I am never very excited to travel from DIA. Admittedly, I miss the old airport, Stapleton, very much and it makes me very biased towards DIA. I just feel like Stapleton was more open and created that classic airport experience that people felt in the Golden years of aviation. I used to go out there with my family to eat lunch and watch airplanes. Stapleton had a viewing platform and I fondly remember the ice-cream shop that had all the airplane models hanging from the ceiling. By far this was a favorite place of mine to visit as a young child. DIA on the other hand is very sterile, unfriendly, and not designed with the aviation enthusiast in mind. There are very few if any good places to sit down and watch the aircraft. It is like they go out of their way to make you forget you are at an airport. I wish that US airports would embrace the travelers and enthusiast instead of hiding behind the security precautions put in place after 9/11. I am sorry but I do not see a huge security risk in a monitored viewing platform or a couple of aviation themed restaurants/bars with good views of the action on the ramp.
UA 1489, operated by TED
DEN – LAS
Seat 18F, Airbus A-320
Scheduled Departure: 1650
Actual Departure: 1650
Was pleasantly surprised at our on-time departure as United used to be one of the worst in this area. We pushed back from gate B20 and taxied east to runway 17R for immediate departure. One thing I do want to ask is whether I am crazy or do Airbus aircraft, specifically A319s and 320s fishtail down the runway on takeoff? Each time flying this type and when I am seated in the back it feels like we are swinging back and forth down the runway. I have not ever noticed this when seated in the front of the aircraft. The first time it happened I chalked it up to the pilot maybe dancing on the rudder pedals but it has happened each time on different carriers.
Temperature today at takeoff was over 100 degrees and the aircraft labored down the runway until finally taking off. The flight was very full and despite the excessive temperature was relatively smooth. We had one good bump about an hour into the flight that caused several gasps and some out loud “Oh my God’s”. This bump actually started the aircraft on a significant roll to the right before the autopilot or the pilots corrected the attitude. Flight was very quick and we landed using 25L and parked at gate B43 right on time. Since we came from the east we got no impressive views of the strip during arrival. I did not get too many opportunities for photos since we were traveling east to west in the afternoon and I was on the right side of the aircraft. Everything I wanted to shoot was backlit by the blazing sun. I did manage a few though for your enjoyment.
LAS - DEN
Seat 8F, Airbus A-319
Scheduled Departure: 1935
Actual Departure: 1929
Contrary to my many experiences flying out of DIA, McCarran airport is a totally different story. I will actually budget part of my visit time next time to spend at the airport before departing. McCarran actually embraces their aviation history. This is evident by the excellent airport history exhibit in the main terminal. I took some time to read the various exhibits and stories. My wife had to bring me back from my daydreaming back to the glory days of flying when it was so much more that just getting from point A to point B as fast as possible so that we could clear security and get to our gate. It seems like a no-brainer that an airport embraces and emphasizes aviation and airplanes, but most airports nowadays, especially the new ones, would rather embrace the shopping and retail experience. It is very sad. I wonder how long it will be before there is a Wal-Mart inside a US airport?
In addition to the history exhibit, McCarran has good view of the action from the concourses. I spent our time waiting for departure snapping shots of aircraft on the ramp and those taxiing out for departure. Again if not for the setting sun I could have taken some nice shots of the strip.
Perry the Puffin was on the tail of our aircraft tonight. We pushed from the gate early at 1929. Departed to the east using 07L which offered no climb out views of the strip. Dusk was rapidly approaching and since we were traveling eastbound it was pitch black outside shortly after takeoff. Arrived in Denver a few minutes early and landed using 35L. Taxied to gate A40 where we waited a few minutes for some lightning to clear the area so the ground crew could come outside and park us. Baggage made it ok and our car was right where we left it. Got home just after midnight and the alarm for work snapped me back into reality 5 hours later.
Hope you enjoyed my first attempt at a TP. Feedback or discussion on my dislike of DIA is welcome.