Guess what airline I chose? Yep you got it right, I flew AA.
- AA 1157 Nov 9th DFW-SEA N9617R MD-83 Seat 5F
- AA 1200 Nov 11th SEA-DFW N9677W MD-83 Seat 6F
Seat 5F (first class)
When I planned to do this, I didn't know that I would be required to be at work in the middle of the night due to the transfer of a phone system. I slept on the previous evening from 7pm-10pm and then packed my bags. I went to work at 12am and was there until 4am. Who needs sleep? At 4am I made my way toward DFW, as the TSA screening points in most terminals open at 4:30am.
I checked in using the self-service, and was in the line waiting for TSA to start accepting people. At 4:45am I had been processed through security. My opinion is that Continental's President's Club offers the best breakfast goodies, so I went to Terminal E, as it was still 2 hours before my flights. Continental opens up their club at 5:00am, so that worked out nicely.
At about 6:10am I left the club in Terminal E and made my way to Terminal A on the Skylink. My MD83 was waiting for me at gate A10. Shortly after I arrived at A10, they began to board first class, and I made my way on quickly so that I could get my carrry-on in the overhead with no problem. I stowed everything away and took my seat in 5F as the sky started to get lighter outside.
Looking at the gate information.
MD80 next to us.
We taxied out and, when on the Zulu bridge, there was an unexpected surprise on the opposing bridge next to us. I was in such shock that I didn't even remember my camera. It was a Lufthansa Cargo MD11. Nope, I confirmed that Wilco737 was not on board. I had never seen one of these at DFW in daylight, not that there was much daylight at 7:00am. It was D-ALCS.
Photo © Gábor Vilmányi
Then we took off from runway 18L. Our takeoff weight was 143,000, which is rather heavy for an MD80. With more than 38,000 pounds of fuel, we used a bit over 7000 feet of runway on the takeoff roll. But soon enough we were airborne for our 4 hour flight to SEA.
Nope, not a random shot! This is where I work. Just south of the airport.
As we climbed, and turned north, I got a great view of a glorious, swift sunrise.
For breakfast, I got my choice of food, as AA uses the FEBO method of serving first class. Flight was 1157 (odd number) FEBO = Front even, Back odd. So for odd numbered flights, they serve the rear first. For even numbered flights, they serve the front first. This was confirmed on my return, flight 1200.
The flight attendant working first came through when he asked our menu selection, what drinks we would like while we waited on breakfast. That was a nice touch. The choice was an omelet or cereal. I picked the omelet as you can see. After he served drinks, he then did a hot towel service, using real towels. Then breakfast was served. It was rather good. Not too greasy or anything. I'm not sure what it was on the side, but it was tasty! The fruit was sweet and ripe. The biscuit was fluffy and not too dry. Overall it was a good breakfast service.
Once the plates were taken away, I took out my laptop put in a DVD. I used the powerport to keep my laptop charged up in case I wanted to watch two movies, since it was such a long flight.
I looked out the window and recognized Vail Valley. There's Eagle County Airport.
Closer to SEA, some green mountains.
Starting our descent. Here's a view outside looking back at the wing.
North of SEA, we begin our approach for a south landing.
Here's the landing at Seattle.
Here's my plane at the gate.
After landing, and since I hadn't checked a bag, I decided to roam around the SEA terminals for a bit. I didn't realize what a big airport SEA was, so I stayed on the A/B/S side.
This was November 9th. On November 8th, Southwest rolled out its new boarding system nationwide. It had been tested at DAL and SAT for a few weeks. From what I observed, the gate agents have their work cut out for them, because the SEA passengers just "didn't get it." I was walking through the terminal, and noticed the exasperation in the agent's voice, as he continued to repeat that passengers may remain seated and relax, and then he spelled out the rules of the new boarding. Nobody trusted him so they all crowded the gate in a big herd. Making matters worse, he walked by me calling out someone's name over and over. A business lady walked up. His response was, "oh my God, you can't be my unaccompanied minor." So he had lost (temporarily) his UM in the confusion to get the gate under control.
Southwest's new relaxed boarding system.
They have some work to do!
Across the aisle was one of my favorite airlines, Hawaiian. They really bring the Hawaiian spirit to the gate with them. I found it exciting just to watch and listen. Every announcement was followed with a gracious "mahalo."
Getting ready for nonstop SEA-OGG
Taxiing out for Maui
A Horizon Dash 8, with the fleet behind it.
Then I rented a car and went to Everett, about 45 minutes north of the airport, and toured the Boeing assembly plant. I highly recommend this tour. Cameras and cell phones and even purses are strictly prohibited, so there are no pics due to that reason. Dreamliner 787 #1 and #2 were on the 787 assembly line, which is right below the tour's viewing platform. Across the platform on the 777 line was a Cathay Pacific 777-300 and Qatar's second 777-300. Outside was Qatar's first 777-300. Along the lineup were some 777s for AC, EK, AI, KE, CX, and I don't really remember who else. Qatar's first 777-300 A7-BAA was just taxiing in from some test flying.
Then I went to the hotel to see the Avsim convention. I've included some shots I took from the show.
Yes, that's really FSX running on 7 monitors!!
A cool flight sim chair that moves!
Microsoft provided like 20 stations for people to play FSX.
Not only did this chair move, it nearly throws you out of it when it crashes!! Also I really like the lower monitor that was focused on gauges.
Here's a setup that I would like.
One that I didn't get a pic of (I forgot) was the charity worldflight outside where they did a real-time round the world flight and it raised money for a Toronto charity.
