havoc for travelers on this busy Sunday.
The Delta gate announcing the SFB flight. Delta has the best-looking gate board at SHV. All the rest are the plastic sign version. The only other carrier that ever had an electronic gate board was TWA.
Here's my boarding pass. Yes, it looks cheap. I didn't know if it would have a DL logo on it or not, since it printed from the DL ticket counter.
While waiting, I get a Jason's Deli sandwich and some juice at the new shop they have installed at the DL gate. They also put one at the AA gate on the other side of the airport, offering bottled soda/water for just $1. The fixtures for these shops cost $60,000, so it was a decent investment. Though the drinks are cheap, the Jason's Deli turkey sandwich cost $7.
Finally, the Allegiant MD83 arrives at the gate at about 12:15pm. They turn it around as quickly as possible and begin boarding the passengers with strollers. There were like 10 different families with kids in strollers, so that was a large part of the plane! I guess a cheap flight on a Sunday to Orlando will be packed with kids.
When I board, I notice first off that the galley is in a weird place, it's in the front left of the plane, taking up about 4 rows of seats on the AB side. Just like AA and opposite DL, the 2 seat side is on the left (AB side) and the 3 seat side is on the right DEF side. The seats seem new and are all leather, but without adjustable headrests. The cabin crew of 3 look very nice and all three have slightly different uniforms. One, whom I thought looked the best, had a sky blue blazer on and a yellow scarf tied around her neck. With her blond hair and yellow scarf, she could have passed for LH cabin crew!
The crew was talking about their plans for the flight, and they were saying that the captain said we would have a tail wind in excess of 100kts, so the flight would be shorter than normal. So they were saying they were going to get started on the carts as soon as possible.
When I got to my pre-paid seat assignment, I then truly regretted paying for a seat assignment. A small child had sat at my seat and there was a 1 inch thick mound of goldfish crumbs on the floor and about a half inch thick mound of the same on my seat. I just brushed it off my seat and sat there, remembering not to take my shoes off. They had obviously not cleaned the plane, or even attempted to. I then looked around and saw the seat belts were all going in every direction.
A view inside the cabin as we climbed out.
We taxi out to runway 32, which is the furthest runway, and then take off to the northwest. So then we do a 180 to the east and parallel our runway as we make it toward Alexandria.
Here's SHV airport as we fly downwind climbing out.
I assumed this was Alexandria, but it's not. I have no idea what airport this is! It's in Louisiana somewhere. We flew AEX-McComb-MOB-PNS then over the Gulf.
This is the Red River just before it joins the Mississippi River in South Louisiana. I was able to see Lake Pontchartrain off in the distance but couldn't see New Orleans.
By this time the crew of 2 in the back had gotten to the row behind me with the buy-on-board service and the single flight attendant toward the front had gotten to the row in front of me. So they both promptly forgot my row! Everything on Allegiant air is buy-on-board. Soft drinks are $2, Snacks ranged from $2 to $6 with a huge menu. Mixed drinks were very expensive $7. One surprise was a Gemini Jet of the Allegiant Air MD82 for $20, so I wanted to get that. I thought that would be great, buying that model onboard.
The flight attendants announced that they had completed their service and if anyone wanted anything else, to please ring their flight attendant call button, so I did. When I pressed it I noticed that it didn't "ding" but just lit up. I bought the airplane model and a Pepsi for $22! At this point I had spent $69 on the ticket plus $11 for a seat assignment (goldfish crumbs were free) $2 to check a bag, and I carried mine onboard, $22 for a Gemini Jet and a Pepsi. They were making money from me!
Here is Mobile Regional (MOB)
And in downtown Mobile, right on the Bay is Mobile Bates field.
This gives some perspective of Mobile Bates and the Mobile Bay's west side.
Here is Mobile Bay's west side, and that sharp point there is Point Clear, Alabama with the famous Grand Hotel resort on it.
Bear with me on the next couple pictures, as this area is a big deal to me. I grew up spending summers here and I still have family here. This is the highway from I-10 at Loxley that goes to the coast and hits the beach at Gulf Shores, AL.
This shot is of Orange Beach, AL a mile or two east of the previous shot.
And this one is of the east side of Orange Beach, and the Florida state line. The protected island you see in the picture just inside from the beach is Ono Island. The eye of hurricane Ivan hit this area right here.
And now we are over the Gulf of Mexico at 35,000.
Near the Ft Walton area notice how green the water is.
As we approach the area near Tampa, notice how different the color of the water is here.
The winds were out of the west at 30mph, so here we are kind of a ways off still, but doing a downwind for runway 27 at SFB.
Here is a video of the landing.
When we parked at the gate, the flight attendants said that due to the delay, the airplane was going right out, so while we waited on the jetbridge to connect, could the passengers please cross the belts on the seats? I thought this was over the top, asking passengers to cross their seatbelts. I usually do that anyway as a nonrev, but that's a bit much to ask passengers dealing with families to worry about cleaning the airplane.
This is the airplane next to us taken from my window as we parked.
My opinion of SFB: Very small, very nice, very clean and bright. I was hoping to see a bunch of European charters, but didn't see a single one. Accoring to the monitors, they were due in the next 2 hours. Thomas Cook had one coming from CUN than would then go to MAN. First Choice had one from MAN and BRS. My Travel had one from Gatwick. Icelandair was also on its way.
My opinion of Allegiant: I was pleased with their nice flight attendants and the generally good condition of the plane. I do wish they had bothered to clean it in SHV, but I guess cabin cleaning service isn't part of their contract with Delta!
We parked at a very modern, nice terminal. There were about three Allegiant flights going out, one was St. Louis Midamerica. I forgot what the others were, but they were typical Allegiant towns.
As I walked beyond security I noticed just past the security checkpoint there were some interesting billboards next to each other showing three airlines route maps. One was Allegiant. One was flyglobespan. The other was Icelandiar.
I went to the car rental area, which was quite small, and rented my car. Walking toward my car, I noticed that they must get a lot of British passengers, because the road crossing areas all had "look right for oncoming traffic" painted on them, similar to how they have the sidewalks and roads painted in London for American and European tourists to "Look Left."
It was a 50 mile drive to my hotel, just south of the Disneyland area, so it's a long way out to Sanford, but it's a nice airport.
I really did enjoy the Allegiant flight, and am glad of the flights they provide to SHV, 2 X weekly to SFB and LAS and soon to be 3 X week to LAS.
Hope you enjoyed the trip report,