April 29, 2007
HA18 HNL-LAS, 14:50 departure
Since I already checked in at home and only had my 1 carry-on and 1 personal item, I arrived at the airport at 13:00. As I also work at the airport (free parking), I stopped by the office to get a ride to the terminal. Last year, I went through security at the Interisland Terminal and it was quite backed up and I decided that I would go through security between Lobby 4 and 5 in the Overseas Terminal this time. Well, it only just a little bit better as I was only in line with DL, but only 1 line was open. After passing through security, I walked over to my departure gate, 29. At the gate was HA's third 767, N582HA, 'Ake'ake. As normal with HA, boarding started 45 min. before departure and starts from the rear after the pre-boarding, first class, Premier Club pax. Since I always chose seats in the back, I got to board early. On this aircraft, row 43 is the the last row. As we got closer to departure, I thought I was going to luck out and have an empty seat next to me. However, at the last minute, the person assigned to the seat showed up. We talked a little and I found out the guy was a former Hawaii resident returning home to LAS after the funeral of one of his grandparents.
We pushed back on time and then started our taxi out to the Reef Runway, 8R. Instead of taking the normal route along taxiway A, we ended up crossing 8R at D and taking B down to RB. About 45 min. after takeoff, we were offered the first beverage service and I got a Diet Coke with their "tropical mix." About 30 min. later the meal service started from the front. HA offers two hot choices and 1 cold, which is a turkey sandwich. I'm not sure what the second hot meal choice was, but by the time they got to my row, the only thing left was Chicken chunks with mango salsa. Also included in the meal was a small salad and Oreos for dessert. It was pretty good, as the chicken was breast meat and moist. Then came the second beverage service and got another Diet Coke and was asked if I wanted the can, to which I said yes.
For inflight entertainment, HA offers the digEplayer for rent and also programing on the main screen. I didn't buy the headphones since I was planning on watching some anime on my laptop. However, I ended up watching some of the HA produced Hawaiian Skies and the entire movie, Night at the Museum. I found the movie enjoyable. With the cabin dark, the flight attendants can't tell what you're listening to, nor do they really enforce the fee if you use your own earphones.
We arrived into LAS about 15 min. after the scheduled arrival time and we taxied over to our gate in Terminal 2 where there was a KE 777-200, an AC A320, and a MX A320 parked at the terminal. One of the reasons I like sitting in the back is that I always wait for everyone to leave before I even start moving. I also get to chat with the flight attendants. I didn't get off the aircraft until 12:00. I lucked out on my transportation, as I was planning on taking a taxi to my hotel, the Las Vegas Hilton, but the driver of the only airport shuttle waiting there offered to take me even though he was headed downtown. This was the begining of a lucky trip as the line for the taxis was extremely long, and I saved money.
I would have normally stayed downtown, but since I was only going to be in LAS for 1 day, I decided to stay closer to the Strip. The Las Vegas Hilton had rooms for $59 a night, so I decided to stay there. It was turning out to be uneventful as I was losing money. However, my luck changed as I was going out to get something to eat. I was going to take the monorail to another hotel and sat down at a quarter Wheel of Fortune machine. One the third or fourth pull, I got 2 Wheel of Fortunes and a 7. Putting in the max bet of three coins, I won 3000 credits. I was trying to figure out how much that was in my head, but I was a bit too excited to do it. I ended up playing for another hour going up and down and cashing out when I hit 3000 credits. I looked at the payout ticket and saw that I just won $750! I was kind of disappointed that I didn't hit the progressive, which was over $488,000 at the time, but was still happy to win $750. After that I decided to stop gambling for the rest of the night and get ready for my early flight out the next morning.
May 01, 2007
Ted (by United Airlines)
UA1505 LAS-SFO, 06:15 departure
I checked out of the hotel at 04:00 and got another break as there was another couple taking a taxi to the airport and offered me a ride. The driver said that he would only stop at one airline and it just so happened that they were also going on UA. I paid for half the fare and easily checked in at one of the kiosks. I headed through security and off to my gate, D32. This would my first flight on Ted/UA, an Airbus, and on the A320. At first I thought our departure was going to be delayed because the computers were not properly working. Boarding started a little late, but we were only about 70% full and we all got on board with a lot of time to spare for an on time departure. I thought that the windows were on the small side and I had to crane my neck more than other aircraft to see out properly. Since they offer free headphones, first thing I did was listen to Ch. 9. At that time of the morning, it was very quiet on Ch. 9. Takeoff didn't seem any different from any other aircraft.
