travelin man
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Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2000 10:04 am

Doing The BUR-ONT Shuffle (and DFW Weather Sucks)

Wed Jun 27, 2007 5:37 am

OK, compared to some of the more exotic trips around here, flying from BUR-ATL (via DFW) doesn't seem that interesting. However, BUR-DFW-ATL-DFW-BUR turned into BUR-ONT-DFW-ATL-DFW-LAX (and then pick up the car the next day at BUR).

Friday June 22nd
It was not especially hot in Burbank (low 90s). The first indication that all was not well was that they were requesting people to volunteer to give up their seats for $300 and a later flight to DFW. One catch: this was the last flight of the day from BUR, and you'd have to get yourself to LAX to catch the later flight. On Friday afternoon? Yuck. You'd have to pay me more than $300 to take that deal. Anyway, we boarded the MD80 slightly late and sat there. The pilot came on and said there was a ground stop in DFW because of thunderstorms, and then said we were going to make the short hop (40 miles or so) to ONT to fully gas up the plane. Apparently warm weather + full plane + MD80 + short runways = fuel stop in ONT.

So we took off, climbed to about 5,000 feet (guessing) and quickly descended into ONT, passing all the gridlocked traffic below. Maybe AA should start a BUR-ONT commuter service?  Smile It was a great view of Los Angeles, with little smog (amazingly enough) and views all the way across the metro area to the ocean. Our route took us over Griffith Park, Dodger Stadium, north of Downtown, and then basically straight down Interstate 10 to ONT. Nice sightseeing trip.

We spent 25 minutes or so on the ground in ONT, where I saw several X-Jets go by (and the ubiquitous WN planes). I also got a good view of some parked UPS 747s. They lifted the DFW ground stop, and we took off again for DFW.

To Start: Nothing
Main Course: Nothing
Dessert: Nothing

Ha ha! Are you kidding? A 3 hour domestic AA flight doesn't even get you pretzels any more (you could have bought an Asian Chicken Wrap for $5). I did get a small cup of water though. That was nice of them.

The entertainment options on the MD80 were my iPod and a book. I chose a book, and the flight was uneventful.

Because of all the delays, even though our flight was 1 1/2 hours late in landing, everyone else was late, so we still made our connection to ATL. The ATL flight was a 737-800 with winglets, which look really good on the AA planes. It was overbooked, and of course every seat was taken. We took off 1 1/2 hours late. They played CBS Eye on American, which I ignored in favor of my book. We landed at a very quiet ATL at 1:20am, and by the time we got luggage and the car and got to the hotel it was 3am. (which is only midnight west coast time, so good, I guess?).

Monday, June 25th
The clouds had gathered in ATL and we bid adieu to friends. We checked our bags in and learned our flight ATL-DFW was delayed by an hour. Uh oh. We also learned that the weather at DFW was again awful, and they were dealing with ground stops again. So, the planned 3:45pm departure was 4:45, which rapidly became 5:00, then 5:30. We finally boarded the plane around 6:00pm, which we were all thankful for, because the flights after ours were CANCELLED. The plane was an MD80, and we had the A-B seats, which are the best because of the window/aisle combo. We pushed back in the midst of a light rain storm with lightning. We also learned from the pilot that we were "about number 30 in line for departure." Gah! We were informed again that since everyone was late (again) connections were still doable.

So an hour later we actually take off and all is fine. Water, book, and nice views of thunderstorms accompanied us to DFW. 1.5 hours into the flight we start circling and are informed we are holding for yet another t-storm cell that moved over the airport. We circle 30 minutes, and finally are cleared to land. We land around 8:30pm, and deplane into the new D Terminal. It's very nice, but we were really concerned about our connection.

And that's when we find out all flights to Burbank are cancelled. Beautiful.

So a very delayed flight to LAX happens to be leaving in 30 minutes about 7 gates down so we hike over to that gate and get on the stand-by list. We are told our luggage will continue to Burbank tomorrow. Great. No more luggage for us.

The good news: After grabbing McDonalds our names are called and we get on the flight to LAX, and we get exit row seating. Finally something went right! The plane is another 737-800 with winglets. The flight (surprisingly) is about half full. I thought it would be packed. Maybe travelers just gave up.

The flight to LAX is uneventful, and I watch South Park on my iPod and play sudoku. We finally land at a very bustling LAX at 11:00pm (the comparison between LAX at 11pm and DFW at 11pm is remarkable -- DFW was very quiet at that hour on the way to ATL). Of course, as an added cherry on this trip, our gate is occupied and we wait on the tarmac at LAX for 20 minutes before we can disembark.

An $80 cab ride home (our car is still at BUR), and we call it a day at midnight PDT, which is approximately 13 hours after we had arrived at ATL that afternoon.

This morning: get a ride to BUR to pick up my car. At this point nobody is certain where our luggage is. Maybe we'll get it today. Maybe not.

So the tally:
3 Southen California airports visited (BUR, ONT, LAX).
3 DFW ground stops (before leaving BUR, before leaving ATL, and prior to landing at DFW)
2 lost suitcases
1 unanticipated $80 cab ride

Who says flying isn't fun any more?  Wink

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