On the way to the airport before my flight on Sunday, I went to Boeing Field. I didn't really have time to do it, but I couldn't just pass up the opportunity to board a BA Concorde. So I risked it and went to the museum!
The big red barn where they made the first Boeings.
I would have loved to have been sitting at this stoplight watching them tow a Concorde across the street!!
707 Air Force One
Boarding Concorde, I was surprised at the size of the delta wing.
The rear cabin. The tour boards mid-ship.
The small lavatory.
Legroom was a bit more than I anticipated.
Two tiny windows
The bulkhead with flight information on it.
The entry statement (from the L1 door)
Still my favorite aircraft. The AA 727.
Then I boarded Air Force One.
Some press seats.
The secretary's station. Check out the typewriter.
President's conference table.
Presidential doggie door.
President's lavatory. Supposedly designed by Jackie. Don't I look spiffy in the mirror.
It used to take a lot of effort to get a phone call to the President in flight.
Cockpit with 4 places in it. With the communications position behind in the previous picture, there's a lot of people involved in flying Air Force One.
As I get off I get one more shot of G-BOAG.
Then I race off to the airport! It's Sunday afternoon at about 1:00pm. My flight is 2:55pm, so I really had enough time, but I didn't know what to expect with security. After checking in at the self-service, I went to security which was completely empty. Some TSA agents waved at me to come over and use their line. Not a single passenger was in that line. So I had time to go to the "S" gates where a China Airlines A340 and an Air France A330 were.
After checking them out, I went to the NWA Worldclub in the S gates, using my Priority Pass.
It was really nice, which is a good thing, because AF, KL, and NWA passengers going to NRT use the lounge. The best feature of this lounge was the long tabletop where you can sit facing the window.
There goes China Airlines, possibly to IAH! I'm not sure, but the gate didn't have any signs up, which makes me think the passengers might have been re-boarding for Houston. In the foreground is a NWA 757-300 that was going to OGG. They had a sign up, trying to sell first class upgrades for $250.
The Southwest "hub." One of the two planes on the right was going to DAL via ABQ.
Here's the only pic I could get of AF.
I like the architecture of the terminal. Very warm and inviting. I have no idea, however, why I took the pic with the big support beam right there.
A cool-looking restaurant.
The huge and tall windows make the atmosphere welcoming.
Here's my plane. Former TWA MD83 N9677W.
AA1200 SEA - DFW
Nov 11th, 2007
8 empty seats total..16/16F 116/124Y
Flight was right on time, 3:45 in the air.
As we taxied out I took a few photos.
See the red wreath on the tail.
Possibly a former American Eagle ATR42
The SEA takeoff. Hear how quiet it is up front on the MD80. The only noise you hear is the loud bang when something crashed in the galley during takeoff!
Beautiful scenery on climb out. Mt Ranier I think. Or maybe Mt St Helens. Sorry I don't know. I'm sure someone will correct me!
I noticed a difference in the seats between the regular AA first class and the old TWA first class. The TWA seats are ok, but I like the original AA ones better. The recline feature is an old button. The tables are a bit strange, and there's not room to put two drinks side by side on the console between the two passengers. On both flights I tried to see if the left side of first class truly has less legroom than the right side of first class. That's what I've read on Seatguru.com, and it makes sense, but the difference looked negligible to me.
After takeoff we were served warm nuts with the drink service. Then that was followed with a hot towel service. The flight attendant working first class was very friendly, constantly smiling, and making very frequent passes through first class making sure nobody had an empty glass. She continued giving such attention through the flight's duration. I was impressed.
This was an even-numbered flight and I was in the last row of first class, so I was not offered a dinner selection. My choice was to have a barbecue sandwich with potato salad or not. It was a 2:55pm departure time, so not a traditional dinner service, but a snack. I was surprised that they would offer such Texas flair, but then I enjoyed the biscuit on the way to SEA, so maybe they do have Texas flair standard in first class now. I'll admit, as a Southerner and a Texan, I approved of the BBQ sandwich. It was good.
Following dinner was a warm chocolate cookie.
Shortly after dinner, the sun began to set. I was watching a DVD again on this flight using my laptop. I had trouble with the powerport on this plane. I really didn't think the old TWA MD80s had powerports, but they do. At least they do in first class. It was unreliable though, and didn't work more than about 25% of the time.
After dinner I enjoyed sipping a Glenlivet 12 single malt. I had my Bose QC2 noise cancelling headphones on. I failed to mention on the DFW SEA flight there were 6 people wearing Bose headphones in first class. AA must do wonders for Bose, by marketing these headphones so well. AA provides them for passenger use on long haul flights. I know for sure on long haul international flights, and I think transcontinental flights as well.
I'm sure there's more I could write about the flight, but I'll stop it here. I kind of want to tell you about my "interesting" seat mate, but, well I don't know how to do it and keep this report "appropriate for all audiences" so I'll just stir your imagination with what I've said so far!
We flew right past Fort Worth Alliance airport and I could tell, by looking down at Hwy 114, that we were lined up for runway 13R. The parallel to my namesake (DFW13L).
On final to DFW 13R, we flew over Southlake. In the middle of the picture there is a very large Barnes and Noble. If you like books, I suggest going to that store, going up to the second level, and relaxing at one of the chairs that has a view out that window. You get to watch all the traffic landing on 13R.
Thanks for reading this far! Hope you enjoyed the 70 pics and 2 videos.