As for service, we only got one beverage service on this hour long flight. They did have some NBC programming on the drop down screens, but I just kept it on Ch. 9 the whole time even though it was very quiet for most of the flight. It wasn't until we started our descent into SFO did the channel come alive with all the ATC instructions. I don't know if the audio channels were bleeding over each other, but I swear I could faintly hear music in the background when the pilots were talking.
We were originally cleared to land on 28R, but were given the choice of 28L and the pilots chose 28L. We taxied into our gate, F74 without incident. Other than that, there wasn't much to say about the flight.
The first thing I did was drop off my bags at my hotel and took the Caltrain to AT&T Park for the tour. I didn't know it at the time, but I was wondering why there was no conductor on the train to punch my ticket. Only after did I find out that Caltrain was free because of the accident and freeway collapse two days earlier. The tour started at 10:30, but I ended up getting to the park before 09:00 and had to wait.
The park tour was a blast. We got to see the press box, views from all over the park, go through the VIP entrance. For the end of the tour, we were originally going to see a luxury suite since there was an event happening on the field, but we were able to convice our tour guide to take us to the visitor's dugout. This was what everyone really wanted to see and we were able to see the field up close and even touch the grass since the event was over. We also got to see something that even our tour guide never got to see, the visitor's clubhouse filled with a team's gear. Normally, the tour wouldn't get to see the visitor's clubhouse if a team is in town. However, we ran into the clubhouse manager and he personally invited us in. Here's a couple of pictures from the tour:
|View of the field from the press box|
|Okay, I just had to take of picture of the grass since I was standing on it|
|Visitor's clubhouse full of the Colorado Rockies gear|
My second day in SFO consisted of just walking around seeing the sights.
May 03, 2007
HA11 SFO-HNL, 08:35 scheduled departure
The hotel shuttle dropped me off at the airport a little before 07:00 and I stood in line to check in. HA handles their own flights above wing now at all mainland stations. They accomplished this by having only kiosks for regular check in and having a couple of agents to handle the checked baggage. Well, after making my way through security to gate C40, I was surprised to find out that the aircraft wasn't at the gate yet. It was surprising since the aircraft arrived on time the previous night. A HA agent arrived at the gate about an hour before scheduled departure to announce that we would have a slight delay because the aircraft hasn't been towed to the gate yet and was aiming for a 08:50 departure. Well, I already knew we were not leaving at 08:50 when the aircraft still wasn't at the gate at 07:50. The aircraft finally was towed in around 08:10 and they still had to cater and load the aircraft. When I saw what aircraft we were taking, I figured it was probably maintenance related. N594HA is the first ex-DL non-ER 767 put into service by HA and still had the DL interior. Boarding didn't start until 08:30. Although this aircraft still had the old DL seats, I actually found them more comfortable than the slim seats being used now. The newer slim seats have less padding and make my rear numb on longer flights and I need to get up out of my seat. The older DL seats on have more padding in the seat which does not make my rear numb. I didn't have my phone on, so I do not know how late we left, but based on when we arrived in HNL, we were about 45 minutes late.
We had a short taxi out to 1L and waited for aircraft landing on the 28's to clear before taking off. Because of our late departure, we were given free headsets. Again, I planned on watching some anime on my laptop. We got our first beverage service about 45 minutes into the flight again with a Diet Coke and tropical mix. The meal service seemed to start later than my other flight, and again I was left with no choice in meals. I had the pasta with tomato sauce, but really wanted the turkey sandwich, the last of which was taken by my seatmate. The last time I had the pasta on HA, the past was mushy, but this time it was perfect. I got another Diet Coke and was again given the can, which was still more than half full.
This time, I did watch some of the anime I loaded on my laptop. My seatmate was also watching Naruto on his portable player. As I finished the last episode I had, I again ended up watching the movie on the main screen. This time it was Charlotte's Web and I caught the last half of the movie.
It was quite cloudy over Oahu that day and couldn't see much as we began our descent. Since I was seated on the right side, I only got to see a little of the island as we flew over, which was kind of disappointing since this was my seatmate's first trip to Hawaii. He was flying in for his sister's wedding. I pointed out whatever I could see and answered questions he had about things to see in the short time he was going to be here. I also took some pictures as we flew over Oahu to make our U-turn at Barbers Point. We landed unevently on 8L and taxied into gate 28.
|Flying over the Ko`olaus with a view of Kaneohe Bay and MCBH|
|The begining of the Reef Runway with one of my airline's aircraft taxiing on RB|
Even though it was short, this was a great trip since my winnings in LAS paid for everything. What made it even better was being able to see something we wouldn't have normally seen on the AT&T Park tour. I just had great luck on the whole trip. The only thing I wish happened differently would have been in LAS. I just keep on thinking about how close I was to winning almost $500,000. Just one reel and I could have worked part-time for probably the rest of my life.